An Axcess neck-heel taper removes any barrier to the upper frets, allowing you to slide your fretting hand directly behind the top registers.

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The tapered Axcess neck heel makes it possible to play in the topmost frets, while the neck’s rolled shoulders help the Custom-7 feel akin to a six-string’s neck width.

The Bottom Line If you’ve struggled to transfer your six-string shredder skills to a seven-string, the Epiphone Matt Heafy signature Les Paul Custom-7’s narrow and slim neck is the ax that can help you reach that next level.

Luckily however, Avenged Sevenfold vocalist Matt Sanders, who experienced similar issues through his career, immediately jumped in to recommend world-class vocal coach Ron Anderson.

“It’s amazing, and I love the community that we’re in. it’s all about supporting each other, and Matt was the first person to text me as soon as he heard I had a vocal issue, and he came through.

It had to be light, but not to the point of creating sterile-sounding lows.

Epiphone started with a mahogany body, then added a thin maple top to impart tonal clarity without adding perceptible weight.Thanks in part to Matt Heafy taking care of his vocal cords and learning to scream with proper technique, the heavier elements of his voice shine through in “The Sin and the Sentence.”“One to three hours a day, I make sure I sing,” Heafy recently told Loudwire.“It’s all from the stuff I learned from Ron Anderson.These are wired to individual tone and volume pots in a traditional LP configuration but with the added twist of the neck pickup’s tone pot serving as a kill switch.Known as a “kill pot,” tapping this spring-loaded pot interrupts the signal no matter which pickup is selected, creating the stutter effect made so popular by Randy Rhoads and other LP notables.“I will thank him forever for that.” * * * Don’t miss out on your own copy of Trivium’s hard-to-find debut album Interviewing bands and getting to know the people behind them is what I do best.