AX20 Review

manufacturer: Ernie Ball / Music Man date: 03/30/2010 category: Electric Guitars
Ernie Ball / Music Man: AX20
Don't get a Epiphone Les Paul or Mexican Fender.. This guitar has a little bit of both in it.
 Sound: 9
 Overall Impression: 9
 Reliability & Durability: 8
 Action, Fit & Finish: 7
 Features: 9
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overall: 8.4
AX20 Reviewed by: rocknblues6, on march 30, 2010
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Price paid: $ 403.31

Purchased from:

Features: Basswood Body w/ Creme Binding, tummy contour.
Quilted Maple Veneer Top
Maple Neck w/ Rosewood Fingerboard
Locking tuners
Music Man Designed HardTail bridge
22 Medium Jumbo Frets
25.5" Scale
5 Bolt Music Man Designed Neck Joint
2x Sterling A5 Zebra Humbuckers
5 Way Selector (1-bridge, 2-bridge and neck inner coils, 3-all coils, 4-neck parallel, 5- neck)
42mm Nut Width (1.65")
Spoke Wheel Truss Rod Adjustment
Heavy Duty Gig Bag Included
Transparent Orange Finish


Biggest Con: The pickup selector makes a clicky sound when switching between settings. // 9

Sound: I play classic rock, heavier blues (ZZ Top, Gary Moore, and anywhere in between), and sometimes I wander into guitar based rock (Van Halen, Eric Johnson.) The guitar has a full sound. It sounds like an expensive Epiphone Les Paul (yeah.. not a Gibson people) with a Fender bite to it. It sounds a lot more natural than my Laguna LE322 where the distorted tone sometimes sounds like its kinda computer generated or something. Unfortunately, mine feedsback pretty quickly with higher gain (a la Guns N Roses) and there is a faint hum in the background even on the clean channel of my amp.

I tend to stick with the neck humbucker alone or the bridge humbucker alone for distortion settings, and I find that all the selections are usable on clean settings. The two and four positions have a quirky thin sounds that can come near a Sultans of Swing (by Dire Straits) tone if you try really hard.

Biggest Pro: Unique sound.. its mostly les paul with a Fender bite.

Biggest Con: The pickup selections 2 and 4 dont work well with distortion. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: It was set up very well. For some reason the open B string (the second one) creates a high pitched ring as it buzzed or resonated against the bridge.. I couldn't tell which it was doing. I adusted the pickup height and individual string heights along with swapping out the factory strings and the ringing is now barely audible. I think the guitar came stock with .10-.46 EB Super Slinkies because when I put a new set on the guitar the intonation was still perfect. // 7

Reliability & Durability: Well I've only had it a week and I have the Laguna LE322 in case anything happens to this one. I'm a bit worried about the ringing of the B string against the bridge (which does get amplified and sent through my amp) and the clicking pick up selector. Aside from those things it seems solid. // 8

Overall Impression: As I said I play mostly classic rock and I think this guitar is a good match for me. I am just a junior in high school, but I have been taking lessons for over five years from a Berklee grad. I play it through a Boss Blues Driver, DigiTech Hot Head, EH Memory Toy (I'd save up for the MXR Carbon Copy if I were you..), and a Boss Chorus Ensemble into a Roland Cube 30. (Sometimes I use a DigiTech 200A processor instead which has been discontinued.) If it was lost or stolen I would look around again and play a few guitars in local shops, but I would probably come back to this one. I love the unique tone and body shape, but I hated the ringing bridge thing.. I'm glad its at least quieter now.

Overall, its a great buy for about $400 bucks. Here's a hint: when Guitarcenter has a sale tell because they like to beat them. Guitarcenter's 10% off Slash event became a music123 discount of about 20%!! Don't get a Epiphone Les Paul or Mexican Fender.. This guitar has a little bit of both in it. Get it. // 9

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