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Thread: Review: Caparison 2008 build quality

  1. #1
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    Review: Caparison 2008 build quality

    Seeing that I finally have some time off from having to do work for others I can finally do up a review of the Caparison build quality. (okay okay, I'm lying I'm just taking a break away from having to deal with fixing guitars for a bit)

    Now that I'm a dealer I can actually see exactly how the guitars are like when they're fresh out of the box and not wonder if the shop did any work on it.

    I've always regarded Caparison's as being top notch guitars and although I've had a couple of lemons here and there, the vast majority of the guitars from Caparison have already been spectacular so my expectations were set pretty high to begin with.


    First impressions:

    At first glance after taking the guitars out of the shipping box, the first thing I notice is how well the guitars are packed when they are shipped out of Japan. The case athough rather ugly in appearance is exceptionally sturdy and does protect the guitar pretty well.

    Upon taking the guitar out of the packaging, I noticed that the guitars were in tune and the action was fairly low without any buzz what so ever(about 1.6-1.7mm which is a little on the medium-high side for me). The frets were on par with anything and everything I've seen from PRS, Dean and the USA Jackson custom shop.

    The neck had a nice feel too it (tested the Horus first) but it didn't have the same bare wood/tung oiled feel my Dellinger has, but it's still better than anything I've tried from Ibanez.

    All in all, at first glance the Caparisons are spot on awesome guitars on par or better than their competitors guitars.

    Closer Inspection:

    Being a guitar tech first and foremost, I've always like to take a closer look at all my guitars and although the guitar shipped with nice low action, the action could have come a bit lower but action is always something anyone can do.

    The fretwork although very good already could get some improvement especially for a guitar at this price. First although the guitars were freshly built the frets did already start to oxidize. Maybe it's from the air cabin/cargo pressure/temperatiure but the frets definitely needed to be cleaned. The fret work is definitely on par with a PRS, but like a PRS the fret ends are square not rounded. Caparison could have at least given us some nice rounded frets, even Ibanez does it on their upper tier Prestige models. Good thing that's something I can do myself.

    The intonation on these guitars are spot on but they are intended to have 9-42's strings on them and switching to heavier string guage, you'll probably want to reintonate the guitar. It would have been a really great option to be able to get these guitars with the buzz feiten tuning system for better intonation like the Suhr's and Andersons. Caparisons to me are the Suhr's and Andersons of the metal world and I believe SHOULD be Feitenized. Once again, it's something that I can do myself so I'm not too worried and even though they don't come with any special intonation systems, the intonation is just as good as any other production guitar.

    The electronics were fine but I've noticed that there were splotches of solder on the back of the pots but that's more cosmetic if you agree. The volume pot on some of the guitars seemed a little stiff but it's probably the post itself that's stiff. Some quick squirts of cleaner seems to fix that a bit, but this is definitely something Caparison should have noticed when they built the guitar. I should also note that it seems Caparison is using OTAX switches like Ibanez is with the VLX51 and the VLX91 switches. Good news is that because they come with these switches (at least on the Dellinger and the Dellinger 7), it's entirely possible to get the special 5-way wiring that Ibanez offers on the Caparisons using the stock switch.

    All three guitars I got in featured some sort of finish on the necks but one guitar (the Dellinger 7) actually had a few drops of the neck finish that felt like bumps on the neck kinda like a pimple or something. This to me is a major issue since you can actually FEEL the bumps in the neck and most guitar shops that don't have a dedicated guitar repair tech would have a hell of a time leveling it off. However for some strange reason, the neck on my dellinger that I picked up used had a much better feel to it. These new ones had some sort of mate clearcoat on them where as the old Dellinger Mahogany Gloss that I have has this awesome bare wood/tung oiled feel to it. I hope that the bare wood feel on my old Dellinger wasn't stock because if it is, then Caparison is starting to cheapen out on the neck work.

    Quite honestly, I'm actually quite impressed with the quality of guitars Caparison is building. There is yet to be a single Caparison that I have in stock that I wouldn't buy myself, but for those of you who are mail ordering a guitar in, you may want to get someone there double check everything because nothing is ever really that perfect. It's always a good idea to have a tech look at a brand new guitar when you get it in for a complete setup. For the folks here that don't know one or don't trust any of the techs in your area, I'll be posting a new guitar checklist and setup guide soon.

    Cheers,

    Budd
    Last edited by buddroyce; 18-07-2008 at 02:06 AM. Reason: I have to stop posting half asleep
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  2. #2
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    Cool!! Thanks for the assurance that the consistency of Caps now are much better. Maybe they fired that new guy that made the lemons.

  3. #3
    sixes&sevens Guest
    How bad was that issue with the neck? Would it have been something that was neglibible or would it be something so bad that if I got a guitar with it, I'd want to send it back.

  4. #4
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    Hmm interesting read Budd, thanks for posting!

    The thing about the unfinished neck kinda worries me though I have a few late 06 early 07 caps and they have the unfinished feel to them, and to me this is the main reason I love them more than my TAT's they are just so comfortable to play.

    Really hope Itaru hasnt messed a good thing up here...

  5. #5
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    Yeah my Horus was an early 07 build and the neck finish is great.

  6. #6
    ou812 Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Sudzmorphus View Post
    Hmm interesting read Budd, thanks for posting!

    The thing about the unfinished neck kinda worries me though I have a few late 06 early 07 caps and they have the unfinished feel to them, and to me this is the main reason I love them more than my TAT's they are just so comfortable to play.

    Really hope Itaru hasnt messed a good thing up here...
    From everyone I've heard that's got an '08 Cap, the necks seem to have a satin finish on them now. I guess it's there to keep the neck from warping but I would definitely prefer the bare wood neck.

  7. #7
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    Damn that really sucks.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sudzmorphus View Post
    Damn that really sucks.
    Indeed it does, but that nice barewood tung oiled neck is always something a good guitar tech can do for you. Even though the necks have some sort of finish on them, they're still a great feeling neck. It's likely the same matte clearcoat that Ibanez uses on their Prestige stuff nowadays so it ain't bad. I just personally prefer the feel of a bare wood tung oiled neck.
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  9. #9
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    I just dont understand why they changed it.

    if it aint broke dont try to fix it, right?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sudzmorphus View Post
    I just dont understand why they changed it.

    if it aint broke dont try to fix it, right?
    It technically isn't broke but seeing that having the new finish helps keeps the neck from warping as much, it's a bit of a good thing. The finish on the neck isn't bad what so ever and is good just in a differeny way. Not everyone likes the barewood feel. If anyone wants the barewood feel neck, it's just a matter of getting it done by a tech.
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