Review: Peavey Session Solidbody Electric Guitar

Peavey has become a remarkably diverse company since its ambitious beginnings in 1965, but throughout its history, founder Hartley Peavey never lost sight of his goal to offer musicians great bang for their buck. With the recent introduction of the Session solidbody guitar, Peavey has outdone itself by providing possibly the best value a guitarist can find for the Session’s under-$500 street price. While competition at the lower end of the price spectrum has become incredibly fierce in recent years, the Session’s distinct personality makes it stand out from the wannabe imitations and bare-bones contenders in its price range.


The Session has a surprising variety of deluxe appointments, including a contoured top, recessed controls and pickup selector switch, and metal-flake (or sunburst) finish. The Session’s two premium Peavey USA–design Alnico humbuckers feature individual coil-tap switches that are activated by pulling up on the master volume (bridge) or master tone (neck) controls. The nickel-plated die-cast string-through-body bridge features stainless-steel saddles instead of the questionable pot-metal saddles often found on guitars in this price range.

The Session’s two most impressive features are its light weight and exceptionally comfortable neck. The body is basswood, which is already light, but it’s also chambered to enhance resonance. The Canadian rock maple neck has a rosewood fretboard with a compound radius, 25 1/2–inch scale and 22 medium jumbo nickel-silver frets, and is stably bolted to the body with five recessed bolts. Dual carbon-fiber neck inserts and a dual-action torsion rod keep the neck exceptionally stiff and solid, even though it has a very slim, flat profile.


The Session is remarkably comfortable to play, thanks to its light weight and fast, compound-radiused neck. The fretwork is excellent, providing a smooth, polished feel and outstanding intonation across the guitar’s entire range. Because the body is chambered, it’s already quite loud and resonant when strummed acoustically, and the tone becomes lively and expressive when plugged in. The Session’s treble response is exceptionally bright but not shrill, and the bass strings deliver dynamic, percussive attack when you dig in with a pick or snap the strings with your fingers. Although I prefer the sound of the full humbucker output, when tapped the pickups exhibit a noticeably brighter tone with the lower output of a single-coil.


Selling for a street price just under $500, the Peavey Session provides outstanding value with deluxe features and tonal personality uncommon in its price range.

LIST PRICE $899.99
MANUFACTURER Peavey Electronics,

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Paul Riario

Paul Riario has been the tech/gear editor and online video presence for Guitar World for over 25 years. Paul is one of the few gear editors who has actually played and owned nearly all the original gear that most guitarists wax poetically about, and has survived this long by knowing every useless musical tidbit of classic rock, new wave, hair metal, grunge, and alternative genres. When Paul is not riding his road bike at any given moment, he remains a working musician, playing in two bands called SuperTrans Am and Radio Nashville.