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Need help to choose a new guitar


darryllouis245
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Hello I'm Darryl from Mauritius, I'm having some difficulty in choosing between these guitars:

Chapman Guitars ML1 Standard Modern Lunar - $439
Jackson Pro Misha Mansoor HT7 FMCB - $659
Solar Guitars A2.7WHM - $678


Everyone of those has an ebony fretboard.

The Chapman although cheaper, has a pretty decent sound.
Was thinking of the Solar maybe?

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I haven't played these models, but I've always preferred set neck to bolt-on for guitars, I have a good opinion of the Duncan pickups that I've played, and I've never cared for the detail work and overall feel of lower-end Jacksons (although my experience with them is a few years out of date). All of that would tilt me towards the Solar (out of the two seven-strings) but I'm unfamiliar with the company. The other specs lead me to believe they'd play and perform pretty similarly. I'd highly recommend playing one before you buy if possible.

If it's your first guitar I'd offer the conventional wisdom that you start on a six-string (like the Chapman), unless you're really itching to learn stuff that was written for seven. You might have better luck finding people with direct experience of these models at sevenstring.org or another dedicated guitar forum.

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19 hours ago, FatherAlabaster said:

I haven't played these models, but I've always preferred set neck to bolt-on for guitars, I have a good opinion of the Duncan pickups that I've played, and I've never cared for the detail work and overall feel of lower-end Jacksons (although my experience with them is a few years out of date). All of that would tilt me towards the Solar (out of the two seven-strings) but I'm unfamiliar with the company. The other specs lead me to believe they'd play and perform pretty similarly. I'd highly recommend playing one before you buy if possible.

If it's your first guitar I'd offer the conventional wisdom that you start on a six-string (like the Chapman), unless you're really itching to learn stuff that was written for seven. You might have better luck finding people with direct experience of these models at sevenstring.org or another dedicated guitar forum.

Indeed, from seeing the specs on the Solar which offers Seymour Duncan pickups on it as compared to factory defaults for the others made me think that Solar would be better. Solar Guitars are founded by Ola Englund by the way.

And yeah it's not my first guitar, I have an Ibanez Gio, and a Schecter Omen-7 upgraded with Bareknuckle Juggernaut bridge pickup. The thing is in terms of soloing, I find it much easier on the Ibanez Gio, however the frets are worn out specially after the 12th fret.

That's why I'm searching for something much better but still providing with the lesser effort for soloing.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 years later...

I have a 6 string and a 7 string Schecter and I'm not in love with either of them. Both SLS Elite series. They play really well but they don't sound great - both are too bright, not enough body, don't mix well with other guitars. I've changed pickups and completely altered my amp settings and there's no escaping the fact that my Gibson and Epiphone work better in a band setting. The 7 string Schecter is the most fun to play leads on of any guitar I've had, but that's it. They're also subtly uncomfortable from an ergonomic perspective. All of that is personal, YMMV, etc etc.

I'm currently looking at the Epiphone Matt Heafy 7 string Les Pauls - the older one with the standard Gibson 24.75" scale, the upcoming one with a Fender 25.5" scale. Hoping the QC is nice and tight (as it fucking well should be for a $1000+ guitar) and knowing that I would have to change the pickups. Also sort of interested in the LTD Eclipse 1007, and very interested in the Ibanez Iceman 7 - neck through, passive pickups, 25.5" scale, hardtail. 

Worth asking, why do you want a 7 string? 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I pulled the trigger on that new Epiphone Matt Heafy "Custom Origins" 7 string Les Paul. TL;DR: after restringing (I used an Ernie Ball 10-52 set and added a D'Addario 68 as the low string, tuned standard B to E) and a little setup work, I'm impressed with it. Assuming it holds up well over time, I'd probably recommend it highly to someone looking for a solid 7-string rhythm guitar/all-rounder. Mostly comfortable to play, low string sounds good-to-great, it looks pretty cool, it does all the things. It comes with a real case, too. 

SavtKtN.jpg

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More in-depth horseshit musings:

It's good for leads but it's not a shredder's dream; the fretwork and heel don't offer the most fluid high-fret access, and anyone who demands a thin Wizard-style neck should look elsewhere. It mostly works for me. My favorite guitar is a Gibson with a Tune-O-Matic bridge, so the neck angle and contact points on this one make me feel right at home. Not an Explorer, but it'll do.

The bridge is decent - maybe not as zingy as a nice aluminum TOM, but no worse than what came stock on my Gibson in 1998. If anything it's better. Everything seems tight, no play noticed so far. Sustain is excellent. Good range on the saddle screws, and it's as easy to intonate as the newer Tonepros I've had (the screws are Phillips, and they face the pickup, so there's no need to take the whole thing off like on some older models). The website says it's one of their "Locktone" bridges. I've seen people calling the Epi bridges "junk" online... that's not accurate. I'd consider an upgrade at some point but it's not essential.

The locking Grover tuners are really good. These have to be the nicest tuners I have on any guitar. Tuning stays stable, and the tuning process is actually just great all around on this guitar, noticeably smoother and less finicky than my others. The Graph-tech nut helps. It wasn't cut perfectly, so barring at the first fret takes a bit more effort than it should, but that's fixable. The neck profile feels great, chunky enough to give a good purchase for my thumb without being difficult to handle for bigger stretches on the low strings. 25.5" scale was a great choice for this guitar; I've had standard Gibson 24.75" guitars down in B before and I dig the sound, but the little bit of extra tension and brightness here is welcome. Chords using the B string feel nice and stable.

As suggested above, the frets aren't wonderful. This is one area where my Schecter guitars and Ibanez basses feel noticeably better. These are fine - I guess the fret finish is on par with my other Epiphone - but they feel a little rougher than I was expecting out of the gate, especially with a bound fretboard. No functional problems so far, just would have liked smoother edges and probably would have preferred higher crowns. It's easy enough to get used to. The fretboard radius, on the other hand, is not as easy to get used to. It's flatter than on any of my other instruments all the way down to the low notes. I guess I hadn't realized how much I was used to a slightly more convex surface at the lower frets. It makes some chords feel a little awkwardly bunched-up. I need more room for my big dumb fingertips. The fretboard surface itself was oddly rough-feeling when I took it out of the box, but it's smoothing out as I play. 

Also mentioned above - the heel joint is too bulky to make upper fret access particularly joyful. Even with the sanded-down area near the cutout in the back, getting to anything above the 17th fret is not seamless. It's not abnormal for an LP neck joint to feel this way, but it's a little frustrating because they obviously put some thought into this area and it's still not great. I feel like a couple extra minutes with a drum sander could make it better. 

While I have my sander out, the body shape is pretty much a classic LP and I feel like it could use some contouring in the back. There's nothing wrong with it as is, but I could see more relief between the upper and lower bouts on the top of the body. For that matter I'd take an arm cut on the top, too, but that would ruin the look. The "modern weight relief" they advertise is nice, though. The guitar feels just a little bit lighter than I would expect from looking at it, but not overly so, and there's only a slight suggestion of neck dive. Pretty well balanced. Still figuring out which strap works best, but so far it's been comfortable for a few hours at a time. Annoyingly, the football-shaped strap "lock" buttons are too big to fit my favorite strap. Nice concept but not great for me. Might swap those out.

Ok, the pickups. These Fishman Fluence Moderns. Argh. I had them in both my Schecters and got fed up with them quickly. I have a feeling they're being used in so many new guitars because they cover up a multitude of sins. Sonic defects? Slap a Fishman in there and it'll sound like a Fishman. They sound better in this guitar than they did in the Schecters, but they are hard for me to love. The real test will be when I get them in the band room; there's a chance that their clarity and evenness (or let's say "sterility") will translate really well to a high volume live mix. But even so, they're uninspiring to me, missing some impact in palm mutes and some overtones while tremolo picking no matter how much I dig in. They kind of make my awesome tube head feel and sound like a solid state modeling amp. (Come to think, maybe that's why these modeler kids like em so much.) Leads and clean tones are great, but the basic rhythm tone isn't 100%. They're capable of lots of different tones - 4 push-pull pots offering volume and tone control over 3 distinct voices for each pickup! - but they don't nail the one thing I really need, godammit. And most passive pickups don't have the same mounting screw locations, which means I'm either modifying the guitar or the pickups. Not ideal.

Overall though, this is a really good guitar. It's not a high-end Gibson but it could stand up to the Studios and other budget-conscious models I played in years past. There are other new models with a similar mix of features around this price point, but this one's got a balance of feel, tone, and playability that works for me. I'm excited about it. I've been kicking myself for years for not getting my hands on a Gibson 7 string when I had the chance; they sell for stupid money on the used market. This is close enough.

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