The affordable 7 string guitar is a concept that baffles the mind of any musician. The 7 string guitar is so much more complicated to make than a 6 string guitar. It involves understanding that there is a heavier force affecting the body and the neck of the guitar, the extra string needs more specific pickup selection, how to handle hum and string buzz, etc. etc.. Knowing all of this, let us take a look at the ESP LTD M-17 7 string guitar and see how the manufacturer handles all of these problems.
The body of the guitar is a rather generic, with its design being lifted from the so many guitars already existing in the guitar world. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as this guitar design is both familiar and comfortable to most musicians in the world. The famous strat design look rather good on this seven string guitar, with the thicker neck feeding well into the thicker body. The solid coloring of the guitar is well done and is well accented by the glossy finish of the instrument. Overall, not something to rave over, but not something to cry over either.
The body of the guitar is made out of basswood. Now, I don’t have anything against this hardwood, but if you have been reading my reviews, I am a little skeptical of using it when making 7 string guitar. I mean the low tones you get out of the basswood are definitely a nice detail, with the bass response being rather great and the rest of the sound being well balanced. The lightweight of the hardwood is also a very nice benefit to have, especially since a 7 string guitar is bound to be a little on the heavy side. What I do struggle with is the softness of the wood, and whether it is able to handle the extra pressure exerted by the strings. I mean, the wood doesn’t struggle with the 6 strings, so why should it struggle with 7 strings? And yet I am always suspicious.
The neck of the guitar is a very nice maple make. The hardwood always makes a nice neck, because of its sturdiness, which is especially important with a 7 string guitar. It is resistant to warping, bending and breaking, so all around a great choice. The neck is bolted onto the basswood body, which is where my doubts for basswood are stemming from. Thankfully my doubts have yet to be proven. The fretboard of the guitar is made out of maple, which is not a standard choice, but allows the guitar to be even cheaper.
The guitar comes with a tune o matic bridge with a string through body design. I like this combination as it is handsome and provides the player with some nice action and string stability. It is also fairly easy to resting, even if it takes a little time.
The nut of the guitar is made out of a cheaper material, which permits some string buzz to escape. Thankfully we have a humbucker set up, so no hum or buzz gets in the way of sound.
The LTD tuners of the guitar are definitely of great design, but could be of better function. The guitar does not remain in tune too well, even though this would be a great thing to have on a 7 string guitar.
The guitar comes with a dual humbucker setup. The two ESP LH-107 humbuckers are known for a fairly good ability to do their job. They have a fairly powerful output, with the level of sound being rather lovely. The tone they pick up is rather interesting, with a definite bias towards the low tones. The pickups are a decent set of stock pickups, though you will eventually want for something more. For the level of price you are buying the guitar for, these are very decent.
The guitar has simplistic, general controls. A master volume knob and a master tone knob as well as a three way switch to control the active pickup configuration.
The guitar has a rather interesting sound. The basswood body and the pickups do a great job of having warm, almost growling bass tones. The rest of the tones are very present as well, though are rather basic and mostly aimed at a beginner guitar crowd. The guitar has powerful output. Honestly, for the price you are buying this instrument for, the sound is the best you can get.
Overall, this is a very adequate guitar. The price level defines a lot about how the guitar sounds and works, and even then it is a very good affordable seven string guitar. Highly recommended if you cannot go a little higher in price.