Review: Overload Guitars Themis 8 Custom

Overload Guitars Themis 8 multiscale

I’m happy to finally review this! Overload Custom Guitars and Basses from Italy. Guitar Sphere did a little run with this very small guitar manufacturer, so I took the chance to order a custom guitar for a pretty awesome price. The deposit was paid in June and exactly 6 months later the guitar was finished, even earlier than I expected. He actually started building after the summer break, so the building time was something like 4 months only. I have to say, it looks better than I could ever imagined it, really stunning, but I will point out some things that I don’t like that much as well. But we’ll go more into that after we took a look at the spec list:

Model: Themis 8 multiscale headless

Construction method: bolt-on

Scale length: 25,5”-27”

Body: korina

Neck: wenge/maple

Top: flamed maple (stained)

Finish: natural satin

Fingerboard: ebony gabon

Inlays: tangent curve dots, Luminlay side dots

Bridge: T4M

Strap buttons: Dunlop Flush Mount Straplocks

Frets: 24 stainless steel frets

Pickups: Bare Knuckle Aftermath custom slanted set

Controls: 1 volume, 3-way switch

Weight: 2,950 Kg

Feel

As you can see, the guitar is extremely light for an 8-string instrument, which I really enjoy when it’s hanging on the strap. I haven’t rehearsed nor gigged with it yet, but I know it’s gonna be much more comfortable than my RGA8. Ergonomics. That’s the big plus of headless guitars and this one is definitely no exception. The very unique and recognizable design of the Themis isn’t only beautiful, it is also very comfortable. Speaking of design, there are lovely details on the guitar, such as the carved-in logo on the flamed top or the hidden input jack.

The neck feels amazing and probably is the most important feature of this guitar. I was instantly familiar with it, the fret fan also is just right and definitely helps to make playing chords or some odd licks easier. The neck also has just the perfect thickness. Overall the guitar doesn’t feel as big as normal 8-string guitars, which is partly due to the missing headstock. It’s awesome to be able to turn around in a smaller rehearsal room without knocking over the vocalist’s mic-stand and banging the headstock into your bassists face. The hardware system is very straight forward. The strings are held by the balls (wat?) in the bridge saddle, then put through the headpiece where a screw tightens them. You can see the guitar has a “zero” fret but also a regular nut (graphite I think), all works perfect.

An issue, which I know from my chinese .strandberg* copy, is that tuning the guitar precisely without using a tool is very hard, if not impossible. It’s hard to turn the tuners of the T4M bridge and it’s definitely impossible when you have sweaty fingers. But, the designers of that bridge put some thought into this, so you can thankfully use your plectrum as a tool to tune the guitar. Tuning my 300€ chinese guitar with an allen wrench was completely fine, but having to use a pick to finetune a near 2000€ guitar is a bit weird. But to be fair, the bridge is not build by Overload, so I can’t blame him for that. I can live with it. Tuning stability isn’t quite perfect, but this could also be my room climate. The guitar’s only been in here for a week and if it detuned, all strings were detuned equally so I didn’t even really notice before using the tuner. Second, I don’t have my trusted D’Addario NYXL on it, right now it has Ernie Balls and I already broke 2 strings in that week, which has never happened to me before.

Overall, the craftmanship is very good, but it’s not entirely perfect. The fret edges are nicely round but the fretboard was damaged noticeably at some spots during the process. Then there’s a very small furrow between the top and body wood on a corner near the bridge. I only noticed it today though, after meticulously looking for issues. No biggie, it’s not noticeable if you don’t look for it. The third thing that bothers me are the screws of the backplate. I know it’s really not important, but they could have been leveled with the plastic plate so that they don’t stick out. It’s just that in that price range, I think that things like these, even if they don’t affect the performance and sound, are a bit unsexy.

Sound

Unfortunately the guitar doesn’t have the broad variety in sound that I wished to get because mistakenly I got a 3-way instead of a 5-way. Matteo was really sorry though and he will send me a push-pull for free which I can retrofit then. I mean shit happens, I really can’t be mad.

I must say though even with just the 3-way, the guitar has awesome cleans, especially in the middle positions. It’s a relatively warm sound, but it’s still crisp in the higher range.

On high gain this thing sounds like it want’s to slaughter of the heads of other guitars and eat them for breakfast. Immensely aggressive and tight bite and naughty chugging on the low F# pleases the ears of every extended range nerd. The leads have a lot of attack and are singing lovely. Can’t really say much more, it’s absolutely epic. Just take a listen yourself:

Verdict

I think that this was one the best deals I’ve had so far. The look, the feel and sound that you get for the money is awesome. Sure, there are cheaper guitars out there, like some used Ibanez Prestige 8-strings with upgraded pickups, which I’m sure will sound close to this, but they are not custom made to your liking, they are not as light and definitely not as unique as the Overload.

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