Iím looking for some advice on my next guitar purchase. I tend to ramble so Iím going to try to keep this short as I can.
There are only 3 guitar shops within a 2 hour driving distance from where I live, and their stock usually sucks pretty bad, so getting to try before I buy is unavailable to me 90% of the time. This has led to a ton of regret filled purchases on the internet over the last few years. So now Iím seeking some help from the wise before I buy. Right now Iím interested in purchasing a 7 string. I have a $500 dollar budget from where I ebayed the last of my gear that I was willing to part with. Iím also unemployed so bumping up this amount isnít going to happen anytime soon lol. I recently went to the guitar shops to try any 7ís they had in stock that were in my price range. What I got to try was
Ibanez RG7321 $449 (which Iím sure most of you guys are familiar with)
Ibanez RG7321 7-String Electric Guitar at zZounds
Jackson JS32-7Q Dinky $399 (New for 2013 I believe)
Jackson JS32-7Q Dinky - Natural | Sweetwater.com
and thatís it. By default Iím an Ibanez guy. Iíve owned more Ibanezís than any other brand and currently have 2 that I play daily. I thought I would try the Ibanez and feel at home (which I did) but when I tried the Jackson I honestly liked it more. The neck is a small amount more c shaped and it made it more comfortable than I expected. The body felt a little more balanced and ďmeatyĒ I guess you could say. The heel joint was kind of a turn off but it didn't really hamper the upper neck access. The stock pickups were better than the Ibanezís but we all know just about any pickup is better than a stock ibby pickup.
Iíve been doing some research into the Jackson since I liked it so much and found that they have also released a cheaper version of this guitar that appears to have the same specs except it doesnít have the quilt maple top (I donít know what a top does to tone or if itís just for looks if someone could explain it I would appreciate it) and it has a cheaper bridge.
Jackson JS22-7 Dinky $199
Jackson JS22-7 Dinky - Satin Black, 7-string | Sweetwater.com
Iím a little weary of buying a $199 guitar but since this guitar appears to almost be identical to the JS32-7Q I have to assume that the upgrade to the bridge and a maple top is what is adding the $200 price difference. Are maple tops that important and expensive? Personally I donít care for the look of it at all, but if it affects the tone in a significant way I could definitely live with it.
With any of these guitars I know I would want to at least upgrade the pickups eventually. So now Iím a little torn on what to do.
A: Go with the Ibanez. Itís a reliable guitar that people refer to as a workhorse and itís something Iím familiar with. Upgrade pickups at a much later date.
B: Go with the JS32-7Q. The early reviews on it are very positive. Has maple top and comfortable neck. Possibly upgrade bridge pickup at time of purchase and upgrade neck pickup at much later date.
C: Go with the JS22-7. Specs are very close to JS32-7Q with apparently identical shaped neck. Upgrade pickups immediately (Seymour Duncan Sentient and Pegasus) AND upgrade bridge to hip shot immediately
D: Wait patiently and try to snag a good deal on Ebay
E: Accept the fact that $500 bucks is not going to really get anything very good and just keep saving for something at a later date.
I guess it all boils down to if upgrading a low end guitar really can get you up to mid range performance and tone. Iíve never tried to upgrade a guitar that cheap before and Iím nervous itís just going to be a waste of what little money I have.
Iím currently on my longest unemployed streak in my entire life so any advice or opinions would be appreciated. This is going to be the only nice thing Iíve been able to do for myself in over a year so I want to get it right haha. The style of music I play is thrash metal to death metal with sometimes a touch of technical or melodic metal. So cleans are not that important to me. I like comfort and aggressive tone over anything else in a guitar.
Wow that turned out to be a wall of text. Sorry guys
You MIGHT still be able to find a player 7620 for that price, and if so, that's a no brainer. Possibly a 1527 as well, but that might be a little harder.