My new Valravn Munnin 8
and a light comparison between it and my Strandberg Prog NX 7
Last edited 5 months ago · 6 min read
I've always been very into guitars since I started playing at the age at 11, but during my early adult years I was way too busy working into building a career in software and building my life. Since 2022, I've decided to step up and get to play more often again and try different modern guitars and tones (because now I can).
That said, I've been the happy owner of a few guitars for the past year.
Very recently, my girlfriend got me a Valravn Munnin 8 for my birthday, which is an amazing headless extended range guitar made by Valravn, a small guitar boutique shop based in Ukraine 🇺🇦
The fact that she is also Ukrainian makes it even better: now I live with 6 Ukrainian cats, 2 Ukrainian ladies and also have 1 Ukrainian guitar, which looks, sounds and feels great 😄
If you never heard of Valravn before, I absolutely recommend you take a look on their Instagram and Reverb page (Tip: ping the account directly on Instagram in case you want to buy one of their guitars without the Reverb fee)
I ended up getting this beauty:
Let's talk a bit more about it
Here is a quick riff that I did these days with it:
This guitar is phenomenal for many reasons, but these are the ones that stand out for me:
- Neck profile: The neck profile is a very thin C neck profile, and I like that
- Head stock: The head stock has a very nice design, which is actually a small touch that I love a lot
- Inlay: It has blue luminlay side dots, which helps me a lot with this neck finish
- Pickups: Fishman Fluence Tosin Abasi pickups are insanely good for 8 strings. Voice 3 gives a lot of clarity for the 8th and 7th string when clean or with overdrive. Voice 1 and 2 are agressive and good for metal tones.
- Weight: It is very light for an 8 string guitar.
- Action: The string action came low as I like, super well setup instrument. String tension feels good as well.
- 8th and 1st strings are 1.25mm, in between all at 1.50mm
- I liked this action so much that I also changed my strandberg to have the same action. It was .25mm ~ .50mm higher than that.
- Bridge: This model came with Valravn's Bridge Rev 2. This bridge is the first fixed bridge I have on a headless guitar and so far I really like it. Tuning stability is pretty good and tuning it is easy.
- Jack Input: It has a jack with a locking/release mechanism so your cable never falls.
- Electronics: Back plate with magnetic lock so it is easy to change the pickups battery or access eletronics
- Knobs: I love the volume and tone knob positions as they don't hit my hands as much as Strandberg one's does
- Inlay: I think I have to charge these luminlays? Still didn't got them to work. Never had that problem with my Legator or Strandbergs.
- Inlay: Although the neck is a piece of art, the black inlay work on top of the nebula background has a bad contrast and I almost never can see the inlay
- Jack Input Position: The jack could be more well placed behind the guitar so it is more ergonomic (Strandberg does this nicely. Aristides puts 2 jacks in different places, which is also nice here)
- Bridge: I would love to see an 8 string from Valravn with a tremolo bridge. So far seems that only Aristides is leading in this space.
This is a quite expensive guitar.
I've got it new with Valravn through Reverb for 1,897.23 EUR, including shipping from Ukraine to the Netherlands.
It was shipped on March 27 and arrived on April 17. I probably got lucky with customs, as I only paid ~35 EUR for customs once it arrived in The Netherlands. Not sure what happened there.
Since Valravn is also a headless-only guitar boutique, it is a fair question to ask me how does it compares with the Strandberg.
I don't have an 8-string fixed-bridge strandberg, and with that I can only compare it to my Boden Prog NX 7, which certainly makes my review lack certain aspects that would differ in a 8 string strandberg such as the neck thickness (due to their Endurneck shape) or tuning stability (due to the tremolo bridge of the Prog 7).
But anyway, here is how my strandberg sounds:
Talking about differences: some things are obvious.
- No endurneck, since this is patented and only available on Strandbergs
Some not so much, and you notice after a while:
- The heel joint is not as smooth as the one in the new Strandberg NX models (but this doesn't mean it doesn't have a good handshake or access to the 24th fret)
- The bridge is solid, but I miss the internal hex shape that allows you to use an allen key instead of the knobs.
- Valravn comes with a brass nut. If that is better than what strandberg ships with, I dunno.
- Strandbergs have a slot for battery. Valravn keeps it with the electronics, which has easy access due to the magnetic plate, but I'd rather have a specific slot (or even better, a USB-C rechargable battery)
- The scale of the Valravn is much more bigger and aggressive.
- Valravn uses a straplock with a pin safety mechanism, which is nice to keep the guitar protected but it does hurt my chest when playing seating with it. Strandberg just ships their brand's straplock that has an extra plastic piece to force the strap to lock, without needing this device. Two different designs.
In all honesty, none of these are actual problems, they're really just the differences that stnad out for me.
If you'd ask me if I'd sell my Valravn to buy an 8 string strandberg: I wouldn't.
If you'd ask me if I'd sell my Strandberg Prog NX 7 to buy a Valravn 7: I wouldn't.
Both are amazing but they have their peculiarities. I'd recommend the reader to buy both, just like I did 😄 But if you have to choose just one, either will be amazing guitars and you'll love them.
From left to right: