Price paid: £ 500
Features: These are quite recent guitars and they are the new sub series to Ernie Balls MusicMan guitars. It is a basswood body and a maple neck and fret board with 22 frets. It has a maple veneer quilted top and my copy is transparent gold. One of the big features about this guitar is the neck- it is a symmetrical, so it is a little thicker on one side for maximum stiffness and grip. I like this about the neck because it feels great in the hands but not too bulky like some Les Pauls can be. Try it before you buy one though.
It has a locking system, but I would not call it a Floyd Rose as it only lowers the pitch, as there is no routing in the guitar to bend upwards. This is not a problem for me as I do not use the trem much but for any of those who count on their trem like Steve Vai, this is not for you. However the tuning is very stable because of it.
Another feature of this design of guitar is the one volume knob (no tone!) and one three way pickup switch. Also, there are pearloid tuning pegs, which are a very nice addition. // 9
Sound: This is one of the best guitars I have ever heard, clean and with distortion. The pickups are amazing, considering that they are stock, so don't even think of changing them! There is a lovely balance of mid, with the top and bottom end. I find the fact that there is no tone knob good because you get the best sound you can get out of it all of the time, but if you want to have a bit of a difference, maybe got for the AX20, which has tone. This guitar is meant to be more suited for metal and rock whilst the AX20 is the more versatile one but I can play most things on my AX40, from Muse to love ballads (I couldn't think of a band that plays these!) // 10
Action, Fit & Finish: Well, when it first came, everything needed a tweak. It took a while to get perfect but I might have just got a bad one because others who have one have said that its good straight out of the box. The action for me was a bit high and the Floyd Rose needed lowering but those were just little things to make it perfect. We also oiled the neck then took some of the laquer off and that gave a really nice played in feel because at first, the neck was slightly unfriendly, but a days playing will sort that. // 7
Reliability & Durability: Its built like a rock and its very solid, and it stays in tune really well. When I get a drop d Switch that you stick on the bridge, I will happily play a gig without a backup, because of course due to the locking system I can't tune up and down at the moment. It is defo built to last, and it gets better and better with age. // 10
Overall Impression: I love it. Simples. I was considering a Telecaster when I got this one but the AX40 was better at every turn. Sounds better, looks better and plays better. If I lost it I would defo replace it. Even when I eventually get a real Musicman, I will still use this guitar. // 10