Most guitar players know Peavey for their amps and supporting equipment. With that said, Peavey also made an effort to get into electric guitar market by producing several models in various categories.
How successful they have been in this enterprise is up for discussion. However, the consensus is that some of their models are actually pretty decent guitars that are often overlooked.
Truth be told, even the beginners rarely venture out of the established brands range when they go shopping for their first guitar. Someone in that situation is going to ask their more experienced friends for advice, and more often than not, they will hear all the usual names such as Squier or Epiphone.
Only ones who will recommend Peavey and brands which have similar experience in producing electric guitars, are those who have tried them before. There aren’t many guitarists like that.
Today we’re going to review one model which we feel deserves to be mentioned. We’re talking about Peavey Raptor Plus EXP.
A very attractive choice for a first electric guitar
When you first look at Peavey Raptor Plus EXP, you get that immediate feeling that you’re looking at a Strat wannabe guitar. And sure as daylight, Peavey did choose to take advantage of the ever popular Strat design, altering it only so much as to avoid any trouble.
It’s clear from afar what their intentions were. From one side, this logic of taking the easy way is completely understandable.
Strat design is very popular, especially among those who are starting out and aren’t yet capable of discerning between real ones and copies. On the other hand, it’s a cheap trick to make some sales. Whatever the case may be, Peavey Raptor Plus EXP has a lot to offer beyond its design.
Peavey Raptor Plus EXP brings just about everything you would expect to find on an affordable electric guitar. We’re talking cheap wood combined with standard low cost hardware. Being a Strat copy, this Peavey comes in version you might see a Strat come in.
Some of the finishes available are Sunburst, solid black and solid red. The shape of the body is a modified Stratocaster with a bit thinner horns and more exaggerated pick guard.
The neck is a standard maple, and comes with either a rosewood fretboard, or lacquered maple one. The scale is a 25.5 inch one, with what appear to be medium jumbo frets. Rosewood fretboard is decent, not too smooth but very playable.
On the other hand, lacquered maple version is quite comfortable to play. So far, it’s the same deal as any Squier in terms of features. Hardware comes in form of a tremolo bridge and a set of average tuners. As you would expect, the bridge is practical to a certain point.
In terms of electronics, things break off from the standard cheap Strat copy mantra. Instead of having three single coil pickups, Peavey Raptor Plus EXP comes with two single coils in the neck and middle position, while the bridge pickup is a humbucker.
This change is actually more practical for beginners as it gives them a broader range of tonal quality they can use. The pickups are controlled by one tone knob and one volume knob, along with a pickup select switch. All of which closely resemble the Strat layout.
The performance of this guitar is something where a lot of people disagree. On one hand, knowing what this Peavey was designed for, and what it offers in relation to its price paints a very positive picture. On the other hand, there are those who look at all starter guitars through a prism of high end models. The truth is somewhere in the middle.
Let’s start from the hardware. The tremolo bridge on this guitar is an issue. That is usually the case with all budget tremolo designs. As long as you don’t work the whammy bar too much, the guitar will stay in tune. However, as soon as you try to do more extensive tremolo effects, things start going out of tune.
On the headstock side of the business, the tuners are capable of holding the tune in normal conditions. Those including limited use of tremolo, and checking the tuning from time to time.
Anything outside that type of use brings a lot of uncertainty. All of this may sound bad, but keep in mind that most guitars in this price range have the same issue.
Sound is a whole different ball game. Compared to Squires in the same category, there is a slight but significant difference. That humbucker in the bridge position allows you to use heavier distortions than you otherwise would if it was a single coil pickup. With that said, this humbucker still has its limits. The tone is pretty warm, and reacts well to medium overdrive.
However, there is still a lot of hum being created by those single coils. Using this Peavey for metal or similar genres where heavy gain distortion is often used will bring limited results.
Even with all of the critiques we have given this guitar, it’s still a great starter model. Would you want to use it for gigging? Definitely not, but it’s more than adequate for home practice and studio practice with your band. One of the best things about Peavey Raptor Plus EXP is its price.
Compared to other Strat copies out there, it is significantly cheaper. For most beginners out there who are not willing to invest in a mid range guitar, this is a huge benefit.
What we like
When you talk about entry level guitars, you definitely need to apply a different set of standards which you will use to judge its performance and worth. On a grand scale of things, this Peavey definitely has some flaws, but it also brings offers a great value for the money you’re asked to pay. At the end of the day, it’s a model everyone should consider if they are limited to entry level electric guitars.
What we don’t like
Like we have said before, it’s hard to blast an entry level guitar for lacking performance. With that said, there is one aspect of this Peavey which we think could have been done differently. That humbucker in the bridge position doesn’t add enough to the tone.
The whole point of having a humbucker in the first place is to allow the guitar to handle more saturated distortion. The one on Peavey Raptor Plus EXP doesn’t seem to be capable of that. If they included a decent humbucker instead of the one found on the existing model, this guitar would have been a lot more attractive.
Finally, it may be concluded
Peavey Raptor Plus EXP has its benefits and its flaws. Whether or not it’s a model you should consider depends largely on what genre of music you’re going to play, and your willingness to trust a brand which has limited experience in making guitars.
From our point of view, this Peavey is a great choice for beginners as it offers a different experience compared to the rest of Strat copies available in this price range.