Price paid: € 2700
Purchased from: Patrick Hufschmid
Sound — 10
As many players I thought a bolt-on construction wasn't the best choice regarding sustain. As many players I thought mahogany sounded warm, dark and fat. And as many players I thought you needed a thick and heavy body to get a good sound. All those thoughts appeared to be wrong when I got this guitar. I never heard a guitar sound that tight, never had an axe with that much sustain, and never had a guitar so thin. The sound is HUGE, all the notes sound clear, even on the low A string. I have Standard tuned 6 string alder+maple very good guitars that sound darker... And now let's talk about the pickups. The OTT on Bridge position is the hottest war machine I got. I used to think the EMG 81 was the ultimate pickup to play metal, and once again, as many players I thought active pickups had more output. This pickup blew me away at the first palm-mute, it was the firt time I had to set the gain at less than 5/10 on my amp. And it's by far the clearest and tightest pickup I tried. I knew Kent Armstrong as a genious Jazz pickups builder, but I couldn't imagine he would make the greatest metal pickup out there (my opinion).The Rocker on neck position is incredibly versatile. And once again with my work I have to approach a lot of different music styles. I mostly play metal, but my students want to learn classic rock, folk, soul, reggae sometimes... And this guitar with those pickups clearly does the job.
Overall Impression — 10
I wrote a lot, so in conclusion you may have understood this guitar is by far the best I owned. I have 8 guitars and since I got this one (and my Hufschmid H6 which I'm going to discuss in another review), I almost never played the others anymore... Yes I feel guilty, but once you have tasted excellence in term of building, sound and comfort it's really hard to come back to mass-produced instruments. From Jazz's warm clean tones to shred to death metal through hard rock riffs and funky bluesy licks, I play everything on my H7. It was also a really unique buying experience, as Patrick sent me pictures everyday so that I could watch my baby go out of the wood plate, and then get shaped and tainted until it became ready to fly to me one month later. This instrument changed my vision on guitar building forever, it's of these axes you can play for life, and it gets better and better each time, one of these axes people love or hate. An incredibly strong character instrument and a great human adventure for me... A must.
Reliability & Durability — 9
To make things short and clear, I have this guitar for more than a year now, and I never broke a string, never had to set the neck or something (although I changed the low A string gauge from 62 to 68) and when I play it live, I usually tune it only twice in more than an hour: once before the show, once before the last song. Of course, as it's not a 100 coats laquer finish, the color is kind of fragile, but you have to handle such an instrument with care... The flat-head plus bolt-on construction make me very confident on the reliability of this guitar.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
I couldn't imagine of a better neck shape since it was made from a tracing of my left hand Patrick asked in the beginning of the building process. It's rounder on the lower frets and flattens progressively to the upper frets. Thus I can riff so long without a cramp and shred effortless on the same instrument. Effortless is the most appropriate word when I have to describe my playing on this guitar... The action is set extremely low, love that! Intonation was of course perfectly set, as well as the pickups. It's also really light, I constantly play this guitar standing during hours, and I never suffered from my back, legs, arms or neck after that. Added to that, the Bridge is the most comfortable I ever tried, it would never hurt your hand, and as a guitar teacher, I have to play 6 hours a day sometimes, so comfort is a primordial point on an instrument for me.
Features — 10
After 10 years of playing 6 string guitars I decided to get a 7. I started to look what big brands were offering, and wasn't convinced, so I came across luthiers' work, and then I heard about Hufschmid guitars. No tremolo, thin bodies, natural wild finishes, magnificient and yet simple instruments! I decided to ask Patrick to make my first 7 string. I wrote him an email via his website, and got a reply within an hour. We then spent hours to discuss this new axe, more than 400 mails in a month! A month, the time he also took to actually build and send the guitar, incredible job! But let's talk about the guitar itself... This is a 7 string 25.5" scale, tuned A E A D G B E (10-46 + 68 string gauges), sipo (African variety of mahogany) one piece quartersawn neck and body (bolt-on construction), 24 XJumbo frets, bloodwood fingerboard with flat radius, hipshot locking tuners and fixed bridge. Two Custom humbuckers made by Kent Armstrong on Patrick's instructions in term of design (dark flamed maple finish), and controlled by a volume knob and a 3-way toggle switch. The taint (called Pure Rust) is home-made and covered with oil, like all Hufschmid guitars, thus you can feel the wood under your hands, unique sensation... All the body is beautifully and comfortably beveled on the back plus an armrest bevel on the top, the instrument is actually 7.1 lbs (3.2kg), it's my only 7 string, and yet my lightest guitar!