NGD/Review: Agile Septor Elite 727 (Oceanburst Flame) + Bare Knuckle Juggernaut set

Discussion in 'Sevenstring Guitars' started by LeviathanKiller, Sep 9, 2018.

  1. LeviathanKiller

    LeviathanKiller Knee-shooting Archer

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    This review has kept being delayed because every time I pick up the guitar I end up playing it until I run out of time to even do the review. :lol: It took me about 3 hours to write all of this and take all of the pictures. I hit the 10000 character limit even so the pickup review and pictures are in separate posts following this one. Hope you find it worth it :)

    List of specs:
    • 8 and 1/2 lbs (more on this later)
    • Double-cutaway, mahogany, arch-top body
    • Genuine Canadian maple flamed top
    • 27" scale
    • 5-piece neck-thru with a 13.7" (350 mm) uniform radius
      • Width of the neck at the nut: 1 7/8"
      • Width of the neck the 22nd fret: 2 3/16"
    • Ebony fretboard
    • Jumbo (2.9mm) stainless steel frets
    • Comes with Seymour Duncan Blackout Pickups (AH1-b) by default but I elected to have them upgrade it with Bare Knuckle Juggernauts
    • Cepheus high mass extended range fixed bridge
    • Reverse headstock
    • Die-cast Grover Rotomatic tuners with 18-1 turning ratio (Model 102-18N)
    • One volume control, one tone control, and a 3-way pickup selector switch

    I was going to list pros and cons separately but it makes more sense to stay on each point and tell everything at once so they're kinda mixed throughout. Obviously there's going to be more talk of negative things but overall, I love this guitar. Hope I don't discourage anyone from buying an Agile but I do hope to make people aware that these don't always come perfect which is realistic given their price.

    The guitar
    • At 8lbs 3oz, my instance of this model came in 5oz less than specified. Not a heavy guitar but not a lightweight either. Pretty average for guitars not cut super thin. Actually, my Schecter KM-7 MK-IIs ranged from 7 to 8.5 lbs so this is pretty decent for a mahogany guitar really. I don't feel any balancing issues either (aka neck dive).
    • The 27" scale is nice and comfy. For me, 27" and 26.5" are my ideal scale lengths. I have two 28.625" ones and they have they're uses but I can't do everything chord-wise on them like I can on the shorter lengths. On the other end, 25.5" is just too cramped.
    • The side dots and binding are jacked up from frets 17-24 on the bass side. Looks like a hole was drilled for a side dot in the wrong spot then partially filled in by chance with a black line line where the fret wire itself was inserted and hidden. The edge through frets 17-24 is slightly "scalloped" I guess you could say. It's not flat along the edge. Like someone took a file at maybe a 70-degree angle and filed it. Doesn't make the strings come off the fretboard early though so that's good. Some more tool marks are in this area but they're all on the binding/side, not on the fretboard/top which I find more distasteful when present. [PICTURE 1] [PICTURE 2]
    • Some "cracking" in the gloss on the treble side around frets 17-24 below the binding (near where it meets the fretboard). This is probably least noticeable since it's on the treble side but it's my biggest con second to what I noticed next. [PICTURE]
    • Two little black marks/streaks forming a 'T' shape on the body below the bridge. No clue what happened here. It's under the gloss finish. Took me about two months to notice it. [PICTURE]
    • Other than the 'T' mark and the fact that the last two major "lines" in the flamed top don't meet in the same spot as the other side (not bookmatched) this finish is incredible. I've seen customs and other high-end guitars not match perfectly even so it's not that big of a deal. Very nitpicky to mention it honestly. The colors are very rich in this. It reminds me a lot of the USA Jackson Juggernaut in Laguna Burst for some reason. I know they're not the same color really but still. That and the fact that I do have Juggernauts in hereā€¦ haha
    • The volume and tone controls appear to be mounted slightly off center from the recessing on the body. [PICTURE] This could possibly be fixed once I mess with the electronics. Tone control is most noticeable and is the one I photographed. The select switch is solid, doesn't have unnecessary play in it before it switches over to the next position. None of the controls are scratchy and the pots aren't too tight or too loose.
    • I love the output jacks on the Elite and Pro Agiles. It's the recessed circle jacks. I don't like the plate style ones as much. Feels top notch. Never been loose since I got it. [PICTURE]
    • The bridge is very comfortable and is correctly centered in relation to the neck . No complaints there.
    • Nut wasn't cut perfectly. I've seen worse but what is pictured I fixed after these initial photographs with two slides of a file. Beyond that, the G, B, and E strings (last 3 on treble side) have their slots cut ever so slightly diagonally. It doesn't affect anything really. I mean shoot, the strings bend at the tuning peg anyways. lol None of the strings catch in the slots so after fixing the cosmetically messed up slot, everything is fine. I'm happy to say they were not cut too deeply which would require a nut replacement. [PICTURE]
    • The tuners are great. Very smooth. The tuning stability on this guitar is great. My Agile guitars are probably just as stable as my other guitars with locking tuners even. Very impressed with this.
    • The stainless steel frets and fretwork are a pleasure. No sharp ends anywhere. It feels so good to play on.
    • The back of the neck is glossed. Probably going to sand this eventually but it doesn't bother me enough that it's a priority to get it done.
    • The neck is very comfortable. Nice thickness. Not baseball bat thickness and is thinner than the basic Agile Septor line with bolt-on necks.
    • You may see scratches on the cavity cover but it's just the film peeling off because I never removed it.
    • The routing for the bridge pickup has a dip on the outer edge on the treble side. Someone messed up is all I can say. I almost forgot about this until I checked the alignment of the bridge with the neck again today. [PICTURE]
    • I really dig reverse headstocks because they give you a spot to clip on a tuner. I noticed that conversely they make it really hard to tune to 12th harmonics though since you're left hard is on the fretboard and you have to reach over with your right hand and go underneath to reach the tuners. Just trade-offs. I'd rather have the easy tuner space. Also, the headstock finish was matched very well to the body on this.
    • Is there anything functionally wrong with this guitar that affects playability or the sound? No.
    • The real kicker here though is that my Agile Septor Pro DNC (Charcoal) had none of the issues except one noticeable tool mark on fret 21, a couple of really minor tool marks that take a thorough examination to notice (barely worth mentioning even), and some excess glue at the nut which was removed with a toothbrush. I paid the same amount for both guitars. On top of that, my Agile Intrepid Pro 828 (Charcoal) I paid $100 less than both of these and it's perfect minus the excess nut shavings (what a phrase lol).
    • Overall, I accept these issues for the $600 price tag. I've been more thrilled with my others because I got quality I didn't necessarily deserve at the price I got them. Stainless steel frets for $600 is great though and I wish my better finished Agile guitars had them as well.
     
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  2. LeviathanKiller

    LeviathanKiller Knee-shooting Archer

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    The Bare Knuckle Juggernaut pickups
    • I started writing this review saying that they're coming out of this guitar because I'll play them for a while and realize how mushy the low string is and set it down but then come back later and think, man these pickups are great. The cycle just repeats. It's a love hate relationship and I've gotten tired of it honestly but I did something that maybe I haven't done before by lowering the bridge pickup drastically on the bass side and now they seem better defined. We'll see if this change of perception lasts. When I would do a 3 string palm-muted power chord or similar on these, the low B/A string didn't bite in like the rest of the strings did. After lowering the bridge pickup, it seems improved although still lacks some bite that my other guitars have. The pickup covers could be sucking some of the bite out too. I might be happy with them now though since I have those other guitars/pickups with that bite to fill in that tonal space (but they are less versatile due to it). Also, it could be having them inside a mahogany body, but I don't notice a mid-range quack with these. I have noticed a midrange quack with the DiMarzio Titan set that I have in an ash-bodied guitar though funnily enough (review on that guitar and pickups later). Overall, the set is really nicely balanced across the strings with a smooth but present top end that comes across really articulate without being harsh whatsoever. The neck pickup is really really nice and smooth with a bit of bite (although slightly less than I prefer after experiencing the Schecter Apocalypse VII set). The high notes don't sound thin on the neck though which is really nice.
    • Overall, I'd recommend these pickups for mahogany if you're looking for a medium-output versatile set but be wary of the low string lacking some attack/bite for metal. May be acceptable with pickup height adjustments but won't ever be the same as an all-out metal pickup (including other medium output ones).
     
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  3. LeviathanKiller

    LeviathanKiller Knee-shooting Archer

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  4. Dawn of the Shred

    Dawn of the Shred Riffs upon Riffs

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    Great in-depth review man.
     
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  5. Edika

    Edika SS.org Regular

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    Cool guitar and great review man. I read different opinions and experiences for the Juggernauts so I wonder if it's a case of them being sensitive of the guitar or if there's variations between sets.
     
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  6. A-Branger

    A-Branger SS.org Regular

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    seeing how inconsisten they have always been witht he ocean brust, you got a reaaaally good one
     
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  7. LeviathanKiller

    LeviathanKiller Knee-shooting Archer

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    [
    Yeah, I haven't seen a lot of people have them in mahogany guitars honestly. I don't imagine they would work well in swamp ash.

    I have another oceanburst I'll be reviewing soon and it looks way different.
     
  8. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire despair ahead

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    most people that dislike the juggs tend to have them in mahogany guitars or swamp ash for whatever reason :shrug: Mahogany seems to make them feel flubbier on the low end due to the low mid accentuation (at least that's what I was told). I had them in a swamp ash guitar so the tubby low mids weren't an issue with that guitar, but the cocked wah midrange eventually drove me crazy. I also felt like they were fighting me all the time because I don't pick that hard, so it was hard for me to get them to distort to the level I liked. I don't like having to seriously dig into my strings to get the aggressive sound I want (which is probably why I've never meshed with any of bulb's pickups, they all work better if you have a super heavy picking hand).
    I've basically written off all the really modern voiced bkps after trying them (aftermath, juggs, painkiller and ragnarok). They just don't work with my gear or for the kind of sound I want. YMMV
     
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  9. Albake21

    Albake21 "Just get a used Ibanez Prestige."

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    Seriously... I've seen some awful looking ocean bursts from Agile, but this one might be the best I've seen.

    Thanks for the in depth review @LeviathanKiller ! I definitely want to try an Agile one day.
     
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  10. LeviathanKiller

    LeviathanKiller Knee-shooting Archer

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    Yeah, the cocked-wah thing that I'm getting with my ash guitar that has Titans is kinda driving me insane. I have to remove some of the highs and use a different boost with the tone turned lower instead of my standard TS 808 with the tone at 7.5, drive at 0, level at 5. Sometimes I can just turn the boost off even. They're very tight but the mids are very pronounced too.

    I do have a fairly heavy picking hand but I can definitely feel the resistance to saturate from the Juggernaut set. It makes them more versatile in the end but you have to be more mindful of picking strength when playing. My alnico 5 Atlas set actually has a fairly big bottom end but it's bass is more responsive than the Juggernaut bridge's so the Jugg bridge comes across more flubby.
     

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