Price paid: $ 500
Purchased from: Rondo Music
Features — 8
Specifications: - Purchased in October 2013 (not sure when it was made) - Made in South Korea - Mahogany body with quilted maple top - 24 jumbo frets on a 27" scale maple fretboard with black dot inlays - Neck has a 13.7" radius and is about 7/8" thick - Full neck-thru-body construction - Finish is Amber Burst with black hardware and Grover tuners - EMG 707 active pickups with 1 volume, 1 tone and a 3-way switch - Licensed Floyd Rose tremolo (FRT-S2000) - Reversed headstock - Super strat shaped body with an arched top
Sound — 7
My main genre is metal but I do like to venture out into pretty much any other playing style. However, this guitar is definitely build for metal. The EMGs provide plenty of volume and sustain for any heavy situation. It is easy to get good cleans (metal cleans that is) as well when you dial back the volume a little. The bridge and neck pickups are the same and therefore sound pretty much the same with the neck pickup being a little softer. My main rig is a Boss ME-70 in front of a Peavey 5150 driving a pair of unknown Celestions in a Crate cab from the '90s. I use the ME-70 to provide some noise suppression and a bit of boost and EQ. The heavy tones are thick and rich with harmonics, especially considering the pickups are active. There is a slight lack of definition though which I attribute to the thin mahogany body. Chugging on the low B can easily become muddy if you are not precise with your picking. When venturing out into other genres such as blues, jazz and progressive, this guitar can definitely handle itself. The active EMGs crave gain so you do have to work a bit harder for a lower gain sound. But who is going to buy this guitar for lower gain? Overall, I think the sound is great while much improvement could be had with a good set of passive pickups. The EMG 707s with the mahogany body are great for a death metal or classic metal sound, but if you are looking for a more modern metalcore or djent sound, I would replace them with a set of quality passives.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
This category can be a little touchy. It is a known fact that you have to have a guitar properly set up for bets playability and feel. Whether or not you are willing to pay a pro is up to you but here is my experience with this particular guitar. The factory setup was awful, no way around it. I cannot fault Agile for this though because who knows how long this guitar was sitting in a factory, on a freight carrier or in a warehouse. The action was high, the Floyd was not level, the neck was not straight and the intonation was horrid. First thing to do was to put a set of quality strings on it. I have always been a fan of the D'Addarios so I went with a set of 9 - 56s. After changing the strings, tweaking the truss rod, fiddling with the Floyd's springs and setting the intonation, the guitar was completely different... in a great way! The action is extremely low with some fret buzz, but not too much. None of the notes fret out, even with whole and two step bends. I find it very easy to glide across the fretboard and any missed notes are due to my inexperience with longer scale guitars. The longer scale does provide a nice tension though. I have the guitar tuned to standard B, and the tension is perfect. Now on to the bad... the fretwork is not stellar. When looking down the edges of the fretboard, there is an obvious sloppiness with the fret edges. This does not affect the playability but just about all of my other guitars have a better fret job. The second annoyance comes with the truss rod. I was able to get the neck pretty straight but the extra tension on the bass side has caused more bow on the bass side than the treble side. As far as I can tell, this hasn't affected the playability other than the fact that there is more fret buzz on the bass side. This can be easily solved by installing another truss rod. Since that's not an option for this guitar, I just had to raise the action on the bass side a bit. The quilted maple top is nice but not perfect by any means. Excellent for the price though. The transparent amber burst finish is very nice in contrast with the black hardware and maple fretboard. The hardware is quality and the Grover tuners are nice. The licensed Floyd is just that, a copy. It gets the job done, but certainly a real Floyd would be better. I found that even when the tremolo arm is tightened all the way down, it still remains loose, which is annoying considering that I like the arm to stay where I put it. The volume and tones knobs are firm and smooth and the electronics are clean and clear. Overall, the guitar rips. It really is a shredding machine. The frets are not a "jumbo" as I would have liked but this is really a personal preference. At the price I paid, I am not complaining since all of the flaws can be easily overlooked.
Reliability & Durability — 9
The hardware seems very durable and I would gig with this guitar without a backup with no worries. The finish is a bit thin but again, you can't beat it in this price range. I plan to install a set of strap locks but I believe the standard strap button are sufficient. I just like that extra piece of mind. I don't plan on dropping this guitar but if I did, I think it would be ok. Agile has provided you with piece of mind by equipping this guitar with quality components. Grover tuners are always great and I have never heard of an EMG pickup failing. Just remember to change the batter every so often. I can't say much more because only time will tell if it's reliable.
Overall Impression — 8
Overall, I'm very impressed with the quality Agile puts into their very reasonably priced guitars. I have owned several different Agiles and while each one has it's own strengths and weaknesses, they all share the common trait of bring quality and features to a price range that other manufacturers cannot match. Like I said, my main style is metal and I would highly recommend this guitar for any heavy music. I own several guitars including a LTD KH-600, LTD F-400FM, B.C. Rich NJ Neck Thru Mockingbird, Ibanez RG 3550MZ Prestige, Agile AL-2000 and a few others that are not as nice. This sits right up at the top with my go-to guitars (the LTDs and Ibanez). The major improvements I would make to this guitar are an Original Floyd and some good passive pickups. Another truss rod would be nice but I have never seen two in a 7 string so I am not disappointed. Seriously, if you are looking at diving into the world of 7 strings for metal music, consider Agile. I spent the better part of a year waiting for this one to go on sale but it was very much worth it, especially considering that their Interceptor Pros typically go for $700 or more. Even at $700, it is a good deal but Rondo is always putting their guitars on sale so it's worth waiting. Do I wish I had a Prestige Ibanez or ESP 7 string? Sure, but I am budget minded as most of you are. This guitar is the perfect combination of top level features and quality craftsmanship for a reasonable price.