Many of you probably read or took part in the “The truth about Blackmachines” thread which I started. It’s had over 13,000 hits, which does still signal significant interest towards these guitars. Personally I got so interested during the discussion that I decided I need to own one. Now I've had one for a while – albeit a Feline one, so I can’t really provide any opinions on Doug’s mythical handiwork. What I can, however, is to give my 2 cents regarding the design and quality of a 2018 Feline built Blackmachine. Well – is this guitar perfect? Yes. For some players. For what I hear for ex. Misha Mansoor doing and appreciating in a guitar, I find this kind of everlasting resonance and clear tonality to be everything they’d want in an electric guitar of this kind. The Doug-designed Blackbird pickups are really something tasty, and I really do like them. The neck sounds kinda stratty, (e.g. Misha’s tone on some of his solos on Juggernaut). Overall they have a very clear sound, but not to the extent of being surgical tools like the Juggernaut. They are clear, but still have plenty of grit to them. Highs even felt a tiny bit lacking at first, but once I recorded some parts, I realized they’re there, they’re just not icepicky or overpronounced at all (which I’m used to). They also have some proper spank to them, which works extremely well in this guitar. The guitar’s core sound is clear, but warm. One guy said that they feel that after playing a Blackmachine, all other guitars feel like they have “latency” to them. I find this description to be quite accurate – I have never played a guitar where you’d get such an immediate, tactile resonant response to the notes played. For the 90s Playstation kids, it’s like the first time you picked up a Dualshock instead of a non-vibrating controller. As much as the Blackmachine’s core design contributes to this, I also I think the barebones natural finish lends itself to boost this effect. I mean, there aren’t layers of paint deadening the tone. It’s feels like it’s made for pure performance. I did a quick resonance test, which you can see here: Talking about the design, it’s quite a beast. A beast that weighs nothing! It’s laughably light. The iconic headstock is really nice, and the fretwork is peerless. The neck-joint is super-tight. QC and all-around craftsmanship is definitely 10/10. I’m really convinced that Jonathan of Feline Guitars is one of the best luthiers out there at the moment. I had heard from a local friend that his work is flawless, and the facts that he’s worked extensively with Doug and one of his team helps Chris from Carillion, are of course references to note. After playing this guitar, I wouldn’t hesitate to order anything from him. Here's a 4K video of the guitar: One thing about the design really bothers me. The jack socket placement. It’s in the middle of the body, next to the strap pin (which ironically I forgot to film). Looks great (kinda stealthy), but you can’t really play it in a classical position on your left leg… and I always like to play like that. This is kind of a deal-breaker for me. When standing up, it’s fine of course, but I play the majority of the time in the studio, seated in front of my PC. This is when songwriting and recording takes place. And if I can’t comfortably use the guitar in that scenario, it’s really not the ideal instrument for me. Another thing to note about the guitar is tuning stability. I remember a friend (who owns many Doug-built Blackmachines) saying that they go out of tune constantly. This B6 went out of tune every now and then, and the neck seems to be very sensitive. It’s hard as a rock and resonates like a tuning fork, but when you apply some pressure to it, you can almost use it like a whammy bar. Ok, that was really exaggerating, but it’s quite sensitive in a way. One part of me enjoyed it a lot, but I kept wondering if you’d ever hit it really badly, it could just snap. I don’t know, now I’m just rambling. I regret to say that I didn’t do a proper photoshoot with it. What I did take, is a 4K video before shipping it away. Wait…. ship it away? Why? Long story short; the day after I bought the guitar, I got hit with significant unexpected expenses. Technically, I could’ve still kept the guitar, but it just didn’t feel logical, or at least I wasn’t comfortable with keeping such a piece of kit in that kind of situation. So I had to move it forward. I would have kept it, if it was the perfect instrument for me. Turns out it isn’t. Only two things keep it from being perfect. I would like more tonal options (piezo, Skervesen WDM or something of the sort) and a different jack placement, so the cable wouldn’t be in the way. I have many other guitars with similar specs that so to say “compete” with this guitar for its place, guitars that fill quite the same needs. Most of them aren’t as nice as this guitar, though, but have other features which I appreciate. It’s an absolute beast of a tool for what it’s made for. I think that everyone who appreciates custom builds and boutique guitars should get to play these sometime, and after packing and shipping it away, I do miss it. I understand the hype now, because there really is a kind of magic to how fluid and effortless these guitars are to play, and how they respond to your playing. I guess when many areas in a guitar (sound, resonance, build quality, comfort, looks) are exceptional and are tied seamlessly together, that’s when it starts to have “magic” or “mojo”. Of course in the case of Blackmachines, it has gone too far thanks to the internet, but it’s not for nothing that these instruments have garnered so much fame for. Also; one thing. I can’t fathom it being any better for what it is. There’s seems to be a cult-like mystique around these guitars, especially those assembled by Doug - but they're still the same design (now talking only about B6s). I mean, have you ever played a perfectly executed PRS Custom 24? A flawless Ibanez Prestige? An exceptionally well-built Martin D-15? Once you’ve played a really fine specimen of a certain type of guitar, that just oozes mojo and inspiration, you wouldn't care if there’s a “better” one, if even possible. This is just my opinion, but I don’t think it’s really possible to make a guitar of this exact design much better than this guitar was made. At least for me, it was 10/10, for what it was. To me personally, it also makes people who try to flip older silver-plated B6s for 5-10K€ look like opportunistic clowns Granted, a brand new one doesn't have microscopic pieces of Doug's skin under the oil coating... but it's NEW... and for half the price! In my opinion, if you want to experience Blackmachine, a new Feline B6 is your ticket.