LTD AW-7 Review

manufacturer: ESP date: 06/09/2014 category: Electric Guitars
ESP: LTD AW-7
This Whitechapel's Alex Wade signature 7-string guitar is, of course, meant for extreme metal, and it accomplishes that very well.
 Features: 7
 Sound: 9
 Action, Fit & Finish: 8
 Reliability & Durability: 8
 Overall Impression: 9
 Overall rating:
 7.8 
 Reviewer rating:
 8.2 
 Users rating:
 7.3 
 Votes:
 6 
review (1) pictures (1) 19 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 8.2
LTD AW-7 Reviewed by: oneblackened, on june 09, 2014
3 of 4 people found this review helpful

Features: This is Alex Wade (Whitechapel)'s signature seven string guitar, made at World Music in Korea in 2012. It features:

- A 3 piece maple neck through body with a 25.5" scale
- 24 Jumbo frets on an Ebony fretboard 
- Mahogany Wings 
- Flame Maple top
- DiMarzio D-Activator 7 pickups
- Volume, Tone, 3 Way blade switch
- ESP Locking Tuners
- Flatmount bridge (a Hipshot flatmount copy, which I subsequently replaced with a real Hipshot)

All in all, a very solid guitar featurewise, if a bit unremarkable. Nice to see passives on a seven string guitar that isn't Ibanez, especially name brand pickups. // 7

Sound: This guitar sounds absolutely huge, but is still defined even in low tunings (I've gone down to drop Ab). The D-Activators are very, very nice. The bridge is quite tight, with plenty of chunk and grind. The neck pickup is very bright (admittedly, too bright for some) and makes for excellent cleans and solos without any mud at all. It's also dead quiet, thanks to the excellent wiring job done by World. I use it with both Peavey Revalver through my Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 interface and with a Peavey 5150 half stack. It's probably my favorite 7 string in its price range sonically. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: I can't comment on the factory setup, since I bought it used, but the guitar is otherwise flawless. I have never played a dud ESP due to their great quality control, and this guitar reflects that. The frets are well crowned and polished and bend smoothly and effortlessly. I have the action set quite low with no fret buzz, which stands to demonstrate a good fret job. The nut is not perfect, but it is pretty good - it could be ever so slightly lower. Gets a couple of points of for that, because the intonation isn't great on the lower frets because of that. // 8

Reliability & Durability: This guitar is rock solid. The hardware is good quality. ESP makes good stuff, even the low end units. I bought the guitar used, and the previous owner had swapped the original strap buttons for Schaller straplocks - the button on the horn kept working loose, but I can't ding the manufacturing quality for that. I would never EVER gig without a backup, because Murphy's Law applies to guitars at a very high rate. The guitar is well built though. The fretboard had seemed to shrink a bit before I owned it and the frets slightly poked the finish on the edge of the neck. Again, can't really ding for that. // 8

Overall Impression: This guitar, is, of course, meant for extreme metal, and it accomplishes that very well. I wouldn't say it can do too too much else though, at least not with stock pickups. I traded an LTD H-1007 (also very nice, but I wasn't a fan of the EMGs) for it and I am very satisfied with what I got in the trade. Were it stolen, I would likely buy it, or another LTD seven string model, again. I love the pickups for extreme metal, and the ebony fretboard is just a joy to play on. That said, I wish the neck was ever so slightly thinner. It's a big neck for a 7 string. // 9

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