Price paid: $ 450
Purchased from: Musician's Friend
Sound — 8
I play many styles of music, but I am mostly a metaler, and specifically death metal along the lines of Cannibal Corpse and Whitechapel. I also play some Lamb Of God, Slayer, Metallica, Gojira, and even a little bluesy rock and classic rock. I will say that the sound that the EMG HZ's in the Damien puts out is nothing but SUPER HEAVY. But with that, you have almost NO tone, so that's where it suffers. Being a death metaler for the most part, I don't have too many complaints as far as my main playing style goes. As far as cleans are concerned, the sound is about average. No wows, but no boos here. Light overdrive blues soloing, though, it is sub-par, but what do you expect with a sheer-metal guitar? You can't have everything. I would give it a 10 for metal, a 7 for cleans, and a 4 for light overdrive-distortion type stuff like classic rock and blues, so the overall is an 8 because I play mostly metal.
Overall Impression — 10
Being an extreme metaler, this is probably the best guitar I've played for under 800. I have been playing extremely hard for a solid two years, and I have only a small amount of gear as of now, being dirt poor. I have a Washburn X12 which I LOVE, a Carvin SX200 combo amp (best solid state combo for less than 500, hands down), a Boss DS-1 Distortion, which I use just for rock, and a MXR Phase 90 from the 1980's. The only thing I would change about it was instead of the HZ's, there needs to be Seymour Duncan Blackouts in this baby. If it were stolen or lost, I would buy another in a heartbeat. I wouldn't even think about buying anything else because I can't survive without having this guitar around, even if I had another 7 string. It's like that blanket you never give up that you've had since childhood, you'll always have it with you until the day you die. If you're thinking of a well-featured 7-string on a budget, don't think about anything else, buy this guitar.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar's a tank, seriously. I have already done my fair share of abuse to it, and nothing has happened to it. There's a tiny chip on the finish on the back from my belt buckle, and there's a dent in the side of the neck from where one of the guys I was jamming with ran his guitar into mine accidentally. I would definitely gig with this without backup, and I have. There's nothing wrong with this guitar as far as reliability and durability goes.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
I'm going to say that Schecter really makes a good product for a miniscule amount of money comparatively to most other companies out there, and the playability of their instruments is amazing. Out of the box, I just had to tune the guitar, and I could play. The action was perfect, the pickups were set at the right height. The finish was flawless when I got it, but I will say that I've worn a spot on it where my palm rests from all the palm muting I do. It took a little while to get used to that extra B-string but that's to be expected. Everything about this guitar out of the box was basically perfect.
Features — 9
This I bought just earlier this year. It was made in 2009 in China (the only thing I'm not a fan of). The neck is maple, bolted onto the mahogany body, which is finished flat black. The neck is adorned with a rosewood fingerboard, 24 frets, and black mother-of-pearl bat inlays, which I find to really add to the overall aesthetic of the guitar. The pickups are EMG HZ-7's which aren't all that great, but as for a guitar under 500, I'm willing to take them. The strings are thru-body with a Tune-O-Matic style bridge keeping the strings stable. On the other end of the strings, Grover tuners are keeping the strings taut. I think for the price, this is a feature-laden guitar, and it's got a really nice, dark, but simple aesthetic quality to it. That being said, it's not top-of-the line, but that's to be expected.