Arkane ST500 review by Lag

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.2 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.3 (3 votes)
Lag: Arkane ST500

Price paid: £ 280

Purchased from: Ebay

Sound — 10
I am a hard rock/heavy metal guitarist, but me style of music means that I often stray into other genres regularly, which means I can't use a guitar that's a one trick pony. This guitar suits me perfectly. As I said earlier, my guitar has been modified to include active pickups rather than the passives, so it obviously will have a darker sound than the guitar that you will pick up if you see one in a shop. I have heard this guitar with it's original pickups and I can safely say that it was a warm rhythm pickup, a very sharp sounding treble pickup which provides very controllable feedback, and to be honest, most of the overall tone of the guitar has been preserved with the pickups I have installed now. I would say that the neck pickup is slightly thicker sounding than the treble pickup, but this is true for virtually every guitar available, as the neck pickup receives more bass frequency sounds. I am using it with a Blackstar HT-40 and a Boss ME-50 muli-effects board. It gives me all the sounds I need from it including Joe Satriani's signature satch squeal, even though he uses custom made Ibanez guitars. I feel that this guitar actually has far less noise than a lot of guitars out there. The biggest plus to my mind is that the difference between the neck pickup and bridge pickup us very noticeable; the neck pickup makes the guitar sound throaty and more like a Stratocaster, whereas the bridge pickup makes it sound more sharp and aggressive like an RG. I would say that compared to a Schecter V-1 Hellraiser, this guitar is more smooth sounding, more controllable in terms of feedback, and has a better neck pickup tone in comparison. I have owned both guitars and used both in performances with bands to expose them to the added problems of live playing.

Overall Impression — 9
My overall impression is that this is a guitar that will most likely be wrongly overlooked because it doesn't have a famous name stamped on it, but I really feel that this guitar beats a lot of other guitars in it's price range. Considering that they would cost 710 when new, that's a lot cheaper than a decent Gibson Les Paul, which would cost you over 500 more brand new, and also much cheaper than it's Fender equivalents as well. If you are going to buy a new guitar and you want one with a tremolo system. Try this first, and you might just save yourself half a grand. Negatives: Design with bolt on neck and hollow compartment for the floyd rose system means it doesn't sound as thick as some other guitars. Positives: Tremolo system is reliable and stays in tune well if set up properly. Neck is very playable with cutaways allowing easy access to higher frets. Guitar is noticeably lighter than some other guitars of similar design. Pickups when new are very easy to control feedback with.

Reliability & Durability — 9
I have played this guitar through my equipment at live volume and it has stood up to it very well. No crackling or cutting out that would indicate a problem with connections inside the guitar, and the strap buttons feel very solid to me. The hardware is relatively new, but seems like it will last for a long time, as there isn't even the slightest hint of the paint fading yet. I never gig without a backup. If you get this with passive pickups you might be able to get away with it, but with active pickups that reply on battery power, a backup is a must. If you are only able to bring one guitar then this guitar can certainly hold it's own. Floyd rose bridges can be tricky to get used to but I would wholeheartedly recommend this guitar to those who use this style of bridge.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The action was set really well on this guitar, allowing for enough movement of the bridge to both raise and lower the pitch of the notes without the strings hitting the fret-board. The pickups were not the original ones, so I can't say how well the factory adjusted ones were set up, but Mine were set up pretty well. The whole thing seems well put together, nothing apparently loose or malfunctioning. I can't see anything that would make me say stop other than the floyd rose style bridge. Because of the way it works on tension, when one string breaks, all the other go out of tune, meaning it's impossible to carry on playing the instrument. This is true of all guitars with this setup however, and not specific to this guitar. In terms of how it feels to play, all the frets feel accessible, the neck is a nice 'C' shape feeling neck which makes string bending nice and smooth, large frets which make playing even easier and there doesn't seem to be much trouble with higher notes either as the nice deep cutaways allow you to really get you hands all over this instrument. Feel-wise it's somewhere in-between an Ibanez RG and a Gibson SG, but has a slightly narrower neck.

Features — 9
Okay, first things first, the price I paid is not respective of this guitar at all. The thing is, because Lag guitars are not a well known as say Gibson or Ibanez, they don't hold their value as well as other makes, but they are very good quality instruments. This guitar was made in 2010, I'm not sure where but it is very solid construction. Laminated top, jet black colour, rosewood fingerboard sitting on top of a bolt on neck. Super-strat style body, passive pickups, floyd rose bridge (the floyd rose original), One master tone and one master volume and the pickups are coil-tappable. The guitar, being a floyd-rose fitted guitar, has locking nuts at the top of the neck, and comes with the alan keys required along with a case. I honestly can't tell you much about the pickups this guitar comes with, as my guitar was modified by the previous owner to have different pickups installed. On the whole, this guitar is built for the heavy metal and hard rock enthusiast rather than say a blues or jazz player, but I can safely say that in terms of the quality of sound from this guitar, it's certainly capable of being used for these styles. Don't get me wrong, it's no Fender telecaster, but it certainly better at getting these styles down more convincingly than many 'metal-style' guitars.

5 comments sorted by best / new / date

    That is a steal at 280 I've been gassing over the purple version of this guitar. is the top a veneer, or a proper flamed maple top?
    That is a steal! I have had my Arkane 500ST for about 1,5 years now and ik cost me 800 euros at the time (which I already found a great price since they normally cost just shy of 1000 euros).
    That is a steal at 280 I've been gassing over the purple version of this guitar. is the top a veneer, or a proper flamed maple top?
    I have the purple version of this guitar and I can highly recommend you to get one if you can. As for the top it is a proper flamed maple top. Oh and for anyone wondering the guitar comes standard with Seymour Duncan's, a TB-6 in the bridge and a SH-PG1 in the neck.
    That is a steal at 280 I've been gassing over the purple version of this guitar. is the top a veneer, or a proper flamed maple top?
    It's a proper flamed maple top, and as Killswitch097 said, it comes with a very nice pair of seymour duncans when new. Even though it pains me to say it as an avid fan of Ibanez guitars, I would recommend this before some of their prestige guitars. This when new would cost about 800 euros (I managed to get it really cheap), but an Ibanez prestige guitar with a set of pickups that are decent would cost you at least 300 more. I honestly can't see myself selling it any time soon, because I honestly don't think there's a guitar better than this for the same price if you want a floyd rose bridge.