Peavey PXD Series Void III
Peavey Electronics, peavey.com
Originally published in Guitar World, November 2009
Peavey's Void III gives true metallists everything they could ever want in a guitar.
The meteoric resurgence of metal has inspired a slew of novel hardcore guitar designs that are in many ways continuing stylistic
trends from the Eighties. Floyd Rose locking bridges, ultra-smooth Kahler trems, blazing EMG pickups and radical shapes are all appropriate again and en vogue. Unlike the Eighties, our modern, computer-assisted tools and methods of manufacture now make it possible to build practically anything we can imagine at prices that are easy on the pocket. Peavey’s new PXD Series Void III is a wicked example of what can be achieved when a company sets out to create a supreme, fully loaded, dominating metal machine. Peavey chose every component and curve on the Void III with evil intent, as if filling a custom order for the dark lord himself. “Extreme” is the common denominator.
The devil is certainly in the details of Peavey’s Void III. The heavy mahogany body looks as though an unholy union was consummated between a deviant Mockingbird and an ill-intended Explorer. Even with all of these curves and points, the Void III
is as comfortable and balanced on the shoulder as it is on the lap. Its satin black finish has a raw feel and the appearance of charred wood.
This Peavey’s set neck has 24 frets on a short 24 3/4–inch scale, equating to a full two-octave range and string tensions that are slinky enough for two-step bends. As expected on a metal guitar, true jumbo frets add to the Void III’s speed potential and volume, especially for players that utilize legato techniques, tapping and frequent hammerons or pull-offs. There’s sufficient meat in the mahogany neck’s shape to ensure proper resonance, but it’s definitely thin enough for vicious shredding.
The Void III’s offset horn headstock is a particularly deranged choice of angles; it looks like a tree that was ripped apart by a bolt of lightning—left alive, yet twisted and deformed. This split design is functional as well as stylish; it rings like a tuning fork
and serves to aid note definition, especially on this stout mahogany guitar.
All of the Void III’s hardware is fittingly black, and I love Peavey’s choices. The skeletonized tuning keys are an infinitely cool addition to this instrument’s theme and provide a great grip. Floyd Roses are the usual choice for a guitar that’s destined for certain whammy abuse, but the top-locked Kahler tremolo offers unequaled resonance, impossibly smooth action and
fantastic tuning stability.
To give the Void III a truly eviscerating attack, Peavey has loaded it with two ceramic-based, active EMG pickups: an 81 model in the bridge and a model 60 in the neck. Peavey also included an EMG Afterburner preamp, which provides up to 20db of gain boost. Each pickup has a dedicated volume pot; a third knob controls the Afterburner’s level of boost and a three-way toggle selects the pickups. As if Peavey hadn’t made the metal theme obvious enough, brushed aluminum is used for the pickguard,
truss rod cover and the single sharkfin inlay.
I was prepared for the Void III’s ample use of mahogany and satin finish to create a very dark demeanor. But acoustically, this Peavey really has more scream than chunk. In fact, there’s almost a natural metallic tinge to the sound, as if the fretboard was made of steel. Combining this sound with the ceramic EMG-60 neck pickup gave a defined and brutal rhythm foundation à la James Hetfield. The EMG-81 sounded especially lively and intense in the Void III, delivering enough gain, punch and sustain to satisfy most metalheads’ lust for wild leads. I wanted more of everything, however, and the EMG Afterburner didn’t disappoint. Kicking in that preamp was like poking an angry bull in the ass with a hot prod. Every note slammed the front end of the amp, distortion was rampant and harmonics screeched like an eagle on the attack.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Peavey's Void III gives true metallists everything they could ever want: a rock solid Kahler trem, a comfortable yet fast neck, active EMGs with hardhitting ceramic magnets, skeletonized tuning keys, razor-sharp tones and a Lucifer-approved storm of gain via an EMG Afterburner preamp. It even comes in a custom Coffin case. Metal never gleamed so brightly!
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