World Music Supply | ESP Ltd VIPER 256

Hey guys its Brian with World Music Supply here to bring you your usual dose of gear and guitar reviews. In today’s blog I got to check out some cool goodies from our friends over at ESP.  We here at WMS have a special place in our cumulative heart for ESP, they’re cool looking, they don’t cost an arm and a leg, and they sound great no matter what you throw at them, and when it comes to guitars you just cant do better than that. So lets get down to business with the center piece of today’s review, the Viper256.

ESP Ltd Viper 256 Electric Guitar See Thru Black Cherry

ESP Ltd Viper 256 Electric Guitar See Thru Black Cherry

The Viper256 comes in two rather attractive finishes, the see thru black cherry, and my personal favorite, black with gold hardware; you just can’t get classier than that. This guitar is a work horse, a solid chunk of Mahogany, 24 big easy playing frets on a fast Thin U shaped Mahogany neck, topped with a nice looking Ebony fretboard. The Tonepros TOM bridge is nice, straightforward, easy to intonate and get working. The part that I really loved about the 256 is the ESP designed LH-150 humbuckers, they have a bold sound with lots of midrange and lows, with just enough high end cut to get you through the mix, but not treble-y enough to cut your head off. The LH-150’s are also coil-tappable by pulling up on the tone-knob, which means you get rich, full sounding humbuckers, and with a flick of your wrist, you have sparkly, shimmering single coils, amazing.

ESP Ltd Viper 256 Electric Guitar Black

ESP Ltd Viper 256 Electric Guitar Black

Clean, this guitar sounded very big, it really has a ton of low end body to it, which I love in a guitar, the mids were thick, and really filled out the area you would expect a guitar to, and the highs were just cutting enough to really sculpt the sound out, not too bright, it left enough room for a band, but more than filled out all of the area a guitar should. With the single coils engaged, you of course notice a tiny drop in volume which I compensated for with a little help from my Electro Harmonix LPB-1. The tone was slinky, it had a lot of Tele style tones to it, but without the high end twang you typically get from a Fender scale length, bolt neck guitar. This meant it had a lot of jangly, almost acoustic sounding vibe, and I really dug the funky kind of bite I could get out of it.

Distorted, this guitar was down right animalistic! The distorted growl of the bridge pickup was very rich, and had a great lead and rhythm tone to it, without having to fiddle with the tone or volume knobs, and I didn’t even have to mess around with any pedals, the bridge pickup was so balanced sounding that it just did everything. The middle position was a tad bit more tame sounding, with a warmer low end, and a little less high end cut, and the neck position had very warm, very bluesy tones hidden in it. Shred work was easy, the shorter 24.75 scale length and the big frets on an ebony board made this guy super fast. The single coil tone had quite a bit of vibe to it; it had that clarity of a single coil with a lot less hum, and not as much treble response. I personally loved this guitar, it looks cool, it feels nice, it plays great, and the sounds it made were pure rock star. I would have to be crazy to not award the Viper 250 a solid 10 out of 10.

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World Music Supply | ESP Guitars

Hey guys, it’s Brian from World Music Supply again, bringing your usual dose of gear and guitar reviews. Today I get to bring you a few gems from our friends over at ESP, what I love about ESP and LTD guitars are just how lead friendly they are. As someone who grew up playing metal guitar, and even though I have transitioned away from that style of playing and into less labor intensive styles of music, I still love the feel of a guitar with a thin neck, and nearly flat radius, and when it comes to big, thick metal lead tones, ESP has always been my go to brand. So think of the theme of today, as guitars crafted for metal, but with enough stylistic wiggle room to fit in well enough almost anywhere.

ESP Ltd M103FM See-Thru Black

ESP Ltd M103FM See-Thru Black

First up on the list for today is the M103FM-STBK, which is part of their Mirage series of guitars, which are your rather typical Super Strat affair. Shred friendly necks, nice flattened radius, bold sounding pickups, and of course that perfectly setup Floyd Rose Special tremolo. The LH-150 humbucking bridge pickup had a wonderfully full sound, with a rather nice low end to it, which is something I always look for in a bridge pickup, the LS-120 middle and neck pickups had a nice clarity to them, but still had a very full sound, more so than you typically find in single coil pickups.

To play this guitar is a thing of beauty, the neck is lighting fast, and the combination of a maple fretboard and a trans black flamed maple top is a true thing of beauty. The feel of the neck is perfect for those who need to play fast, with big tall frets, and a nice flattened out radius, not to mention the delivering big bends with the Floyd Rose. Clean this translates to a guitar that has a all of the spank and sparkle that you expect of a strat, but when you crank up the distortion this guitar becomes a thing of power! With fiery rhythm tones, that have all of the weight and girth you could ever need, and with enough punchy lead sounds, or if you switch to the neck pickup, glassy lead sounds to keep your lead work sounding fresh for years.

so what is the M103FM-STBK? Well to put it briefly, it’s a workhorse. This guitar has all of the tones you could ever need, a Floyd Rose, and a neck that is perfect for shred friendly guitarists, all at a price point that is more than accessible to the beginning metal guitarist, and this is why the M103FM-STBK earns itself a solid 10 out of 10.

EC1000FR-STBLK

EC1000FR-STBLK

Next up is something a little less conventional than a super strat, a super LP, the EC1000FR-STBLK. This isn’t your average LP, this guitar comes armed to the teeth with all the appointments of a modern metal machine. Covered in a trans black flamed maple top, with plenty of abalone appointments, and not to mention the delicious black nickel hardware and the really cool Earvana Compensated Nut.

First off, this guitar does still carry a lot of the already amazing specifications of a standard LP, Mahogany body, Flamed Maple top, nice Thin U Mahogany Neck, but this guitar is definitely hotrodded. This all starts with the 24 fret neck, with 24 big XJ sized frets which are just great for lighting fast legato runs. You also get an amazing set of EMG pickups, with an 80 in the bridge, and a 60 in the neck. These pickups have a very big, full tone to them, with plenty of smooth clean signal, and enough output to drive even the heaviest of metal. Next you get the obvious addition of the black nickel Floyd Rose 1000 tremolo, with an Earvana compensated locking nut.

My understanding of the Earvana system is it slightly offsets the scale length of each string to help keep each string in tune better, and help eliminate the inherent intonation issues of the guitar. What this translated to, while subtle, was an ability to play in tune perfectly next to very unforgiving instruments. What I mean by this, is when you are a guitarist who only plays with other guitarists, if you’re slightly out of tune, its not too easy to notice, as it almost creates a chorusing or doubling effect, which your brain will translate as musical rather than an out of tune note. But, if you’re like me, and often play guitar next to a synthesizer, you know that if you are out of tune, you can’t try and hide it, because the keyboard can’t really be slightly sharp or flat, and your guitar can be.  

With these kinds of appointments, you would expect this guitar to play like a dream, and you would not be disappointed. The neck was perfect, thin and quick enough for super fast lead work, but still with enough meat left on it that I didn’t feel weird playing chords on it. The Earvana nut was a subtle improvement, but it made playing chords sound just a little bit sweeter, and when I played next to a keyboard on a synth pad, I noticed my guitar sounded a little more “on” than usual, almost like there were more riffs that worked with the chord than usual. All of my lead work sounded a little more alive too, thanks to the EMGs distinctive sound, and I wanted to keep playing longer, just because this guitar is so cool to look at, I just didn’t want to put it down.

At the end of the day, what more could you ask for? This guitar is everything you love about a standard LP, but with a dozen or so amazing additions to it’s already genius design that make it so much more to cherish. For the simple fact that they took one of the greatest designs for a guitar in history, and turned it up to 11, the EC1000FR-STBLK earns itself a solid 10 out of 10.

World Music Supply | Marshall DSL Amplifiers

Hey guys, it’s Brian from World Music Supply here again, to bring you another dose of gear and guitar reviews. Today though, I have an awesome treat, I get to review the Marshall DSL series of all tube amplifiers.  Surprisingly, this is the first Marshall I have had the privilege to actually review, a fact that I hope to rectify in the coming months. Regardless, the DSL stands for Double Super Lead, because the amp is based around a two channel design. All of the amps in the line have the same overall design and a similar sound, with the only noticeable difference from amp to amp is volume and headroom, as well as the controls layout.

The Marshall DSL15H 15 Watt All Tube Amplifier Head

The Marshall DSL15H 15 Watt All Tube Amplifier Head

First up on the block today is the 15 Watt head, which is also available in a combo which is equipped with a Celestion 12” speaker. The 15 watt DSL is laid out like the other amplifiers in the family, with a classic gain, an ultra gain, a mid shift button which contours the mids for a much more metal friendly setting, and a deep button, which shifts the resonance frequency to boost the bass up. The amp is also equipped with a Pentode/Triode switch that drops the power down to 7.5 watts as well as shifting the tone to a smoother less aggressive styled sound.

The Marshall DSL15C 15 Watt All Tube Combo Amplifier

The Marshall DSL15C 15 Watt All Tube Combo Amplifier

The first thing that needs to be mentioned, is this amp is plenty loud, but I could so see the point behind an amp like this in the studio, as you can crank it, and get that classic Marshall on the brink sound, without being evicted or going deaf. The sound does have everything a great Marshall should have, that great Nashville style clean tone, with just a bit of an edge to help you cut out above the band, a crunch AC/DC style sound, and switching to the Ultra gain side of the amp, you get everything from late 80s hair metal gain, all the way up to mid 90s angry at the world style gain. All of the settings are very, very usable, and voice perfectly for what they are designed for, the classic side ranges from the aforementioned Nashville style clean, and right up to what you recognize as the Marshall sound of the late 70s, with tons of bottom end, mid range cut, and all of the harmonic glory that cemented the Marshall name into the fabric of history.

The Ultra side, is much more aimed at really hard rock, and metal players, as the levels of gain are amazingly high, it is great as a lead boost for solos, and as a rhythm channel for a metal guitarist, as with the tone switch engaged, the mid range chunk that this channel has is perfect for big, brutal rhythm, and just devistating when you play big down tuned chords.

The Marshall DSL40C 40 Watt All Tube Combo Amplifier

The Marshall DSL40C 40 Watt All Tube Combo Amplifier

Next up is the 40 Watt combo version of the DSL, which incorporates all of the features of the 100 watt head, into a 40 watt package you could fit in the trunk of your car. The two channels now are split, with a clean/crunch switch on the classic channel, and a lead one and lead two switch on the ultra channel. There is also an expanded EQ with a presence and resonance control taking over for the bass shift button, as well as two different types of reverb on hand.

The division between the channels was cool, and being able to switch from clean to AC/DC style crunch to a metal lead tone was pretty cool. The division of the ultra channel made for an interesting conundrum as I loved everything about the ultra on the 15 watt version, but now being able to switch from that metal grind tone I got before over to an equally amazing Lead two was just great for down tuned glory. It was hard to choose which side of the Lead section I liked more, but the one part that floored me was, it really isn’t all that noisy, you still might need a noise gate, but compared to many other high gain amplifiers, there really isn’t all that much hiss.

The Marshall DSL100H 100 Watt All Tube Amplifier Head

The Marshall DSL100H 100 Watt All Tube Amplifier Head

Finally there is the matter of the 100watt head, which took everything I liked about the 40 Watt version and pumped it up a lot.  What I love about this head though is that it is everything a Marshall should be, versatile, dramatic, roadworthy and loud! As with any 100 Watt amp, you have to handle them with a certain amount of care, as they are amazingly loud, I was able to keep the clean channel clean no matter how loud I turned up, well I should say, as loud as my ear drums would let me turn up. The Crunch channel had a lot more boom to it when it was pushed through a 4×12, and likewise the lead channels had a lot more thump to them, and by that I mean you get a lot more of that punched in the chest feeling when they are coming at you from a Marshall 4×12 cabinet.

All in all , the DSL series are some of the best Marshalls I’ve ever gotten to play through, with a liveliness to them, and a brashness about them that reminds me of the amps of yesteryear, but at the same time retaining all of the power tube punch you need to play modern metal. For all of these reasons the entire DSL family scores a well earned 10 out of 10.

World Music Supply | Jackson Slat Series

Hey guys, its Brian from World Music Supply here again to bring you your usual dose of guitar and gear reviews. In today’s blog I get the chance to look over, and review a few new guitars by our friends over at Jackson Guitars. The Model in question is their new SLAT series, which is a new model being released within their very affordable X series of guitars. SLAT stands for SoLoist Arch Top, as the guitar is overall based on the standard Soloist body, and architecture, however this guitar will not look, or sound like a typical soloist. The first and most obvious difference is the headstock, which rather than the typical triangle design, taken from the early Randy Rhoads designs, to a spear like design, with a 3X3 layout. The next most obvious difference is the smaller fretboard inlays that Jackson refers to as “Piranha” rather than their typical shark inlay.

The Jackson X Series SLATTXMG3-6 Electric Guitar in Matte Black

The Jackson X Series SLATTXMG3-6 Electric Guitar in Matte Black

There are a few different overall variants to the SLAT layout, with the main differences being, the addition of a 4A quilted maple top, the switch from a TonePros tune-o-matic string thru bridge, to a Floyd Rose Special Tremolo system, and the SLAT is also available as a seven string. For my review today, lets begin with the SLATTXMG3-6 which is a straight ahead rock machine, covered in a slick looking, Matte Black finish, and armed with the same equipment its whole family is armed with, and that is a super powered set of EMG 81 and 85 humbuckers.

Clean this guy is a joy to play, as the compound radius neck makes it super comfortable to play big open position chords, and as you move up the neck you slowly shift into the equally comfortable flattened out radius section of the neck, which while it is still comfortable to chord on, it is ideal for soloing or just noodling on. The sound of the EMG pickups was strangely not as dark as I usually find them this time around, whether that was the combonation of body woods, the fact that this guitar is a neck through style or what, but what ever it is let it be known that it sounds down right amazing. The tone was bold and snappy, but big enough that you could easily just strum chords all night and genuinely not sound bad.

The heart of this guitar however is its sound when you crank the amp and let this guitar open up. The tone is pure, and singing with sustain for days thanks to the neck through design, and the graphite reinforced three piece neck, which results in one of the most stable necks I have ever had the pleasure of playing. The fast neck profile is thin and quick to play on, but with enough girth to it that it never got uncomfortable. The tone was tight, and heavy as possible, with lots of note definition, and clarity. Drop tuned chords spoke with a dark and booming grunt, solos sang with a brilliant almost vocal quality, and you could even get away with playing full open position chords without the sound getting overly muddy or dark if you had the gain dropped a little bit.

The Jackson X Series SLATTXMGQ3-6 Electric Guitar in Trans Red

The Jackson X Series SLATTXMGQ3-6 Electric Guitar in Trans Red

This model is also available with a 4A quilt maple top in the SLATTXMGQ3-6, and while they look visually quite different, tonally they have a very similar flavor. The only real tonal difference is a slightly brighter attack in the Quilt maple version.

The  Jackson X Series SLATXMG3-6 Electric Guitar in Gloss Black

The Jackson X Series SLATXMG3-6 Electric Guitar in Gloss Black

However, there is a much different version of this guitar, with the Floyd Rose equipped version, which is available in gloss black as the SLATXMG3-6, and with a sunburst finished Quilt maple top in the SLATXMGQ3-6. The inclusion of a Floyd totally changes the voice of this guitar, giving it a lot more mid range punch and growl, not to mention allowing you to do monstrous dive bombs and up bends. The clean tone is still there, with all of the clarity and bright biting tone that the string thru version possessed.   

Dirty however, and this guitar possesses quite a different voice than its brother, with that extra mid range growl this guitar suddenly becomes a screamer. The power of a Floyd rose always takes the typical guitar, and gives it super powers, suddenly you can bend notes up a fourth, a fifth, well as high as you want if you don’t mind breaking strings. Power chords now bark out, single notes scream off the fretboard, and yet, the smoothness never leaves this instrument, this guitar is powerful.

The Jackson X Series SLATXMGQ3-6 Electric Guitar in Sunburst

The Jackson X Series SLATXMGQ3-6 Electric Guitar in Sunburst

The quilt top version of this guitar, renamed the SLATTXMGQ3-6 has slightly different voice than its gloss black brother, with the mid range heavy voice, now shifting into a more upper mid range area, and the bottom end of the guitar now possessing a slightly darker character. I still liked this version mind you, as it sounded glassier, and a little more refined. But lets not forget the beast that lays at the end of this review, the SLATTXMG3-7 7 String.

The Jackson X Series SLATTXMG3-7 7 String Electric Guitar in Gloss Black

The Jackson X Series SLATTXMG3-7 7 String Electric Guitar in Gloss Black

Now I want this to be mentioned before I start, I don’t play a ton of 7 string, anytime I’ve ever needed to go that low, I just use a baritone guitar. So to me, these two ranges have always existed on separate instruments, and have been treated as such. So suddenly not having that minor third after the D was a little wonky, and being able to move from my E down to a low B or even a low A, that was a strange feeling. However the one thing that felt like home to me was the EMG 707 pickups, as they have a very clear and even voice to them. The scale length was also a little different and foreign to me, as it was a strange scale length at 26.5 which is somewhere between a baritone and a standard fender length. This meant that when I tuned the B down to A to get huge, metal power chords, the string didn’t feel floppy or weird.

The compound radius was far more helpful and noticeable on this model than it was on the other variants of the guitar, which I chalk up to the fact that this guitars neck is just that little bit wider. The sustain on this guitar was still amazing, and the dark voice of this guitar really helped to accentuate the darker things that tend to get played on a 7 string.

chording on this guitar felt a little weird to me, but after a bit it started to feel pretty natural, and the chords still rung out with a clear, articulate voice. Moving up the neck to that nice flatter area, it is readily apparent how quick you really can play on a guitar like this. Distorted, this guitars voice is massive, sheer metal obnoxiousness. I was able to play straight ahead rock on most of the neck, and if I wanted to dip into some old Korn riffs, or more modern djent stylings, it was all there for the taking.

The Jackson X Series SLATTXMGQ3-7 7 String Electric Guitar in Trans Black

The Jackson X Series SLATTXMGQ3-7 7 String Electric Guitar in Trans Black

There is also a maple top version of the 7 string, called the SLATTXMGQ3 with its very handsome trans black finish, sounds just amazing, as adding that extra high end zing to an instrument with a darker voice really helps to accentuate its entire range. I was able to keep from sounding bass heavy even when I tuned the whole guitar down, even as far as two whole steps down, and never once did the guitar start to sound muddy or bass heavy.

Clean tones were janglier, with a more twangy edge to them, low note chords ringing out with piano like sustain. In a distorted setting, the maple topped 7 string roared out, with a thick, searing tone. The darker voice of the guitar that was present before, now with a tangy upper midrange, and even a little high end sizzle helping to pull this guitar up into a really focused midrange seat.

The Slat series is astounding, all of the models in the line are comfortable, the distinctive headstock shape looks really cool, and the finishes are a cool dash of classic Jackson, and modern metal flair. I could list reasons off for days why these models deserve their score, but I think my writing, and the numerous youtube videos Jackson released for these guitars speak for themselves, even if the guitarist screws up here and again. At the end of the day though, any metal guitarist, rock guitarist, or anyone just looking for a guitar to put in their stable with a distinctive voice, the new Jackson Slat series earns an easy 10 out of 10.

World Music Supply | B.C Rich Guitars

Hey guys Brian from World Music Supply here, bringing you some more gear and guitar reviews. If you follow us on Facebook, you’ve probably gotten the impression by now, that we are really trying to dial in the Halloween theme, and I’m doing my part by filling the remainder of the month of October with some more metal themed reviews. On Monday it was Jackson guitars, and today I have something just as frightening, because today I finally get to review some guitars from our friends over at B.C Rich.

B.C Rich Guitars

B.C Rich Guitars

B.C Rich actually didn’t start out as the metal guitar creating company they are today,  once upon a time, in the early 60’s a man named Bernardo Chavez Rico exclusively constructed, and worked on flamenco guitars in Bernardo’s Guitar Shop in Las Angeles. He kept at his construction of classical and Flemenco guitars for many years, until around 1969 when he began his first attempts at constructing electric guitars and basses, based around popular designs of the time, few of which survive to this day. However in 1972 he constructed his first original design, the Seagull, and later in 1976, with the help of his growing team of craftsmen came the Mockingbird and the Eagle. The late 70’s saw the rise of the Bich, with its unusual 10 string design, and the early 80’s welcomed the Warlock to the ever growing B.C Rich family.  The transition from classical guitar maker, to metal guitar master is a slow process, but through the years these guitars have gained a level of class and detail that is a signature of the whole brand.

The BC Rich Avenge SOB Electric Guitar

The BC Rich Avenge SOB Electric Guitar

In today’s review, the first guitar I got to put my greedy paws on was the B.C Rich Avenge SOB, which is a much more modern and distinct version of their already distinctive Warlock, with a slimmer, less bulky body than their Beast model. This is important to keep in mind, as even though it might look like a vampiric version of the warlock, the SOB actually translates to Son Of Beast, and boy is this thing a beast. The guitar is surprisingly comfortable, and the light weight basswood body is actually very ergonomic. The sharp pointy body is wrapped in B.C Rich’s signature Onyx black finish, with bright bloody red bevels all over the guitar, which translates to a very ominous appearance.

The electronics are rather straight forward, as is the over all set up of the guitar, just a single high output BDSM humbucker, a single volume, and a string thru body, and Tune-O-Matic bridge. Plugged in this bad boy had loads of cut, with a bright cutting sound. Clean the sound was a little brittle, but nothing some good old EQ couldn’t take care of. Although, if you can’t tell from the shape or over all vibe of this guitar, it probably won’t see much time on a clean setting, so I didn’t test this guitar on one for very long. Dropping the tuning a little, and turning up the gain was everything this guitar needed, as this guitar’s slightly bright sound, translates into thick, destructive distortion when the strings are tuned down a tad.

This guitar was great for hours of down tuned riffing, sweep picking, and chugging, machine gun style riffing, and although it’s not normally my cup of tea, this guitar definitely draws those angry riffs out of you. The neck was super comfortable, and was thin enough that shredding on it was no real problem. The simplified controls weren’t an issue either, because most shred heavy guitarists know you don’t really use a tone control, or a neck pickup all that often, however it would have helped warm the sound up a bit. Overall the Avenge SOB was one beast of a guitar, and easily deserves its 9 out of 10 rating, to be honest the only reason I didn’t give it a 10, is I feel like the lack of tonal options might be a slight turn off to lead guitarists, even though most rhythm guitarists will be over joyed at the simplicty.

The B.C Rich JRV Standard in Metallic Red

The B.C Rich JRV Standard in Metallic Red

Next up is the B.C Rich JRV Standard which is their answer to the standard flying V. With its sharp corners, and fighter jet than lines, this guitar is metal through and through. The metallic red finish was a nice touch, and helps add to the late 80’s shred feel that the most flying V’s tends to give off. The Floyd Rose trem, and blistering Duncan designed pickups also give this guitar all of the power it needs to hang with even the heaviest of shredders.

On a clean setting this guitar is actually pleasing, with big warm tones, and smooth, even sustain, but just like with the last guitar, this one will probably only see, at the most, 10% of its life in a clean channel, because guitars with this many sharp corners just look like they need to be distorted. Cranking the gain, and dropping the tuning a tad, this V screamed to life.

The tone was biting, but with a full, even body thanks to the Duncan designed pickups. There was plenty of output on tap, and the sound of the chugging rhythms this guitar can create are just down right brutal. However this guitar is no slouch when it comes to shred style runs either, with a flatter fingerboard radius, and a full 24 frets of room to run, I had no problem climbing up and down at break neck speeds. This guitar is a metal machine, and most hard rock or metal guitarists wouldn’t go wrong choosing it for their go to guitar. For its bad to the bone sound, and do anything attitude the B.C Rich JRV Standard earns itself a solid 10 out of 10.

World Music Supply | Jackson Guitars

Hey guys, Brian here with World Music Supply again, sorry for the myriad of interruptions with the blog last week, what with me being sick, and my hours being rearranged here at the office in anticipation of the upcoming holiday season, the blog accidently just got pushed to the back burner, and you as the reader suffered. Not to worry, because we now return to our regularly scheduled blogging, and today I got a chance to sit and review some products from our awesome friends over at Jackson guitars. First up is the JS32RT Dinky.

The Jackson JS32RT Dinky Electric Guitar Transparent Black

The Jackson JS32RT Dinky Electric Guitar Transparent Black

The JS32RT Dinky features a transparent Black finished flamed top, and a string through Tune-O-Matic style JT390 tailpiece. This guitar is a different beast than most Jackson Dinky’s as many of them feature a more “Fender” esque bridge, rather than a string through  style, this all results in little different sounding guitar, with a slightly different sound than it’s brethren. Add its unique construction, in with the fact that this guitar is armed with Jackson CVR2 humbuckers, with their blisteringly high output, and this guitar just screams rock! The action on the neck is smooth and well balanced thanks to its compound radius fretboard, without any dead frets or buzzing anywhere along the neck. The neck was smooth, and easy to play, and the Dinky body, with its slightly smaller shape fit like a glove.

Plugged into a clean amp, this guy had a lot of cool clean tones, with big warm chord tones, and bright, strident single notes. The Indian Cedro body, had a very unique and warm tone to it, which fit the over all sound of the guitar well, especially when I cranked up the gain on the amp and let this guitar shine. The high output pickups had a big, bold character to them that was never lost in chords or in quick runs along the neck. They stayed clear at all times, never muddying up, or losing their warm, yet cutting edge. Overall for a guitar that costs as little as this one does, to have tones like this, is down right unheard of, but pair the tones, and the price with the stunning looks, and unique hardware and the JS32RT Dinky easily earns itself a solid 9 out of 10.

The Jackson RRXT Rhoads Electric Guitar in Black

The Jackson RRXT Rhoads Electric Guitar in Black

Next up is the RRXT Rhoads with Duncan designed pickups, long time readers will know by now that I love Jackson Rhoads, mainly because I looked up to Randy Rhoads quite a bit in my early days as a guitarist, the image of that offset V is just so powerful to a young mind. Now this one is armed to the teeth, with a Neck through body that features Jacksons Speed Neck profile, a Tone Pros tailpiece and Duncan Designed HB-102 pickups.

Clean this guitar has a unique and interesting character, with lots of sustain and warmth, and a focused sound that had a neat way of cutting and pushing itself through the mix. The neck was just as its name implied, fast. The slim, yet not too slim taper of the neck, as well as the smooth finish lead this neck to feel almost like it wasn’t really there, it was just my fingers and that fretboard. The ability to play fast lines was almost unparalleled and the added sustain of the neck through design was equally amazing. The pickups had a lot of body to them, with a warm, vocal like character.

Distorted, this guitar was more of the same, the tone was still bold and powerful, never muddy, and defined across all the strings. The bridge pickup was fiery, and had more crunch and cut than I could imagine, and the neck pickup was warm and vocal, with a roundness to it that complemented the bridge pickup quite well. At the end of the day, this guitar is amazing, with a comfortable and memorable body shape, a sound that can do anything you ask of it, and sustain for days. The RRXT Rhoads definitely deserves its 10 out of 10 rating.

World Music Supply | Washburn Electrics

Hey guys, Brian with World Music Supply here to bring you some much needed guitar and gear reviews for the weekend. This Saturday I got the chance to review two guitars that just came into the warehouse from our friends over at Washburn. One of the things we love about Washburn, is they cater to every price bracket, and every genre of guitarist, from Metal to country, from acoustics for singer songwriters to jazz cats with their arch top hollow bodies. Today I get to sample some of these instruments, one that is universal, one that is a little less…traditional. First up, let’s start off with that more universal guitar, the Washburn WINSTDWH.

The Washburn WINSTDWH Idol WIN Standard Series Electric Guitar

The Washburn WINSTDWH Idol WIN Standard Series Electric Guitar

I used the term “universal” for a reason, the single cutaway, mahogany body with maple top, and two humbuckers is a real universal combination. Worn on stages around the world by everyone from metal guitarists, who love the huge sound of the two hot humbuckers, to country guitarists who like its more conservative look, and its bright twangy tones, this guitar really has a universally loved design, and an equally loved sound. I picked the white finish, as I personally just love white Les Paul style guitars; call it a hold over from my teenage years of idolizing Randy Rhoads. The WINSTDWH comes pretty well armed when it comes to everything from tonewoods to it’s Duncan USM Alnico 5 pickups, and over all they make this guitar sound just amazing.

Running clean this guitar has a bright and strident tone, with lots of girth and body. The neck feels super comfortable, with plenty of body to it, so it didn’t feel super modern, but thin enough that you can still play fast without too much extra effort. The bridge pickup was a tad bright, with a warm vintage character. The neck humbucker is warm and fat sounding, without sounding muddy or bass heavy. The different control layout of the volume and tone controls makes doing pinky volume swells far easier than with the typical volume and tone layout, which is something I have had a problem with for years.

Running into a dirty amp, this guitar sounds massive! The sustain is fantastic thanks to its proven tone woods and set neck design, and the Alnico 5 pickups are hot, with a searing quality to them that is just delightful. I was able to coax everything out of this guitar, from classic 70’s style blues rock, to down tuned metal, to good old rock and roll grind. The sound is distinct, but familiar, with a sound that is both old and new. That’s what I love about this style of guitar, every generation has re-invented it, taken it in a new direction, and made it their own. You can play rock on it, metal, country, heck even jazz, this guy really does everything! You just cant go wrong with this guy, and that’s why the WINSTDWH earns itself a solid 10 out of 10.

The Washburn PS7000-HBK PAUL STANLEY Electric Guitar

The Washburn PS7000-HBK PAUL STANLEY Electric Guitar

Next up, is the Paul Stanley PS7000 series, and in today’s review specifically, the PS7000HBK. I labeled this guitar as untraditional earlier in the blog, and there is a definite reason why. From its weird drooping lower cutaway, its upper bout that looks far different than most, and its over all asymmetrical design, the PS7000 might look like a typical les paul from far away, up close it looks like one, but only in the surrealist sense of the word.  

As weird as this guitar might look, it sounds down right awesome. The clean tones are deep and rich, with perfect intonation all across the neck thanks to the inclusion of the Buzz Feiten tuning system. The action was smooth and clean, and try as I might I couldn’t find any lick that didn’t sound awesome on this guitar. All of the KISS songs I know also sounded just perfect on this guitar, as the tone was clearly designed from the ground up to compliment them.

Dirty, this guitar was a treat. The warm characteristic it leant to the overdriven amp was just to die for, it felt vintage, but it looks like it came from outer space. The sustain was tremendous, lasting on and on with a warm vocal quality. Overall this guitar is a great addition to the growing Paul Stanley family of Washburn guitars, and a great LP style guitar for anyone who wants one, but doesn’t want to look like everyone else. For its unusual looks, and super powered sounds, the PS7000HBK scores itself a solid 10 out of 10.

World Music Supply | ESP Guitars

Hi guys, its Brian from World Music Supply here again, to bring you another healthy dose of guitar and gear reviews, and today I have a few guitars from our friends at ESP. As I’ve mentioned in past posts, ESP, which means Electric Sound Products, was founded by one Hisatake Shibuya in Tokyo in the mid 70’s making replacement parts for guitar. They eventually relocated to the US in the early 80’s and quickly made a name for themselves by making custom guitars for the likes of Vernon Reid of Living Colour, Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones and George Lynch. Since the early days ESP has prided itself on making beautifully crafted instruments at reasonable prices, and they keep this mind set in all of their products. Today I’m going to cover a few models from their LTD line, mainly their more aggressive and out there models, specifically the AX50, and the F100FM.

The ESP AX50 in Black

The ESP AX50 in Black

These guitars are designed, and built from the ground up to play hardcore, low down, metal. This aspect is reflected not only in their tones, but also in their modern styling. First up on the chopping block today is the AX50-BK, which is their most oddly shaped guitar to date, and looking at it, with its X shape, with plenty of rounded curves and macho vibe, it’s clear that this guitar was designed with the modern shredder in mind. The guitars circular back cut out strangely reminds me of a sci-fi flick, or a battle axe from a horror movie, and its tones match that description pretty well. Plugging into a Randall RT503H, this guitar was rather impressive, its clean tones were smooth and soulful, which I wasn’t expecting out of a guitar that looks like you could slay demons with it. The bridge pickup is gritty and biting, but it isn’t so trebly that it stings when you slam into it on a clean setting, the middle position was warm and airy, with an almost acoustic flavor, and the neck pickup was round, and rather jazzy…another happy yet unexpected sound.

But, lets be honest, this guitar will probably never run through a clean amp on purpose, guitars that are shapes like this are meant to do two things, play metal, and look awesome, and this guitar does those two things well. Playing on a slightly overdriven setting this guitar had a nice classic rock vibe, with plenty of warmth, and some old school punk style bite. Cranking the gain stage some more, this guitar started to really get into its element, and after dropping the tuning a whole step, and really letting this guitar take off, it becomes readily apparent that this guitar is capable of some serious grind. The two octave range of the thin neck, with its flatter fingerboard radius, and jumbo frets meant that I could really climb up the neck, and pull out some serious shred tones, but still have all of the girth and chunk available at the other end of the board, where the real ferocity of this beast lives. This guitar has a pure, aggressive tone, with some shimmer and sparkle on tap, if the need for it ever arises, and its that kind of jack of all trades ability that I love when it comes to guitars, however, this guitar does look like a giant battle axe, and that mark alone will keep it out of the hands of many guitarists who would need that kind of versatility. So at the end of the day, the AX50-BK earns itself an 8 out of 10 for many guitarists, but if metal is your forte, the AX50-BK easily snags a 10 out of 10.

The ESP F100FM in See Through Black

The ESP F100FM in See Through Black

Next up to bat, is the F100FM-STBK, which is a part of the now infamous ESP F series of guitars, which are like Stratocasters, if the Strat had been designed by a Transylvanian warlock rather than a radio repairman from southern California. The heavily beveled body, and roaring tones of the F series have been a trademark of everyone from big touring metal acts, to local shredders who are just starting to cut their teeth in the music biz. It’s that kind of universal reliance that has made the F series so well known, and after plugging this bad boy in, it’s clear the rumors are true.

Clean tones are sparkly and spanky, just like you would expect from an instrument that bares even a passing resemblance to a Strat. However, this is a double humbucking guitar, meaning it has a much beefier foot print than its three single coil equipped cousin, which means that its snappy tones are fatter, and its round tones are rounder still. However, like the AX50, this is a guitar that thrives on distorted settings, and after a few minutes playing this guitar clean, I decided I had waited long enough, and switched to the Overdrive one stage of the RT503H, and turned the gain up to what I would consider an obnoxious setting, and just let this guitar loose. The shear power that this guitar exhibits is astonishing, there is some real muscle behind this thing, with plenty of punch, but a nice round low end, even with all of the blistering distortion that was caking up around it. This guitar just has tone for days, and the comfortable shape of the neck, with the 24 jumbo frets, all made for one amazingly playable, amazing sounding guitar. The F100FM has a far more mainstream shape than the AX50, however it still falls squarely in metal guitar territory, meaning even though it sounds so good, with tons of tone on tap, the F100FM-STBK can only score a 9 out of 10, because even though it sounds almost perfect, it doesn’t seem like something you would see on stage with say, a country act. However, as with the AX50, if you are a shredder, or metal is your area of expertise, than the F100Fm-STBK than this guitar easily gets itself a 10 out of 10.

World Music Supply | Charvel Guitars

Hey everyone, it’s Brian here from World Music Supply again, to bring you yet another round of guitar reviews. Today we have a special treat, and that is because today we’re reviewing Charvel guitars Desolation, Skatecaster, and So-Cal series of guitars. Charvel Guitars was started by Wayne Charvel after working for three years at Fender in the early 70’s. Wayne Charvel left and started “Charvel’s Guitar Repair” to repair and refinish older Fender instruments. The shop earned a reputation among local musicians for its custom finishes, and handmade upgrade parts. After a number of foreign manufactures began to copy and sell Charvel style parts, Charvel made the decision to start producing complete guitars.

First up on the block today is the Desolation series, which are Charvels more modern shred ready guitars, available in single and double cutaway variants as well as a soloist version. They all feature sleek body shapes, a thin, and very fast neck profile, as well, most of the models in the desolation line come loaded with either active Seymour Duncan, or EMG humbuckers, and are decorated with abalone binding and inlays. For my review I picked a nice representative of the line, in the guise of the DS-1 Standard in transparent “blue smear”.  

The Charvel DS-1

The Charvel DS-1

Aesthetically, this guitar is fantastic, with its majestically sculpted body, and the stunning wood grain on the flamed maple top and headstock cover, this thing really does look great. Sonically this guitar is also a treat, as its Seymour Duncan pickups sound far different and much more natural than many other active pickups I’ve heard thus far, with much more clarity and “spank” then you would expect from a guitar like this.

With the Desolation running through a clean rig, this guitar had all of the body and brightness, as well as the dynamic response that you would expect out of a passive guitar, but with all of the volume and clarity that you would expect out of an active system, meaning my clean tones were huge! The neck is the right kind of thin to where you can still chord on it, without your hand cramping up, but you can also shred on it, without your hand likewise cramping up. The tone was lively and surprisingly jazz friendly, with all of the sparkle and shimmer that you need to play really smooth, all without ever losing its low end definition or bite. Chording on the neck was surprisingly comfortable, and the tone was always lush and complex.

Switching to a dirtier channel, it felt like the guitar “woke up” so to speak, it suddenly had all of those big searing distorted tones that you would typically expect out of an active guitar, but it also has all of the definition of its clean setting counterpart. This means that your dirty tones have all of the bite and punch that you want them too, but also so much clarity that you can still play big chords without it sounding muddy. Lead lines are bold and easy to play with the thin neck profile, and they always had a big warm edge to them thanks to the mahogany body and neck through design. Overall the Charvel Desolation series seems like they’re a real contender when it comes to the modern guitar market, and should not be overlooked. Thanks to their superb construction, jaw dropping good looks, and sweet sounds, the Desolation series earns itself a well earned 10 out of 10.

The Charvel Skatecaster SK-1

The Charvel Skatecaster SK-1

Next up, is the Skatecaster, a slick re-imagining of Charvels famous Surfcaster guitar, which was one of their more famous models of the 90’s and early 2000’s. The Skatecaster is Charvels attempt to breath new life into an old guitar, by taking all of the things that made the Surfcaster smooth, and vintage looking, and seemingly replacing them with a modern, hard edged, metal attitude. The first and most strikingly obvious differences are the lack of a pickgaurd, and a hollow body, making it actually more closely related to the Jackson Outcaster, but I digress. The lack of the pickgaurd makes it look less like the Italian guitars it once resembled, like Eko or Galanti, and more like a Jazzmaster that has been left in the sun too long, which if I’m honest, is still a pretty cool shape.

The lack of its hollowbody seems to be purely based on functionality, because now that this guitar has been redesigned for hard rock and metal, a hollow body would just feed back at the volumes this guitar has been designed for. For my sound test, I’ve decided on the SK-1 FR in Flat Black, which seemed like exactly the point of this new line, shear, shred metal power. With its hot EMG pickups, the SK-1 had a clean tone that was expectedly smooth and dark, with all the tones I have come to expect from these wonderful pickups. Everything I played was exaggerated, all of my highs were higher, and all of my lows were lower, all of my chicken pickin’ was snappier, and all of my jazzy chording was wider and more complex.

Turning up the gain on the amp however, and yet again I was assaulted by that familiar EMG 81/85 shout, with all of the snarl and aggression they were designed for. The best part about this guitar however, was by far the neck, which was lightning fast, and with the handsome abalone inlays, was just as good looking as it was sounding. The Floyd felt like a nice addition to this guitar, as it gave the guitar a slightly different personality than the guitar it is succeeding, the Surfcaster, which had a two point non locking trem. The lead tones to this guitar are searing and poignant, with the right amount of high end to cut through the mix, but never sound sharp or “buzzsaw” like. In the end, I like the Skatecaster, it takes the fun loving, guitar for guitarists vibe of the Surfcaster, and paints it black, loads it with active humbuckers, a floyd rose, and tons of abalone, all of which I whole heartedly approve of, for that fact alone this guitar easily grabs a 10 out of 10.

The Charvel So-Cal

The Charvel So-Cal

Last up is an old friend, the So-Cal. Based off of Charvel guitars that were in production during the hair metal heydays of the 80’s, this guitar would have reigned like a king, with its candy colored finishes, its overpowered pickups, and of course its Floyd Rose. Through a clean setting, its Dimarzio pickups have a specific kind of chime and character that is surely different from any other on the market. The So-Cal feels familiar to almost anyone who has ever picked up a Fender guitar at any point in their guitar playing life, except with a compound radius neck of 12 to 16 inches, and a slightly different color combination than a normal Fender style guitar.  

Playing it on a clean setting, the So-Cal has a rather dark character with a particular emphasis on the mids, which suits jazz, and the few clean toned 80’s riffs I know just fine. However, we both know what this guitar was designed for, and with that though in mind, I plugged this guitar into a Randall RT503, and let it rip. The So-Cal did its job, letting loose tons of EVH style riffs, all with a tone that could more than comp the feel of almost anything that came out while Reagan was in office.

The So-Cal is a throw back to an American classic, and just like the Corvette, or a Charger, it just gets better with age. Sure you can’t climb up to the 24th fret, and your only controls are a pick up switch and a volume knob, but that’s all you really need for most things. The So-Cal is what was great about guitar in the 80’s it was fun, and straightforward. For the fact that the So-Cal is designed as a catch all of guitars, and built from the ground up to be a machine of rock and roll fury, the So-Cal earns a deserved 10 out of 10

World Music Supply | DBZ Guitars

Hey everybody, it’s Brian here with World Music Supply, and I’m here to talk to you about some of the cool new stuff that we’re getting here at WMS. Today, I want to talk a little more about DBZ Guitars. As I’ve mentioned before, DBZ is the brain child of Dean B. Zelinsky, who parted ways with Dean Guitars in mid 2008. In order to give Mr. Zelinsky “personal control over design, direction and quality” he started DBZ guitars shortly after his parting ways with his former company. Since then he has been crafting a lot of sleek, beautiful guitars, a few of which I’m going to discuss in today’s blog.

The DBZ Bolero

The DBZ Bolero

First up is the Bolero, a tasteful new take on the classic LP single cut design. This guitar is just different enough to feel interesting and just familiar enough as to not be off putting, it features the iconic mahogany body with a maple top, and a comfortable soft V neck profile on its mahogany neck. It features the DBZB/DBZ5 that I reviewed so favorably on the barchettas a few posts back, and they don’t disappoint here either. They have the right mix of bright and dark from the bridge pickup to the neck pickup so you never run out of useful tones in this guitar, and with the inclusion of a coil split, you also have some decent strat and tele esc tones hidden away in this guitar too. With its more iconic wood combination, of a maple and mahogany body, and a mahogany neck, this guitar tends to sound a little warmer than the Barchetta LT, and a little rounder the fire breathing monsters in the bare bones line. Overall this is a nice choice for the guitarist who wants to have an LP style guitar, but doesn’t want to look like everyone else, with so many powerful tones, and such handsome looks, I give the Bolero a 10 out of 10 easy.

The DBZ Imperial in Cherry Sunburst

The DBZ Imperial in Cherry Sunburst

Next up on the chopping block is the Imperial line, a guitar that I am outright amazed by. It’s a relatively standard looking jazz guitar shape, like a semi hollow body, but without the hollow part, what amazes me is that the Imperial has such a thin body, and when I say thin I mean 5/8 of an inch at the edge thick, that is THIN. 

The DBZ Imperial

The DBZ Imperial

The body curves out a bit more in the middle, but by and large, this guitar is so thin, when you wear an Imperial, it almost doesn’t feel like it’s there, which is an interesting, and comfortable feeling. This guitar sounds a lot snappier than the Bolero thanks to this thinner body, it’s somewhere between a jazz box, and a telecaster, as it has a little bit more of a twangy edge when played clean and a little more presence in the mix when played distorted, but it also has that warm round bottom end that is reminiscent of big body jazz guitars. With the inclusion of the coil splitter this guitar can do basically anything, from twangy country licks, big bodied rock rhythms, and if you drop the tuning a little, it can even grind out some serious metal. The neck is the same as the Bolero, that soft V that fits your hand like a glove, making playing very long sessions so much more comfortable. For its plethora of awesome tones, and its unique razor thin body, the Imperial easily snags a 10 out of 10.

The DBZ Cavallo

The DBZ Cavallo

Then we have the Cavallo, which is a classic V style guitar, with the slight exception of having a heavily sculpted maple top. This carving seemed strange at first, but once you start playing it, you realize that it is thinned only around the controls, and where your arm would naturally either swing when playing standing up, or where your arm would rest when sitting down. The Cavallo is oddly comfortable, and the sounds are just as pleasing. The Cavallo has the same pickup combo as the rest of the guitars thus far in the review. Its tones are a little bit bolder than the Imperial, but not as defined as the Bolero, playing it through a little tube amp, the Cavallo gave me everything from bone dry clean tones, dirty AC/DC style drive, all the way to big hair metal style grind. All in all I like the Cavallo, and as far as V’s go, this one is easily in my top 3. I give the Cavallo a 9 out of 10, only because those carves in the top might be a little off putting to people who like a more traditional V.

The Floyd Rose Equipped DBZ Cavallo

The Floyd Rose Equipped DBZ Cavallo

However, stepping a little more away from the traditional V mold we do have a variant of the Cavallo which sports a locking floyd rose, a welcome change of pace. Now I was able to do light fluttery warbles in the clean setting, Van Halen style dive bombs when I had the amp dimed, and when I used some real distortion I got everything from Dimebag style squeals to Joe Satriani style screaming harmonics. Adding the agility that a floyd affords you to an already amazingly versatile guitar takes it from a 9 out of 10 to a solid 10 out of 10, who would have thought such a little change would bring out so much more potential in this guitar

The DBZ Venom

The DBZ Venom

Lastly in the line up is something way out of the traditional, but what we all honestly expected from DBZ guitars, a solid down to earth metal guitar. The Venom is a V style guitar that more closely resembles a battle axe than it does the 1950s era styling of its cousins. Along with the much more metal stylings, it comes in gun metal grey, and silver, both of which help to accentuate the battle axe feeling of this instrument. Unlike all the other guitars in this review, this guitar is equipped with different pickups, that’s right folks, the Venom is armed with a pair of USA made EMG 81/85s that just scream when you play this thing. Its clean tone is a tad darker than the rest of the DBZs as a result, but this isn’t a bad thing as these guitars probably wont spend much time in a clean, low gain setting. With a distorted tone, these guitars come alive, with full bodied tones that have more than enough output for any situation, and more than enough bark and bite to fulfill any hard rock or metal guitarists wildest dreams. With its Floyd rose trem, and its wickedly hot EMG pickups, this guitar deserves more than the 10 out of 10 I can award it. Lets just say this, if you are hunting for the cream of the crop of metal guitars, the Venom might just be it.

So there you have it folks, some amazingly versatile, and amazingly powerful new guitars from DBZ, all of them with a unique voice, and their own amazingly unique styling,  so how about you go on over to World Music Supply today and order your own DBZ today, and quit looking and sounding like everyone else out there, start being unique with a new DBZ!