View Full Version : USA Peavey Predators...Ok Strat copies?

06-08-2005, 06:22 PM
Anyone have opinions on the USA Peavey Predators which were 22 fret Strat copies, 12" fretboard radius?

I decided to get one off Ebay since including shipping and HSC it was $115 and in relatively good condition. That has to be the cheapest USA made Strat copy around.

I think I'll put a Bill Lawrence L280, L200, and L298 in it. Any opinions on what could be interesting to do with a USA made "beater"?

I guess I could go Yngwie and scallop the neck, or have the bridge upgraded to a Point Tremolo. Would it sound better with the paint stripped off and an oil finish put on the body? Other ideas?

06-09-2005, 03:16 PM
Well, I guess I see why I got the price I did. No one thinks these USA Peaveys are worth commenting on. Someone's got to have some opinion, hasn't anyone ever played one of these?

06-09-2005, 03:29 PM
Well, I never played one, but at 115, usa made, and a hardshell case, I don't really think you can go wrong.
Thats even cheaper than one of those crappy squires that come in the packs from guitar center, and I don't see how it could be much worse than one of those.

06-09-2005, 04:56 PM
I can't comment on one yet, but I also just bought one. I'm expecting mine soon . I've heard very good things about them.

06-09-2005, 05:04 PM
At the prices they are going for on Ebay, I thought I could buy one first and ask opinions later. I was afraid I might drive the prices up to .... horror of horrors.... maybe $200 for an American made Strat copy! :)

The paint looks pretty thick, but it is on USA Standard Strats as well, so shouldn't be too bad. Mine will be maple fretboard with white body. The Yngwie treatment seems tempting, but I'd like to play a scallopped fret guitar before making one.

06-09-2005, 06:57 PM
Funny I should stumble into this discussion today. Just got my 1991 Predator earlier this week. I had read about them over at Harmony Central and I decided to take a chance. I bet a few of us in this thread were bidding against each other on eBay!

All I can say is I'm glad I did. I checked out every Strat on the wall for under $1000 at my local GC and Sam Ash. I found one Highway One that I thought was OK. Everything else was completely uninspiring--and one MIM Strat that almost left my fingers bleeding from sharp fret ends.

This Predator plays better than almost all of the Strats at those stores. It is similar to the Highway One w/ maple neck that I thought was OK. The pickups actually sound pretty good, too. Nothing that'll make you say wow, but decent enough. And you can always swap 'em out anyway.

For the money? If you can find one in good shape, it's a no-brainer for a MIA strat.

06-10-2005, 11:44 PM
Hi Carl. I have had my USA Pred. for I would guess 10 yrs. When I first got it I had decided I would change the pups to active EMG's. Can't remember why I wanted them changed but remember seeing the EMG's for sale shortly after purchasing the Peavey. I remember thinking that the stock pups sounded pretty damn good, hot and noisy. Nonetheless, in went the EMG's and I have to say that it is one fine guitar. Why did I want the Predator to begin with?? Because I had played one in Mr. Entertainment music store here in Canada in the late 80's early 90's and thinking "this is one of the best necks I have ever played". Without a doubt, it was the neck that made me decide I would purchase one in the future.
When I was gigging, it was my main guitar. With the EMG's it was a workhorse; a workingman's guitar. Now that I am just a bedroom practice player I have decided to let my local guitar tech
clean up the rough fret edges, install a Kahler bridge without the locknut and add locking tuners and a compensated nut. I can't wait til I get her back. I miss those strat tones and when all is said and done it will line up against my Tele Plus with equal stature.


The Eristic
06-11-2005, 12:08 AM
They are pretty decent. I'd hold out for a Falcon, though.

06-11-2005, 07:58 AM
How is a USA Falcon different than a USA Predator?

06-11-2005, 08:54 PM
One thing I know for certain is that the tremolo is different on the Falcon vs. the Predator. I think it's a Kahler on the Falcon.

Anyone know if a Fender strat replacement pickguard would work on a Predator?

06-12-2005, 07:28 AM
So what does a USA Predator compare to, quality-wise? A MIM Standard, nice Korean Strat (think Lite Ash or G&L Tributes), or is it further up the quality ladder?

06-14-2005, 06:40 AM
Originally posted by ArthurS
So what does a USA Predator compare to, quality-wise? A MIM Standard, nice Korean Strat (think Lite Ash or G&L Tributes), or is it further up the quality ladder?


06-14-2005, 07:43 AM
Originally posted by ArthurS
I'll let you know when mine arrives sometime this week.

06-14-2005, 09:35 AM
I think it's completely subjective. Unless you can pick up a guitar and try it, it's pretty hard to make an evaluation. With eBay, you just have to buy and try.

First, I should say that I'm no Strat expert. I owned one MIA back 10 years ago but sold it because I just didn't like it enough to play it. I can't speak for the MIK models because I've only seen a couple and didn't fiddle with them too much. I've heard that the quality on the MIMs is spotty so you have to try a dozen just to find the "right" one. I went into Guitar Center and Sam Ash, tried a dozen, and couldn't find one that I liked. As mentioned above, I found one Hiway One that I thought was pretty decent.

The build quality on my Predator is very good. The neck is completely different than a MIM strat, but I like it better. Mine has a beautiful smooth satin finish that I love. I've seen other reviews at Harmony Central that echo this sentiment. Body on mine is poplar with a pretty thick finish--it's a tank and has held up very well.

I think the tuners look cheap, but they hold tune very well. I have banged on this thing for a week and I haven't had to tune it once. Graphite nut. The tremolo on mine works fine. The electronics are OK. The pickups won't knock you over, but I was surprised that I wasn't disappointed. In fact, I bought thinking I would swap them out, but I may keep the stock pups for a while and see what I can do with them. They do have a slightly distinct flavor that is kind of interesting.

Overall, I'm happy with mine. Sure, it's kind of utilitarian but it gets the job done. For just about $100? Wow, great value...

B Vance
06-14-2005, 11:16 AM
The first guitar I ever owned was an American Peavey Raptor. The Predator and the Raptor are the same guitar with the exception of the Predator's Humbucker in the bridge.

You are right...the stock pickups are crap. I took mine out as soon as I was able to discern good tone from bad tone. I put in two SD Nashvilles in the neck and middle pickup positions and an SD single coil humbucker in the bridge. That really improved the guitar.

I recently traded the guitar in to help with my American '52 Reissue Telecaster. I didn't get anything near what it was worth because I didn't put the stock pickups back in it. I should have replaced the new ones with the older ones and sold the SD's separately. Make a note to yourself in case you are thinking about trading it sometime.

When all is said and done, it was a great starter guitar for me.

06-14-2005, 03:21 PM
Actually, the Predators I am referring to are the early 90s MIA models that were SSS configs only, I think. Peavey was very much trying to emulate a classic Strat back in those days.

I don't think the Predators had a 'bucker in the bridge until much later models. Most things I've read say that things started to slide downhill after the mid-90s (production went overseas). Then came the Predator Plus and EXP, etc., which are much different beasts.

If you are looking for a good value in a classic Strat, then you have to look for the early 90's MIA Predators.

06-15-2005, 03:16 AM
Are those the ones with the four-point bridges?

06-15-2005, 08:18 AM
Originally posted by ArthurS
Are those the ones with the four-point bridges?

06-15-2005, 03:10 PM
Mine will be here tomorrow, white , maple neck and sss.

Garrett Bagby
06-15-2005, 04:40 PM
My first electric was a 93 Predator. Using my minute guitar knowledge at the time, I chose it over a Squier because it was 22 fret, made in the USA and seemed to be better quality.

It was an okay guitar, but I quickly outgrew it and sold it for something else after about 9 months. Trem didn't stay in tune for anything, the tuners weren't all that great, or the bridge for that matter, or the pickups.

But I think with a few upgrades, it would make a cool project axe. The woods and workmanship seemed good (remember I only had this as a beginner). I'm sure that set of BL's would be a good start!

06-17-2005, 10:44 AM
The USA predators were great guitars for the money. They also had a "tele" copy called the Reactor which sold for about $300 new. Also a very solid guitar.

If I remenmber correctly their necks were made like G&L's bi-cut neck design.

Too bad they went off-shore and firmed up what everyone thought anyways, that Peavey's cheap guitars are crap.

The American ones surly were not crap. I'd say they were better than G&L tributes and the non American Fenders.

06-17-2005, 02:56 PM
I got mine in. It seems good, but still in need of a setup. (It came from a non-player who bought it from an estate sale.) The four screw tremolo is suprisingly solid. I don't think it hurts tone either. The pickups sound pretty good, but too noisy for me, but I change all my single coils to noiseless ones anyway. They are slightly hotter than standard Strat pickups, but still are unmistakable authentic Strat sounding.

Ironically, I was looking through old Guitar Player magazines, (Feb 1999) and saw a somewhat famous Nashville session guitarist from 1958 forward named Jimmy Capps playing a USA Predator in an article on influential Nashville guitarists. I've never heard of him, but I don't know any country music players.

06-26-2005, 09:42 AM
Carlton: any updated thoughts on yours? What's the neck like?

You say the 'trem is surprisingly solid'. Would you say it holds tune as well as a modern two-point bridge?

06-26-2005, 11:24 AM
I'm not that familiar with the modern two point bridges except for Floyds which are too different to compare.

I've gotten a little more comfortable with the neck shape. I adjust to anything but baseball bat necks, and this is fine, and so is the 12" radius. I haven't had time to open it up change pickups or even look at the wiring.

I would say that all the pickups are just slightly more overwound than vintage Strat pickups. It is still pretty authentic Strat sounding, but just slightly less highs, emphasis on slightly.

If you can get one for $100 like I did, then I can't think of a better deal on an upgradable beater.

06-26-2005, 01:07 PM
Cool, I'm really thinking of picking one of these up when I'm in SF in September! One more thing I forgot to ask: what's the finish on the neck like? Satin, bare, glossy, or something in between?

06-26-2005, 02:06 PM
It's a satin finish on the neck.

I played a gig with my Predator last night and bashed it around good. I play with my whole body... Performed flawlessly. A couple of guys from another band came up after our set to check it out because they couldn't figure out what I was playing. When they saw that it was a Peavey their eyes got kind of big and they said, "wow, that sounds dead-on like a real strat." I let them play it and they were all dumbfounded that it was a $100 guitar...

I'm still cool with the pickups, too. I'll probably change them eventually but I'm going to give these a little more mileage.

I also opened it up last week when I put a new pickguard on. The shielding isn't great--mine had foil back by the switches but not much else. I checked the electronics and everything seemed pretty decent. Nothing stellar, but not the cheap crap you see in most overseas products. Of course, someone may have done some upgrades and I wouldn't know the difference.

BTW, a standard Fender pickguard works fine on the Predator. You have to drill a couple of new holes but otherwise it fits good. And I think the red tortoise pickguard looks great on my white Predator. I'm going to buy some white knobs and covers to make it look the way I have always wanted in a strat.

06-26-2005, 04:41 PM
Thanks! I can't wait for September; definitely will pick one up (I could get one now, but that would be a waste of shipping cost and import duty.... I want this deal to be as good as possible :D).

Larry Wallwart
06-27-2005, 02:30 PM
I suggested one to a co-worker for her kid at Christmas. I played it when it came in. It played so nice, I told her I'd buy it if her kid gave up guitar.

06-27-2005, 09:30 PM
After having mine for about 2 weeks now, I must say that for under $200 and USA made these are a remarkable guitar. I also think these are better than the Fender imports. I like the 12" radius and the feel of the satin finish on the neck. The singlecoil pickups on mine are very Straty sounding.

Larry Wallwart
06-28-2005, 07:35 AM
Peavey gets a bad rap, but they make good quality gear.

10-11-2005, 01:50 PM
I have a 1994 sss peavey strat. usa crafted.
It's a great guitar.

I only really bought it to do wiring experiments (phase/series/all pickups at once etc..standard fare) so I can see what "out of phase" sounds like compared to "in phase"....... and "series" compared to "parallel" (hey! I've never heard it). A throw-away.

I ended up liking it so much.... I turned it into a main guitar. Upgraded the tuners.

I hear some people raving about the neck (reviews). I think its the finish that makes it feel good. It as a great smooth feel. But I tend to slide the high E string off the side of the neck. Going to take some getting use to. Definately compares to the feel of strats at 1/10 the price.

The neck is very fast.... but feels much different from a rosewood fingerboard which is all i've ever played.

When it comes to cheap guitars.... there are some I say "STAY AWAY FROM!"......... and others I say "GET ONE".
This is definately a "GET ONE". (when dollars count).

Is it a $1500 Bunker guitar? no way. But.... am I a billionaire? no way. So... i'm happy with this trashy guitar that plays almost like a classy one.

10-19-2005, 07:39 PM
Originally posted by juzzpazzinthru

But I tend to slide the high E string off the side of the neck. Going to take some getting use to.

Future reference incase somebody stumbles onto this thread via search engine like i did.............juzzpazzinthru was me... and I feel stupid now.

I finally actually tuned my peavey predator with a tuner and realized i was sliding the e string off because my strings werent tuned to normal pitch and were too loose. DOH!!! Problem solved. So what i thought was a neck flaw.. was a brain flaw.

Its a great neck period. Great cheap guitar. Believe the hype. (other hands might disagree).

10-24-2005, 05:29 PM
Wow, a 3 page thread on Peavey Predators- a sight for sore eyes!

I guess I've had mine for about 10 years now(geez, has it been that long? ;) ) Mine is a Peavey "Predator AX", and it was my first guitar. The body is just about an exact strat shape if I'm not mistaken, because I replaced the pickguard with a Fender one (and Vintage Noiseless PU's) and it all fit right in.

Shortly thereafter, Peavey modernized the body shape a bit to avoid a lawsuit and moved the production of these to Asia, if I remember right. Anyway, I love mine. The quality is good and the neck is very comfortable to play. I feel fortunate that my first guitar wasn't just some beater that isn't worth playing! I don't think I'll ever sell mine(they aren't that highly valued anyway!)

A few pics:



11-03-2013, 08:42 PM
Hi everyone,

This seems to be a fairly old thread. I thought I could refresh it a little. I just got a Peavey Predator a couple of months ago. I'm not sure of it's age. It was a bargain but had a couple of problems with parts missing. Fresh strings, a new nut and a bridge saddle and it was back in business.

It doesn't seem to have been played very much. The neck is really straight. It is no problem to set the action as low as you want. It has two single coils and a humbucker in the bridge position. I am pleased with the variety of sounds it makes. More than any other conventional guitar I have played. There is no shortage of gain. It is fairly hot. It has good balance, not too heavy. So far it seems to be a great guitar.

I don't love it like my Gibson's but I really like it. I can see myself playing it for many years. I think the previous poster is right.. This guitar is flying under the radar. Anyone who gets one of these older guitars in good condition probably got a great deal on a guitar.

11-03-2013, 10:41 PM
The leader of a country band I once played in played one. He refinished it natural, didn't look half bad. Not being a strat aficionado, especially not back then, all I knew was that it sounded fine, like I'd expect a decent strat to, and he was a decent player with it. No idea if the stock pickups were still in it though.

11-04-2013, 06:24 AM
Actually, the Predators I am referring to are the early 90s MIA models that were SSS configs only, I think. Peavey was very much trying to emulate a classic Strat back in those days.

I don't think the Predators had a 'bucker in the bridge until much later models. Most things I've read say that things started to slide downhill after the mid-90s (production went overseas). Then came the Predator Plus and EXP, etc., which are much different beasts.

If you are looking for a good value in a classic Strat, then you have to look for the early 90's MIA Predators.

The early 90's Predators, Raptors, and Patriots are very good mod guitars. The new stuff... not so much.