Caparison is a small guitar maker out of Japan. Most of their guitars are Ibanez style guitars. The creator of the company use to work for Jackson. This is one of their few models that is setup for thicker heavier playing. It is part of their short lived HGS line. HGS stands for heavy gauge strings. I already play with really heavy strings so this guitar is perfect for me out of the box. I cant play to my maximum unless I have a low E string larger than .50, it doesnt matter what the tuning is I just cant play right without anything less. This guitar is setup for thick tone out of the box and this model has some mods. The guitar has a mahogany body with a maple top and a set machogany neck. The neck scale is 24.75. The guitar has 24 jumbo frets on an ebony fretboard free of inlays. This example had a set of EMG 85 pickups swapped in. The controls are simple with a master tone and master volume with a 3 way blade switch. From the factory the guitar comes strung with 12-54 strings. Personally I like the high strings a little lighter but the low strings have perfect tension for me and my style of playing.
Caparisons are known for their great playability. This guitar is no exception. The bridge is moved back a few mm for better intonation at lower tunings. Caparison uses Gotoh hardware all around so everything feels solid. The neck shape is beefy but thin, kind of like the thinner Gibson necks. The heel is nice even though its a set neck it kinda looks like a neck through there are no square edges on the joint, everything is smooth. With no inlays on the fretboard it may be a problem but the side dots on this guitar are super bright so they are impossible to miss. Jumbo frets and ebony feel like you are playing on air, its just you and the strings with this guitar.
A guitar like this with tons of natural tone when you add some super pickups to it the tone is crushing. A setup like this is similar to what the guy from Soilwork used at one point. Angelus with EMG 85's. This setup is like thick on thick. The guitar comes from the factory in Drop B tuning. I am not a huge fan of drop tunings so I just cranked it back up to C. This guitar has some super thick grind. Its like a Les Paul but with super a super action. The 85 in the neck is super smooth for leads. It can get kind of muddy for this setup. This guitars natural tone is not really meant for lead playing. The bridge pickup is where the action is on this guitar. With the 85 in the bridge the tone is super thick and heavy. The 81 has a thinner high end grind sound to it. If you are seeking ultimate clarity the 81 might be better but for me the balls of the 85 is what I like.
These guitars are pretty hard to find because everyone wants them. Everyone wants them for a good reason. They are perfect for modern metal music. They have the same feel as any guitar but hold their composure through much lower tunings. You do not have to switch to a long scale guitar or 7 string with these because they can handle it. If you can afford one and find one these guitars shouldnt be passed up.
This is a Caparison Angelus in Pro finished Trans-Matte Black. Manufactured in 2008, this guitar is the perfect example of why Caparison Guitars have developed a loyal fan base. The Mahogany neck is set into a Mahogany body and capped with a nice, thick Flamed Maple cap. The Ebony fingerboard is perfectly inlaid with Caparison's signature clock inlays that change times for every position. 24 frets and a Graph-tech nut round off the fingerboard, with immaculate fretwork. Tuners are Height-Adjustable-Pole Gotoh Model SG301-01's Moving down the guitar, it is well equipped with two Caparison humbuckers, PH-F in the neck position and PH-R in the bridge. A three way switch and two volume knobs round out the Caparison Passive electronics. The bridge is a thing of beauty. The Schaller 1458 Fixed Bridge offers the fine tuning necessary for subterranean lows and is set back 3 mm to provide added string tension at drop tunings. Example, mine is set up currently in Drop A#, with no buzz, running 10 gauge strings. This is imperative for keeping tension on the 24 3/4" scale length.
This guitar balances perfectly at any height I have tried it. The deep cutaways allow for effortless access to upper frets. Caparison necks are extremely fast, and the pro finish does not gum up on the back of the neck during heavy play. This finish is supposed to enhance the Low-mid proprieties of the guitar, and certainly seems to do just that!
Caparison Pickups are re-knowned for being slightly muddy, with a lot of low-end and not enough top-end clarity. This is a matter of opinion. I have tested this guitar through the following Amplifiers; Soldano SLO, Mesa-Boogie Dual Rectifier, Peavey Ultra 120, Peavey XXX, and a Rocktron Vendetta. The guitar's tone holds true despite the amplifier. High gain is where this guitar shines. I play very heavy music ranging typically from melodic hardrock to progressive metal and this guitar stands up to everything I throw at it. I even had it set up in Standard E and filled in with a local pop-punk band and it held up extremely well.
Caparison's craftsmanship is utterly flawless. This guitar is in a category of beauty all of it's own. I have played nearly every guitar you could name, and still probably own over 100, and the Angelus has become my main axe. Words can not express how well this guitar shines in any genre of music. This axe is definitely worth a look if you are a rocker that wants a PRS Private Stock. I love it and give it two thumbs up! Great value for the price, heck of a lot of guitar, and half the price of a PRS Private stock! I recommend pickup replacement, but that is a matter of opinion.