An HSS guitar I can actually recommend
This is something I never thought would happen.
Above is an EART guitar. What model name? I have no idea, and it doesn't matter because this is one of the few lower priced guitars you can get which is in no-mods-required territory.
Let's get the specs out of the way first: Mahogany body, rosewood fingerboard, compound 9.5" to 14" fretboard radius, Canadian maple neck, 22 frets, "cheese wheel" truss rod adjustment location at the butt of the neck (very convenient,) hex screws holding in the bridge instead of the stupid flathead style, full block saddles, deep cutaway cut on the rear for easy high fret access, sculpted heel also for very easy high fret access...
...yeah, this thing is loaded.
On its own, the guitar needs nothing. However, for those that absolutely want the best of the best for as cheap as possible, two things of note:
It appears that dropping in a set of locking tuners would be stupidly easy to do, and it doesn't look like any new holes would need to be drilled to do so.
As for the electronics, they might in fact be good enough on their own because the electronics do feature a 223J capacitor, which are known to be very reliable. People who build up their Ibanez guitars sometimes use these, so yes, it's a good cap. How do the pickups sound? I have no idea, but if dropping in a replacement set was needed, it would be a fairly easy process.
Yes, I can actually recommend this HSS guitar. The good stuff is there and the price is certainly right for what you get.