Price paid: $ 15
Purchased from: Discount Music, Bountiful, UT
Sound — 10
Going on 13 years with this beauty and a heavy schedule and I finally had my pickup jack lose a solder connection. Not only do these guitars sound absolutely fabulous but they are built in the USA to last. I have a friend who uses his EVH (I have the post Eddie Axis) into his Peavey 5150 amp and sound NOTHING like Eddie. To Eddie and the designers at MM's credit they was successful at creating the "brown sound" without it being a "sound like Eddie" guitar. I run mine through either a Mesa Boogie F30 or a Hughes And Kettner Tube 50 and it communicates what I want it to perfectly. I have fallen in love with heavy gauge strings on it, using EB Pure Nickel Power Slinkies (11's) and I can be as dirty or graceful as I need to be on this guitar. I have used it for rock, fusion, prog, shred, country (it sound great on country), blues, and even jazz, though the lack of a tone knob on the original design means you can't roll off the treble. The custom wound DiMarzio pickups are unmatchable in tone. They can cut through anything or hide perfectly in the mix. It is definitely geared towards a more Vintage playing style of manipulating your volume to get various tones, though if you are the turn it to 11' kind you won't be disappointed.
Overall Impression — 10
I play Irish rock now, but have used it to play pop covers, country, punk, blues, fusion, and progressive. The only thing it doesn't do is single coil tone. I have a MM Silhouette for that, and my review for those is just as enthusiastic. I prefer the single coils when I am playing punk and for some blues. If my guitar was stolen I would visit every pawn shop for 300 miles once a week and spend my nights sifting through eBay and Craigslist for the culprit. After all that I would buy another one. Had I the means I would own several. It has an unmatchable tone that is more personal than any other guitar I have ever played. I have compared it to all the classices, Gibsons, Fenders, Ibanez Jems and Satriani's, the Peavey attempt at making them, Heritage, Paul Reed Smith, Hamer you name it. In fact, I chose this over a Hamer Koa top that was very lovely. I cannot find it's equal even in guitars that cost 2 or 3 times as much. I can't say that I would add anything to it because it was specifically designed to be what it is, not to try to be a Les Paul or a McCarty.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Like I said, 13 flawless years until the solder on the jack gave way. I have had this guitar hit by moshing audience members, dropped, left in the car (I know, it's a cardinal sin), endure temperature extremes at outdoor shows (Sun Valley in the Winter, Las Vegas in the Summer), my Crybaby getting dropped on it, you name it, it has taken a beating, and it has never failed me.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Everything was perfect. I have my local guy that does my set ups to my liking, but if you ever pick up one that is not well adjusted the dealer is more likely the suspect. The finish was flawless when I bought it, and gorgeous. After 13 years as my main guitar it certainly has been around the block, but it is aging wonderfully. I can't wait till I can afford the Axis Sport.
Features — 10
Built in 1998 in San Luis Obispo, CA at the Music Man Factory - 22 Frets, 12 3/4" scale, Unfinished Maple Neck - Basswood Body with a Flamed Maple Gold Top, Solid Body - Floyd Rose Trem w/ locking nut - Passive Custom Would DiMarzio Pickups - H-H - Volume Knob Only - Tweed hard case