Price paid: $ 750
Purchased from: Rondo Music
Sound — 7
One of the main reasons I bought this guitar was for playing very low downtuned songs without losing very much range, as well as more technically challenging music that incorporates the extra range this guitar offers (Animals as Leaders, Periphery, etc.) I play a lot of Progressive Metal, Metalcore, Shred and Deathcore, along with some Classic and Hard Rock. While the active Duncan Blackouts aren't as well equipped for the latter two styles as many passive pickups, they can still get the job done with a properly EQ'd amp. I run the Septor through a Mesa/Boogie Single Rectifier + Soldano 4x12 rig, with an Ibanez TS-9, a Boss NS-2 and a Dunlop 535Q wah in the chain. For delay and reverb, my Line 6 POD X3 is run through the FX Loop to bring out a variety of sounds. The Blackouts are quite noisy on a high-gain setting, with the NS-2 barely keeping back a lot of the unwanted feedback without sucking out the tone. However, the lows on this guitar resonate very well, a must for an instrument that can quite easily reach F# on the low B string, as well as a great lead response with punchy mids and tight riffs. While the pickups will give you a great tone for heavier styles, don't expect sparkling cleans. These can be used in a live setting if you value your heavy tone more, but lots of headroom on your amp will be essential to really bring these out.
Overall Impression — 9
I've been playing for just over four years, and have acquired close to $10,000 worth of gear since I began working at a grocery store at fourteen (in 2008). Right now, on top of this guitar and the Mesa/Soldano rig I mentioned before, I also own an ESP LTD MH-1000 NT, as well as an ESP LTD EC-1000 VB, a Seagull S6 Original Acoustic and a 2006 Epiphone Les Paul Special II. I did extensive research before my purchase, comparing all sorts of brands and price ranges from makers such as Schecter, Jackson, ESP, and Ibanez. In all, the MIK Ibanez guitars as well as the ESP LTD MH-417left me desiring more, with only the Schecter C-7 and Jeff Loomis guitars coming close to the Septor. However, because of my particular liking to fixed bridges, Ebony fretboards, and a price difference of about $250, this was the guitar for me. If anything I might have preferred locking tuners to come stock, however this is an inexpensive and easy change to make, and thus I can't complain much. The guitar is well balanced, and the neck really suits my metal playing and bigger hands. This guitar is certainly a great buy for anyone deciding to venture into ERG territory and wants something that can deliver playability and tone similar to anything short of a Jackson USA or MIJ Ibanez for much less cash. This is a guitar I hope to keep for a long time, and I would certainly get another one if I were ever in a position where it got lost/stolen/burned, but didn't have the funds or patience to order a custom guitar.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar will most surely withstand live playing, as it is sturdy and well built. The hardware is top notch from reliable manufacturers such as Grover, Seymour Duncan and Hipshot, and I have no fear of them deteriorating over time. The strap buttons I cannot vouch for (much like my MH-1000 review), but this time it is because my 18 year old brother decided it was a great idea to remove them, and accidentally broke one of the screws. So my Septor is currently buttonless. I can still depend on it heavily however, so much so that while it may be smart to bring a backup anyway, to be honest I can't see myself spending a solid amount of money on another 7-string that I don't think I'd need to use. If anything, this guitar would be my trusty backup if I ever decide to get a high-end custom made seven. The finish has so far not rubbed off at all, though I've only had the guitar for about three months now.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The guitar was set up perfectly well when it arrived. The action was low with no buzz, the pickups were at a reasonable height, and the routing was done with Precision such that the hardware fit perfectly and with no nicks in the wood. The bookmatch of the Quilted Maple top was a bit off, with a seam of about 3-5mm running up the center of the body. However, it was completely straight and axial, so I just emailed Kurt at Rondomusic.com with pictures, and he refunded me $50 no questions asked. The wood and finish itself looks great, with lots of depth and Shine to the top after a good wiping down. All the hardware was tight and functional, the frets were properly filed, and the electronic controls were noiseless and consistent.
Features — 8
This particular guitar is from the 2010 batch of Agiles, made in South Korea and distributed out of New Hampshire, US. It is one of the more expensive Agile guitars, the main features being a 7-string Super-Strat with the extra string coming in on the low end, along with a 27" scale length, Neck-thru construction, arch top Mahogany body and a Quilted Maple top to boot. The neck is a 5 Piece Maple/Walnut design, with a reverse headstock, unmarked Ebony fretboard, 24 Extra-Jumbo (2.9mm) frets and a 13.7" (350mm) neck radius for truly smooth and fast playing. The guitar is fitted with a string-thru Hipshot .125 Flatmount bridge, Grover Die Cast tuners, USA Made Seymour Duncan Blackout Pickups (AH1-b), and a two knob (one Volume, one Tone), three-way Switch control configuration. For the price, the features of this guitar are phenomenal. However, compared to all other guitars and price ranges, it still scores quite highly for me.