Price paid: A$ 400
Purchased from: www.customguitarworks.com.au
Features: Cameron Rees, a luthier from Victoria, Australia makes these guitars and are available through his website. I came across his page searching for a cheap 7 string guitar in Australia. The guitar is made of a flame-maple laminated basswood body; with a bolt-on 25.5" scale maple neck and rosewood fretboard. It comes with cream/black striped binding on the Body and white binding on the neck and shark-fin inlays on the fretboard. Mine is in a natural finish. As far as hardwares are concerned, it comes with custom 7 pickups, Licensed Floyd Rose double locking bridge, 1 tone, 1 volume and a 3-way selector. // 8
Sound: The guitar sounds very good for the price I've paid. I have spoken to Cameron before I bought it and he said he wired the pickups following the Seymour Duncan JB 7-string model. And the tonal characteristics certainly speak for it. It does feel a bit hotter and noisier than a JB, in my oppinion. I play it through a Vox AD50VT, which I usually set to play my ESP Edwards E-CY-165CTM. Under the ESP setting the Rees sounds incredibly noisy, but by toning it down, you can get some nice and thick overdriven (classic JB) tones without excess noise. It however lacks in the sustain department a bit and probably due to poor hardware, more on that later...
I've been playing for a bit less than 5 years and play a lot of my own stuff, but also enjoy playing hard rock like Metallica, Faith No More, Alice in Chains, Gn'R and also some guitar virtuoso stuff mainly Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. My decision to get a 7 string is influenced by the last two artists I've mentioned. // 7
Action, Fit & Finish: I got it delivered by courier. It was setup nicely, came with a nice and low string action, frets feel smooth, even the tuning was fair off the box. Knobs and Selector are sturdy and smooth but the biggest disappointment is the Licensed Floyd. It is by far the worst I've played. The high E popped out of the string block and just won't stay there, so I got that machined by a tech and holds somewhat better now. I think that is also contributing into the lack of sustain I mentioned. And the whammy pulls and dives feel absolutely attrocious. I am somewhat spoilt by the Original Floyd on the ESP, but this is just terrible, and looking forward to changing it ASAP.
To Shine some bright light, The finish and the general build of the guitar is very good. Its sturdy as. And it looks beautiful. The black hardware, black Ibanez style headstock and the cream/black stripes body binding really compliments the flame maple top and the natural finish. // 6
Reliability & Durability: It should withstand gigging. Its fairly new and hasn't been beaten up enough for me to be conclusive. The body feels sturdy, but I'm not planning on taking it to shows without changing a lot of the hardware. Strap buttons are solid for now, but so is everything when Its fairly new, I'm planning on changing it anyway. Its finished off nicely, doesn't look to be fading anytime soon. And you should always use a backup for Floyd Rose equipped guitar, doesn't matter how good or bad it is. // 7
Overall Impression: I knew exactly what I was buying when I bought for only 400 bucks. I saw some of Cameron's other custom guitars and he sure can make some beauties. So I kind of figured that It'll have a nice build but poor hardware, which is exactly the case here. I have been impressed upon how nice the pickup is, and I can do without changing it for now. And body is great. But the bridge has to go. Its hard enough to get a decent 7 string with Floyds at a low price, and in Australia its worse with the inflated guitar prices. This guitar has the potential to be much greater. And lets face it, your not gonna get anything better for 400 AUD. So If you are a guy/gal trying to find a cheap 7 string and do it up, this is pretty good. I'm pretty happy with what I got, I expected worse. Thanks for reading. // 7