Well as I stated before I was probably going to buy a new guitar soon...
...so I did.
After going back and forth on tons of different options, I had my mind narrowed down to a few. I wanted something versatile that would last me a very long time. Seeing as I'm only a little over an hour drive away from DCGL, I took the drive up there. I got to test drive both the KM-7 and JL-7. I'll share with you guys my initial impressions on both of these awesome guitars. Both have some common traits I'll share as well.
KM-7: first one I saw hanging on the wall as I walked in and it is gorgeous, something you have to see in person. I played the satin black version. Right away the first thing I loved was the neck. My favorite necks of all time were on my old S7420FM, my old 1077XL, and my old RG1527 - all thin but had this super comfy C shape neck (not the typical flat D shape Ibanez usually has). The KM-7 has the same C shape neck just thicker than the previously mentioned Ibanez's (not nearly as thick as my Hellraiser neck). The satin finish felt great. I am completely sold on stainless steel frets, super smooth! Offset dots were cool and I'm sure I'd enjoy the side glow in the dark markers. Push-pull worked with no problems. The Hipshot bridge feels amazing, and the low B saddle is slightly shorter than the rest (a nice attention to detail for intonation). Pretty light guitar, felt amazing.
JL-7: definitely more my flavor compared to the previous 2013 version. I played the gloss black hipshot version. The fretboard looks infinitely better in this natural color compared to the previous 2013 version I had owned in the past (not sure if the fretboard is finished at all or just bare). The neck is a natural look but definitely has some kind of gloss finish on it. Not super thick or annoying, but definitely not as nice feeling as the satin on the KM-7. Same neck shape as the KM-7. The cross inlays...not my cup of tea, blegh but oh well. Oddly enough the low B saddle was not shorter as it was on the KM-7.
Sound wise compared to each other, the KM-7 definitely had a darker tone overall to it and I did prefer the sound of the EMG pickups. The 57/66 sound amazing, try them if you can. I had no complaints from the Nazgul/Sentient though and I'm sure I'll enjoy them once I run through my main rig, but I definitely preferred the EMG's.
That being said I trusted you guys (as well as sticking with what was on the wall when I walked in to ease the decision ) and went with the KM-7. I think I will be very happy with the purchase. I also want to commend Jason and DCGL - as always a STELLAR purchase, hooked it up with extra strings (my choice of gauge, I liked how 9-46+62 felt so I went with that), free strap, and a bunch of picks (went with the green tortex jazz 0.88's as I can NEVER find these anywhere, let alone at a decent price), and a free t-shirt. Their in house tech even answered my questions about what I can do to keep the satin finish from buffing as much as possible from contact (I sweat a lot on stage - further adding to the problem) as well as how to care for the ebony board in the dry environment of Colorado. Super smooth transaction and very happy, I highly recommend buying from them. They even threw in a signed back plate from Keith himself (nice little touch)!
I don't have pics as the lighting today sucks to go outdoors (plus it's raining) but you guys can take a peek at the one picture below. If you guys would like more pictures let me know and I'm happy to post them, or if you have questions about either guitar I'm happy to answer them from the hour or so I spent with both.
Wirelessly posted (like MAGIC!)
Congrats! If I were shopping for a new 7, the MERROW would definitely be under consideration.