#1
I'm saving up for a professional quality 7 string. I'd like to spend around $1200 ideally, but the Carvin will run me about $1600 with the options I want (not counting more exotic wood choice or quilted top, which just cost too much), which is an okay upper limit. The ESP would be used, of course.

Given the budget is relatively high, I feel that I'm justifiably really picky about specs. And I am a very picky person.

The things that are must haves:
Carved top (no flat top guitars)
OFR
EMG soapbar routing (HH configuration)
25.5" scale


Things I would like:
Fretboard + heastock binding
Chrome or nickel hardware (black is okay, but I don't like the way black nickel and gold fades)
4+3 headstock (4 on top) (7 inline is okay, if the headstock isn't massive)
Stainless steel frets
3 knobs & slotted pickup selector (neither have this)
3 piece neck (5 piece preferred)


So I'm a bit torn. The binding thing is borderline must have. I really like it. And as far as I can see, it's not offered on the Carvin. I would also love to have stainless steel frets for spending this much. Easy to get with Carvin, not so easy to get elsewhere.

Does anyone know of anything else in my price range that has more or all of the wants?

Pics of the Carvin & ESP for reference:




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#2
Damn man, that's tough.

My first instinct would be to vote for the ESP. I think it's a lot cooler than the Carvin carved top 7. But Carvin does seem to match more of your requirements (apart from the binding of course).

I'm still going to vote for the ESP, but again that's just really my preference.

FWIW - Some people swear by stainless steel frets but personally I don't think they're anything special. The kind of fret wire you'd be getting on any other high end guitar should be pretty damn good anyway. Food for thought/ymmv/etc
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#3
I'm sort of in this same quandary but for 6 strings. So, Offworld, I'll be following this closely!
Current Gear:
LTD MH-400 with Gotoh GE1996T (EMG 85/60)
PRS SE Custom 24 (Suhr SSH+/SSV)
Ibanez RG3120 Prestige (Dimarzio Titans)
Squier Vintage Modified 70s Jazz V
Audient iD22 interface
Peavey Revalver 4, UAD Friedman BE100/DS40
Adam S3A monitors
Quote by Anonden
You CAN play anything with anything....but some guitars sound right for some things, and not for others. Single coils sound retarded for metal, though those who are apeshit about harpsichord probably beg to differ.
#4
The carvin, if I'm right, sort of does have binding. Rather than an additional material, they leave the edges of the wood unfinished. It might not be your taste, but i personally like it. If you want to be sure, you could call Carvin to ask if they can do the same kind of binding as the ESP. From my understanding, they're usually good about that kind of thing.

Can't speak to the ESP, but I can vouch for the Carvin's quality.
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#5
I've done some more digging around and it looks like I can get basically everything that I want in a Halo Custom Merus.

But I remember reading a lot about this company here and there... a lot of bad.

Is it still a company to avoid? My build is up to almost $1900. Not outrageous by any means for a pro semi custom guitar, that actually does have everything I want except for a slotted switch - but that IS a lot of money for something that's not going to be built well, or even adequately.


Pic of the Halo build for shits and giggles. Sexy!

Spin 'round carousel when your horse isn't screwed in.

My band:
Fractured Instinct
(For fans of Death/Groove/Prog Metal)

Ibanez RGA42E
Ibanez S420
LTD H-301
Ibanez RG520
Peavey Predator USA
Douglas Grendel 725
Line 6 Pod HD500X
Last edited by Offworld92 at Jul 4, 2014,
#6
I'd duck the Halo.

The binding on the CT Carvins is the unpainted edge of the top -- PRS is known for this.
I don't think Australians have much access to Carvins, do they? Why would a fairly ordinary production ESP be "cooler?" Because it's black?

The OP is in SoCal and it's worth the roadtrip to drop by the Carvin factory (tours, store, in-person ordering). If you square off the trip a bit and drop by Riverside first, it's worth hitting Wild West Guitars before you head down.

I'm personally a fan of Carvins -- I've currently got 7. But there IS one ESP I'd LOVE to have, only because it's so weird, and ESP does weird so well...
#7
Avoid the Halo.
Current Gear:
LTD MH-400 with Gotoh GE1996T (EMG 85/60)
PRS SE Custom 24 (Suhr SSH+/SSV)
Ibanez RG3120 Prestige (Dimarzio Titans)
Squier Vintage Modified 70s Jazz V
Audient iD22 interface
Peavey Revalver 4, UAD Friedman BE100/DS40
Adam S3A monitors
Quote by Anonden
You CAN play anything with anything....but some guitars sound right for some things, and not for others. Single coils sound retarded for metal, though those who are apeshit about harpsichord probably beg to differ.
#8
Quote by dspellman
I don't think Australians have much access to Carvins, do they? Why would a fairly ordinary production ESP be "cooler?" Because it's black?


Is this directed at me?

We have full access to Carvin as far as I know. I'm pretty sure all the options available are the same. Two major differences are that we can't buy direct from Carvin, have to go through a local dealer... and everything is about 80% more expensive than it is in the USA!


And imo the ESP has a cooler looking shape (both body and headstock), and the binding is a nice touch. Each to his own
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#9
Carvin hands down. No disrespect to ESP owners but the last time I tried a genuine ESP Horizon, I couldn't help but look down at the price tag and think to myself "If I'm gonna spend this much money, I'm not getting something that feels like a toy" My Carvin the minute you touch it feels like a professionally made guitar. From the tung oiled neck, to the quality of the paint job. Something that can withstand touring and abuse.

Now I'm not saying the ESP is not a quality instrument, but it felt too light to be that expensive. Not to mention as much as I love used gear, if I'm gonna spend that much money, I'd rather get something new that still has a factory warranty. You can't beat Carvin's 5 year warranty.
Gear:
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1991 Ibanez RG560M
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Ovation CP 247 Acoustic
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