Price paid: $ 160
Purchased from: Craigslist
Sound — 9
I play a lot of stuff, mostly heavier, from post-rock and shoegaze to melodic death metal, metallic hardcore, and some progressive death metal. You can beat a Wizard neck and body weight for fast and fluid playing. I run her through a Bugera 333XL head with a Crate BV412S cab, a DigiTech RP250 multi-fx (just for basic effects, none of the crappy amp models) and a Behringer Composer compressor, Behringer 15 band eq, and a BBE Sonic Maximizer 362 in the rack. Not a very noisy guitar, but I use 3 noise gates so I wouldn't really know. This guitar can play everything. I mean it. The coils split for use of the inner or the outer ones, giving you a Strat or tele sound in addition to what you'd expect from an RG. Stock pickups are weak, but bearable. As soon as I put in the DiMarzio in the bridge, I didn't want to put this guitar down ever again. The mud that was there when the low B (tuned to Ab) was played was GONE. The neck pickup will go soon too. The sound is typical of basswood: softened highs and lows, smooth and pronounced mid-range. Amazing sound to my ears!
Overall Impression — 9
I bought a Schecter Hellraiser C7, tried it for 2 days, and sold it to buy this one. Best decision of my life. I would buy this guitar again in a heartbeat, but I would really be heartbroken if something were to happen to her. This is the first guitar that I've actually spent time working on and modifying. There is nothing to hate about this guitar, only so much to love! The only other instrument I've grown this attached to is my trusty Ibanez SR-905 bass. I can understand that RGs aren't for everyone, and that old Gibson Les Paul you've got can spoil a lot of instruments for you, but if you're in the market for a quality, relatively cheap (used, they aren't in production anymore), beautiful 7 string guitar I would recommend you drop a few bills on this model, or any other Japanese RG.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Would gig with this anytime, and plan to in the near future. I've installed a Tremel-No so there's no tuning stability issues anymore. There seems to be nothing that wouldn't last on this guitar besides the black chrome finish on the hardware, unless you throw yours off a building in which case I might have to throw you after it.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The setup was a joke, and the guitar is pretty dinged up. Nothing that affects playability though. I would imagine that she must have come to America in a much better condition. Took a few hours and fixed her up. Setting up a floating trem is no laughing matter, but with a little patience this trem can be setup properly and you'll rarely go out of tune.
Features — 8
2000-2002 era Japanese guitar. 24 frets, 25.5" scale, Jumbo frets, Wizard 7 neck, maple and bubinga neck (sturdy as a tree trunk), American Basswood body, black chrome hardware, magenta crush finish, Standard RG style body, lo-pro trs bridge (not ALL that bad but I still installed a Tremel-No), 5-way selector, 1 volume knob, 1 tone knob, dual humbuckers, Gotoh tuners. Came stock with Ibanez V7-71 in the neck and V8-72 in the bridge. Swapped my bridge pup out for a DiMarzio Tone Zone 7. What else could you want? Neck through, better pups, better bridge, fancier features (piezos? I dunno). But for all that you'd pay a heck of a lot more. Mine was used so it came a bit scuffed and chipped, but for $160 bucks I have NO complaints.