Been thinking about an 8 string for awhile. Gonna stop thinking and start deriously looking at buying. I'm married , kids, house, the whole thing, so money spent has to be worth it. Was looking at some Agiles, schecters, and the base model Ibanez line. I have to admit getting something without good pickups would be tough.

I dont want o get a guitar and have to wait, which could be a little while given my financial burdens, if the pickups have to be upgraded. It'll be depressing to get a guitar and not be able to get the sound at least somewhat similar to some of the bands that are making me think about getting one. i.e.- meshuggah, animals as leaders and others.

I'm realistic, dont get me wrong, about the price point,, but whats my best bang for my buck. UGers HELP!!!
I've seen some nice NGDs around here featuring Schecter, Ibanez, Agile and Carvin. My gut feeling is- of those 4- that the Schecter and Agile will be closest to the tonal output you're looking for out of the box, followed by the Ibanez and Carvin.

The Carvin, OTOH, may well be the best made, and pickups are a relatively inexpensive and quick mod to get.

But your best answers will come from the guys & gals in here: https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1356444
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Apr 12, 2014,
Most if not all of the budget/midrange 8 strings have EMG808 pickups, which are good for metal but not particularly amazing either. Unless you have a specific tone in mind that you think is worth the $100-200 upgrade, you will be fine with the stock 808s.

My best advice to you is to go to your local music stores and try out as many guitars as you can, feel wise. The main differences will be in the feel of the guitar, 8 strings are bulky and uncomfortable, and the only way you'll find the best one for you is by trying them. The tones will be very similar, especially if the guitar has EMG808s, and anything with fancier pickups will probably be out of your budget.
Peavey 6505+ Head (Left)
Line 6 Spider IV HD150 Head (Right)
Marshall 1960A 4x12
Ibanez RG T42DX
Agile Hornet Pro 727
Given the use to which most 8s are put, the available pickups on the price range you're looking at are all pretty competent. Most of the differences can be changed with amp and EQ settings.

Far more important to me than pickups (at this level) would be the build quality bang for the buck. There, I'd have to suggest that Agile and Carvin probably offer the most mucho for the money, with Schecter and Ibanez trailing, in part because they have to deal with an extra level of profit (up to 50% of their selling price) going to brick and mortar stores from which you buy them. All are competent brands, with Schecter and Ibanez far more available outside the US.