Axis Review

manufacturer: Ernie Ball / Music Man date: 09/09/2009 category: Electric Guitars
Ernie Ball / Music Man: Axis
The Musicman Axis is made of a Basswood body with a bookmatched, figured maple top, with a cream colored binding.
 Sound: 9.5
 Overall Impression: 9.5
 Reliability & Durability: 8.5
 Action, Fit & Finish: 9
 Features: 9.5
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (4) pictures (4) 13 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 10
Axis Reviewed by: O00Coolzero00O, on september 09, 2009
2 of 3 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 1300

Purchased from: Craigslist

Features: The Musicman Axis is made of a Basswood body with a bookmatched, figured maple top, with a cream colored binding. The neck is a 22 high profile, medium width frets maple neck and fretboard with 5-bolt neck joint. The guitar has 2 custom wound DiMarzio humbuckers. It has a Music Man Floyd Rose-licensed locking tremolo with fine tuners. The headstock has Schaller M6LA tuners with pearl buttons. It also has a single volume knob and 3 way selector switch. // 10

Sound: I've own too many guitars even for one lifetime, but this guitar was amazing. I mostly have owned RR models with Duncans in it; any guitar with Duncans has a very full tone and really is filling to the ear. This was my first guitar with Dimarzios, and its sound was so radically different in comparison. The sound is light and airy like paris hilton's personality, but sounds beautiful in my Peavey 5150. The guitar nails the Van Halen, Metallica, Vai, Satch and various other tones. Harmonics on this guitar jump off the fretboard board are so beautiful. The beauty of playing this guitar is that your tone is determined by your playing style and technique. How you play the guitar really shows. You can saturate the pickups with distortion and still the guitar retains such clarity to it. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar was setup initially with 9's and with low action/ The neck is built for shredding and for counteracting the width of the fretboard. My guitar came in a beautiful transblue maple top with a birds eye maple neck. The guitar is pure eye candy. I love the look and feel of it. The Transblue guitar however is a little bright for my taste, but for the price it was a steal. I recently got it setup to half a step down from Standard with 10's and a D-tuna and now the guitar is perfect. I felt 9's were too thin for the tone I wanted and for my fingers to really feel comfortable on the neck. The neck despite being a Bolt-on has a sculpted joint for where the body meets the neck and fits so snugly and perfect that its really amazing to see. The guitar really in terms of quality is amazing. // 10

Reliability & Durability: The quality of this guitar is better than alot of Jackons, LTDs and in certain cases Gibsons I've played and owned. The guitar came with Ernie Ball strap locks which really hold on to the guitar when I play. I would definitely gig without a backup, this guitar is amazing and really the quality of it is amazing. The guitar seems Bullet proof and beautiful. // 10

Overall Impression: The axis seems to be an underrated guitar in terms of its tonality, quality and overall aesthetics. The guitar really suits my playing style from VH, to classic rock to metal, the guitar is perfect. I've been playing for four years and really have had every guitar under the sun, I really thought my RR1 was the pinnacle of quality, but this just blows it away in terms of quality and effort put into it. If this guitar was stolen I would find the guy, tie him to a chair, turn my 5150 to ten aim the cab at his genitals and sterilize him by playing eruption. // 10

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overall: 10
Axis Reviewed by: hackett1f, on october 03, 2011
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 15

Purchased from: Discount Music, Bountiful, UT

Features: 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 // 10

Sound: 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. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: 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. // 10

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 10

Overall Impression: 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. // 10

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overall: 7
Axis Reviewed by: ibanezrg762773, on december 21, 2011
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 1500

Purchased from: earl teat music dover

Features: For starters this is an absolutely beautiful guitar, made in 2009 in California. It is a 22 fret maple neck, with a quilted maple top. Mine is a dark yellow Orange color. It generally looks like a Les Paul mixed with a Tele, which is for some reason what eddie wanted while designing this beautiful guitar. It has an awesome Music Man branded floyd rose, never goes out. It has two DiMarzios. Origin unknown, single volume, three way switch. It has Schaller locking tuners and came with a really nifty but poorly built case. // 8

Sound: I play classic rock, and new age metal. So yes, this guitar fits for classic rock, not good for drop tunings. I use a Line 6 120 watt spider 4. Clean it sounds dim and not very twangy but insane its all out classic rock. Great harmonics, good for rhythm. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: This guitar straight when I bought it had a great, low action. Everything was routed correctly. My third fret did die though. I had it refretted. I dislike how the guitar isnt routed for pull back. Could use a nice cleaning every once in a while. There isnt much to say about this guitar. Its a pretty basic peice of instrument. // 7

Reliability & Durability: I have gigged twice with this guitar when not using a PC 1. It held up very well. It seems to stay intact really well. My strap came off alot, so I just got straplocks. But I depend on it for a backup. The finish is already starting to wear. So I don't see it lasting. If it wears t bad, I'll paint it purple. // 4

Overall Impression: This guitar is good for one of my styles. It has a great playing neck. If I had a signature guitar, I would def use an Axis neck with a Jackson headstock! Haha! I do love this guitar, but not as much as a portion of my others such as a Kramer 5150, Charvel so cal, Jackson PC1, Ibanez jem, and a few Les Pauls. // 8

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overall: 9.8
Axis Reviewed by: JRobb642, on february 07, 2014
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Features: I purchased my Axis new from Guitar Center in 2013 (I got a great discount because it was the display model), so I'm guessing it's a 2013 model. For all the specific specs, there's the link to the MM website. This guitar has a BEAUTIFUL birds eye maple neck, and it feels like it's been worn in already. It's so easy to play. Very fast neck. Stunning green quilt top guitar, it was a guitar center exclusive color. On stage, depending on the lighting, the guitar can look bright green, dark green, blue-ish green, or even like a green/black quilt combo. But at home when you look up close, it's translucent. You can even see the brown in the wood underneath the top. The guitar looks and sounds a bit like a les paul and a tele had a baby. MusicMan Floyd Rose, lowers pitch only. 1 volume knob, no tone. 2 DiMarzio humbuckers. Schaller M6LA tuners with pearl buttons. Came with a hardshell case. I rate this a 10 because that's all I need. I don't ever touch tone knobs. Simple, beautiful design. // 10

Sound: I could spend days describing the sound and still not do it justice. I've played this guitar live doing many styles of music, from rock, ska, country, jam band, funk, electronic, shred, metal... And after every show, everyone wants to know what kind of guitar I'm playing. For rock, this guitar punches through the amp with a trebly, but extremely clear tone. You can hear every note in a chord perfectly. The squeels it creates are beautiful and effortless. The clean tones are fantastic and clear too, especially when using the middle pickup (which is perfect for country!). Even though it looks like a shred machine, this guitar can get a wonderful twangy tone. The floyd rose doesn't seem to affect the sustain at all. I LOVE the Floyd Rose. First one I owned. Stays in tune perfect, I can do tons of little tricks that sound good and are flashy... I love it. Just requires some extra time, care, and attention. As far as shredability, it IS Eddie Van Halen's signature design. Ernie Ball hasn't changed the specs much since it came out. It's stupid how easy it is to play this guitar. However, I actually had to adjust my playing a bit because of how easy it is to play. (Other guitars are Eric Johnson strat & Gibson LP Classic... so different). It just sounds like the best of both of those worlds. The LP and EJ were instantly demoted to back ups when the MM came around. 

No matter what style of music I'm playing my rig stays the same. I use a Marshall JVM205H through some stock Marshall 4x12 cab from the '90s. The guitar doesn't make any unusual noise. It's quieter than my LP, which has Duncan Distorions. Overall the tone is very warm and bright. Nails the "brown sound" with minimal effort through whatever amp its going through. The tone versatility that this thing gets is UNREAL. Whatever you're trying to play, this guitar can help you out. Can I rate this an 11? Please? // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: Was set up perfect from the factory! When I went to pickup the guitar though, good ol' guitar center f-ed with it and put .10's on it, and didn't adjust anything. Of course, it wasn't as simple as just re-string it with .9's. I'm broke, so I went ahead and started learning how to mess with guitars (perhaps not smart on a $1600 guitar... but it worked for me!). I never messed anything up, the guitar is very easy to adjust. I ended up completely changing the settings around after guitar center messed with it though, so I can't really recall the major differences between factory setup and now. I know the action was set very very low, and I have it a little higher than it came originally. I also messed with the trem springs. But hey, nothings perfect, it came set up amazing and if you need to change anything it's easy to adjust it without paying a tech. // 9

Reliability & Durability: This guitar has been gigged very heavily, and I have had no issues on or off stage. The case is reliable. The hardware shows little wear, even after all the sweat and beer that it's seen. I replaced the strap buttons with Schaller strap locks, but the originals worked great while they lasted. I always bring a back up, and never end up using it. This guitar is too fun to play, I get sucked into it. So no a backup guitar isn't required... But if you break a string in the middle of a set with a floyd, you're going to want a back up. // 10

Overall Impression: My main band right now is a funk/jam band sort of thing, however, I grew up on Van Halen. With this guitar, I can have perfect tone on stage with my band, and also at home when I want to play some VH. It's a tone machine. Whether or not you like Eddie, that dude knows tone. As I stated earlier my amp is a Marshall JVM205H, and the only thing on my pedalboard that affects my tone is a compressor (which is vital for gigs in my opinion). If it was stolen, I'd clean up my feces and then find that sucker or sell the EJ or LP for a new one.

Pick one up for yourself and try it if you can... I had always wanted to try one, and this was the FIRST one I had ever seen. And I freaking bought it. I had no car at the time, but it was the last one they had in stock. No regrets. I can't compare this guitar to any other... It's like a Les Paul and Tele had a baby with a Floyd Rose on it. It sounds more full than a Charvel or Kramer, but plays with even more ease. Worth every penny... I can't stop staring at it/playing it. I can even claim that it took my playing to the next level. Plus it's not one of those guitars that people see everyday... People definitely remember beautiful guitars, and any finish this baby comes in is beautiful. // 10

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