Peavey Odyssey 1992
I almost became a victim of my own (stupid)
name-brand loyalty (snobbery). It seems odd that I can't
recall having looked at this Peavey even once during my
monthly guitar safaris to this local pawn shop? It's been
hanging there for at least two years, judging from the
several "Sale" and "Price Reduced" stickers slopped onto
every visible flat surface. The oldest stickers were
yellowing and layered three deep. Apparently no one has given
this guitar a serious look. I've seen many Epiphones, Squier
Strats and other imposters come and go for absurdly high
prices at this shop. Why has this pro-level
neglected? Good grief, it's priced fifty bucks less than the
plywood SG copy hanging in the next slot.
The truth slapped me in the face when I took a second look at
the headstock. Oh, that's why... it says Peavey. I almost
turned away again. As I said, stupid snobbery. But the
headstock drew my attention closer and I realized the smudges
on the paint were not flaws at all, they were part of the
pattern in the very nice peghead overlay (marble? graphite?
hoof?). Really pretty once you understand what it is you are
looking at. From that point on I proceeded to give the axe a
thorough inspection, and in the end got one of the best deals
of my life.
Naturally the neck joint was my next point of
scrutiny. Hmmmm... looks like a neck thru body. No, it's a
set-in neck and done very cleanly; never been removed either.
The gold plate has worn off the stop tail and tuner buttons,
but the frets have little wear and the neck is dead
straight... strung with rusty elevens! It is a genuine rarity
to find anything straight in a pawn shop. Did I mention the
smooth wet look of transparent black over the carved, arched,
flame maple top? Or the hybrid Tele / Les Paul body design
that truly incorporates the visual beauty of both? That, my
friend, is real maple... and a real mahogany body and neck.
Man, the real (fake) wood tone binding on the body is elegant
and nicely compliments the cream neck binding. Triangle fret
inlays, twenty four frets.
I felt mighty confused, being unable to resolve in my mind
the contradiction of Peavey name and world class workmanship
this axe exhibited. Please don't misinterpret my feelings
about Peavey products. Just like you, I have used a variety
of Peavey things and have grown to love and respect their
reliability and work-horse type appeal, but this guitar was
just too nice to be labeled anything other than
The shop keeper agreed to hold the axe behind the
counter for an hour while I cruised home to do a quick search
for info. There wasn't a lot to be found out about the Peavey
Odyssey, although there was just enough info to make me rush
back to the shop with cash (ablaze) in pocket....
Peavey built the Odyssey during the years 1989 thru 1992.
Apparently it was their first attempt at moving into the
higher end axe-market. Peavey's own literature from their
website's archived manuals lists the specs; 24 3/4 inch scale
neck, ebony fretboard, Graphlon nut, 15" fretboard radius,
10" tilted and bound peghead, genuine mother of pearl inlays,
carved and bookmatched flame maple top, distortion class
Alnico humbuckers with coil splitting switch, gold hardware.
There was also a 25th Anniversary Model Odyssey that included
a quilted maple top and 3D block style inlays. One might
presume that the demise of this particular model was due
mostly to the price tag being in excess of a thousand
dollars, which was a bit inconsistent with Peavey's
reputation as affordable merchandise. It's a shame the
Odyssey line never survived the 90's because it honestly is a
spectacular guitar. If you read the few User Reviews at
Harmony Central, you'll find that the grooviness of this axe
is unanimously declared.
The serial number indicates the date of manufacture
as April 1992, one of the last builds. Oh well, there must
always be a wart somewhere. This axe had two small bummers
inflicted upon it by the previous owner; one... the smashed
plastic control cavity cover and two... a pair of small screw
holes in the top between the bridge pickup and bridge (not
shown, no big deal). These photos make the guitar appear to
be scuffed up more than it really is. Considering that it is
eleven years old and considering that I paid $125 with gig
bag included, I would say it's in perfect condition.
Although the Odyssey is obviously a pseudo Les Paul,
it is different enough that I wouldn't call it a LP
substitute or replacement. The overall feel of the axe
reminds me more of a '75 Guild Bluesbird than LP. The neck
profile feels about midway between the thin Bluesbird neck
and semi-chunky Les Paul neck and plays perfectly along its
entire length, with the uppermost frets being comfortably
accessible. The fingerboard feels flat and wider than either
Gibson or Guild, with perfectly dressed, low and voluptuous
frets. Always stays in tune and the intonation can be zeroed
in without extreme saddle adjustments.
The frequency tailored, distortion class humbucking
pickups are gonzo macho compared to the Paul's P90 and 91.
Sustain? Rhythm players will need to incorporate string
muting into their technique. Flipping the coil tap switch
provides a nice change from the meaty humbucker tones, but
the Peavey's single coil tones cannot be considered, by any
stretch of the imagination, as a substitute for Fender tones.
Quack is minimal and twang ain't its thing. Distortion comes
easy... even in coil tap mode and that distortion does have
some real tone in its foundation. Makes it sound like a
living creature. Backing off the throttle cleans up the tones
yet also seems to suck some of the life out of the sound. My
only (small) complaint about the sound is the huge bottom end
generated by these magnetic thunder-pumps. The low E and A
become maximum mud if the pickups happen to be nestled up
close to the strings. I adjusted the bass side of both
pickups way down into the body.
Conclusion? I just got paid today and got myself some cheap
sunglasses. Now I'm a sharp dressed man and my head's in
Mississippi. This Peavey is my ticket to another planet, but
now.... I might be mistaken. The axe is a keeper.