KKV Kerry King Signature Special review by B.C. Rich

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  • Features: 10
  • Sound: 7
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 7
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 5.8 (26 votes)
B.C. Rich: KKV Kerry King Signature Special

Price paid: $ 500

Purchased from: eBay

Features — 10
This has the same specs as the other signature special series. So a Kahler X-trem, B.C. Rich tuners, bolt on maple neck and a mahogany body. Unlike the warlock though this has two volume knobs to do that killswitch effect or blend the pickups however you want in the middle position. A different paint job and of course a different inlay. I don't have to say much it's a straight up metal oriented guitar in terms of specs that I'd be writing the specs of regardless. 

my favorite feature is the Kahler. Although it's not the same high end kind found on the 1000$+ models this is still a great bridge. It's very user friendly. Gary Kahler did an excellent job explaining his tremolo system. Unlike Floyd Rose it's quicker to re-string. You can put the bridge in practically any tuning without adjusting anything you would on a Floyd Rose. This bridge fine tunes. It has the Floyd Rose locking nut which is a great locking nut and as we know this tremolo goes up and down. One of the most unique features of this bridge is you can adjust the smooth/stiffness of the whammy bar. However to get the most out of this bridge be sure to watch Gary's video on how to properly set the tremolo up and of course there's a few really insightful tips to help keep the Kahler in tune. By the way this Kahler can lock so if you realize tremolos are not your thing down the road you can lock it in seconds with the turn of an allen key. Where as Floyd Roses bring out the inner carpenter in us or we got to have certain useless and overpriced devices like the tremol-no. 

So for it's price a 10. How many other guitars besides Agile have Kahlers for under 1000$ new. There is room to improve but at the same time you'll see real results when you do not like a Walmart guitar.

Sound — 7
The pickups are medium output. Either you're going to love this if you've got a Maxon OD808 or a Tube Screamer to processors or digital VST's you'll do fine. But for those expecting a tone like bloodline or disciple you're going to have to put the gain up to like 7+ which I don't think guitars designed for metal should. With medium output pickups it's more articulate many will argue that they don't get muddy like the BDSM pickups but having plastic no hole covers on passive pickups is a bad idea.  

You can use the wiring to your advantage and blend the pickups in the middle position to get special sounds the Wartribe cannot or do that killswitch effect where your neck volumes at 0 and your bridge volumes at 10 and you go back and forth on the toggle getting that stutter effect. 

With the right strings and picks its a dark and rich sound without sacrificing any tone or sustain that a Floyd Rose would have on this very same guitar. Sound is subjective and I'd feel like an idiot giving everything on this a 10 so a 7 or so because of the plastic covers on the pickups muffling the sound and the medium output. I guess they did this intentionally so when kids put EMG pickups in this guitar it won't be much of a change but there is nothing wrong with the BDSM pickups if you know what you're doing. I guess they look so much like EMG pickups that kids won't care.

Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The finish is durable, the graphic consistent. The guitars about 10 years old when I bought it so I had to do maintenance on it unconditionally. Cleaned the fretboard, did this and that. The Kahler I love how you can adjust each saddle separately, get different directions for the strings and so forth to custom tailor.

However... the strap is in the absolute worst spot ever. I play beyond the 15th fret and when I do so with the factor strap holders the mushroom style I believe they call it dig into your fretting palm. You can swap them to other brands like what fender has as it seems it wouldn't get in the way and they are strap locks too. But besides that I'd have to re-position that strap holder. Other than that I'm yet to find a guitar without flaws that's factory made. The fret works good and everything else is fine but that strap holder is a huge no-no like where they put the 3 way toggle on a Zakk Wylde ZV guitar the half SG half V model where the selectors by your picking forearm.

Reliability & Durability — 7
This guitar would withstand live playing if people knew what they were doing with the Kahler. Solder the windings before the ball ends or use heavy/thick cored strings if you tend to break lots of strings is one tip. The hardware has lasted 10 years so I can see it lasting another 10 easily. I've played a lot of Chinese and Korean B.C. Rich and they are all great guitars for their prices for the metal crowd who are as sick of Les Paul and SG or Super Strats as I am. 

Assuming you put strings on a night before a show like a real musician you could definitely do a set with this guitar. Easily re-tune to other tunings while the singers talking. Quickly re-string if you need to. With some 18:1 Grover Mini tuners I can see this guitar being perfect. That and apparently bass Kahler springs make a difference. The finish is good enough to last and everything is where it should be. 

so a 7 because you'll definitely want better tuners and those springs. 10 would be up there with custom shops and the say NJ Deluxe series B.C. Rich from 2012 that B.C. Rich made when they designed a new high end series at the time.

Overall Impression — 8
This guitar wood combination is used on practically every popular electric guitar style so the right tuning, player and small stuff like pick size can make or break this guitar.

If it was stolen I'd get the higher end V or the 7 string warlock Kerry has. This is a good guitar and I obviously was excited to play it but I've owned 3 or 4 low end and mid ranged Kerry King models so it would be nice to see what the best B.C. Rich has to offer that isn't part of their custom shop for Kerry. The Kahler I love on it, I've made it clear. it's taboo to say I hate the dislike the pickups but I really do. the cheap tuners and import electronics could be swapped out and a better inlay than that ugly KKV but other than that I haven't owned a V in 7 or 8 years so I'm happy. Would I recommend this guitar? absolutely. 

Guitars to compare it to:

  • the Kerry King Signature Special series or whatever warlock with the Kahler
  • boring, lifeless covered V7/V8 Ibanez pickups
  • the shape and feel of a Jackson Pro series neck/frets without the compound radius 
  • average guitar weight 
At the end of the day it's not a perfect guitar, then again find me a production model that is for under 1000$-1500$ new. New tuners, new Kahler springs are a must. The electronics and all are optional. Copper shielding doesn't hurt. You don't need EMG 81/85 pickups to make this guitar sound better but do some research if you plan to make music on it and don't just want to replicate a higher end KKV because what works for Kerry King may not for you.

1 comment sorted by best / new / date

    I have a BC Rich KKV signature special for sale and it's going for $ 325 Call me or email mikevic714@gmail.com 213-802-9610