Head to head

And the finest ver­sa­tile solid­body of them all is...

Total Guitar - - THE GAS STATION -

With its round-up ri­vals each draw­ing in­spi­ra­tion from its de­sign (to some de­gree), the Stra­to­caster Deluxe is a log­i­cal place to start any com­par­i­son. Like the Charvel, it is carved from alder, as­sem­bled in Mexico and shares a head­stock pro­file. Also like the Charvel, it is a lit­tle dif­fer­ent. The Deluxe’s pickup con­fig­u­ra­tion isn’t so avant garde: think Adrian Smith, Iron Maiden – but with the coil-split it lets you have it both ways. With the neck or mid­dle pick­ups se­lected you’ll find clas­sic Stra­to­caster tones – mother’s milk to those who spend their play­ing time work­ing the blues and pen­ta­tonic scales. The bridge sin­gle coil is all Amer­i­can tre­bly snap; with the hum­bucker, it bulks up nicely for clas­sic rock and metal. While the Stra­to­caster Deluxe feels and sounds old­school the Charvel is an 80s de­sign that’s still ahead of its time. Its svelte, er­gonom­i­cally for­giv­ing neck, anointed with a ure­thane gel fin­ish, is se­ri­ously quick, the T-style body per­fectly bal­anced. The power in its pick­ups ef­fort­lessly ac­com­mo­dates huge metal riffs and py­rotech­nic leads, but when you strip back that tonal bulk via the coil-split the Charvel sharp­ens up, all bright and punchy. It’s a trick the Schecter Ban­shee-6 Ex­treme knows well. The Ban­shee’s bridge hum­bucker is sim­i­larly at home with high-gain but via a coil-split it can be turned into an all-sin­gle coil elec­tric. Its ma­hogany body with maple top gives it a lit­tle more warmth and thick­ness than its ri­vals’ tone, while it gives the Charvel a run for its money with re­gards shred­abil­ity. The Paci­fica has more of a clas­sic feel but, at ev­ery price point, the Paci­fica is a lot of fun to play, and this is def­i­nitely no ex­cep­tion. The Cus­tom 5 pickup in the bridge is hot, har­mon­i­cally rich, and a great foil for the soap­bar sin­gle coil in the neck. Like the Stra­to­caster Deluxe, its sta­ble vi­brato and lock­ing tuners is a set up that of­fers fuss-free wob­ble.

At ev­ery price point the paci­fica is a lot of fun to play, and this is no ex­cep­tion

Clas­sicS­trat­tones fromFen­der

Har­mon­i­cally-rich tones fromtheCus­tom5pickup

Charvelpick­upssuit big metal riffs

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