YA MISS ME BITCHES? TREY’S BACK! After spending a month on tour in Europe, it feels good to finally get to reclaim my godhood in the pantheon and write for you mere mortals again. And aren’t you lucky, you don’t just get to read my dumb words, but you get to hear me speak them AND play some guitar for you! It would seem the gods favor you this day.
I was lucky enough to get my grubbies on one of the new Keith Merrow KM-7 guitars from Schecter and make a video reviewing and demo-ing it for you. I feel like I’ve been following this guitar for a while now, since bringing it to your attention back in December, then seeing Keith talk about it in his video, then getting to film the live debut of Loomis/Merrow playing Conquering Dystopia tunes at NAMM in January. So it was nice to actually get to spend some quality time with the thing after all that hype, and to discover that it really is a great guitar made the wait all worth while.
Have you ever had a musically ignorant eighth grader see your guitar and ask, “Is that a rhythm or a lead?” Well, as facepalm-y as that question is, I couldn’t help but think that this is, in fact, a rhythm guitar. It doesn’t mean you can’t play lead on it, in fact it sounds great, but it was built for riffing fo sho. Longer scale guitars such as this aren’t longer for easier soloing, it’s for tighter low notes. In that sense, they might have even gone for a 27″ or 27.5″ length, but that would have made it even less versatile.
I think the first thing that struck me about the guitar was the lightness of it. It felt like a guitar you could wear for a goodly long time without getting shoulder fatigue, which is handy in the studio more so than live. I’m not really a fan of matte finishes in general, but when it’s done right, it’s a beautiful thing, and this guitar’s got it. All the components are of excellent quality, from the Hipshot bridge to the Seymour Duncan Nazgul/Sentient pickups and the solid chunk of wood it’s all resting on. A compound radius fretboard makes for a comfortable transition from chunky rhythm guitar parts to screaming lead playing.
This is easily the best sub-$1000 guitar I’ve played. I’ve never really been a fan of Schecters, and their mother-of-pearl-on-everything approach has been a turn-off for me for many years, but this is a classy chunk machine with the bang-for-your-buck factor that I’ve been looking for from them. If they could just make something like this with a forearm contour I’d be all SHEDDAP AND TAKE MAH MUHNNNAH but that’s just a personal preference.
The bridge pickup is extremely bright and very high output, which is essential for well defined riffing. The neck pickup is reminiscent of the DiMarzio Liquifire, like a liquid laser beam, nice and smooth. In a guitar at this price point you’d usually have to pull out some fizzy stock pickups and paying to trade up, but here you’ve got amazing sounds right out of the box. The setup on the one I played was even pretty good off the bat, but I would take it in to have it set up if I were keeping it as it could have been lower.
When judging a piece of gear, you can look at it one of two ways: objectively, wherein you ignore all specs, country of origin, price, etc. and judge it by how it plays, sounds, and feels entirely on it’s own merit; or the subjective, wherein you say “It’s great for a $1000 Korean import by Schecter.” This guitar passes both gauntlets with flying colors, even if all the colors are trans white.