Price paid: € 532
Purchased from: Thomann
Features — 10
2013 Trans Red made in Korea (from the same factory as Chapman PRS SE, ESP LTD, Schecter etc) B.C. Rich Mockingbird ST. It's the second generation with both a mahogany neck and body, neck-thru construction, quilted maple veneer top. 24, 5/8" scale length (bit shorter than your average Les Paul and a tiny bit longer than a PRS Singlecut 245) with 24 medium jumbo frets on a fantastic ebony fretboard with diamond inlays. The neck is much wider and thinner than a Les Paul neck, it feels more like an Ibanez neck than a Gibson neck. It's like the Wizard II's chubby brother, but I dislike thin necks. Traditional 3+3 B.C. Rich headstock with the script logo and black Grover Super Rotomatic tuners which are the most precise tuners I've ever used. The bridge on the ST is a black Floyd Rose 1000, which is the same thing as an Original Floyd Rose but only made in Korea. As opposed to the first generation ST's which had an OFR made by Ping.
The pickups are Duncan Designed HB-103 pickups, which are Duncan Distortions made in the far east. Down to the control section we find 3 top hat style knobs, 2 volumes, 1 for the bridge and 1 for the neck, a master tone, 3-way pickup selector switch, a chickenhead knob to control the 5-position varitone, 3 mini switches: 2 coil splits, one for the bridge pickup, 1 for the neck pickup and a phase switch. These electronics are very similar to the USA/Moser electronics, but the USA/Moser are active and have an onboard boost and a 6-position varitone, whereas the production line models have a 5-position varitone and a full passive circuit. My model was a B-stock, but it did come with a few extra strings and some allen keys (but not the right one to unlock the locking nut...) and it did not come with a case or gig bag.
Sound — 8
What you might think is that this guitar is a one trick pony, but you'll be so wrong. The extended electronic circuitry makes this one of the most versatile guitars available. With the pickups split it sounds identical to a Telecaster, I compared it with the sound of an actual Tele. It's a very twangy sound, even with a shorter scale lentgh. The clean tones are so rich and beautiful, great for Gilmour sounds or just strumming chords. Good thing too is that the splits are audible even when using a very high gain setting. It also helps to clean up the sound even more when rolling back the volume. The varitone is a nice and audible addition but I don't use it too often, but it does change your sound a bit, which is what it was made for. It does however cut a little volume when switching to any of the other positions, but this volume cut could be used to create a rhythm sound when using high gain or just to clean up the sound even more. The phase switch gives you a nasal sound which is perfect when using both pickups in single coil mode to play funk or to recreate Jimmy Page's sound from "Achilles' Last Stand." I don't play clean with humbuckers so I'll move on to distorted sounds.
As I mentioned earlier, there is an audiable difference between the humbucker and split mode, which makes me able to switch from an Alter Bridge sound to a Hendrix sound by literally a flick of a switch. The pickups have a lot of clarity, even when using too much gain. They are high output pickups so they clearly work for metal and rock, but also for indie and especially ambient! The sound could be a little tighter though and when using a lot of gain with a solid state the pickups can get a little muddy. With the shorter scale length the neck humbucker gives a very soothing fat sound whick sounds amazing whilst soloing. The guitar is not noisy, except when you switch to single coils, then you get a 60-cycle hum but that's normal. Other than that, it fits every possible style, from funk, jazz and ambient to alternative rock and heavy metal and even noisy pornogrind if you want to. With all the switches there is no style of music you couldn't use this guitar for.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Since my guitar had to be shipped over from Germany to the Netherlands it was carried from truck to warehouse to truck over and over again, but surprisingly the only adjustment that had to be done was to level the Floyd Rose with the body. The action, intonation, pickup height and the truss rod were adjusted perfectly. Also the frets weren't sharp and there are no dead fret whatsoever. The only flaw is that the volume pots aren't good. The neck volume cracks a little bit when around 7 but that's not a big deal. The bridge volume however started to cut off the sound when you touched it, which happened to me live when I was playing the "solo" from "R U Mine." I later replaced the pot and now there are no problems anymore. The other electronics work perfectly.
Reliability & Durability — 7
I've used this guitar live a couple times now and apart from the sudden volume cut one time it hadn't let me down. The Floyd on it is a 1000 series which stays in tune perfectly, it even stays in tune when the bridge is not completely aligned with the body. I use strap locks on every guitar I use live so I can't really tell how the original strap buttons were, other than that they were screwed well into the body and that they felt solid. You an really depend on this guitar but you should never play live without a backup, especially when you have a Floyd Rose equipped guitar. So if I need another tuning or if it ever happens, I have my Les Paul as a backup. The finish is surprisingly good, I only have tiny almost invisible scratches on the back of the body because of belts or buttons.
Overall Impression — 9
This guitar suits me perfectly. I play ambient, alternative rock, progressive rock, hard rock and alternative metal, this guitar does everything. I've been playing for almost 5 years now and alongside my Epiphone Les Paul Standard I play it through my Roland Cube 15XL at home (which I will replace with a Blackstar HT-5 with a 2x12 in a couple months), a Peavey Bandit Transtube 112 at rehearsals and sometimes live with a Hook El Captain 34 100W head through a 4x12, which sounds immense. My pedals are a Behringer TU-300, Electro-Harmonix LPB-1, Danelectro Fab Delay and a Behringer DR-600 digital reverb. What I love about this guitar is the neck, which is the best neck I've ever played, the looks, electronics and the ebony fretboard which complete this guitar. What I both like and dislike is the shorter 24, 5/8" scale length; soundwise I like it, but the 23rd and 24th frets aren't very usable. I someone stole this guitar, I'd hunt that person down, get the guitar, make sure (s)he gets a death penalty and sue his/her parents for not using a condom.
Overall, a both classy and aggressive looking, amazing sounding, extremely well playing and versatile guitar for a pretty affordable price. I'd recommend this guitar to everyone. If you like to hear "Damn, that's one very nice looking and sounding guitar!" when you get off stage, then this is the guitar to get.