The Dethklok/Metalocalypse mastermind is responsible for some of the coolest Gibsons ever. By Peter Hodgson
Musician, comedian, voice actor, writer, director, and all ‘round nice guy Brendon Small has done so much for metal. His animated show Metalocalypse brought death metal to the masses, and his Baked live comedy/music shows, with Steve Agee and a cast of comedy and rock greats, is a must-see if you find yourself in LA. He’s also been responsible for some of Gibson and Epiphone’s coolest models. The Snow Falcon is Small’s second Epiphone signature model.
The Snow Falcon is a mahogany-bodied, mahogany-necked V designed to be versatile and very playable. It has a 1960s Slim Taper D-Profile neck, which is very shred-friendly, with 22 medium jumbo frets on a phenolic fingerboard.
The hardware includes a fully-adjustable solid nickel LockTone bridge and stopbar tailpiece, solid nickel heavy-duty 1⁄4” output jack, Grover Rotomatics tuners with 18:1 turning ratio, and master volume and tone pots. Each pot conceals a trick, though: the volume control is a global coil split push-pull, while the tone control also doubles as a KillPot switch for ‘stutter’ effects.
The pickups are a pair of Gibson Burstbucker humbuckers made in the USA. These are based on the classic Gibson PAF humbuckers found in late ‘50s Les Pauls, ES-335s, Vs, Explorers and the like. The neck pickup is a Burstbucker-1, and the bridge is a hotter Burstbucker-2. The guitar comes in a Galaktikon gig bag and includes a signed certificate of authenticity.
The Burstbuckers aren’t super-hot pickups – they get their power from their clarity, as opposed to getting it from their output. As a result, this is a very flexible guitar that can do metal very well, but is capable of much, much more. This versatility is evident even before you hit the coil split: the humbuckers can do country, blues, alternative, Britpop, punk and jazz before you even step on your scooped-mid deathtone. But they’ll keep up with every nuance of your speed-picking, even under heavy distortion.
Hit that coil split and you can play all of your Yngwie licks on the neck pickup, generate some respectable alternative jangle on the middle setting, and authentic country and blues twang on the bridge pickup. The stutter effect of the KillPot switch is handy, too, especially for those Randy Rhoads and Tom Morello tricks. But depending on how you play, it might be something you use a lot or not at all. Regardless, it’s a cool inclusion.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Besides its distinctive look – which will appeal to all sorts of players regardless of genres as long as they like white – the Snow Falcon stands out from its Flying V stablemates by way of its sheer sonic flexibility. It can do a lot of things that a lot of other guitars can’t, and it does them naturally and without fuss. It’s also a very playable guitar and built to a high degree of quality.
TOP 5 FEATURES
• Gibson USA Burstbucker pickups
• Coil splits
• KillPot stutter switch
• Gig bag and COA
• 1960s SlimTaper D-Shape neck
• Very versatile electronics
• Distinctive look
• Shredworthy neck
• No hard case
• The look isn’t for everyone
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