Sound — 9
Lacuna Coil's guitarists play this model exclusively so listen to Karmacode in order to recognize it's distinctive tone. If you find yourself doing a lot of drop D tuning then consider this 7-string. The Baritone scale will keep the string tension correct tuned to a low B or A with no problems. Playing notes and chords on this guitar below the Standard low E is just so nasty, I love it. The pickups are amazing at full-on growl, but I was really amazed at how sweet it was on cleaner settings playing open chords. Blues type leads do not sound good on this guitar but then again, you probably wouldn't buy a 7-string if that was your playing style. I use it straight in to my Boogie dual recto or my Line6 PODxtLive and it sounds just like the Lacuna Coil signature sound. I am having to get used to the pickups being so close together since they are only 1/2" apart and right under where you pick. There is not much difference in the sound between the two pickups since they are so close together.
Overall Impression — 9
I had to wait over 2 months for this guitar to come from the factory but it was well worth it. This guitar was built for metal - as deep and extreme as you want to go. If you play rock/blues look for a 6-string. What motivated me to buy this guitar was wanting to learn Lacuna Coil songs as well as getting my own unique sound. I would recommend this for any metal player searching for a unique sound with the patience to learn how to play the extra string. I own an a Fender Strat, a Schecter 30th Anniversary C-1, and an Ovation Balladeer. I played in bands as a teen, took a break, and have been playing again for 1.5 years. I would replace this immediately if stolen and I can't think of any changes I would make to it.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar will withstand beating someone over the head for crowd control if you need to! The Baritone neck makes this guitar feel like a weapon but the body is lean and balances it out perfectly. There is nothing cheap about this guitar and I would use it without a backup if I can get used to having an extra string.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Flawless black gloss finish with no defects. String action was perfect for me with no buzzing. The strings sounded bright and fresh with no oxidation. It does seem to be going out of tune easier than my 6-string but it is still new so that may change.
Features — 10
This is my first 7-String, but as far as guitars go this is a high quality beast. This is a member of the Stephen Carpenter signature series made in 2007, and is a Baritone extended scale guitar. Features include a 27" maple neck through mahogany body design, rosewood fingerboard, Schaller locking tuners, tone pro locking bridge with strings through body, EMG 81-7 active pickups with 1 volume, 1 tone, and 3-way toggle. This guitar retails at $949 everywhere, but I got it cheaper by buying it from a premium ESP reseller. This guitar has a really cool Stephen Carpenter initials and smiley face inlay at the 12th fret. I love the simplicity of the controls. The ESP case will run you another $90 or so.