Price paid: $ 799.99
Features: -Natural Satin Finish
-5 piece Maple/Walnut Neck
-24 Jumbo Frets
-28.625" Scale Length
-2 Passive Cephus pickups
-1 Vol/1 Tone
-Agile Standard Bridge
As the variety of woods, finishes, and electronics are vast, I consider myself very lucky to get this assortment as this is pretty much my perfect combination. Ebony is a beloved wood of mine and I'm not a huge fan of actives, so the fact that I was able to get the two made me very happy. I think the only change I'd really make would be extra jumbo frets instead of jumbo.
What irks me is that on their production models, the parts you get vary and for me the guitar varied largely from the picture. When I ordered this guitar, the picture on the website showed that it was also routed so that actives could replace the passives. When I received the guitar, it was quite the opposite and was routed for passive pickups only. Also, my friend ordered a guitar similar to mine that was only $699.99 but came Standard with a Hipshot bridge. Now, of course, I am jealous because I have to spend roughly $114 just to get the same bridge. // 8
Sound: Now the sound of an 8 string is very unique and takes some time to find the right combination of all factors to get your tone in order. First off, you're going to have significant more lows so you'll need to eq your amp to be able to handle those new lows and be able to balance them with the highs.
The pickups that come with this guitar are moderate at best; they get the job done, but you'll want to look for a replacement. Unfortunately, no company makes a cheap 8 string passive so finding a good 8 string passive will most likely run you $200 at the cheapest per pickup. As of now, I am looking into a set of Bare Knuckle Coldsweats, which will run me about $420 dollars for the pair so I've got some money I need to save up. A neck pickup is a great choice for this guitar if you want to get the most out of the tonal range. You can get a lot of really cool arpeggios and bass lines that the neck pickup really helps to get a jazzy kind of tone. The Bridge pickup sounds good for being such a cheap pickup, yet it is still a little muddy and the low end notes don't always come through as clearly as they could be. // 8
Action, Fit & Finish: Playing this guitar will be awkward at first, especially if you are doing what I did and jumping from a 6 directly to an 8. The neck is very wide but it is also comfortable once you get the feel of it. When I first got this guitar the action was very low and easy to play. The 9s that came on it were a good choice for anyone not wanting to drop tune this guitar. For me, I wanted to tune it down a half step to get a tone more like Meshuggah and After The Burial. I decided to get a 7 string set of Elixirs (.010-.056) but unfortunately Elixir doesn't make a guitar string bigger than a.068 so I decided on a GHS.074 which I'm not exactly happy with due to the odd smell and difference in tone that the GHS creates as compared to my Elixirs. The action now seems a tad high, but once I get my upgrades then I'll truly look into that. The radius is extremely flat and the frets could be a little bigger. I have a hard time doing multiple string arpeggios due to the smaller frets and super flat radius. If you want to get an 8 string Agile, I suggest you save up a little more money and get the Interceptor Pro. I would've much preferred those guitars due to their carved tops and larger frets. The finish is fantastic though. The satin feels amazing and is not oily in the least bit. Since my guitar is completely natural there is no paint on the guitar to have any flaws, so this guitar has a flawless finish in my opinion. // 7
Reliability & Durability: Now this guitar barely goes out of tune due to the graphite nut. The grover tuners also add to the great tuning stability of this instrument. The wood is very dense and without a painted finish it shows wear not nearly as easily. I have not played live with this guitar yet but when I get the chance I will not hesitate. I always put DiMarzio Clip Lock straps on my guitars so I never worry about my guitar hitting the ground. // 9
Overall Impression: I was honestly very impressed with this guitar. I had no idea what to expect from Agile guitars because there are no stores that deal these guitars. It was truly a shot in the dark with this guitar and it was able to pull itself through; enough to get me into 8 string guitars and to hopefully purchase another. As you look at other companies who offer 8 string guitars, Agile is definitely one of the best values. Agile offers the most options for 8 strings without going custom, hands down. Rondo Music even offers Custom Agiles to order at certain times on their website. It is honestly one of the best deals for 8 strings around. Now although it is a great deal, be weary of the options that are available on the guitars. Although the Intrepids are beautiful and unique guitars, I would recommend more the Interceptor Pro due to the larger frets. I would also consider a longer scale next time to get a tighter tone and have the ability to use all Elixir strings on my guitar. It's completely preference though, and when set up correctly these guitars soar. They're quite unique guitars at that and I will most likely purchase another in the near future (the Interceptor Pro, of course). // 8
- Ryan Pullin (c) 2011