So this is a little late, but this is the first chance i have had to do a proper NGD and review since we have a day off in Italy!
The backstory on this guitar is that Ola made me #15 which i absolutely fell in love with the exception of one issue: Relative to the sound i was after, straight pickups made the low strings sound weird because of the fan on the frets leaving more space between the bridge and pole pieces on those strings.
Ola offered to rebuild the body for me to accommodate slanted pickups that would solve that issue. He contacted Tim at BKP who then designed and made the first angled Aftermath set, spec'd to the fan on the guitar. This maintained a relationship between the bridge and strings that was a lot more in-line with what my other guitars have.
I loved the sound and resonance of the original body, so i made sure Ola use the same woods and used woods of the same density to maintain the sound #15 had. In the process he ended up finding a top that was even more beautiful than the last one, so this guitar saw sonic and aesthetic improvements with the rebuild!
Anyways here are some awesome pics that Nolly took and edited for me:
And for those interested in the specs:
The thing that really struck me with #15 was its instant playability. The fan on the frets was so slight that you wouldn't notice it, but you would noticed the awesome stretches you can do on a 24 fret guitar with a 24.75 scale on the high side. That coupled with probably the lowest playable action i have ever seen on a 7 string guitar made it just a dream to play. If i would describe the feel of this instrument with a few words it would be "touch sensitive".
I recieved #23 when we played Wembley Arena on this tour with Dream Theater, and the first thing i noticed was that the feel of the guitar had not been compromised in the least. Even though i had Ola up the string gauges for me to my live ones (11-64), it still had this insanely low action that still managed to sustain notes without compromise, and that touch sensitive feel to it. The real test was just playing it live for the first time having been used to the feel of my other guitars.
I adjusted to the guitar with no issues and managed to play the set feeling very comfortable on the guitar even though it is VERY different from my other guitars in quite a few ways.
As far as the tone goes, the guitar sounds HUGE and almost pissed off with attack. My Daemoness probably has the most attack out of my 7s and my Jackson is the fullest sounding. My impression is that this fits very nicely in the middle. Fuller sounding than my Daemoness, and yet similar in attack qualities. Chords ring out so vibrantly on the guitar, and it stays in tune magnificently well, so i can make the most out of big ringy chords.
The only aspect of the guitar that took some getting used to was the way a headless guitar feels as you are moving about on stage. This is a very lightweight guitar, and since the neck itself has a lot less weight to it because of the headless design, the guitar will feel a little different in your hands as you headbang or move around with it, but this only took a few live songs for me to get fully used to.
So in the end, #23 ended up being a great success, and this will likely remain one of my main 7s for live use because of how quickly i got attached to its feel and sound.
I want to thank Tim Mills and Ola Strandberg for all the hard work they put into making this guitar a reality and getting it ready in time for this tour!
That is just amazing congrats dude