Charvel Predator

Charvel Predator

Year: 1991

Made In: Japan

Specs: Alder body, maple neck, rosewood fretboard

Electronics: Jackson J90C & J200R humbucking pickups

Controls: Volume, five-way switch

I do love a Superstrat. Aesthetically, they might be too much for many but there is a change taking place. At the moment, there’s a growing appreciation for metal-orientated guitars from the 80’s and ealy 90’s but the prices are still fantastic, so pick them up while the going is good, I say. They’re worth more than their current value, if that makes sense? This Predator fits that bill. It’s a simple enough design but is capable of so, so much more than you’d think on first glance.

First, the neck. A Charvel neck from this era is something to treasure. They’re fast but if, like me, you find the Ibanez Wizard necks too skinny, these could be just what you’re looking for. They feel substantial but not chubby, they allow for fluid lead work but also work well for a regular player who lives down at the lower frets. It’s the kind of neck you can play for hours and hours without fatigue, really a great design.

The basic specification of these is good too, as is the fit and finish. The neck joint allows for good upper fret access. The bridge is a German made Schaller licenced Floyd type, very high quality. The controls seem basic, just a volume pot and a switch but the switch gives you 1) neck in series, 2) neck and bridge (parallel), 3) both full (series), 4) both full (parallel with filter circuit), 5) bridge (series). There’s a lot of very usable tones in there.

Then you must consider the pickups. The J90C is a very nice medium-high output humbucker which isn’t too far away from a JB, which is not a bad thing at all. The double-blade neck pickup is meaty without being weighed down by too much low end, it’s airy but with substance. Consider also that the legendary Abigail Ybarra was winding pickups for Jackson in this era and, at the moment, if you can find one you can pick one of these up for less than a second-hand Mexican Fender and you’ve got a great guitar at a really great price.

You’d be stupid not to have one of these.

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