The Stadium ST420AB is a rebranded Shine guitar. Shine, in addition to selling guitars under their own brand, provide OEM guitars for quite a few American companies, most notably Douglas guitars.
I'm a sucker for semi hollow bodies and when I first set eyes on this guitar, I was salivating to strap this baby on. However, it didn’t take long for my excitement to sour as this is one of those mirages which appear good from a far but is far from good.
The flame maple topped mahogany body is finished absolutely beautifully, however one close look at the top reveals asymmetrical f-holes. I know I was in for a rough ride, but I continued to inspect the instrument. It was no surprise that sloppy workmanship infected the guitar. There was binding bleed surrounding the headstock and gaps in the binding at both ends of the neck (headstock and body). [Editor’s Note 6/30/2008 - Sandor Phillips with Pure Analog Effects was kind enough to provide an additional model for review which exhibited substantially better binding and symmetrical f-holes. Clearly, the original review model had some QC issues. –Will]
Well, despite my reservations I plugged her up and the results were equally unimpressive. The P90 style pickups just sounded bland. The snarl I was expecting just wasn’t there and the pickups didn’t complement each other very well (though they sounded interesting in an almost out of phase kind of way in the middle position). Tone controls were largely ineffective and the pickups lost any sparkle they had as soon as the volume knob was backed off even the slightest bit.
Overall, it was really hard to play this guitar longer than a few minutes due to all its issues. However, despite all its shortcomings, the Stadium ST420AB did seem to stay in tune well due to the licensed Grover tuners.