Price paid: $ 900
Purchased from: A guy shipped it from somewhere in the USA.
Sound — 9
I play some not-very-fast kind of extreme metal, concerning black-, death- and thrash-metal aesthetics. And some mid-tempo near-core alternative rock as well, both at Hi-Gain settings, with half-step down tuning, including quite lot of riffing and palm-muting. It suits me well in the both cases. For about a year I have used it through Korg AX1500 floor processor either with the Randall RG75 combo or with Invasion VSH100 amp. Eitherway I was pleased with sound it yielded at rehearsing. Recently I have acquired Boss GT-10, now it sounds much clearer, yet it lost some nice evilness. Though that's still tunable I think. By the default, it was catching a lots of unwanted feedbacks while playing at Hi-Gain, had to fix the wiring to make them go away. Still it hums a bit when I am not playing, but that's tolerable level. When using clean sound I don't crave to get any similarity with acoustic guitar tone but pleased with the default preset that is usually dubbed "Summer" in processors. It's a bit synthetic but mysterious. Never achieved to get a good dynamic-controlled crunchy tone with this guitar, though I wasn't trying hard because that was a casual interest and I don't need it much anyway.
Overall Impression — 8
I have chosen this guitar because I wanted to get 7-string guitar with a fixed bridge, 24 frets and active electronics at the price for about $900 and it had met those conditions. For now I use this guitar for about a year and it doesn't looks like I am going to replace it with something else unless it will get broken or lost. In this case I'll get something else, just because I don't want to mess with the wiring and pickups again. It's rather comfortable for me and yields the sound that's ok. Just maybe one day I'll replace EMGs with some other pickups if I'll ever get tired of them. Then again, maybe not. Comparing to my previous guitar (6-string Washburn X200Pro) this one is much heavier and has a way thicker neck, but doesn't hurt my right wrist at the bridge as the Washburn did and has no loose parts, which the Washburn has plenty. I can't say it worths money to spend via some flaws it has, but if you are not lazy enough to fix them you can get a reliable unit as result. Well, if you are going to get this guitar, you should remember these ones are a metal-and-core guitars. Doesn't looks like they will go well with some kinds of 'serious' music like jazz, blues, daddy-rock and so on. P.S. Sorry for the poor English.
Reliability & Durability — 8
Played few times live with it and never thought of any backup (although I could provide the one). Pretty reliable. The hardware seems totally unkillable. You should try to prevent the neck from any damage as much as possible though since it is irreplaceable, like all the neck-thrus are. The satin finish is very vulnerable to any damages and wears off very easily. After a year of moderate playing it looks like it was used hard for about a 7-8 years. A lot of scratches and the finger rub-through under the volume-knob because I had used it a lot. I advise you to treat it more carefully than a common guitar and recommend using a good guitar-case to carry it around. Also, it might be a good idea to tear off the finish totally.
Action, Fit & Finish — 5
Well, the guitar came up rather poorly prepared and had some things to fix afterwards. First of all, as I mentioned above, the wiring was poor. It was different from one described in the EMG manual for this configuration (inaccurate grounding especially) and had loose wire coils. that's resulted a lot of feedbacks, fixable though. Both pickups were tilted to the bridge by 30 degrees approximately via angled saddle-boxes' bottoms. As far as I know that doesn't matters with EMG pickups, yet it looks unpleasantly a bit and can make difference if you decide to set some other affectable pickups. That's fixable as well - I have stacked a few dozens of sticky tape lines at one side of the each box's bottom to equalize the edges. The neck curve is ok for me but uncomfortable for more professional players since strings are lifted a bit high. Lowering them down causes strings to jam at some frets. Well at least this happens with my half-step down tuning and 10-56 strings. Last of all, the small metal cap-cylinders preventing tensioned strings from damaging the wood at the upper side of the string-thru-body orifices are not sticked. I don't know maybe it should be so, but they are very easy to lose when changing strings. Everything else is pretty ok. Volume/tone knobs and tuners are sturdy and turn smoothly, jack socket is firmly. No loose parts that makes buzzing.
Features — 9
So, LTD MH-417, made in Indonesia, black one, with satin finish. It has a palisander fretboard with 24 frets. They are quite large Jumbo frets. A maple neck which goes through the body. It is rather thick, since the guitar has 7 strings. The scale length is regular 25, 5". Fixed Tune-O-Matic bridge, string-thru body, Earvana 48mm top-fret and Grover tuners. Active pickups with EMG 81-7 at the brige and EMG 707 at the neck. The control set is regular and includes volume knob, tone knob and 3-way Gibson style selector. No accessories were included.