Price paid: $ 800
Purchased from: Rondo Music
Features: This guitar is a South Korean made 27" scale, superstrat shape 7 string guitar.
I'm unsure of what year it was made, but I bought it late last year I believe, so probably 2010 or 2009.
The body is arch-top mahogany which is surprisingly lightweight, the guitar only weighs about 8.5 pounds by itself. I got this guitar in a Tribal Red finish which looks stunning. It's all very smooth.
The hardware on this guitar is all name brand (except for the pickups.) and it's all black which compliments the Tribal Red finish really well. The guitar in general is very aesthetically pleasing.
The tuners are Die-Cast Steel made by Grover, which I haven't had any problems with at all. They hold tuning well, no complaints.
The Bridge is a Tone Pros Tune-O-Matic with the string-through construction. Again, no complaints. I haven't had any intonation issues since I bought it which was last year.
As for the pickups, they are Rondo's own brand of pickup; "Cepheus" and they are Actives.
Now, these pickups are not bad. They're not great either. For me, I've found that there is way too much low end in the pickups particularly when played through clean settings. I like to have really sparkly clean tones, and the only way I can acheive that with this guitar is too pretty much scoop out my entire low end for clean settings. This doesn't matter too much since I run through a Zoom G.21u Multi-Effect Processor which has plenty of room for more patches, but it does leave the guitar's tone as a whole sounding rather weird. A bit too tinny for my tastes, but other than that, they sound fine.
On distortion settings, I can run as much gain as I want and it'll still sound fine, it's just the cleans that suffer here.
The controls are simple; one volume, one tone, one pickup switch.
This gets a 7 here, because even though the rest of the features are great, the pickups let it down a little bit. I may swap them out at some stage. // 7
Sound: I play the subgenres of Metal, basically. I don't play much else, and this guitar works great for that. I can get an alright "Djent" tone from it, as well as really beefy chugging sounds, and great mid-balanced tones for riffing and the like.
The rig I run is Guitar > Zoom G.21u Multi-Effect Processor > Boss RC-20XL Loop Station > Fender FM212r and it works fine except for the clean sounds which are tinny.
I don't get any feedback or noise, except when I want to.
If it had a coil-tap on it, I imagine this would be a lot more versatile, but it does a passable job the way it is now. // 7
Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar was set-up perfectly when I got it from Rondo. No bad frets, low action (the way I like) with no buzz, pickups weren't in the way, intonation was great.
It was all great. Perfect 10.
Apparently, what's typed above is 63 characters short so what you're reading right now is irrelevant. // 10
Reliability & Durability: I play this thing pretty hard. I have a pretty harsh pick attack, no string breakage what'soever.
The strap buttons as well as the rest of the guitar definitely feel durable. But, no matter what guitar I was using, I'd always put straplocks on it for playing live. I don't really need a strap at the moment anyway on account of 99% of the time playing sitting down.
I'd depend on this guitar enough to use live for sure. Even if I wanted to take a backup (which I wouldn't) I couldn't because this is my only 7 String, haha.
The finish does feel and look really thin, but there's been absolutely wear on it since I've had it. // 9
Overall Impression: My overall impression of this guitar would be "Great value for money."
That's not to say this is the be all, end all of guitars because it certainly isn't. It's great for what I paid for it, and a great guitar for someone looking to get into the 7 string market.
There are far better guitars, but there are also far worse guitars. Great value for money.
I asked every question I could think of, got all the information I could on the guitar before buying because I didn't want to fork out the money for a lemon.
If it were stolen or lost, I wouldn't buy another one of these. They're great to start on, and a good guitar overall, but I'd go and buy a C-7 Hellraiser instead.
I didn't have any problems transitioning from my 6 strings to this, it was immediate comfort.
To anyone looking to get into the Extended Range Guitar market, you can't really go wrong here. // 8