Turns out the finish isn't as durable as I had hoped. It's not a big deal seeing as how they are on the bottom/side of the guitar, but it still bugs me considering how much time and effort I put into it. These marks came from it simply sitting on it's padded stand.
Anyhow, glad you stayed far FAR away from BC Rich, they make look neat, but but they are just awful.
Myself, I have been playing guitar and bass for twenty years now.
This is an Ibanez Roadstar II series, who knows when it was made. The wonderful thing about it is when used with a compression pedal, notes around the 9-14th fret are punchy but warm...real velvety. I have yet to hear a bass sound this good in that range. on the higher frets it can cut right through, and the lower fret is a bit weak, but thumping. And I paid 50 bucks for it 12 years ago, hard case included.
It's hard to find a cheap guitar that isn't of crap quality. This is one reason why I'll stand by Peavey products. Even their low end stuff feels and plays better than stuff costing 4 times as much from another company. The nicest guitar I ever played was an EVH Wolfgang (not the Special) with a birds eye maple neck, it felt just wonderful.
I also use a Peavey amp, it's a Basic 112 which they don't make anymore.
As for strings, I've used GHS Boomers since I stared. But on the last change over my guitar center didn't have the right scale and gadge Boomers in stock, so the guy sold me these new B52 Boomers, and I just love them. They are a little brighter than what I'm used to, but I've never had a set of strings stay so well in tune for so long.