NGD and Review: Blackat Headless DA7

Discussion in 'Sevenstring Guitars' started by Albake21, Mar 8, 2018.

  1. Albake21

    Albake21 "Just get a used Ibanez Prestige."

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    First things first, specs:

    - Multiscale 27"-25.5"
    - HDA - Headless Modern Doublecut
    - 1 piece mahogany body
    - Radiused master grade burl poplar top with full body bevel
    - Mahogany neck with wenge stripes
    - Zebrawood fretboard
    - Stainless steel frets
    - Blue Luminlay sidedots
    - Glow in the dark blue Cyber Paw inlay
    - Bare Knuckle Juggernaut pickups
    - 3-way toggle with split mode in middle position, volume, tone
    - Black hardware
    - ABM Headless Single Bridges
    - Hipshot low profile headpiece
    - Jim Dunlop Dual Design straploks included
    - Transparent Blurple highgloss top finish
    - Natural satin back and neck
    - Blackat Headles Softcase included

    Initial Thoughts:

    So I first wanted to say that this guitar has many "firsts" for me. It is my first headless, multiscale, and first boutique-grade guitar. The closest second being my Kiesel Aries 6. I have to say my experience communicating with Tomek at Blackat was great. He responded quickly and asnwered all my questions I had. I can't thank him enough for giving me a great deal on this guy. The guitar was fully setup and restrung before being shipped to me. The crazy part was that the guitar was still in tune when it arrived from Poland to Chicago..!

    Fit and Finish:

    I'd like to first point out that this guitar was Blackat's first headless guitar, so it was a prototype. There is one mistake from their CNC machine on the back when drilling the holes for the neck. They filled it in with another piece of Mahogany. Personally this doesn't matter to me at all. If anything it tells a story about the guitar :D I will say though, there are a couple things that bothers me about the guitar. The bridge pickup does not fully aline with the strings, not sure if this is making a difference, but it is something that makes me think if it does. I will go into more in the "Sound" section of my review. The other thing are the pots. The knobs are a little loose and slightly jiggle around. I figured it was just the hipshot o rings that needed to be tightened, but it looks to be the pots themselves. I haven't looked into it much, but I plan on doing that soon and will update with my results. All in all, it doesn't bother me much.

    Besides these points, the guitar is bueatiful... absoultely stunning. The photos do not do justice of what this looks like in person. I was a bit afraid of the purple pickups and gloss finish, but man I woudn't have it any other way. The gloss finish (which is only on the top, satin on the rest of the guitar) absolutely never feels sticky while playing, which is the main reason why I never buy gloss over satin. The body style is now one of my absolute favorites. It's crazy... but not too crazy. A solid middle ground of unique yet some how classy in my eyes. All in all, looks wise, I couldn't be happier with it.

    Sound and Functionality:

    I'd like to start off with the pickups as I stated before, the pickups don't fully align with the strings. This is my first encounter with Bare Knucles, but I have been dying to try them. I've heard so many demos and read so much on the Juggurnaughts, that I feel I definitely understand how they should sound. Yet I feel like they are way different than I thought. This is where the whole string alignment comes. They feel a bit... darker than I feel like they should. I don't know if I'd say muddy, but definitely not as bright as I feel they should be. I definitely enjoy them, but I think I prefer my Titan 7 bridge in my Schecter KM7. By far the best part of them is their clarity especially since I enjoy doing a lot of 6-7 string chords.

    Not sure if the neck should go here, but oh well. The neck amazing... might even be the best 7 string neck I have ever played. For some background, I am SUPER picky about 7 string necks. I need to have a C shape and thinner the better. Blackat fits somewhere in the middle of a C and D shape. It's definitely not flat, but it also is not 100% round like a solid C shape. The "compound asymmetrical neck profile", as stated on their site, is perfect! It's very sublte, but definitely nice to have. It's hard to notice at first, but once I wen't back to a normal neck, I definitely missed it. The neck is super thin, and that's exactly what I like in a 7 string neck. Very small shoulders which again, something I need in a 7 string.

    Multiscale is just perfect. It took no time for me to get used to it. I will 100% buy another multi-scale in the future. I tune my 7 strings to Drop G#/Ab, so having the longer scale length on the low strings is basically a nessecity while having the normal scal length on the treble side makes it so comfortable.

    Closing Thoughts:

    So at the end of the day, do I like the guitar? Absolutely! With that said, I may not keep it... It truley is an amazing instrument. By far the nicest 7 string that I have ever played. It feels and sounds just fantastic. But... I just don't really jell with it like I'd hope I would. When I pick up my $850 Schecter KM7 MKII, creativity just flows everywhere. When I pick up this guy, I jam super hard, but not much creativity comes out. I don't know, it's a bit strange to me. I plan on giving some more time before making any major decisions, but I'm leaning towards trading it. The other problem I have... is it being headless. It just feels too weird to me. I miss having a headstock. I am definitely sold on multi-scale though.

    There is no doubt, this is an amazing instrument. Anyone would be happy with it, no doubt. It feels like a piece of art, like someone put their blood sweat and tears into it. The choice of woods, colors, and hardware is just all around fantastic! Overall I'm still super happy I bought it and had the chance to blindly buy and try a Blackat. I can happily say I'd buy another Blackat in the future.

    Overall, I'd give this guy a 9/10, which it barely misses that extra point. Thanks for reading and enjoy the pictures!

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. Flappydoodle

    Flappydoodle SS.org Regular

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    It looks very, very cool, and the specs are super high end. I hope you got a nice discount, since it was basically a practice build for them, and they even made some mistakes as you mentioned.

    The Juggernauts definitely shouldn't be dark, muddy or anything in that region. That said, the sound might not be totally because of the pickups - I imagine that an all mahogany body AND neck might sound a bit darker than your KM7.
     
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  3. Albake21

    Albake21 "Just get a used Ibanez Prestige."

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    I did get a discount, not sure if it was as good as it should have been considering exactly what you said, but overall I am happy with what I paid. As for the mistakes, like I said, I like to look at them almost like a piece of history about the company. Adds some story to the guitar.

    I was thinking the same thing too about the whole guitar being mahogany. When I say darker, it's definitely not in a bad way by ANY means. I was just a little surprised considering all of the talk about Juggernauts, let alone BKP's, were meant to be very bright.
     
  4. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire gearwhoricus americanus

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    nah the c-pig is pretty dark on the low end and then shrill on the high end. alnico Blackhawks are kind of darker sounding too. Most BKPs aren't super bright, though there are some exceptions (aftermath, painkiller).
    juggs in mahogany definitely have a darker feel, partly because of the low mid bump the juggs have and because mahogany tends to accentuate the low-mids on its own as well. The big plus about putting the juggs in mahogany or other typically "darker" sounding guitars is it smooths out the vocal quality a bit. It's the same thing with the nazgul. I hated that pickup in my swamp ash 8, and really liked the voicing in my all mahogany 8 string.
     
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  5. Albake21

    Albake21 "Just get a used Ibanez Prestige."

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    Well that's definitely good to hear. Thank you for the information! It definitely seems like it comes down to a preference, personally I'm not sure if I like this combo of Juggs with mahogany, but it's by no means bad to my ears.
     
  6. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire gearwhoricus americanus

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    Yeah I really didn't like the juggs' vocal/cocked wah midrange that was super present in my swamp ash 8. It was the same problem I had with the aftermath where there was no way to dial it out, but at least the mahogany helped make them sound tolerable for me til I sold both of them. I get that some people like the juggs but they just didn't have the right sound for me.
     
  7. luislais

    luislais nothing ever happens

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    Awesome guitar! Congrats man!
     
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  8. gujukal

    gujukal SS.org Regular

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    Beautiful guitar! How would you compare this guitar to a Mayones, Skervesen or RAN quality wise?
     
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  9. Albake21

    Albake21 "Just get a used Ibanez Prestige."

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    I can't say as I have never played any of those. But my next goal to play exactly one of those three so once I receive one I'll definitely be making a comparison.
     
  10. gujukal

    gujukal SS.org Regular

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    Too bad your in US or i could have traded my RAN with you :p It's an 8-string though
     
  11. Albake21

    Albake21 "Just get a used Ibanez Prestige."

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    If it was a 7 sting I would have happily traded even with international haha.
     
  12. gujukal

    gujukal SS.org Regular

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    Too bad, you could always just remove the 8th sring ;)
     
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  13. GXPO

    GXPO SS.org Regular

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    Just saw that this is up for sale, but the thread was locked. I thought you were pretty honest in your views about whether you were going to be keeping it or not but I don't make the rules.

    Great looking guitar.
     
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  14. Albake21

    Albake21 "Just get a used Ibanez Prestige."

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    Yup very confused about it. I just wish who ever the mod was actually messaged me first and gave an explanation instead of just shutting it down. I guess it will be back up in a couple weeks. And thank you! If only it wasn't a headless, it would be pretty much perfect.
     
  15. Forkface

    Forkface Feast on this.

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    congrats on the guitar, looks amazing! i dig the purple.
    I agree with you, keep it a bit more time, and even try changing pickups, before you decide to get rid of it. Sometimes it takes a while to get used to stuff, but if you trade it you might later feel like "you didnt give it enough time" or whatever.
    Also i will echo what has been said and state that mahogany sort of need brighter pickups to compensate. My JC is a huge slab of 'hog and it was super dark and spongy with the paf7s (absolutely mindblowing for lead playing, not so much for spiky palm mutes). had to swap them for black winters and adjust my patches on the helix. It was worth it.

    Finally, did they give you any info as to whether they will make it a standard model? given that this was a proto of sorts... i am definitely interested in the shape, i like it more than the strandys haha
     
  16. Albake21

    Albake21 "Just get a used Ibanez Prestige."

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    Thank you! Well considering that I have to give it time now to trade/sell on here I guess I will try to play it more (although I haven't been playing it at all the past few days). I'd consider getting other pickups, but the problem I have is the slant from the multi-scale. I would have to get specially made ones.

    As for it being a prototype, it's not the body shape that was a prototype, it was the first ever headless they have made. The body can already be made in a normal hardtail/headstock shape. It's still called a DA7 while this one is called HDA7 (H for headless). According to their site, you can order this exact guitar even as a headless so it must not be just a prototype shape. I love the shape so much, it's so unique. I would be in heaven if I had just a normal non-headless DA7.
     
  17. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    For some reason I can only see the first photo.

    How far off are the pole pieces? I recommend contacting Elyssian, I think they'd be able to work with you on achieving the tone you want and the angling that looks best. They might even offer you a choice of cool-looking fancy bobbins that look great with that wood grain. I picked up a pair for my seven string and I got them really fast and they were exactly what I requested, in terms of sound. I didn't order anything super fancy, though.

    If you are set on Dimarzio, I don't think that there is an immediate solution, unless you go for a bar magnet or cover the pole pieces or something.
     
  18. Albake21

    Albake21 "Just get a used Ibanez Prestige."

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    Just in case for those who cannot see the pictures, here is a link to the Imgur album: https://imgur.com/a/V8nuX

    It's really not too far off, just a tiny bit. Maybe it's normal, I'm not sure. I can take a better picture of it later when I get home from work. I keep seeing good things about Elyssian pickups, do you happen to know their pricing?
     
  19. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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  20. Albake21

    Albake21 "Just get a used Ibanez Prestige."

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