Speed V Flametop Review

manufacturer: B.C. Rich date: 09/25/2009 category: Electric Guitars
B.C. Rich: Speed V Flametop
This guitar is definatly a metal machine for those who need a change from the generic shapes of strats and superstrats.
 Sound: 9
 Overall Impression: 8
 Reliability & Durability: 7
 Action, Fit & Finish: 7
 Features: 8
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
review (1) 27 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 7.8
Speed V Flametop Reviewed by: EpiExplorer, on september 25, 2009
3 of 4 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 340

Purchased from: GAK.co.uk

Features: I've only had it for about 2 weeks, but I feel, I just have to tell everyone about it. Main Specs are: 24 frets Diamond inlays 2 BDSM B.C.Rich passive humbucker pickups One tone knob One Volume knob 3 way selector Switch Thru-body string setup B.C.Richs famous Invisi-bolt neck construction B.C.Rich Die cast tuners (non-locking) Black hardware B.C.Rich Widow headstock Its a recognisable standout of a guitar because of the iconic V shape. I'm a bit confused about when it was made, either 2000 or 2008 because the serial numbers are SO confusing. It was, slightly unfortunately, made in China, though its not tacky or anything, just a few little imperfections here and there. Its made of mahogany, and is exceedingly light considering that. It weighs almost nothing at all and is very solidly built. It has an ebony fretboard, which is very very smooth. The factory strings were basic 42-9 gauge and I've just replaced them with Ernie Ball titanium slinkys 46-10. In the way of accesories, I got nothing, but that was due to a limited budget. I would've been able to get a coffin style case for it for another 60 but sadly, I'd reached my budget. The neck is something of interest, because it is nearly as wide as a Fender, but as easy and fast as a gibson/epiphone neck. its almost perfectly balanced too and the frets are easily accessable. So, what we have at the moment is a promising, simple but well designed axe. // 8

Sound: My style revolves around 80's thrash to modern day melodic death metal. While this guitar is a perfect fit, it has a slight lacking in higher E string tone. But its very very slight, I honestly couldnt tell the difference between this Speed V and a (Gibson) Flying V. That said however, the main sound is a bit mix'n'match. Theres some Jackson here and there, a large chunk of Gibson and some hints of PRS and Dean. The sound is not like a deep, bassy sound like most mahogany guitars, its pretty bright infact, particularly with the neck pickup, though low tunings do its reputation justice too, sounds nice and crunchy. I'm using a Roland Microcube and a Peavey Vypyr 45w (bought with the guitar) with a Boss ML-2 distortion pedal at times. As with most passive pickups, even with the gain set to 11, theres no background fuzz. The tonal range is very limited but the sound is unique and perfect for my taste. It has a very domininant Slayer sound for the neck pickup, and a bassy Iron Maiden sound for the bridge pickup. Overall an almost perfect guitar sound. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: Well, even after just two weeks, you notice the flaws of it being made in china. The neck itself is embedded deep into the guitar, and thats great because it improves the sound, but the wood for the body hasn't been fitted properly, so there's a 5th of a millimeter gap between the 24th fret and the body of the guitar which I can slide a peice of paper through. It doesn't make much difference, but it niggles away at you and then you notice other things. The strap locks are rubbish, even when standing still, you might have your strap sliding off. And one of the main annoyances is that for the 3rd string, theres is some very very irritating fret buzz. Though its apparently easliy rectified, it is still annoying. And the last thing thats a problem is that the neck has a reversed headstock shape imbeded into the body. Though it looks awesome, even with the giant B.C.Rich signiture on the back, it hasn't been fully screwed in, so the neck is actually poking out of the back by about another 5th of a millimeter. Even though these problems maybe small, it does make you feel a little let down and a little cheapened. Even through all this though, its pretty well made and that flame design is very well done. Good enough for me. // 7

Reliability & Durability: B.C.Riches are notorious for having the spiky bits come off, and I'm always cautious about the headtsock. The body itself seems to be a bit on the soft side too because of the slightly thin construction so always be wary of swinging it about. The hardware is very good, though the paint is a little bit thin on the bridge. The strap buttons, as mentioned, stay there, but they are almost useless. Its a bigger problem than my Epiphone Explorer Gothic, just letting it lean forward makes the strap ping right off. So strap locks are in order. As the wood is natural and only has a light laquer finish, its not going to wear down any time soon. For gigs, I would use this V for C# to E Standard tuning, and my Explorer for C - B tuning. SO, I'd say, its solid, but still, better keep the receipt. // 7

Overall Impression: For my style, its a perfect match. The cleans are pretty good, the main overdrive being immense. I've been playing for about 2.5-3 years, and owned 5 guitars, excluding this. This is definatly the hot spot for number 1, maybe shadowed just a little by my Explorer. I use them through basic amps at the moment, as I'm not in a band at the moment so I have no need for large amps yet. Its probably enthusiastic buyers syndrome making me type this, but I love it. its near-perfect and is almost all I want from a guitar. If it was stolen, well, I wouldnt know how to get it back apart from calling the rozzers, but I'd gladly and hastefully buy another one. Pros: -its light -sounds brilliant -easy to play -looks amazing -simple but special Cons: -lack of variety in the sounds -slight cheapness -slightly fragile If anything, my most favorite bit is its lightness, you could hold it in one hand for an hour by one of the V peices and not have a sore arm. This is comparable to other V shaped guitars like the Jackson KVX10, the ESP LTD V200 and the Epiphone Flying V. This dominates them all in sound and looks, though I've tested the Jackson and the Epiphone and they are slightly easier to play, plus the Jackson has a different and more unique sound (I prefer the Rich though). If anything, I wish it had another volume knob for variety in the pickups and also wish it had better, tighter strap locks! The slight cheapness is forgivable and forgettable I guess, but still, it would be better to have it as well made as an Ibanez or PRS. Overall then, this guitar is definatly a metal machine for those Who need a change from the generic shapes of strats and superstrats. I love it, and I am sure you could love it too. (just to say again, I am head over heals with it, so mind the over enthusiastic remarks). // 8

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