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Unread 02-09-2009, 05:18 AM   #1
 
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Blackmachine F8 (Big pictures alert)

Doug's been kind enough to lend me his personal guitar for a few weeks. I've played the F8s before, but never got over the initial "holy crap, this thing has 8 strings and crazy frets" stage, so I'm really looking forward to seeing if living with it for a while will inspire me to be creative with an 8 string, or if I'll just find it to be overkill.

Anyway, pics:











(Hard to get steady photos with a point-and-shoot since it's so grey outside)

Right, so spec's are:

Chambered 40 year-old mahogany body
Very thick burl maple top
Madagascar rosewood neck, with ebony fillets
Bubinga sapwood fretboard
Black binding
25.5"-28" fanned scale
Haeussel pickups
Sperzel tuner
Custom 9-84 strings

It's odd because the guitar has been on the site for a couple of years now, and I always thought it looked like the ugly duckling of the lot, but when you see it in person, it's a whole different story. Suddenly it looks much more "unified" as a guitar, the colours are far more organic looking and complement each other beautifully. The burl top in particular has an exceptional 3D-ness to it, and is amazing to look at up close. The sapwood fretboard's two tone look is wicked and very classy without looking showy.

The guitar is set up as I've come to expect from Doug. The action is absolutely on the deck, but somehow doesn't fret out or sound choked. The intonation is spot on, full 8-string chords ring clearly in tune all the way up on the highest frets.
The string spacing is much smaller than on a conventional instrument, which at first is a little strange, but once you get used to it, it actually makes string changes exceptionally easy for both picking and fretting hands. String skipping and sweeping is almost laughably easy. It also means that the neck width is nothing like you'd expect for an 8-string - literally about as wide as the neck of my RG7321. The neck profile is very comfortable, very soft shouldered with a flattened back that become more pronounced the higher up the neck you go. The fretboard radius practically flat.

Bizarrely, the thing that looks craziest about the guitar has had the least impact on my playing - the fanned frets. I'd liken the transition as about as awkward as going from a 25.5" scale guitar to a 24.75" one or vice versa, it feels a bit odd at first, but you soon completely forget. The way the frets are fanned makes chording at the low end extremely comfortable - the frets are angled in exactly the way your fingers fall naturally, and many chord shapes are in fact easier than on a regular six string. Descending through the strings, the graduation of scale is such that you barely notice the increased stretch. As you work up the neck, the fan starts to get more severe, but it has caused me literally no problems whatsoever. The angle of the bridge naturally falls parallel with the angle of your palm, and feels completely intuitive.

Finally, the sound of the thing.. What a ....ing monster. I'm floored by the tone of the thing. It's quite hard to know where to start here.
Play something using top the 6 strings and it sounds exactly as you'd expect a 6 string guitar to, which is quite bizarre at first. I'm sitting here playing along to Jeff Buckley and if you couldn't see what I was using, you'd assume it was a perfectly normal six string. The notes have the midrange that you expect from a standard scale instrument, and have a beautiful sweetness to their tone, while still having a very dynamic and fast attack. The clarity is crazy, it's very much like a B2 in the higher registers, in fact, perhaps with BKPs in it'd sound pretty much identical.
As you work down the strings, you can hear the midrange pulling back a tad, and a ferocious low end clarity creeping in. By the time you get to the 8th string the thing roars like nothing else I've come across, so much brutality and fullness, but the fundamental rings through perfectly. At the moment I'm really enjoying drop E tuning, and it's just silly how clear powerchords on the lowest strings still sound fantastic. Even with the neck pickup there's no wooliness, just a woodier tone that sounds extremely cool.
Clean, the low strings sound very jazzy and smooth - you really could work on accompanying chordal work with basslines, like an acoustic player might. Lots of scope for creativity here.

I've only picked it up yesterday evening, so I've barely started messing with the possiblities, and I'm still getting to grips with having so many strings under my fingers, but I'm extremely excited and refreshed by the experience. I have a feeling I will miss this a hell of a lot when I have to return it.

Just as a footnote, this isn't my guitar, so I'm not trying to justify money spent here or anything. There is no hidden agenda, just trying to spread the work about a fantastic (in my opinion) instrument.

If anyone wants particular pictures of it from certain angles or whatever, just say so and I'll try to take some more.
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Unread 02-09-2009, 05:27 AM   #2
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ShadyDavey is pretty damn metal.ShadyDavey is pretty damn metal.ShadyDavey is pretty damn metal.ShadyDavey is pretty damn metal.ShadyDavey is pretty damn metal.ShadyDavey is pretty damn metal.ShadyDavey is pretty damn metal.ShadyDavey is pretty damn metal.
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Its a thing of beauty to be sure - the oddness of the fanned frets and pickup angles is a little suprising at first, but clearly once you get beyond those concerns its made that way for a reason.

Another guitar to go on the list, even tho I've never played an 8
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Unread 02-09-2009, 05:32 AM   #3
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thanks for the informative review

i already find it looks much nicer on your pics than on what i've seen so far.

you should do some clips if you find the time
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Unread 02-09-2009, 05:43 AM   #4
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hufschmid is so metal, he bleeds rust.hufschmid is so metal, he bleeds rust.hufschmid is so metal, he bleeds rust.hufschmid is so metal, he bleeds rust.hufschmid is so metal, he bleeds rust.hufschmid is so metal, he bleeds rust.hufschmid is so metal, he bleeds rust.hufschmid is so metal, he bleeds rust.hufschmid is so metal, he bleeds rust.hufschmid is so metal, he bleeds rust.hufschmid is so metal, he bleeds rust.hufschmid is so metal, he bleeds rust.hufschmid is so metal, he bleeds rust.
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Very beautiful Guitar
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Unread 02-09-2009, 06:00 AM   #5
 
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-Nolly- can play Erotomania with his toes.-Nolly- can play Erotomania with his toes.-Nolly- can play Erotomania with his toes.-Nolly- can play Erotomania with his toes.-Nolly- can play Erotomania with his toes.-Nolly- can play Erotomania with his toes.-Nolly- can play Erotomania with his toes.-Nolly- can play Erotomania with his toes.-Nolly- can play Erotomania with his toes.-Nolly- can play Erotomania with his toes.-Nolly- can play Erotomania with his toes.-Nolly- can play Erotomania with his toes.-Nolly- can play Erotomania with his toes.
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Cheers guys!

I'll have this for a little bit, so I should definitely find time to make a clip/video or two. First I want to get more used to having 8 strings under my hands though!
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Unread 02-09-2009, 06:03 AM   #6
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I've seen pics of it before, but it's still a damn nice lookin' axe.

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Unread 02-09-2009, 06:19 AM   #7
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Ah yeah you mentioned this, looks phenominal, cant wait for clips/vids.

The mirror which flatters not....
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Unread 02-09-2009, 06:33 AM   #8
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I've played that thing a few times and could never work it out...!! It always sounded incredible through the VH4, though.

I think that it was originally built as a demo piece (along with the spalt B2 from the website) for the 2007 LGS, certainly that was where I had a play with it first.

Insane thing.

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Unread 02-09-2009, 06:35 AM   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hairychris View Post
I've played that thing a few times and could never work it out...!! It always sounded incredible through the VH4, though.

I think that it was originally built as a demo piece (along with the spalt B2 from the website) for the 2007 LGS, certainly that was where I had a play with it first.

Insane thing.
Yeah that's right, it was a showpiece for the LGS, and it does sound unholy with the VH4.
I got to check out the fretboard for your B7, which looked fantastic. He wouldn't show me the body, said it was a surprise hahah. Apparently might be done by the end of the week, you must be excited!
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Unread 02-09-2009, 06:58 AM   #10
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Hi Nolly,

This instrument looks fabulous!! I am waiting for the delivery of a B8, hopefully during february and am extremely curious about the playability and the sound of these instruments.
I hope you will have a lot of fun with this guitar, even if its only for a restricted period of time.
As you offered to do more pics, would it be possible to have a close up of the headstock? I wonder how the tuning mechanics look in relation to the headstock, as this part of the guitar was the first that catched my eye from an esthetical point of view.

Thanks
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Unread 02-09-2009, 07:02 AM   #11
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That is one bad ass guitar!

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Unread 02-09-2009, 07:02 AM   #12
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I have always loved that guitar in every picture that I have seen it in, but it looks even better in these.
Please do make some clips/vids
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Unread 02-09-2009, 07:05 AM   #13
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Oh my god... that guitar is just beautiful So... do you want to, like, send it to me? In Australia? I... um... promise you'll get it back?...
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Unread 02-09-2009, 07:13 AM   #14
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Good review - clearly passionate about your BM's But from what I've seen, with good reason! Really looking forward to hearing what you can do with it.

And by looking forward to, I mean dreading.

Because suddenly mine will suck!

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Unread 02-09-2009, 07:30 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -Nolly- View Post
Yeah that's right, it was a showpiece for the LGS, and it does sound unholy with the VH4.
I got to check out the fretboard for your B7, which looked fantastic. He wouldn't show me the body, said it was a surprise hahah. Apparently might be done by the end of the week, you must be excited!
Aaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh!!! WIN!!!!

I smell a NGD.

Cheers Nolly, I'm excited now!

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Unread 02-09-2009, 07:36 AM   #16
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Good man, welcome to the F8 Brotherhood

Beautiful guitar, almost exactly the same as mine although the bridge is different. You should seriously consider buying it.

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Unread 02-09-2009, 09:21 AM   #17
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Fanned frets are the only way to go when you get into the 8 string+ realm. I'm sure it's an amazing player.
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Unread 02-09-2009, 09:29 AM   #18
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That is radically awesome. I can only imagine the sound to be the same. Thanks for sharing.
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Unread 02-09-2009, 09:38 AM   #19
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That burl top is amazing.

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Unread 02-09-2009, 09:47 AM   #20
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....ing hell that thing looks sweet!
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Unread 02-09-2009, 12:02 PM   #21
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looks nice man love the look it has
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Unread 02-09-2009, 12:23 PM   #22
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whoah!

i do love the blackamchine look!

what strings do you have on there? and how is the tension in drop E?

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Unread 02-09-2009, 12:30 PM   #23
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That is wicked.
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Unread 02-09-2009, 12:35 PM   #24
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I do not envy you having to give that back, haha.
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Unread 02-09-2009, 12:36 PM   #25
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Ooooooooo pretty Hows do the fanned frets work out for string bends? For some reason I always imagined you wouldnt be able to bend properly all the way up the neck...?

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