A/B test between Ibanez RG7421 and Schecter 007 Blackjack - Jemsite
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-19-2004, 02:31 PM Thread Starter
 
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A/B test between Ibanez RG7421 and Schecter 007 Blackjack

So I got my new Schecter 007 Blackjack a few days ago and last night I did some A/Bing between it and my old main guitar, an Ibanez RG7421 seven string with Dimarzios. I thought I'd offer some comparison for anyone who's interested.

Woods: The Ibanez has an American basswood body, maple neck with bubinga strip, rosewood fretboard. The Schecter has a mahogany body, maple neck and rosewood fretboard.

Construction: Ibanez is a bolt on, Schecter is set neck. Ibanez is flat top, Schecter is carved.

Hardware: Ibanez has a standard seven string hard tail bridge with strings through the body, and Gotoh non locking tuners. The Schecter has a Tonepros Tune-o-matic bridge with strings through body and Grover non locking tuners.

Pickups: The Ibanez has a Dimarzio Blaze neck model in the bridge position and a Dimarzio PAF-7 in the neck. The Schecter has a Seymour Duncan JB-7 in the bridge, Seymour Duncan '59-7 in the neck. Both guitars have five way switches although they do slightly different things with the pickups, but they both allow coil splitting.

Another main difference: The Ibanez is a standard 25 1/2" scale whereas the Schecter has an extended 26 1/2" scale, which is why I bought it.

The Ibanez has a slim, flat Wizard-7 neck, whereas the Schecter's neck is more substantial. Not huge or anything, but significantly beefier than the Ibanez. The Ibanez neck is also just sealed maple, whereas the Schecter neck is finished like the body.



Playability: The Ibanez wins this one. The Wizard-7 neck is fast and comfortable, and the 25 1/2" scale is easier to play. The Schecter's bigger neck and longer scale definitely translates to more effort being needed to play it. Also, the Ibanez RG body style has a nice forearm sculpt to it, but the Schecter just has the edge of the body. I suspect I'll develop a patch of thick skin on my forearm from playing the Schecter.

Even so, the Schecter is not a chore to play. But when compared with a Wizard neck and RG body, the RG is definitely easier. My fingers are a bit sore from playing the longer scale with more tension, but I'm already adjusting to it. It feels more natural now, after only two days of playing.

Another note, though. As comfortable as the Wizard-7 neck is to play, over the years I've had the RG7421, I have noticed some hand fatigue and cramping from the thinness of the neck. The Schecter neck fills my hand quite nicely, and I think playing the Schecter will develop my hand strength.

Sound: Here's the real issue, eh? I'll try to separate the various aspects of the sound of these guitars into manageable sections. All tests were done with the same settings on a PODxt. Distorted tests were done through the Soldano SLO-100 model and clean through a Fender Deluxe Reverb and Fender Twin models.

The sustain is something I have to mention. Aside from all other aspects of sound, the Schecter sustains significantly better than the Ibanez. Like, WAY better. It just sings and sings and sings. You can leave the room and get a drink, and it'll still be going when you come back.

Distorted sound: Both sound quite good distorted, the Ibanez with Dimarzios and the Schecter with Duncans. Neither is really lacking, but since it's an A/B I must compare.

The Schecter is noticably tighter and more crisp and clear, particularly on the low B (or A, on this test I tuned it to A). I would think this is due to the extended scale. The Ibanez has a bit more tubbiness to it, and sounds a bit more loose. The Schecter sounds taut and muscular. I was a bit concerned about the Schecter being muddy due to using solid mahogany for the body wood, as there is a lot of concern about using mahogany in a seven string, but it sounds crisp and clear.

On lead sounds the comparison is less. They both sound quite good, but here the only tie breaker is that the Schecter's better sustain gives it an edge. But the Ibanez' better playability means I can play lead stuff better. Hmmmmm....

Clean sounds: Oddly enough, the Ibanez wins this one. It sings nicely, and blends well coil split. The Schecter's clean sounds are just a bit too hot for me. Maybe it's just that I don't dig the '59. Even coil split (which I prefer, I like single coils for clean), it's too hot. Backing off the gain on the amp model helps a bit, but it just sounds a bit strident. I believe this may be the flip side to the scale length, but single note cleans ring out nicely. Chording is the problem. I think I may swap out the '59 for a lower output pickup, maybe a Duncan Jazz or a Dimarzio PAF-7. I'll have to do some more research.


Bottom line: The Ibanez wins in the playability department, but the Schecter is really the tone dog. Neither is really lacking in either, but if we must choose a winner, these are my personal results. I have to sell the Ibanez to pay off the Schecter, but I will certainly miss it. It has been very good to me for four years as my main axe, and is still in really great shape, and it practically plays itself.

In my opinion, either guitar is a fine seven string, but since I'm a less lead oriented player and am more concerned with recorded sound, the Schecter is the one I'll keep.

Another thing I should mention, as far as value. The Ibanez is discontinued, and the seven string that took it's place is a bit lower quality. Also, the Ibanez stock pickups are nothing special, and needed to be upgraded.

The Schecter comes stock with the real Duncans and a very good setup, and I feel it represents a great value. Right out of the box it's ready to go with good setup and fret work, great hardware and pickups, and great construction. I would highly recommend Schecters, and in particular thier Blackjack series, to anyone looking for a great solid players guitar for not too much dough. And for seven string players, the extended scale solves many of the problems that some encounter with muddiness on the low strings.

But if you can find a used Ibanez seven, they also represent a great value in a solid seven string. You'll just need to upgrade the pickups.

Hope this was interesting reading for anyone interested in either of these guitars.
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-19-2004, 04:58 PM
 
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great great great review!!!

The 007 Blackjack is probably the only Schecter that's ever caught my attention... I've been looking for a decent quality, fixed-bridge, set-neck 7-stringer for a while, and it sounds like it may be just the ticket. (The review was particularly helpful since I used to own both a 7620 and 1077XL, and you did a great job of comparing/contrasting the Schecter to the 7421).

A couple quick questions if you get a chance:
- How well do the non-locking tuners hold tune?
- Any major differences in fit & finish between the two? (I've seen some Schecters w/ sloppy binding & paint jobs, but that could just be the cheaper ones)
- Do you know the difference between the 007 Blackjack and C7 Blackjack? (they sound pretty similar)

Thanks for taking the time to write this up!
--B
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-19-2004, 06:18 PM
 
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Great review.

My experience with the Duncan 59-7 is that for clean tones it really helps to back off the volume at the guitar. The same is true for the DiMarzio PAF-7 (which I prefer).
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-19-2004, 10:22 PM
 
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Thanks for a great review.

Very cool info for us 7-stringers, esp. ones interested in extended scales!
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-20-2004, 02:39 AM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bduersch

A couple quick questions if you get a chance:
- How well do the non-locking tuners hold tune?
- Any major differences in fit & finish between the two? (I've seen some Schecters w/ sloppy binding & paint jobs, but that could just be the cheaper ones)
- Do you know the difference between the 007 Blackjack and C7 Blackjack? (they sound pretty similar)

Thanks for taking the time to write this up!
--B
-How well do the non-locking tuners hold tune?

--The non locking tuners on the 007 seem to work quite well, as well as the Ibanez Gotohs which also work great. The guitar was shipped to me from about 800 miles away at a different elevation and it was very close to being in tune when I got it. In fact, it was in tune with itself almost perfectly, the whole guitar had just gone a bit sharp due to the cold I suppose. Locking tuners are always a better option, but as far as non locking tuners go these Grovers seem as good as any.

Actually, I should note that the Grovers seem to have a finer gear ratio than the Gotohs on the Ibanez, which allows me to tune more precisely. It is actually quite a noticable difference, to be honest. If you can live with non locking tuners I don't think you'd find any that were much better than these (unless you wanted to modify the guitar and put Waverlys on there ).

-Any major differences in fit & finish between the two? (I've seen some Schecters w/ sloppy binding & paint jobs, but that could just be the cheaper ones)

I should note that I bought the Ibanez used, albeit in great shape, whereas the Schecter is straight from the factory new. That being said, I have found one tiny dimple in the clear coat on the upper horn of the Schecter, on the inside of the horn where you can't see it.

Other than that, I find the finish and binding on the Schecter to be absolutely flawless.

Both guitars are tight and well put together, but the Schecter is more resonant. You can feel this thing purr against you when you play. I can find no flaw in pickup height, bridge mounting, tuner mounting, nut work, binding, or fret work. The fret work on the Schecter really impresses me, as does the setup. It's the best factory setup I've ever played. Everything about the guitar is tight and clean.

The Ibanez is a great guitar and had good fret work when I bought it, but not as good as the Schecter. The Schecter's rosewood fretboard also seems to be a better, darker, more dense cut of wood than the Ibanez.


- Do you know the difference between the 007 Blackjack and C7 Blackjack? (they sound pretty similar)

The 007 Blackjack and the C-7 Blackjack are identical except for the body shape. Same wood, scale length, bridge, pickup switch, pickups, tuners, everything but the body shape is identical to the best of my knowledge.
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-20-2004, 02:42 AM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Soloway
Great review.

My experience with the Duncan 59-7 is that for clean tones it really helps to back off the volume at the guitar. The same is true for the DiMarzio PAF-7 (which I prefer).
Hi Jim! After I wrote that review I found out that trick, it does help. Thanks!
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-20-2004, 02:46 AM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Dark Wolf
Thanks for a great review.

Very cool info for us 7-stringers, esp. ones interested in extended scales!
You used to call yourself Word Wolf, right? When I was looking for pickups to replace the stocks in my RG7421, I read tons of reviews on HC about Dimarzio seven string pickups. I remember your reviews were particularly well written and helpful.

But I must admit, when I read your review of the Tone Zone 7, I was thinking to myself "Once he tries the Blaze, he'll never look back." And then I wrote that review about the Blaze neck model I put in the bridge of my RG7421, and a few months later you posted a review about switching to the Blaze. I knew it!
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-20-2004, 05:27 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mind Riot
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Dark Wolf
Thanks for a great review.

Very cool info for us 7-stringers, esp. ones interested in extended scales!
You used to call yourself Word Wolf, right? When I was looking for pickups to replace the stocks in my RG7421, I read tons of reviews on HC about Dimarzio seven string pickups. I remember your reviews were particularly well written and helpful.

But I must admit, when I read your review of the Tone Zone 7, I was thinking to myself "Once he tries the Blaze, he'll never look back." And then I wrote that review about the Blaze neck model I put in the bridge of my RG7421, and a few months later you posted a review about switching to the Blaze. I knew it!
Heh heh... ya got me. That's pretty cool you recognized me from HC reviews!

Yeah, the TZ is a nice pickup. Definitely a step up from most stockers. It has GREAT harmonics, and a solid, clear voice. But I just found it too round and buttery in mahogany. That famed "vocal" sound it has was nowhere to be found (until I put it in my basswood 7). Nice for a "vintage" sounding 7-string pickup/wood combo I suppose. But you're right, after I put the Blaze in, haven't looked back. Best sounding bridge pickup (at least in a mahogany downtuned 7) I've ever heard. Of course, the Air Norton 7 in the neck stayed!
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-20-2004, 04:20 PM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Dark Wolf

Heh heh... ya got me. That's pretty cool you recognized me from HC reviews!

Yeah, the TZ is a nice pickup. Definitely a step up from most stockers. It has GREAT harmonics, and a solid, clear voice. But I just found it too round and buttery in mahogany. That famed "vocal" sound it has was nowhere to be found (until I put it in my basswood 7). Nice for a "vintage" sounding 7-string pickup/wood combo I suppose. But you're right, after I put the Blaze in, haven't looked back. Best sounding bridge pickup (at least in a mahogany downtuned 7) I've ever heard. Of course, the Air Norton 7 in the neck stayed!
Either of the Blaze pickups are pretty special, I feel. I put the Blaze neck in the bridge of my RG7421 on Dimarzio's recommendation, and I love it. I really don't like having a midrange honk to my pickups, and the scooped mids of the Blaze models worked great for me. I like a pretty midrangey sound on the amp settings, though.

I didn't think I'd ever like anything better than the Blaze neck, but I'm REALLY liking this JB-7 in the Schecter. I was thinking before I got the Schecter that I may have had to switch out the pickups for Blazes because I'm really picky about pickups. But I loved this JB-7 from the minute I played it.

I was curious about it, so I went to the Seymour Duncan website to look it up and believe it or not, it has slightly scooped mids as well, but with boosted treble whereas the Blaze tends to have boosted bass. No wonder I liked it!
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-20-2004, 08:13 PM
 
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Your tastes and mine must be generally pretty similar, Mindriot, because I loved the JB in a Schecter I played awhile back, too. One of the best sounds I had ever heard. Then I was playing with a guy who had a Brian Moore with a JB in the bridge. Again, sounded phenominal. And the JB seems to really, REALLY like mahogany. Both the Schecter and the BM guitar were mahogany.
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-21-2004, 02:02 AM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Dark Wolf
Your tastes and mine must be generally pretty similar, Mindriot, because I loved the JB in a Schecter I played awhile back, too. One of the best sounds I had ever heard. Then I was playing with a guy who had a Brian Moore with a JB in the bridge. Again, sounded phenominal. And the JB seems to really, REALLY like mahogany. Both the Schecter and the BM guitar were mahogany.
Yeah, the JB really does seem to fit a solid mahogany body. According to the tone chart on the Seymour Duncan website it actually has almost double the amount of treble than it does mids or bass. Just the thing for a deep, potentially muddy solid mahogany guitar.

You know you've got a good thing going when it sounds better than one of your favorite records. I absolutely love Sevendust, and I use thier guitar sounds as sort of a benchmark for low B and A stuff, as thier low guitar sounds are really what I'm after. One of thier guitarists uses a JB (they actually use six string guitars with totally enormous strings on them tuned down) on a 25" PRS scale tuned to B or A, believe it or not.

Anyway, when I get a good sound going, I play some Sevendust riffs to see how it matches up in tightness and clarity to the sounds in my head and on the record. Since I got the Schecter with the JB-7, playing those riffs sounds noticably tighter than the recordings. That's when you know it's sounding good.


One thing I really like about getting this Schecter is that it sort of helps to put to rest the concerns about using solid mahogany for a seven string. I noticed that lots of people would speculate that mahogany would sound muddy in a seven, yet I also noticed that none of them had actually tried it. And all those who actually HAD seven strings made of mahogany were singing it's praises. I'm glad I could be a test case (especially with this particular guitar because a lot of people on here seem to be considering it) to help show everyone that yes, it's okay to have a mahogany seven string, just make sure you have the right pickups and go for it! It seemed to me like that apprehension about the wood was really holding some people back.

It's okay, everybody! Mahogany works beautifully in a seven string! No worries, shout it from the rooftops!
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-22-2004, 07:17 AM
 
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Yep, I like Sevendust alot, too. And I agree, their sound is great... but pickups really matter. And, scale length as well, I think. I'm sure that extra inch really helps (insert smarmy comment from Rich here )For low tunings and mahogany, a pickup with scooped mids and lots of treble works great. Even though the Blaze and the JB don't sound exactly the same (although a lot closer than say The Breed and the JB) they kind of use the same logic I guess. But that JB... just seems to be sort of magic in mahogany.
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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-23-2004, 05:32 PM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Dark Wolf
Yep, I like Sevendust alot, too. And I agree, their sound is great... but pickups really matter. And, scale length as well, I think. I'm sure that extra inch really helps (insert smarmy comment from Rich here )For low tunings and mahogany, a pickup with scooped mids and lots of treble works great. Even though the Blaze and the JB don't sound exactly the same (although a lot closer than say The Breed and the JB) they kind of use the same logic I guess. But that JB... just seems to be sort of magic in mahogany.
I agree. I could see how the JB could easily be the wrong pickup in a guitar with a brighter body wood, maybe a trem, and for more lead oriented playing I could see it being too bright. But for my application, in this guitar, with this wood, it's amazing.

The extra inch is really cool. I'm still adjusting to it, the added length means you have to retrain your fingers a bit, and the tension is greater, but the clarity and authority in the notes is just awesome. This guitar doesn't speak, it shouts.

Plus the 007 Blackjack hasn't been released in the States yet. I got it from a contact of mine. It's entirely possible that I own the only one of these in America right now. No big deal and it won't last, but it's kind of cool, like getting to see a movie before it's released.
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-29-2004, 09:49 AM
 
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Any of you tried the JB in the bridge of a basswood guitar?

Reason I ask, is my Tone Zone is beginning to go microphonic. It looks like it needs to be repotted (the wax has seperated between the two coils, and they shift slightly if you move them), but since I wouldn't really know how to do that and sicne my soldering abilities are a joke anyway, I'm thinking of just selling the thing off to someone cheap who knows how to repot pickups and going for a new bridge pickup. I've heard great things about the JB, so...

The Tone Zone is a good sounding pickup, but I don't like how it cleans up when you back off the volume (the treble gets really sharp and stingy), and while the highs aren't terribly powerful, there's this slight graininess in the extreme high registers. I think I'm looking for soemthing that's both clearer, but with a little "rounder" presence.

Not sure this is the pickup for me, but figured I'd ask...

-D
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-29-2004, 05:32 PM
 
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Hey Drew, maybe you should take the plunge and try out the Blaze Custom? We've all wondered about it for awhile.

I dunno about the JB in basswood. It definitely doesn't strike me as "round", but heh, the TZ7 in my 2027 sounded JUST like that. It was real cool for a mellow, more old school kinda vibe, sorta R&B, or Allman Brothers, I dunno.

The Blaze in mahogany sounds like early EVH, but clearer and more articulate. JUST what I like. But round? Hmm... maybe if you don't go with (or do, but don't like) the Blaze Custom, you should check out the SD Custom 7-String. Sounds, from what I've read, that it might fit the bill (probably better than a JB, too, which has LOTS of presence/treble. Basswood might enhance that a tad much?) I've played the Custom in a 6-string basswood Schecter I believe it was, and it was nice. Clear, round, very smooth, but with a nice bit of bite and growl on hand. Sorta sounded like SRV on a diet of ho-ho's and No-Doze. Fat, and supercharged!
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