Finally, instead of being a clone of my Blast 666, itself being a variation of the Blast "series" (see my review on those two guitars) is a variation of the Blast "Black Maple": the neck is made of flamed maple, oiled, translucent black dyed, and H/S pickups configuration.
Since about 2005, I had in mind to have two almost Siamese twin guitars, with fixed bridge, one with EMGs, the other with a sustainer and something other than EMGs. Yes!
This project was frozen for a lot of reasons, but then, about a year ago, we gave it a go again.
When the Blast model came out, it was decided, I'd get twin Blasts, and nothing
-1 piece African mahogany body, with a rather very cool shape, sizing roughly like a Washburn N4.
-Black finish-dyed, waxed and oiled.
-Top notch ergonomics and body contour (heel carved for easy access to the upper frets, tummy and forearm cut).
-1 piece bolt on flame maple neck, with two carbon fiber rods, two way adjustable trussrod, volute reinforcement.
-Neck in see through black finish and oiled: ultra comfortable, nothing can compare to the outstanding feel of the wood. And this see through black finish is rather unusual, though definitely cool, on a neck!
-Thick ebony heel, this is uncommon too, and soooo cool!
-Thick ebony board, round fretboard end.
-Scale 25''1 / 2.
- Electronics back cover in mahogany, closing with magnets: farewell screwdriver to change batteries!
-Medium jumbo frets with hidden feet (that's attention to details!).
-Grover 406BC locking tuners.
-Fixed Hipshot.125 string through bridge.
-SP Custom hand wound Chaosland 2.5 bridge, Fernandes Sustainer FSK-401 neck.
-One volume knob ,one 3 way toggle switch, placed further away from the bridge, and the Sustainer controls: intensity pot, on off switch and mode selector switch.
-Flushmount Dunlop Straplok and output jack.
-Metal pickup rings.
-Graphtech Tusq nut.
-Luminlay side dots (it's cool, it glows in the dark).
-"JG667"carved at the back of the headstock, and filled with padauk, the little goodie PM made!
Plenty of challenges for PM for this guitar.
- I had in mind a replica of Jackson / Caparison. PM managed to convince me it was better to get one of his own model, and I must admit the Blast looks gorgeous in any way.! This design is gorgeous, PMC has given a real personality to his instruments.
- Have a no thrills though classy look: Success!
- Have flawless ergonomics: Success!
- Have a comfortable neck, which immediate handling: Success!
- Slap all the electronics, and there’s a lot with the sustainer, and the battery in a standard electronic route, leaving the knobs quite away from the bridge,
so that everything falls to hand, but without interfering with my right hand
when playing. I hate when controls are too close to the bridge: Success !
For this section, I'll do a copy paste of my review of its twin, the 666. Well yes, they're both Blast!
The neck is to die for: immediate handling, no adaptation in sight. That's superb job. Flat without excess, neither too thick nor too flat.
An incredible compromise, far from the Ibanez Wizard ruler, far from Gibson's log. A bit like my good old Lag (I can blame them for a few things, still the comfort of their necks is exceptional),Washburn N4, or USA Jackson (not the horrible MIJ rulers like the DK2).
The ergonomics are flawless: between the bevels, contours, the flat bridge, knobs are not stupidly too close to the bridge, there's no mistake here.
The guitar is well balanced, with a rather small body (a bit like the Washburn N4, the ESP Horizon). But rather thick (that's for the good vibes!)
In short, well balanced, flawless ergonomics, incredible woods, you literally become one with the guitar, I had not felt this way since ... wow ... in fact, I never felt that with a guitar!
That's it, I'm just über satisfied and happy with my Blast! I dig my Blast!
So there is the difference between my Blast 666 and my Blast! And it was the idea :o)
Currently, I play on a Fractal Audio Axe Fx Ultra (which replaces with no regrets a Engl E570 and a floor full of pedals), either straight into Fostex PM-0.5 mkII monitors or plugged into a VHT / Fryette 2/50/2 and a VHT / Fryette at Bottom 2x12. Holly cow, what a sound!
The 666 and 667 differ from the wood used for the necks (padauk vs maple) and the pickups.
Where I am on a familiar ground with the 666, its EMGs, the 667 was a little unknown.
SP Custom Chaosland 2.5 is an excellent surprise. A revelation.
I've had (and sometimes suffered) a whole lot of passive pickups. To always go back to EMG.
Not this time! SP Custom know their job! Oooh yes they do!
This 2.5 is the same as the one installed on Scarve's axeman's Blast (yes, I am a groupie).
Output level is rather high (more than a EMG 81)!
On PM’s Bogner Extasy, the Chaosland had such a high output the clean channel crunched, where the EMG passed without difficulty. On my Fractal, it remains clean (ok, I moved the Chaosland down in its route to have less output too).
The Chaosland is absolutely organic, singing, where the 81 give hand, even in 18v. Harmonics all the way, you get artificial harmonics very easily, way more easily than with my usual EMGs!!! This pickup is just awesome!
Its clean is ok, though you fell it just want to bark in high gain, but, again, on my Fractal, it works well.
In crunch, we feel that the pickup is at ease. Organic, singing, while remaining sharp.
In heavy distortion, omfg! I am totally conquered! Still, the Chaosland is not as sharp as the EMG 81. Still, the Chaosland owns the 81 on all other domains.
To the point that I’m going to replace all my axes equipped with EMGs by SP Custom pickups! Oooh yes!!
I can not believe I just said that ...
Now the FSK-401 sustainer. As a simple single coil, it is not as bad as I expected. This is not best single coil ever, far from it, there are way tastier single coils on the market. And yet it is obvious that I'm not a reference in single coils.
But it is still usable. An attack that’s typical of single coil, with no awful hum. It suits me, although I always grin when I listen to a good old Duncan SSL1 for instance, or most Kinman.
Ok I’m just learning how to use the sustainer!
So for now, either I'm playing with larsen (5th harmonic) on demand, or I am experimenting pretty funny sounds using my Fractal’s presets, giving eerie atmospheres, synth like sounds, etc. Uber funny! But I am far from mastering the sustainer!
Oooh well, I can't say anything else. I dig this guitar!
A simple guitar, yet beautifully done, full of little details (like the gorgeous flamed maple neck with its ebony heel, black is beautiful!).
Hyper selected woods and rich, without frills.
The feel of the wood, that you can't have on any mass production guitar.
The body plank come from the same timber as body of the Blast made for Scarve's guitarist, Patrick, my idol and a cool mate!
PM's follow up, with an impressive package of pictures, throughout the creation of my guitars, the visits to the workshop, PM's warmth and friendliness, and those incredible BBQs at PM, duck breast grilled on maple and mahogany embers! (it's an option hey :o) ).
Wow, exceptional moments, to end up with an equally exceptional guitar!
Well I got to go playing with my guitar now!
I want more PMC now!