|Body And Neck:|
With the E-II Horizon FR-7, ESP combine a premium feel and huge power to deliver a superb metal workhorse in the world of 7-string electric guitars. Playing it for just a few minutes reveals that it was built with the performing artist in mind. Does it stand up to closer scrutiny? Let’s find out…
On the face of it, this is a solid no-nonsense guitar, with a simple double-cutaway shape and black paintjob. But as you spend some time with the E-II Horizon FR-7, you appreciate its subtle style – the slender and comfortable contoured body, the sleek glossy finish and the distinctive ESP pointed headstock, all wrapped up with cream binding to add definition. Note, it also comes in ESP’s famous ‘Reindeer Blue’ finish, which is just as awesome. Made at the ESP facility in Tokyo, the craftsmanship and quality control on this beauty is second-to-none and hard to believe it’s factory made.
The 25.5” scale length body is made from solid alder with a maple top, along with a three-piece set maple neck featuring a glossy black finish and an ebony fretboard. This fretboard offers 24 extra jumbo frets as well as distinctive offset block inlays and the name of this guitar at the 12th fret. As elegant as this guitar looks, it’s built to play – and play it does! It’s unbelievably fast to get around and everything is very comfortable in the hands, whether chording, powerchording or shredding.
With its understated classic design, the E-II Horizon FR-7 shouts loudly when it comes to hardware and electronics. It’s loaded with a duo of super-hot EMG 707 active humbuckers at the bridge and the neck positions, which are very powerful pickups specifically made for 7-string guitars. ESP keep the controls simple, with master volume and tone, as well a three-way toggle switch.
As the rest of the hardware suggests, this guitar is seriously built to perform. At the bridge you’ll find a Floyd Rose Original which is a class act as always, with some premium components including Gotoh locking tuners, a locking nut, Schaller straplocks, and a hardshell case, which is no less than you’d expect at this price.
The sound is fantastic and this is largely down to the two EMGs, which are some of the meanest active pickups around. These give you the platform for some deafeningly loud, super heavy tones which remain articulate and surprisingly warm, no matter how much distortion or speed you throw at them. Great for rhythmic chugging and searing leads, with tapping and pinch harmonics a joy to hear.
As 7-string guitars go, the E-II Horizon FR-7 from ESP may not be as extroverted in design as others, but it certainly delivers a style that you’d be proud to show off on stage. Which is great, because the stage is where this guitar deserves to be. It’s built to perform, reliable, plays like butter, and sounds great whatever you throw at it. For the price, we wouldn’t expect much less.