Price paid: $ 199
Purchased from: Crazy Dave's music
Features — 7
The guitar was bought as a backup/beater for when I jam with my drummer to save my 1000+ dollar guitars from jam session abuse. It comes with the typical features that the 200 budget Chinese made sevenstringers have been coming out with but a few minor differences that made it more appealing than the other options out there making me buy it. Features include standard die cast tuners, a basswood body that is very lightweight and has a nice quality matte finish although it smudges extremely easy. The archtop on the body is very slight and almost unnoticeable. A very slim maple neck with a rosewood fretboard, same profile as an Ibanez RG neck imo with a full 24 jumbo frets, something the LTD M17 lacks. The neck is a 26.5" scale, something you cant find on other 200 dollars sevenstringers which caught my attention. The bridge is a hardtail that allows the strings to pass through the body. Pickups are both ceramic humbuckers toggled with a three-way blade switch with one volume and tone control. A bag with hex tools to adjust the bridge and truss rod was included along with a cheap guitar cable. A free gig bag was included by the store I bought it from.
Sound — 5
This guitar was mainly going to be used to cover a wide range of styles with an emphasis on metal. Going from genres such as death metal, melodic death, grindcore, metalcore, grunge, alternative, post rock, and then also used to take advantage of the standard tuning to play things like modest mouse haha. The cleans are lacking from the stock pickups which was expected, they aren't unusable by any means but if your used to fender cleans your obviously going to be dissatisfied here. The pickups do a great job with distortion, having lots of grit and decent enough punch but they lack balance. The B string is easily drowned out by other notes when doing arpeggios, or when you let strings ring out. This will be quickly remedied with the installation of a DiMarzio Blaze 7 in the bridge. Also if your used to the neck pickup cleaning up nicely compared to the bridge you're in for a surprise. When switched with the same settings the bridge pickup actually cleaned up faster than the neck. If notes were let to ring out in pairs the neck pickup would distort them while the bridge would let them ring out clear. The humbuckers operate silently enough to where its not a problem dealing with noise or feedback unless you're one of those kids that dime the gain knob on every amp they play.
Action, Fit & Finish — 6
The guitar pleasantly exceeded my expectation in this category with the exception of a couple minor annoyances. The high point of the guitar is definitely the neck, it is extremely smooth with not a single sharp edge and very playable for the money that was spent which caught me by surprise, all the frets are nice and level as well as smooth. The tuners are a weak spot. Some of the tuners feel loose compared to others which can make it tricky to get that perfect tuning finally. Full-note bends will take it out of tune quickly. The neck and bridge were setup nicely but the factory strings were some of the thinnest strings I'd ever seen on a seven string guitar (.54 on the B). So they were switched out for D'Addario Reg set. The only flaws I could find which aren't even really flaws was a weird natural color streak on the top of the rosewood fretboard that has a light orangish tint compared to the rest of the board. The other annoyance were the stickers that comes on the pickups from the factory. They had melted on and when removed left a sticky residue that will not come off. Besides those two things everything else was in line.
Reliability & Durability — 6
The guitar seems very sturdy and rigid. The neck fits the neck pocket extremely tightly with zero visual space gaps which is great. The guitar is very lightweight but still feels solid. The electronics seem decent but its hard to say how long they will last. I know for a fact that bridge and tuners will likely not last long if abused frequently so those will likely have to be replaced depending how hard this is played and sweated on. The strap buttons are decent enough if you just plan on standing still but if your one of those guys who jump around you're going to want to switch them out. Overall the guitar left me completely satisfied with the price I paid for it and I would count on it for a backup if something happened to my main guitar. I would not gig it without a backup however.
Overall Impression — 6
Overall the guitar left me completely satisfied with the price I paid for it and I would count on it for a backup if something happened to my main guitar. Favorite features would have to be the fast neck that has a 26.5" scale length. The neck caught me off guard with how smooth and slim it is, which makes it easy to play fast metal riffs on. The nice lightweight body matted out is also nice, makes the guitar look fancy and more expensive than it really is. If it were stolen or lost I'd most likely get another one since its such a bargain and hope it plays as nice as this one I got as quality tends to deviate on all Chinese made guitars.