Sound — 9
It sonds good to my old ears. I play blues and rock and wanted a 7 string to add some bass to my playing. I use it through a variety of tube amps (Fender Deluxe Reverd, Carvin Vintage 50 and a Ricenbacker M12). The guitar screams when cranked and the stock neck pickup makes a nice companion to the SD JB neck pickup. It is quite. The single coil bridge mode does get a bit more noise but nothing outlandish.
Overall Impression — 9
I play blues, rock, and jazz. I've been plaing since the 60's. If this 7 string gets stolen I would look for another. I prefer hard-tail bridges and this one has one with through the body string path. This was one rescued guitar that is exceptional. If you see a Stagemaster 7 buy it!
Reliability & Durability — 9
The guitar will stand up to live gigs without a doubt. It is my only 7 string, I have no back up. No worries! No comment on the strap buttons as I only use Schaller Strap Locks on all my guitars. Period. The finish will last longer than I will. It buffed out nicely and looks like new even though it's 11 years old.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
I can't comemnt on the factory set up as I got it in pieces (thank God the seller had the neckplate. It's an odd size and you will never find one if missing). After I installed the replacement pickup and did the minor routing, I was amazed at how well the guitar set up. The neck is straight as an arrow and the intonation is perfect all the way up the neck.
Features — 9
I bought this as a basket case off of eBay, in pieces. It was missing the bridge pickup. It has two humbucker pickups, two pots (vol/tone) controls and a 3-way switch. It was made in 2000 and is made in China. The color is a cool purple metalic finish that is very well done with black hardware. The bridge is fixed through the body and the intonation adjusted perfectly. The wriering and neck pickup were as disaster (this was a basket case after all!). The pots were wired incorrectly and the lead wire from the nect pickup was spliced incorrectly. Clearly someone had hacked it trying to get it to work as a single pick up guitar. I removed all the electronics and the neck pick up and started over. The neck pickup pocket was NOT properly routed for the factory pickup. This is a factory defect. It took all of 3 minutes with a router to get enough clearence for the cable feed slot to allow the pickup to lie flat. Othwerwise the neck pickup would tilt upward due to no clearance for the pickup wire to feed to the control cavity. Next I properly spliced the pickup leads and used heat shrinking to insulated them. Now it looks like a factory job. I ordered a Seymour Duncan SH-4 JB 7 string humbucker pickup for the bridge. I added two mini-switches - one for a phase switch and the other to split the JB-4 into single/dual coils. The SD JB-4 needed a small bit of routing to clear the pickup wires as well but was not a big problem at all. It fit like a glove. The pickups SCREW into the body and do not use a pickup ring for mounting. It has a 24 fret neck and a rosewood fretboard. The neck is wide and thin, very easy to play. The tuners are sealed and are about an 18:1 ratio. The scroll headstock is reversed a la Jimi Hendrix. I added Schaller black strap locks.