So last thursday I got my Roter FF7 for the second time. Some of you may have read the first thread, long story short there were some problems with the body and neck and Apophis agreed to build a new guitar. Took him about 4 weeks, so I guess building the guitar within the agreed timeframe is possible after all. Anyway, I wanted to spend some time with it in order to give an unclouded, fair review of the guitar. There is plenty of light, some shadow too. I'll start with the negative, because all in all, I really like this guitar, so I want this review to end on a high note. Alright then, let's get the bad stuff out of the way, the worst first: FROWNS: (importance descending) Intonation Without modifications, the guitar can't be set up to intonate correctly - not with the factory strings, not with a brand new Elixir 10 - 52 + 68 set. On the bass side, I had to move the saddle away from the neck, but the screw ran into the string and I couldn't move it any further. So I sawed off the screw, and when it was 4mm shorter I could get it right, but the saddle will not move any further without filing it (it's complicated to explain). Most of the other saddles (strings A, D, G and B) are almost all the way toward the neck, but on the high E, I needed to use a longer screw to get the intonation right. The 2 little posts of the saddle are hanging over the edge of the saddle baseplate, I'd say about 80% of them is in the air. But it's somewhat stable and the intonation is ok this way. To me, it seems that on my guitar, the overall angle of the bridge is too vertical since I'm on the very edge of adjustment range on either side. Now I have to find a stainless steel screw that fits, right now I only have a zinc-plated one, and you can see that it's different. String Placement On the bass side, the string is very close to the edge of the fret. You have to be rather careful not to slide the string off the edge of the fretboard. All my other guitars have at least 2 mm of straight fret before the edge of the neck, here it's barely 1 mm. I had asked Apophis to fix this in the second model, which he assured me would not be a problem. This one is exactly like the first attempt. I guess I'll have to get used to it. Fretwork It was mentioned in other reviews, and on my guitar aswell there are some toolmarks on the frets. It looks like they have all been polished over, but the toolmarks are there and you can feel them when bending the string on these frets. To put it in perspective, after 6 months without polishing, regular frets feel a lot worse. Knowing that these stainless steel frets will stay this way, I'm fine with it. All the frets seem aligned properly except for fret 20 on the treble side, but it's minimal, and no, I will not buy a set of calipers to prove anything. I'm fine with it, that's all that matters. All in all, the fretwork is not as good as it could be, but it's good enough for me. Tuners These are really bad, below Epiphone or 7321 quality. I have an old Jack&Danny seven string, the tuners feel exactly like that. Some turn very hard, making it difficult to get the right pitch. Also, right now the tuning stability is very poor, but that could be the wood of the neck still settling in (yes, I am familiar with the concept of stretching my strings ). I never swapped the tuners on any of my guitars since I'm always fine with the stock ones, but on this one I will definitely swap them. Still, you have to see it in perspective: Everything on this guitar is rather high-end, so they had to cut costs somewhere. The volume knob is a little scratched. Nevermind. That concludes my list of frowns with this guitar. Whether these are really bad or just "meh" is up to you. Some will lose their sleep over these things, others won't notice them. Me, I've accepted them. One small thing that doesn't really count as a frown: The screws used for the belt buttons are very nice, but the heads are too wide to fit Dunlop Straplok buttons. ZOMG refund! Well, I'll just have to hunt down 2 screws that fit. ---------------------------------------------- Alright, now for the fun part. SMILES: (importance ascending) Serial Number Yeah, it's a small thing, but I have a different serial number now. The first one was 0006 or 0007 I think, now it's 0002. Since this is the second attempt, having that serial number is a little poetic to me. I know, I'm weird. Balance I was worried that with such a thin body and a rather long neck, the guitar would be prone to neckdive. Not a trace of that. Thumbs up. Wood / Woodworking Stunning. Amazing. Perfect. I like this one a LOT better than the first one. The body has such a nice figure, it's like that wenge tree knew it wanted to be this exact guitar once it's grown up. The grain is almost completely aligned with the neck, it looks like a choco-mocca pinstripe suit. The maple fretboard is very nicely flamed - much more so than the first guitar. The grain on the neck is also very nice. The neck pocket, the neck shape, the headstock, everything is worked very precisely and it's a very rewarding feeling to run your fingers over the guitar. Seriously, I have spent quite some time just holding the guitar and drooling over how amazing it looks and feels. Sound As I had hoped, having the single EMG 808 at that angle does not affect the sound at all. The lowest and highest string sound just like the others, even in terms of saturation when I use distortion. I had not heard/tried the 808 before, but I liked the 707 in the past (even though I use blackouts on my other guitars). I must say that I like the 808 a lot, with my gear/settings it has some grind/bark somewhere in the treble that the Blackouts don't have. It's not very pronounced, but I hear it. Now, the fanned frets: Jesus, what a difference! I mean, I already have a 27" Ibanez, so the piano-like clarity of the low notes was something I was already used to, but the high strings really benefit from the shorter scale length. On my Ibanez, they tend to be edgy or harsh, which to some extent can be fixed through settings. But not having to find a compromise anymore really unlocks the full potential of your tone. I'm not able to hear a difference between SS frets and regular ones, but the wenge & maple sound great. Lots of clarity and volume when the guitar is unplugged - that translates to awesome sustain. Playability I love that neck. Very flat, very fast. The higher you go, the more the flat D shape is pronounced, way flatter than any Ibanez I ever touched. I'm not too picky in terms of neck profile, I also enjoy the thick C-shape of my Schecter 007 Blackjack, but I prefer the Roter neck over all other guitars I have. Also, the fact that it's a fanned fret gives about 4cm more space between the nut and the beginning of the headstock - plenty of space for my thumb, which is always parallel to the neck (classical style). The fact that there's no volute (thank god) means that my thumb can rest comfortably when I'm playing the first fret. The fanned fret aspect is a no-brainer, it's no work at all to get used to that. The stock strings were way too loose for my taste, but the 10 - 52 set + 68 work really well. I think that the ergonomics aspect of fanned frets is mostly bull, at least my fingers don't fan out that way when I have 4 fingers on the same string. That said, having a shorter scale on the high strings is a little more convenient, but to me, fanned frets are all about the tone. GAS Control I'm kidding, in a way. But having this guitar makes Schecter, Ibanez etc. rather uninteresting for me. The fanned fret concept is so superior to regular frets that even regular baritone 7-strings aren't tempting me anymore. So the only guitar I might buy in the next years could be the Agile pendulum, if they finally get the pickup right and add more interesting finishes. In many ways, this guitar is all I ever wanted though, and it's going to be my main player for a long time. ----------------------------------------------------- So that's the guitar. I waited 5 months longer than agreed, had promises given to me and broken and was accused of slander/lying when the first guitar had some serious issues which I documented in photographs. Roter does build some amazing guitars, they just drop the ball in some details. Since this is a production model, most of these kinks will surely be worked out over time. The one thing that I really have to criticize is customer care. Apophis regularly dodges questions (mine and everybody else's), and when he finally does answer them, he acts like you had that answer all along. Look at the Roter FF thread, there are plenty of examples. Latest example: I receive a "DPD tracking number", but when I try it, DPD says it's too short, there are several digits missing. I write to Apophis, he replies "strange, for me it works" and sends me a completely different number. In some situations, I was reminded of Family Guy, when Peter and some dude are in the elevator. Peter farts, looks around, points at the other guy and says "It was you". Should YOU get a Roter then? Depends. For the money, it's an absolutely amazing guitar, even with the problems it has. If it didn't have those, it would be PERFECT. Reliability and transparency are definitely not Roter's strong points. Going in, they will tell you anything just to make the situation seem fine, but when problems come up they sometimes react inappropriately. If you can live with paying up front and waiting for an unknowable time (could be weeks, could be months) and have the self control not to ask any questions about estimated completion dates, you will be happy. "When it's done" is the key phrase here. Maybe the first guitar you receive will have some problems, but in the end most of these will be worked out. Probably. Me, I'm glad I came out of this deal the way I did, but Roter will definitely have to step up their game before I think about returning to them. Still, to the patient ones, I can recommend them. That's it, folks. I tried to be objective while still pointing out the things I didn't like. I really hope this will not turn into a shitstorm, but people with half a braincell should be able to see that overall, I'm happy now. And since it's always all about me (or anyway, it bloody well should be), that's all that counts.