used to own one. i got it used, so i had no say in the options, but i did end up putting duncans in it, namely a jb in the bridge. i also moved the volume knob back like an ibanez. these are excellent playing, sounding, and looking guitars. the necks are like a wider wizard 2. pretty comfortable, my only regret is the string tension. it could get buttery, but at the expense of buzzing(i wanted it to play like my rg550...think strat!!!) still was excellent. the stock pickups do sound good, but duncans kick the crap out of them. still, EMGs are your flavor, so who cares what the stocks sound like!!! they have a smaller neck plate and are smoothed over more to feel like there is less of a neck joint. good job there. the frets feel good, too. like mediums- this combined with an ebony board on a tung oiled maple back is pretty damn sexy feeling. the 5 way switch it has is one of those ****ty ones. i left mine in, only due to the available coil tap. you probably will, too, for the emgs. the work and hardware on these guitars are great. mine had sperzels and a hardtail with a standard graphite nut. i installed schaller straplocks, but took them off when i sold it. this was bought as a backup for my main stage guitar(SC420) due to the hardtail, to drop D with, and i just really didn't like the feel of it as much as any ibanez. carvin does great work and i have played my share of them as well, this little axe was still up there with all of them. if your looking to get a decent shred strat, those would be a good idea. you can get them custom made for less than an american strat.