Price paid: $ 549
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 8
This is definitely a metal guitar. No butts about it. The wood used gives a nice resonance when that you can hear when the guitar is not plugged in. This guitar is a screamer for sure, because these pickups are hot. It is hot enough in fact, that I am going to need to work on the cleanliness of my playing. With the 81/85's it sounds about how you would expect it to. They are nice pickups. With gain pumped way up, it does not get overly muddy, and on clean, it is very clear. I prefer the sound from the neck pickup on clean, because the bridge is really bright. It is like that even on a 6 string i have with the same pickups. Say what you will about EMG's products, but they are famous for a reason. They do a great job with clarity. The bottom string sounds just as clear as your bottom "E" string does, and that's a good thing. Even in drop tunings, the bottom string still rings clear. It starts to muddy up in heavy power chords and such of course, but it does a great job of minimizing that. I can get a good variety of sounds depending on which amp settings I am using. It will do lots of nice squeals, even on the higher strings and frets, and i can get lots of great ones on the low "B" string also. I am running through a Line 6 Spider IV 15 watt, or a Crate GLX121 120 watt. Both are solid state. There is definitely a noticeable difference between my Jackson with the same pickups (6 string) and this one. I would say that more than anything, this can be attributed to the wood types used. So basically, with the pickups, everything you expect from the 6 string versions, comes through in the 7 string versions. I would say they are a step above the EMG 707's.
Overall Impression — 8
I play metal, and this guitar is perfect for that. I can do Dream Theater, Trivium (yeah, yeah), Nevermore, and things like that. It suits all of those bands very well. You can play clean stuff with this guitar. It is not a replacement for an acoustic of course, but the cleans are just fine, and will work with that type of music if you really want it to. There are guitars better suited for that sort of music out there, but this one is not aimed towards that. I would say that the biggest problem I have with this guitar is the body cutaway. They obviously did not design it with a person with big hands in mind, because my fingers are scrunched up at the 24th fret. It is still playable, it will just take some adjusting, and from the amount of playing I have done with it so far, I believe that it will be enough adjusting to where my playing will suffer until I can get used to it. I think that if your going to throw 24 frets on a guitar like this, then there needs to be a cutaway that everybody can use easily, plus it looks cooler that way. If I were to lose or get this guitar stolen, I would replace it, assuming that my price range was still the same, and all that. Hands down this is a good guitar for the price, and I would recommend it for sure.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar is HEAVY. I can tell that it is built with quality wood because of that. The body and neck are balanced well, so you do not have any of that tipping when its on a strap, which is great. Speaking of strap, the strap buttons seem very nice, they do not allow much slippage of the strap, but I will be putting strap locks on eventually anyway, but it is not because of a defect of the stock ones. This will withstand live playing. I would probably gig without a backup too. Only because this is definitely built well, and strong, so if something goes wrong with it, it is because I was not taking good care of it, not because of a design flaw. The finish is not going anywhere. The clear layer on top might wear down, and lose some lustre, but the actual finish of the guitar is stained into the wood, so it will probably look very nice in a few years down the road.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
I would say that the factory setup was good when I got it. The biggest problem I had with it was that they used giant string gauges right out of the box. I have never played with a string size this big, and I do not know why anybody would want to. I do not know which strings were put on here from the factory, so they could be junk. I kind of feel that for a 550 dollar guitar, they can afford to put quality strings on when they ship it out. But other than that, the action was fine, I adjusted it for my personal preference, but it was definitely playable when I pulled it out of the box. There is no real fret buzz or any extraneous noise to be worried about. The pickups were adjusted just right, I probably could not have set them up better myself. There were no flaws with this when it came to me. The finish is flawless, no marks or dents; even on the neck. Everything looks like it was set up carefully, and it was shipped carefully to keep it that way. Even the screws holding the body cavities closed were on tight. So props to them for attention to detail on this one.
Features — 8
This is a 10 guitar. It is a lefty model, 7 strings, and I wouldn't be surprised if it were one of the first leftys of this model to roll off the line. I did order it mid January. The guitar was made in South Korea. It has 24 x-jumbo frets, and when i bought the guitar, it was advertised to me as a 26.5" scale, but now on Shecter's website, it claims it is a 25.5". It is a Mahogany body, with a quilted maple top, and a maple fretboard. The fret inlays are a "stained cross" basically just the gothic cross look. It comes with Grover tuners, which work well. They keep in tune very well, and they don't turn easily. You have to deliberately move them, so bumping them on the wall, or your desk will not turn them and get you out of tune. The finish on this guitar is very nice. it is a crimson red. You can tell that is not just something painted on there, it is actual stained wood, and it looks VERY nice. The only problem I notice with it is things show up easily on it, like finger prints and such. There is not necessarily anything wrong with that, it just takes more upkeep to make look nice. I believe this is the first year that Schecter has put the EMG 81/85-7 combo (active) in their guitars. I have to say, that it sounds really well with them in it. There is a string-thru body construction on this. I have the model without the Floyd Rose, just a normal bridge. There are 2 knobs, and 1 three-way switch. One knob for volume, one for tone. Nice and simple. There was not much in the way of extras that came with the guitar. There was a cord, but it couldn't have been more than 3 feet long. It sucked so bad that actually I forgot it on the bench at guitar center. Woops.