Price paid: $ 630
Purchased from: Bill's Music
Sound — 9
I play several styles, but I know I won't be playing any weddings or bar mitzvahs with this. The EMG's give it a really modern sound (I guess it sounds "fuzzy" as opposed to smooth and beefy like a Gibson). This is my 1st 7-string and my first guitar with active pickups, so I can't really compare it. The coil-tap gives it some variety, though, so it can do a decent Strat imitation. On lower gain setings, it sounds pretty full and bright. I play it through a Mesa Mark IV head with a Marshall cab, and haven't had any problems with noise.
Overall Impression — 9
This is a good metal guitar for the price. I've been playing for 20 years now, and as a lefty, it's hard to find decent guitars. I wanted a 7-string and I know any Floyd Rose-type bridge in this price range wasn't going to cut it. Ibanez doesn't make lefty 7-strings (they did for 1 year I think), although that's probably the biggest competitor for this guitar. The next step up would be a Music Man Petruci model, which is AT LEAST $1800 for a lefty. It came down to value. There are cheaper Schecter 7-strings (Omen & Damien, I think), but this is definitely a step above those in sound and quality. I think Schecter knows what's important when designing a guitar. Considering it was made overseas, it sounds good and the hardware will last. Right now, I'd rather spend less money and have a decent guitar than spend a ton on a fancy guitar that is just going to get banged up. This does the job.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I bought this guitar with Live playing in mind. I have another Schecter I bought a few years ago just to take on tour, so I wouldn't have to put my Les Paul through the ringer. That one has been pretty reliable, and this one feels the same way. I put straplocks in (which I always do), and I always try to bring a backup guitar as a rule, but I'm not worried about hardware or electronics failing suddenly at a gig. The finish is actually pretty thick, so it's more likely to crack before it fades.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The action was kind of high and the neck slightly bowed when I got it, possibly because it was tuned in Standard (26.5" is a a pretty long scale for Standard tuning, unless you're using really light strings). This was easily fixed, although it still feels a little stiff. Probably will just take some getting used to. There was a small smudge in the binding at the cutaway and another small ding, but this is why I got it so cheap. My only real complaint is that the strings ring out over the headstock (beyond the nut) and I can hear it coming through the amp. They may have used a nut from a right-handed guitar, so the strings are fed through the slot at a weird angle, and not completely deadened beyond that. Other than that, the hardware is solid.
Features — 9
This is a lefty, made in South Korea on '08 (the serial # starts with "08", so I assume that's what it means). I got this as a B-stock due to a little ding on one of the arms, so it's possible it didn't go through the same setup that one purchased at retail price would have. All the same features as the other reviewers gave; 24 fret, 26.5" scale, Tonepros (like a tune-o-matic) bridge, 2 EMG 707TW (active) pickups, Grover tuners, mahagony body (although it seems REALLY light for mahagony, like some other Schecters).