BlacKat Leon Limited 7 Prototype

BlacKat Leon Limited 7 Prototype

Specs:

– quilted maple top
– meranti body
– mahogany neck
– ebony fingerboard
– 25,5″ scale
– Hipshot bridge
– DiMarzio Crunchlab & Liquifire
– GraphTech Ghost piezo & preamp
– Hipshot locking tuners
– GraphTech nut
– pots:
1. magnetic pickups volume
2. magnetic pickups tone
3. piezo volume with a push-pull for siwtching between two different EQ settings of the preamp

Quality of Build

Some of you may already know BlacKat guitars from Fred Brum’s NGDs and playthroughs but the guitar I’m reviewing today is the first limited series seven strings prototype. I’m extremely picky when it comes to guitars but I simply cannot find anything wrong with it. The shape may be innovative, or at least unusual, however it is aesthetically pleasing and all the hardware elements seem solid. You can’t really go wrong with Hipshot, GraphTech or DiMarzio, can you? Also, there are no dents on the finish, the wood looks wonderful, even my cat likes it and he’s a one finicky beast!

Comfort of Playing

When it comes to seven string guitars, my ideal has always been the Music Man John Petrucci 7 and I usually compare any other axes to it. Although, this time I’m a bit puzzled – Leon has a bit narrower neck and to me it feels like I’m holding a six string guitar. At the same time, the strings aren’t too close to each other and it’s really comfortable to play just about anything on it, from palm muting through open chords to two-handed tapping. I think it would be a great neck for six strings players who have trouble getting used to bigger/wider necks. As for the body, the cuts are quite ergonomic and much nicer than a flat body and I always appreciate that.

DAT SOUND

On one hand, the variety of possible settings of magnetic pickups in addition to piezo makes this guitar greatly universal when it comes to clean tones. Each position of the switches results in a beautiful sound which makes me forget about something called distorted electric guitar sound :D I can with all certainty say that it matches my Music Man in that aspect with no difficulty. On the other hand, I have mixed feelings for overdrives/distortions. The “Petrucci set” sounds overally good and solid but it’s not really my cup of tea. Some may say I’m spoiled by Bare Knuckle Pickups but I have to say I enjoyed D Activators in Skervesen Chocolate (http://www.sevenstring.org/forum/extended-range-guitars/198498-skervesen-h8-chocolate.html) much more than I do with the pickups in Leon. That being said, it’s an early prototype and BlacKat has already switched to BKPs as a standard option on their guitars and I’m more than curious to try one out :)

Conclusion

To sum up, Leon 7 is a magnificent piece of luthery with amazing looks, suprising comfort of playing and ultimate palette of tones. I recommend it to anyone looking for a guitar which doesn’t fear anything thrown its way.

I’d also like to thank BlacKat Guitars for letting me review this remarkable guitar!

TL;DR? Feel free to just listen to a demo I’ve made with this guitar and tell me what you think :)

You can also find the full gallery of photos in high resolution here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/dl3rvypdbf5r8jy/kaxhACqYEi

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