Alright, so first let me say that I don't have much money at the moment so any talk here about getting a new guitar means doing so in the future, whether it's six months or two years from now.... The reason I'm looking is basically that my current guitar is great for rock but not so much for metal. I'm not a shredder, nor am I that great at soloing in general, so it's not the lack of a Floyd Rose or anything like that. Rather, it's the following: my guitar has lackluster pickups (called "Duncan Ibanez" humbuckers, which sounds like a Duncan-design type thing to me), a short neck with only 22 frets (I do play some solos and leads), and finally, I simply would like something new and exciting. So that's that.
I've been doing extensive online research into different brands and such, and now I've pretty much got my heart set on a 7-string because I want the extra range, and why not? At the top of my list currently are half a dozen Schecter models, led by the C7 Hellraiser and the C7 Blackjack---or if I win some money, the Jeff Loomis signature model. The Hellraiser has EMG 707s while the Blackjack has Seymour Duncans, so I'm leaning toward the first one. Both have set necks, fixed bridges with thru-body stringing, and 26.5" scales with 24 frets. To keep my options open I've also looked around at Ibanez and ESP, but there's not as much there that I like. Of course I know that online research is only the first step, and that it has to be followed with hands-on shit. I'm hoping to make it to a bunch of guitar stores around Dayton and Cincinnati as early as this week to check out some models in person.
Now, I've also been kicking around the idea in my head of switching out the boring pickups in my current guitar with something better---again, someday when I have money. This is something I may do either as a way to stall the purchasing of a new guitar, or as something in addition to buying a new one. I'd like to keep my Ibanez as a rock guitar because I still enjoy jamming to the Toadies and Burden Brothers with my friend, so what do you think---real Seymour Duncans? Dimarzios? A passive EMG? I want humbuckers with a nice rich, thick tone and some crunch, yet with clarity. Definitely don't want anything that would sound glassy, bluesy, jazzy, or "vintage" because I don't really care for those sounds overall. When it comes to rock my tastes are hard and modern in general.
That's all I have for now, I'm tired of writing. Feel free to offer suggestions and recommendations.
Why not a Washburn X81 Natural or a MBM1 Ibanez Prestige RGA like Jon & Matt of Shad?
But seriously, if you're not that great at soloing, why not get some Dimarzios? Or just get a Digitech pedal and you can get almost any sound you want...
For your Ibanez, maybe a Seymour Duncan Distortion? If that's too heavy, you could always go with the JB model. Or maybe a Pearly Gates, but I't's based off of a 59, I think. As for the 7-string: I plan on getting a C7 Hellraiser pretty soon myself! I kinda wanna put some SD Blackouts in it though, just to be different.