Price paid: A$ 2200
Purchased from: EBAY - US
Sound — 8
As many will know, this guitar was designed for John Petrucci (obviously), so instantly everyone is going to assume is great for Prog Metal, Shredding and the odd divebomb, however, it is GENUINELY a far more versatile guitar than that. Because mine is the 05 model, it came with the not so flash pick ups, which were revised in the following models. I can understand why they were replaced as both are quite flat in their tone (not muddy, not everly bright). The bridge however (contrary to what most people say) is actually not bad, but the neck pick up is not a huge fat tone and not really very biting either. It kind of sits right in the middle. Overall, I wouldn't go crazy about the pick ups, but they are certainly quite articulate which is a huge plus. The stunning sound of this guitar is the coil-tapped middle position. Absolutely brilliant tone. I use this position for Rockabilly, Rock, Fingerstyle, Blues, Metal... Everything. Its a very Knofler, Stratty kinda tone. Overall, probably not AMAZING tone for such a pricey guitar, but through a decent amp, it still sounds glorious, particularly drop tuned. I've played this guitar through my current rig (Mesa Single Rect-O-Verb + Matching Combo), and my older rigs (Mesa Dual Trem-o-verb Combo, Mesa Nomad 100 combo) and it always does a great job overall. These days I'm playing a lot of metal, which means tunings hovering around Drop-C, Drop-B, Drop-B flat and C-Standard and this guitar kicks ass. Even with high gain, there is never any feedback, never much noise or hums, just a sexy, articulate tone. The real high point for me on this guitar is the Piezo - without a doubt, it has to be the most convincing piezo I've ever heard on a solid body. It wipes the floor with Parker, PRS, and other upper market brand piezo's with ease. Once you get the EQ right, it just sparkles. The amount of people that come up to me asking where the Acoustic guitar is coming from is staggering. Many musicians couldn't even believe I was the one producing the incredible tone. The piezo is worth an 11 on its own, but the OK-ness of the magnetics brings it down to an 8.
Overall Impression — 9
This guitar has been a great purchase. It wasn't bought to be a John Petrucci/Dream Theater fanboy, but because it is a genuine, all round, spectactular instrument. Instrument reviews are extremely personal, but for me, there have been few (if any) guitars that would eclipse this in terms of price/quality/playability bla bla bla. I have owned it for 3 and a half years now, but I thought I would wait before I submitted a review to see if the Honeymoon period would wear off - but it hasn't. These really are that good of a guitar. I will admit that I'm currently in the process of importing the current model Petrucci Music Man's pick ups, the liquifire + crunch lab, as I think with those loaded, it will be the greatest guitar I could hope for. Again, this is a personal opinion and I'm not saying this is the be all and end all for guitarists, but for me it is a perfect instrument. I used this guitar in a covers band that played everything from Floyd to 3 Doors Down, to Franz Ferdinand to Johnny Cash and never had to change guitars once to replicate all the tones I needed. As stated twice above, it's now being played only for Hardcore, Metal, Southern Rock, Screamo and it simply excels. DONT buy this guitar if you instantly think it is going to give you JP's tone and blazing skills, because its not magic - there is a lot more to his tone than just this guitar, BUT it certainly goes a long way towards it thats for sure. I couldn't, in good conscience, give it a 10 overall because I'd feel like one of those people that submits a review on here and goes "ZOMG, MY Squier Strat IS THE BESTEST EVER - 10, 10, 10" but it has easily earnt itself a comfortable 9. If it were stolen/lost, I would feel personally violated and seek some kind of "Law Abiding Citizen" revenge on the system, crushing all those that stood in my path of retribution. But seriously, would genuinely purchase another (in fact I nearly bought another on top of this one as it came up cheap).
Reliability & Durability — 10
I'm going to preface this whole section by saying this is where this guitar earns a perfect 10. These days (as I stated earlier) I've been playing my Hardcore/Metal/Southern Rock a lot. I am a notoriously heavy player (as in strike the strings very hard) and like to throw the guitar around, as well as just generally beat the living daylights out of it daily. The guitar is still in mint condition with the ONLY mark on the guitar being at the headstock from when I hit it with the snips when re-stringing it. Otherwise it is spotless. It's had bourbon and coke spilled on the body, been played in sub-zero, frosty weather and also (accidentally) left in the boot of my car on a hot day. Still NO imperfections whatsoever. This guitar is also horrendously stable tuning wise. For a guitar sans a locking nut, the locking tuners and brilliant bridge design hold this guitar spotlessly in tune. These days, because of all of my drop tuning, I have fitted a "Trem-ol-no" which I can lock up the bridge with, or just use for "divebombs" (which is never), and that combined with the locking tuners is simply brilliant. I wouldn't just use without a back up if I had to, I DO on a day to day basis. I have no qualms whatever taking it to a gig without any other instrument - providing I have a backup pack of strings, just in case. Only problem I had with this guitar is the "A" string Piezo failing. I contacted MusicMan's tech dept, who sent me over another within the week. So again, no gripes.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
My MusicMan had a big journey from Illinois to New Zealand and when tt arrived it was perfect. Action was fantastic, intonation spot on, no buzzing anywhere on the neck. Simply flawless. The necks on these are very very very nice too. This model has the unfinished Figured Birds-Eye Maple neck which is the silkiest, smoothest neck I've ever played. To be honest, the one thing that would stop me getting the present day BFR-F1 is the fact the neck is now finished. Its a brilliant selling point for me (the unfinished neck that is). The guitar also have the 5 bolt neck fitting which means upper fret access is a breeze and with the angular, scalloped body, the guitar is ridiculously comfortable to play for hours and hours. My only gripe would be that, now I have Power Slinkies (11's) on it, in E-Standard you can get a sore hand as the neck is probably a little thin for sustained periods of chordal play. Another interesting "fault" is the fact the pickups are hard mounted directly to the body which means there is no adjustment on them - I have, however, had them re-fitted so that they are adjustable, which has brought an even-ness between the pick ups which once wasn't quite there. Overall, I am a happy chappy!
Features — 8
My JP6 is the '05 model which features: JP Inlays Rosewood neck Full Floating Piezo Bridge Schaller Locking Tuners Matching headstock colour to body (yes, thats an option!!!) 24 Jumbo Frets DiMarzio "custom" pick-ups (both humbuckers) Volume, Tone, Piezo Volume knobs Piezo EQ on the back of the guitar. Case came with all the candy - Trem Bar, Wiring Diagram, Guarantee, Instructions, polishing cloth, keys etc. Overall, I was pleasantly suprised with the out and out features of this guitar. So it earns a healthy 8