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Ernie Ball Music Man “Luke” (with Piezo) Guitar Review

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Ernie Ball Music Man “Luke” (with Piezo) Guitar Review

This review was submitted by Guitar Jar contributor: Jacob Whiteley

I discovered Music Man when I went to college and met the current lead player in my band. We played together in the school’s show/jazz band. Before too long I ordered the Luke and never looked back since; now I have 2 Music Man guitars and expect to buy more in the future. There are very few other brands that are as innovative and that care about as many little details in the production of their instruments.

…this guitar is well worth your time, money, and most of all, your creativity…

Features:

Ernie Ball Music Man Luke with PiezoThe guitar is so comfortable to play, the v shape in the neck is just pronounced enough to notice it but it is sooooo comfortable. It’s an HSS model guitar, giving you many versatile options on the 5 way switch. This guitar also has piezo and the coolest output jack options on the market.

There are actually two output jacks you can use, but it has way more capabilities than that. There’s a mono jack and a stereo jack; mono allows you use the 3 way switch to toggle or mix magnetic and piezo where as the stereo allows you to run the signal to some sort of splitter (either music man splitter box or their special volume/pan pedal, or really anything splitting the stereo signal to two mono signals will work). This allows you to run one cable to two amps/rigs one for the magnetic pickups and another for the acoustic/piezo sounds.

Music Man guitars are known for their playability and features. There’s a Music Man vintage style 2 point trem (that I actually float) – it takes can take a lot of abuse and the guitar stays in tune very well. There are Schaller locking tuners on this model too and they hold the tune as well as anything I’ve seen.

The guitar actually has an unfinished maple birdseye neck that is absolutely gorgeous and taking care of the neck is the trick. Music Man has videos on how to keep it in shape via cleaning and light sanding and using gunstock wax (which is a very simple process). It really makes a neck feel absolutely great and I don’t think there are many other neck finishes that rival it. I play 4 hour shows with this guitar and it never gets sticky and feels nice and dry through the whole show.

Ease of use:

Recently I shipped the guitar back to the Music Man factory to have a setup/fret level job done and wow, I’ve never played a guitar with a lower action that did not buzz. The playing is effortless and I really haven’t played a better playing guitar; even the other Music Man guitars, although I’m sure they’d be just as good with a setup with the pro’s from Ernie Ball.

Sound Quality:

Versatile; the neck single is fat and round and the humbucker is pretty fat for an active (and is dynamic). The middle pickup isn’t that different than the neck really, but it’s a little thinner and mixes well with the neck single and bridge bucker.

The piezo is awesome they include a little 2 band eq/level adjustment(s) on the preamp/jack of the guitar which allows the player to really dial in the acoustic sound they desire. Music Man spend a lot of time drying the wood for their necks and and it shows; the direct mounted pickups in combination with excellent wood selection create a very nice open tone out of the guitar.

Reliability:

Oh so reliable it is – these guitars are built to last. They are built like an exotic sports car so if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing with the setup and do too much of it you’ll screw up the balance the instrument was designed to have and end up with up little annoying problems like too frequent string breakage like I did (thus the reason for the trip back to the factory to start.

I had attempted a setup over the phone with Music Man twice. Their customer service is the best; they are very personable and understanding on the phone and while helping you understand the best options for your guitar playability, while not forcing you to do anything and listening to your concerns.

I still couldn’t get the issue to go away, the setup was that far off which was at fault from me receiving the guitar used from someone else who had it set up completely opposite as I wanted and trying to just force a setup before I knew how the guitars were designed to be set up.

Like I said, the guitars have a fine balance to them and while from the factory they are designed to stay in the that balance, others who think they know how to improve it can really screw it up.

Overall Rating:

It’s the best guitar I’ve ever played period and their customer service is the best I’ve ever dealt with because it’s built like a good old American family business LOL.

You won’t find an instrument out there with a similar price that this wont rival. It plays as good as the popular brands that you see all the little kids in the stores playing smoke on the water on ;-), but for half the price and that’s before you get to a guitar that even nearly starts to play as well. Seriously this thing plays as well as any custom instrument that costs over $3000and it cost half of that.

These guitars were designed to be pro guitars available to the average guitar player. The company built the guitar right and created a heck of a product all 100% in USA – every part in the USA not assembled or designed or mostly made in USA. This guitar is well worth your time, money, and most of all, your creativity.

This review was submitted by Guitar Jar contributor: Jacob Whiteley

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