December 3, 2007 | Guest Reviewer: Kristel Blackman
Distributor: PRO MUSIC 1300 880 278

assassin_fx6_blkAssassin FX6
I first discovered BC Rich when I started out on bass, and was a real fan of the “Beast” because it looked like a crazy lightning bolt that was guaranteed to make an impression on stage. It seems as though BC Rich is targeted towards the metal and hard-rock market due to the radical design of their guitars and the artists associated with them. The eye-catching ‘Beast’ and ‘Warlock’, and the outstanding graphics and attention to detail (like the abalone shell on the Assassin FX6) make BC Rich guitars truly unique, offerings loads of personality to musicians that want something different.

Currently I play Les Pauls due to their smooth, round shape which makes it easy to get my arm around, so I generally go for guitars that are comfortable and easy to play with my small ‘girl’ hands. With this in consideration, I was quite pleased with how well the BC Rich Assassin FX6 played in my hands.

The neck was smooth and not too deep, making it easy to navigate, and the 24 frets (although a bit alien to me) resulted in more notes which is always a good thing in my book.The gloss finish on the back of neck made for smooth playing, and the frets seem a touch thinner than the jumbo Les Paul frets I’m used to, making this a guitar that likes a low action.

I also loved how the guitar is simply one piece of wood, because it felt more comfortable than bolt-on or set necks making access  to higher frets more convenient. The body was also very light and felt similar to that of a Gibson SG, making the FX6 a very comfortable, easy to play guitar. Also my damaged Les Paul-toting back also appreciated this.

The abalone neck inlay and binding is undoubtedly this guitars’ most visual feature, and when coupled with a gorgeous transparent black finish, the FX6 looks more like a work of art than simply an electric guitar. It took me a while to figure out that the volume and tone knobs were actually revolver barrels and I think that LED lights would look awesome in the little holes! The knobs feel good to turn because they’re very fast and that’s a very handy feature when playing on stage, where quick volume and tone adjustments are necessary.

The guitar is fitted with Rockfield Mafia humbuckers, generally found in more expensive guitars. I must admit the FX6 is extremely versatile when it comes to electronics, as there are three additional switches that provide a coil-tap (split the humbucker into single coil) for each pickup, as well as a master phase reverse switch for both pickups.

All these switches might take some getting used to for someone who prefers to make adjustments on their amp rather than the guitar. However, I can see how a whole heap of hard-rock and metal guitarists would love the ability to get stacks of different sounds out of their guitar, and understand why the guitar has been designed in such a way.

I preferred the the neck pickup sound to the bridge pickup with coil tap engaged. It was only subtle but  more interesting in single coil mode and reminded me of my old Rickenbacker, which has a deep, rich tone with trebly overtones. The hardware was reminiscent of my Les Paul except for the string-thru body, which makes the guitar look very tidy and also provided great sustain.

Outlaw_PX3BC Rich Outlaw PX3
At first glance, after playing the Assassin FX6 I thought it was worth spending the extra $500 to get all the features the FX6 had to offer, as the Outlaw looked  plain in comparison to the Assassin. I also noticed the Outlaw had a slightly wider body but this may have been an optical illusion created by the absence of binding. The Outlaw’s body is constructed with basswood, which doesn’t sound as quite rich as mahogany to my ears, making the FX6 the more favourable option.

What I really did enjoy was the push/ pull pot over the coil tap switches, making it much easier to understand and recognise which mode the guitar is in. The hollow circular design on the neck is cool too, but not as impressive as the tribal tattoo abalone inlay the Assassin has to offer. But if you’re into the BC Rich style of guitar, it’s worth checking out both to make your own comparisons.