...and I returned it
The guitar I bought didn't work out, so it has been returned. And I'll now reveal what it was.
The guitar was Mitchell MD200. Mitchell is a house brand for Guitar Center, so you can only get this guitar at a Guitar Center store or online at Musician's Friend.
Now before continuing, I read the horror stories some people had with the MD200 upon receiving it.
Mine was no horror story. In fact, there was absolutely nothing wrong with the guitar other than a few design quirks that I'll get into in a moment. "Design quirk" doesn't mean "broken". Again, nothing was wrong with the guitar at all. I just didn't connect with it.
There are 3 design quirks with the MD200.
The neck side pickup height is difficult to adjust. In the way the pickup is mounted, you have to have a long and thin Phillips head screwdriver to get to the two side screws to avoid hitting the pickup or the body cavity.
The pickup select switch has a little weirdness in the middle position. First and third position act as they normally would on most guitars. The middle position is the weird one as it cuts off the neck side volume control, and at that point the bridge side controls the volume for both pickups at once. Whether coil tap is on or not, the middle position always acts that way. When I first discovered this, I thought something in the electronics was broken. Nope. With the middle selected and volume up, I tapped both pickups with a screwdriver as a test, and yes, both pickups were on - but volume was exclusively controlled by the bridge side volume only.
The string length behind the bridge rings a bit when certain chords are played, similar to how a Jazzmaster would.
As for the rest of the guitar, 100% A-OK. I mean that sincerely because I was looking for problems and couldn't find any. Paint was good, tuners smooth, no sharp fret ends, great feeling neck, comfortable player, it was all there...
...except I just couldn't connect with the guitar. The magic just wasn't happening.
I actually do recommend this guitar
For a lot of people, this would work well. I'm not kidding. It's inexpensive, it's totally loaded with genuinely good features, it's light in weight, setup is easy and the thing just works.
I couldn't connect with the MD200 personally, but you might like it.
Remember, I was purposely looking to find problems with this guitar. All I could find was what I detailed above. Just a few quirks and nothing more.
However, I strongly recommend that if you buy this, order it. Most of the horror stores I've read concerning this guitar is from people who bought floor models. You are far better off buying this guitar new-in-box fresh to ensure 50 different kids didn't get their grubby mitts all over it before you touched it.
I am 100% certain the reason my MD200 had no problems (again, just quirks) is because it was box fresh. The likelihood of you getting a good one increases dramatically if you buy it that way.
Said honestly, there is nothing that can match the Mitchell MD200 at its price point considering the features it has.
There is the Ibanez GRX70QA if you're willing to spend a little bit more. I tried this guitar as you'll see below. Didn't like the color but it played very well and it's one of the lowest cost (if not the lowest cost) HSH pickup layout guitars you can get.