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 axe been 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.
Peavey Odyssey 1992 carved, bookmatched flame maple top in transparent black
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 "Expensive".
Peavey Odyssey 1992
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.
Peavey Odyssey 1992 peghead overlay
Peavey Odyssey 1992 tuners, serial number
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.
Peavey Odyssey 1992 rear, neck joint
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.
Peavey Odyssey 1992 flame maple, bookmatched, not so obvious in photo.
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.
frequency tailored, distortion class Alnico humbuckers. Coil split switch. Three position pickup selector switch.