The polish company RAN guitars sure does know, what modern metal-guitarists crave for.
I first heard about RAN around 2003 I guess. Back then they were really popular for doing impeccable replicas of artist-owned custom builds of other companies. As a polish company they were especially popular in the EU of course. They were also known for endorsing Jeff Waters of Annihilator, who is now with Epiphone Guitars. Just judging from the quality you expect from an Epiphone – bad move, Jeff.
Fast forward about 10 years and RAN guitars are a global-player when it comes to custom- or semi-custom-builds with well-known acts to play their guitars and quite an array of metal-focused extended range guitar models – including their popular version of a superstrat, the Crusher. Ever since they introduced the flat-top-version of it, I was more than intrigued to own one. When RAN offered a few pre-made 7-string guitars on their Facebook-Page, I immediately went with it and saved me 6-8 months of build-time.
- Mahogany Body
- Mahogany + Ebony 5P Neck
- Figured Walnut Top
- hand-oiled finish
- Bareknuckle Aftermaths
- Schaller Locking Tuners
The quality is outstanding, let me tell you that. Granted, the guitar doesn’t have too many bells and whistles. There is no binding, no inlays, no carved top and no fancy finish – the RAN Crusher FT is a straight-up raw workhorse. The build-quality is remarkable though and I assume it’s no different with more feature-loaded guitars.
I was really impressed by the smooth and seamless neck-joint. Basically it’s a very deep bolt-on construction with the look of a set-in-neck. I didn’t check, but I suppose, the tenon of the neck even goes beneath the neck-pickup. The fit is so perfect that I wouldn’t wonder, if you could completely remove the bolts and the guitar still wouldn’t fall apart. Although it’s a 27“-neck, the whole guitar does not feel „longer“ than a 25,5“-fiddle.
The frets are rounded off very evenly. No sharp edges here. The fret-job easily is on par with my Prestige Ibanez’s. The wenge-fretboard sure is something you don’t see very often, but I’m not too sure if I would order a wenge-fretboard again. Wenge is a very grainy wood and it feels kinda dry and not very smooth. I sure prefer denser fretboards. The neck-profile is somewhat between a D and a C and it is a tad thicker than Ibanez Wizard-necks. I’d prefer it to either be a bit thinner or a bit more rounded off.
Shredders will be delighted by the deep cutaway which is also carved on the top-side of the body. Speaking of which – on this guitar the solid mahogany is topped with a 5mm figured and bookmatched walnut top. Apart from the carving on the lower horn, the same was done to the upper horn and you’ll get a comfortable belly-cut and the blackmachine’ish slight forearm-bevels with the Crusher FT. These carvings on the front all reveal the mahogany beneath the walnut-top. Definitely a cool effect.
The hardtail hipshot-bridge is definitely one of my favorite bridges to date. It’s solid, very stable and it just looks cool. So do the awesomely crafted Schaller Locking-Tuners that you’ll get on RAN guitars. The hardware is completed with either one metal-knob for Volume and tone and a basic 3-way toggle that switches the unconvered Bareknuckle Aftermaths.
The guitar comes with a hand-oiled satin finish. It feels great and natural, theres no layer of sticky lacquer between your fingers and the guitar. It even kind of feels warm, if that makes sense.
I had my difficulties with the Aftermaths in the Skervesen Raptor I owned a while back. They produce these honky mids that I personally didn’t like with the wood-combination of the Skervy (Ash body, rosewood/ebony neck). The mahogany-based Crusher seems to balance out these frequencies far better, but I’m still not a fan of the Aftermaths. In the every possible high-gain-scenario that a Metal guitarist could encounter, the guitar sounds massive. It has a very tight low end, crushing mids and a smooth high end. But the Crusher is not a one-trick-pony. Sparkling cleans and modern mid-gain sounds are no problem either.
My only gripe with the sound is that I prefer brighter woods with lower tunings, or at least maple necks with mahogany bodies. The higher mids and the top end is a bit too smooth – or maybe to “modern” – for me. But that’s clearly a matter of taste.
You can order a basic Crusher FT 7-string for 1.150 € (approx. $1.432) or an 8-string for 1.180 € (approx. $1.470). So we’re talking about a real high quality semi-custom guitar that costs as much or even less than an Ibanez Prestige.
Although you may choose various options within that basic package, you can also increase that price tag by adding exotic tops or inlays, ordering different wood-combinations or pretty much changing any other aspect of the guitar. RAN guitars are happy to help you spec out your dream-guitar.
Would I buy one again?
I definitely would, but I’d go with an ash-body (which is a paid upgrade) or at least a maple-neck the next time. And I’d probably ditch the Bareknuckles (you can order a pair of Lundgrens with no up-charge for example). If you’re looking for an affordable semi-custom extended range guitar with beautiful looks and high quality, you should definitely look into the RAN Crusher FT 7- and 8-string.