I got this last May (05-06-07
). I always tend to gravitate to seven strings first at guitar shops and this fated trip to Guitarcenter was no different. Black Flamed Top, (stock) all black hardware, Duncan Designed Pickups with 3 way selector, one volume, one tone w/ push/pull coil tapping.
The guitar itself is fairly "spanky". Not quite as attack happy as the loomis, but a nice little snap. The 26.5 scale was not hard to get used to, but did throw my string gauge "feel" out of the window (your favorite 25.5 or 27 string guage might be a little too stiff or slinky at first). The guitar was setup well, and first time I had seen a fret leveling of this degree on a guitar under $600-$700. Plays VERY well. Good tuners (haven't had any tuning instabilites caused by the tuners).
The down sides are
-Some of the work seems a little rushed/unfocused. The pictures dont really show it very well, but where the fretboard meets the neck, there is alot of ruff edges
-the sides of the fret board on the treble side (facing down if standing up and holding it) didn't have any of the little scratches from the fret filing taken out
-some of the frets aren't fitted completely. The 24th fret on the bass side is sticking up .004-.005. Enough to keep 20th-22rd a little pingy and choke out the 23rd. Adjusting action to ridiculous heights only lessens the issue, not completely resolving it.
-the neck plate/screw holes are at a slight angle (about 5 degrees from perfect alignment
-The D string saddle was missing the little retainer that kept the saddle from moving out (probably an isolated incident). It slide out a couple of times when stringing up, or if I was tuning up
-The bridge posts were a little high for the guitar. Before I shimed the neck, I had them bottomed out and it was just a tad too high for my taste (maybe a quarter turn down would've been perfect)
-the coil tap/tone control shaft is VERY loose. Hasn't broken or become scratchy, but just doesn't feel very solid
Of course, all of these are little quips. The fretboard, fret filing, and neck plate/screw holes are cosmetic. Tone/coiltap is still working strong. And I shimed the neck since the aftermarket bridge was a little bit thicker then then stock one, so the adjustments can be made to pull it down to satisfactory status. The bridge was fixed by an order placed to guitarpartsdepot.com (plus it now locks which is cooler, not to mention the gold on black making the thing dead sexy).
The pickups are AMAZING for this level. The bridge pickup is satisfactory, being bright enough to pull sheen out of the cleans, and put edge in the gain channels. There is a little more attack than I would prefer, but most of that is the guitar than the pickup. Really articulate for gain and clean picking, responds well to finger picking. The neck is almost flawless. I honestly cant imagine any other seymour duncan passive pickup being much more
better than this. Its great for slightly gritty leads, and mellow jazz, and handles full gain lead stuff. It can get woofy and muddy on lower register stuff, but pretty stout non the less. The middle position (both in series I should think) is a really cool tone as well.
I would recommend it to anyone looking another 7 string to throw in the arsenal. And it comes out be $50 bucks cheaper than getting a 7321 and putting new pickups in it (and that figure is only going with an $80 pickup swap).