Kerry King V Two Tribal Onyx review by B.C. Rich

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  • Features: 8
  • Sound: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.6 Superb
  • Users' score: 3.5 (10 votes)
B.C. Rich: Kerry King V Two Tribal Onyx

Price paid: $ 400

Purchased from: Pakistan Electronics and Music

Features — 8
I bought my KKV2TO recently in 2015, it's an Indonesian made guitar - my second guitar - my first V shaped guitar. 24 frets in all, though the company says they are "Jumbo" frets I personally view them as an intermediate between thin and jumbo, so you could say the frets are "medium." It uses all the basic materials you'd expect in a guitar within this range - basswood body, maple and rosewood for the neck and fretboard. The Finish is Satin and has the most brutally graceful graphic you could find in something of this range. I was also amazed by how this guitar combined lightness and balance, it's quite large as far as V's go but not to an extent you have to contort your body when passing through a door way. The Bridge is a Licensed Floyd Rose with all the standard Floyd pro's and con's. The neck is pretty thin and light, very easy all around access, being a bolt-on the access to the lower frets is obviously a bit restricted but I've played worse. For 3-4 years straight since my previous guitar was a Yamaha ERG 121C, made in China and you can imagine how that went. It has the B.C. Rich stock pickups "B.D.S.M Humbuckers" one bridge and one neck with a pretty simple 3-way selector and B.C. Rich Diecast tuners which I really don't consider different from grovers. I got it with a couple of Dunlop Jazz III's and a nice gig bag. Overall I was satisfied with what I got.

Sound — 8
To be honest I expected more from the B.D.S.M. humbuckers - I mean B.C. Rich has been at the forefront of death metal, which is exactly and only what I aim to play and perfect, from it's most brutal to creative variants. Nile, Necrophagist, Cannibal Corpse, Death, Opeth, Amon Amarth, Meshuggah, Ola Englund etc. Those were the tones I aimed for. And despite respecting the classics such as Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Slayer, Metallica I absolutely did not want to end up with that sound, so in short I was looking for modern gain. B.C. Rich has artists such as Pat O' Brien and Chuck Schuldiner in it's roster it doesn't get more "death" than that. To my surprise the cleans were actually better than my old Yamaha, though the Yamaha made up for it in having a really dirty distortion sound. At first I thought the distortion was not what I had anticipated it had a bland "thrash" distortion that I didn't want, a few pickup adjustments later I realized the problem can be countered by down tuning the guitar - if you like to play at a low volume as with me and own a "bedroom safe" amp then the distortion may initially put you off. It handles much better on higher volumes since it can take the punch of all that gain and dish out clarity.

I use a Line 6 Spider IV 75W and a Line 6 POD HD500X so the heavy fx allows me to counter the sustain problem of floating bridges, personally I think if you adjust the bridge a bit and down tune you can get something very sick out of this baby, but currently I'm at standard so it's no surprise I don't get much - but you'll be impressed by how well it can handle melodic death metal and true to it's legacy, it honors Chuck Schuldiner whom was partly my inspiration for choosing B.C. Rich. Old school death metal will handle like a charm, there's nothing wrong with the pickups, they are aimed at providing a solid distortion but you'd want them replaced - my personal ambition - Seymour Duncan Black Winter pickups. The sound is not noisy or dirty and very good for what it is, if you want to play a B.C. Rich musician it will do that, any slayer riff should sound pretty sweet on it, but I aim for more diversity and a more modern sound so I'll change them. It will require some tweaking. Do they suit me? They'll make do, you won't hate them especially if you have a good modelling amp or fx processor to counter the sustain problem.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The moment the guy revealed it to me in the shop it had me jumping like a fool. This thing screams death metal, it does justice to the B.C. Rich legacy and is an absolute weapon it is more brutal than anything in it's range. I'm pretty sure you'll find nothing like it in it's range, it definitely looks much more than what it's worth. Hands down 10/10. What defines it are those beautiful scarlet tribal graphic design - if your into a viking kind of theme I guess this works too, I mean as far as V's go this thing is just purely demented, I realize showmanship is just a small part of playing guitar but this will definitely be a head turner it has an immense wow factor that you'd expect from a B.C. Rich, I had nothing wrong with mine it was beautiful through and through, a love at first sight kind of deal. It is exactly as you'd see it on the web, no problems with the hardware everything is smooth, solid and deadly, it is probably the sexiest looking low end guitar out there I couldn't find anything that even draws near.

Reliability & Durability — 8
From what I've heard B.C. Rich guitars are pretty solid, the finish won't scratch and it can stand a hard bump easily but don't get any stupid ideas unless you have the money to replace it. It's a V shaped guitar they aren't made to flip around but as far as playing goes let it rip, attack it with all you have it'll just keep asking for more. I bumped it against a hard brick surface a few times and the finish was perfect not a single scratch. It's not overly pointy so you won't chip off piece walking through a doorway - I wouldn't use it in a gig without a backup but that's mainly because I don't aim to toy around with a Floyd Rose when I have a live show going on. Accidents are a reality I would never do a gig without a backup with any guitar. I feel proud of it, it makes me happy and for my first V there could have been nothing better I can see why people who use B.C. Rich guitars grow attached to them, you'll find a specialty in your relationship to it, the kind a warrior has with his sword.

Overall Impression — 9
This is my 5th year playing guitar. I had a choice between this and a Dean Michael Amott Tyrant, a Dean Razorback DB, a B.C. Rich Warlock and Dean's Dave Mustaine Zero X and VMNTX. In my opinion it beats all of them and rivals the Razorback if not better and I'm not speaking expenses wise but strictly performance wise - most of Dean Guitars look attractive arguably but I wouldn't prefer something made in China and the DMT pickups are comparable but not better than the stock pickups on this. Its neck is more comfortable and smoother, it's lighter and great. I'm speaking in the case of lower end guitars - I think the only true rivals it has are the Jackson JS series (not the Dinky) and ESP's LTD EX and AX series. Opinions vary, but I think B.C. Rich has a good thing going for it I've played and tested Schecters and Ibanez guitars which in my opinion are just overpriced for what they offer they were just heavy bulky and honestly didn't do much performance wise they were a bit overrated so I didn't consider them at all in general mostly because I was not satisfied at what they offered in my range, I come from a country where metal music is discouraged and highly unpopular, a country whose capital city has only two guitar shops, a country where I had to pay a bit extra from what the guitar is actually worth because of import duties etc.

In my love for metal and guitar I've come this far, I think it's a perfect match it's better than anything IN IT'S RANGE. B.C. Rich probably makes some of, if not the best low end guitars. Where most companies now manufacture in China and India where standards are easily much much lower this is better through and through. If you're someone in my condition who's strained to get something good and always on a budget I think you should seriously consider B.C. Rich - It's as metal as you'll get on a price, If I were going for higher end guitars I'd say ESP and Jackson beats all but given the price and the features you would hit a jackpot landing a B.C. Rich V. If it were stolen I'd kill to get it back and try hard though if I couldn't I'd probably go for something different just for the sake of variety but I'd mourn that guitar for a month. I would've gotten nothing else if I could somehow reconsider.

I really wish B.C. Rich worked on giving it's stock pickups a heavier, chunkier, modern gain sound rather than the usual '80s and before "generic metal" tones it would also help if they adjusted the guitar a bit within the factory so you don't have to get everything sorted to your standard. My favorite features by far are the Floyd Rose bridge and the fretboard and neck you will play very fast and comfortably so especially from the 5th fret below. After you get the strings and the bridge right it will dish out metal like you want it, the performance will not disappoint but don't expect something out of this world in a price like that. Note that this series was DESIGNED by Kerry King this isn't a signature guitar so don't rant about that. In short you'll be amazed at what you got in a price like that, it will serve as an epic weapon until you're ready to move on to something better - but as far as you are look for something in between 350-400 dollars there isn't anything better. Personally I'd warn anyone to thoroughly check a B.C. Rich guitar through and through before they buy it, there are a lot of copies out there and make sure you buy an Indonesian one rather than a Chinese one.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    B.C. Rich along with Dean and some other counterparts released the lower end models to attract buyers but still you can't get enough juice from this.