Mod Review: Jericho Avenger 7 String

Discussion in 'Guitar Reviews' started by eaeolian, Apr 29, 2014.

  1. eaeolian

    eaeolian Pictures of guitars I don't even own anymore! Super Moderator

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    Dave at Jericho Guitars was nice enough to send me an Avenger 7 string to review for all of you here at Sevenstring.org. Jericho is a new U.S.-based company specializing in 27” scale guitars, and frankly I’d never heard of it before. The specs on the site (Jericho Guitars | Long-scale Electric Guitars) were pretty impressive, though, especially at the listed on-line price of $899.00US. All the ideas seemed good - good hardware, good pickups, no frills - so I was looking forward to checking out the execution. After some NAMM-related delays (which happens to literally every instrument company in January/February), and some delays on my own end with earning a living stepping on my sit-down-and-play-with-a-guitar time, I can finally tell you what I think.

    After taking a while to acclimate and then unpack - the packing job was excellent, so it took a while - my initial impression of the Avenger was somewhat unexpected: The guitar is VERY light, especially for having a maple neck with a mahogany body. From the my discussion with Dave over his goals for the instrument, the very pretty finish and hardware were no surprise. The neck is a little bigger than I expected, but a nice playable shape. The unplugged tone was deep, resonant and full. Once I had some time to sit with it, I found it to be a fun guitar to play, very comfortable and with good tone, as you’ll see popping up frequently in discussion of the specifics.

    (Note: I used the “stock” pic from Jericho in this post because a.) I’m a rotten photographer and b.) honestly, the review guitar looks EXACTLY like the stock pics. Check them out here.)

    Neck:

    The very first thing you notice about the set-in 3 piece maple neck is the unbound ebony board with very nicely-done pearloid block inlays. This contributes to the overall sharp look of the guitar. The fretwork on all 22 frets is very nice - no sharp edges, and the frets are uniform and smooth. The fret shaping is good, if a little flatter on the top than I’m used to, and the frets are nice and big. No issues with dead spots or buzzing frets. The painted back is not sticky. Standing up to play it on a strap, the side dots are nicely visible and evenly painted (I’ve seen these all over the place on too many guitars lately). The fretboard edges are comfortable and well-finished, and don’t snag the insides of your fingers when you have small hands like I do. The neck has a “big D”-ish shape, but the shoulders are not too hard nor is the back too flat, so it’s comfortable. The tuners are solid, though non-locking, but there were minimal tuning issues thanks to the well-cut Tusq nut and the quite straight string pull on the headstock. The only real negative I can report is that the neck heel block is larger than on competing guitars, and 22nd fret access is somewhat awkward to to cutaway shape and heel location.

    Body:

    The test guitar has a beautiful gloss white top and headstock face with a black back and chrome hardware - very visually arresting against the ebony board. Paint edges are on par for the price range - the edge where the black back hits the white top wavers slightly at a few of the more compound curves, but is as good or better than similar guitars at this price point. The shape is comfortable and reasonably well balanced - a take on the a more symmetric Junior-type shape rather than the more common hard-radius super Strat or RG type you usually see. The guitar is so light that there’s a little neck dive, but nothing that can’t be handled with a grippy leather strap.
    Arm position is very “classic”, with forearm on body edge and the Tonepros Tune-o-matic up high, giving plenty of clearance. It’s nice to see some angles in the neck and headstock instead of following the current trend of trying to flatten the entire guitar out as much as possible. The neck pickup (Duncan Full Shred 7) is in the standard neck pickup position right at the bottom of the fretboard. The bridge pickup (Duncan Pegasus) is quite a distance off of the bridge, but not far enough forward to interfere with picking. The controls are a fairly standard volume and tone with a 3-way blade, which all worked fine, though if you’re going to use a blade switch in a two humbucker guitar I usually prefer to see a 5-way with coil splitting in the 2 & 4 positions. That’s a minor niggle that’s easily corrected if a player wants to go that route, though. Wiring was solid and neat, and the knobs were out of the way of the picking hand but still easily reachable.

    Playability:

    Bends are smooth and easy, hand and arm positions are comfortable. The 27” scale takes a little getting used to as the tension is definitely different than a 25.5”, but it wasn’t difficult to handle in most cases. Playing fast was slightly entertaining (i.e., a lot of smacked frets) until I got used to the slightly longer distances between frets. Despite the neck being a size and shape I’m not used to (I generally play Soloists, as - full disclosure - I’m a Jackson endorser), I had no issues with comfort after a few minutes of adjustment. I also prefer my hand up off the body of the guitar in the classic tune-o-matic/non-recessed Floyd style, and this guitar fit that to a “T”.

    Tone:

    Unplugged, this guitar is insanely resonant, especially compared to most of the other guitars I’ve played in its price range. In my experience, a good-sounding resonant unplugged sound generally means the guitar will sound good plugged in, and this is no exception. It’s got a deep, dark tonality that helps even out some of the “piano-like” qualities you can get out of the B, E, and A strings on 27” scale guitars. It’s almost like an all-mahogany guitar in that regard, deep but still punchy. In Bb (standard tuning for most of what I do), the low strings remained clear and defined but rich and, well, smooth, for lack of a better term. The pickups really compliment the guitar, with the Full Shred neck (which I have previous experience with) having enough punch to keep notes from being mushy during fast passages but not losing body while playing legato. The Pegasus bridge pickup was a whole other beast. This is my first encounter with one, and I came away very impressed - smooth, well balanced, and clear. It’s got a punchy midrange like the Duncan JB does, but with no high-end trash or low-end mush. It handled tuning down to Ab with no issues, staying clear and focused and very “musical” through pretty much everything I threw at it. Overall, it’s an excellent choice for this guitar.

    Testing it at a Division rehearsal - playing metal through a Triple Recto - I sat under the other guitarist’s 27” KXK (which is maple/alder and quite bright) and Stiletto combination, and blended very well without being swallowed. Solos were thick and meaty, yet with still enough punch to cut through. Rhythms were nothing short of a gut punch with my usual settings. It’s a very different tone from my usual guitars, but quite good in this setting.

    Testing it in my cover band playing a lot of “radio rock” from the last 40 years, the guitar was even more of a surprise, being quite versatile. The tones were very useable in clean, low gain, and mid-gain “classic rock” settings, and playing on the neck PU with the tone rolled off even gave a passable jazz tone. This is not a one-trick pony in the slightest - you could use this guitar for almost any style of music with no problems, and it sat quite well with the other guitarists’ tones.

    Recording some demo tracks with the guitar also proved it to be quite versatile - clean tones were rich and full, especially in the middle position, and high-gain rhythms and solos continued the deep and punchy theme, sitting very well with other guitars in a mix and adding girth without stepping on the bass frequencies.

    Conclusion:

    This is one of the best guitars I’ve played in this price range in terms of tone, playability and build quality - in fact, it has the best tone of anything I’ve played at this price point. Most of my issues with the instrument were quite minor, and even the heel is manageable, especially for people that come from bolt-ons. There are quite a few 7 string guitars available at this price point, and Jericho has managed to build one that stands out for all of the right reasons. Highly recommended.
     
  2. cwhitey2

    cwhitey2 BlackendCrust Metal™

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    Awesome! Any word on if they are going to be available in stores or do you have to buy direct?
     
  3. celticelk

    celticelk Enflamed with prayer

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    Thanks for the review! The only thing keeping me from one of these is the color. Give me a satin clear finish, or even a gloss black, and I'm in.
     
  4. Konfyouzd

    Konfyouzd Dread-I Master Contributor

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    Nice review. Thanks!
     
  5. Jericho Guitars

    Jericho Guitars SS.org Regular

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    Awesome Mike,

    Really glad you liked it man, thanks for your thoughts, we really appreciate it.

    Any of you have special requests for guitars feel free to email dave@jerichoguitars.com and lets see what we can come up with.

    -JG
     

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