Price paid: $ 1000
Purchased from: www.ebay.com
Sound — 9
The swamp ash combined with the highorder pickups A5 magnets make this guitar quite bright for a humbucker guitar, but the percussive attack itself suits is wonderful to my ears. I do find myself turning the treble and presence way down on most amps, but I don't mind. Obviously this isn't the most low-end heavy guitar, but again, the punchy tone kind of makes up for it. It's more articulate to my ears than a mahogany guitar, it just feels more focused. Cleans are rather bell like and fairly twangy even with the humbuckers, dirty tones are well defined and great for rip-your-face-off leads. Rhythym work is clear and crunchy. I give it a nine simply because with certain amps this guitar can be too bright for me.
Overall Impression — 9
I play whatever strikes my fancy at the time. I think this guitar is a great rock guitar, but it would make a horrible jazz guitar in my opinion (it's just not smooth and dark enough, even with the tone knob rolled down). Everything else I think it would be quite acceptable for. But I knew all this before I bought this guitar, so it works for me. I'll probably own another one some day. I think the only thing I'd really change about this guitar would be adding some low-end into that natural punch it's got. Overall, I wish I could give it a 9.5, but I can't in good conscience give it a 10.
Reliability & Durability — 10
MusicMan guitars have been played on stages night after night all over the world by thousands of touring musicians. Needless to say I have no quams with the reliability or durability of this instrument. The finish, like all MusicMen, is a high gloss poly that's protective without being too thick.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Again, I bought mine second hand, and there were a few small chips in the clear coat on the head stock, but other than that the guitar was beautiful and scratch free. The neck is as straight as Ted Nugent and has a smaller assymetrical 'c' profile. It took me a minute to get used to the assymetric aspect, but 30 seconds in I really started to love it. I had it setup using a Plek Pro machine and I can't recommend that enough. The joker who owned it before me had the action 10 feet off the fretboard. Once the gents were done Plek'ing this guitar it was absolutely like night and day. Now it's one of the nicest playing guitars I've ever had the privelege to play. The hand-applied neck finish combined with the rosewood is a joy to play. Fast and smooth, but just enough grip to dig in. An 8 pre-Plek, a 10 post-Plek.
Features — 9
I'm not sure when mine was made, but like all MusicMan's regular guitars, it was made here in the good ol' US of A. It has a 25.5" scale with 22 medium frets on an all rosewood neck that's finished with MusicMan's proprietary mixture (I believe it's gun stock oil and some sort of wax/paste, but I could be wrong). The body is swamp ash with a beautiful rosewood top. The top is finished in clear gloss, but the back is solid black. I bought mine second hand and it came with a set of Seymour Duncan '59 pickups that I quickly replaced with a set of highorder pickups (a maximus in the bridge and a low output A5 neck model). The bridge is the Standard MusicMan HardTail and the only controls are a master volume, a master tone and a three way blade style pickup selector. The features are wonderful for me, but I wouldn't have minded seperate volume controls.