Category Archives: Music Man

And more guff?

For all of the people who might disagree with what i’m doing/done/have yet to do, I feel I might as well respond in a blog, because it can further give an idea of what i’m trying to do here. This person actually asks some good questions, and for that I will hopefully respond and further explain myself.

  1. Norrin Radd Says:
    September 6th, 2006 at 4:46 pm eSeems to me that Jimi D had more issues with your facts than with your opinions. AND, if you’re “just another one of those people who plays lots of instruments at music stores; so what people get are gut reactions from me, not some polished reviewer “, then why even post a review?

    A published review ought to be borne out of professionalism – in the sense that it is your job to do so. If you’re just another guy playing a guitar in a music store, what value does your opinion have? Why should anybody be interested in what you say? Give me some reason to care about your opinion!

    I think it does the reader a dis-service to publish a review on a site like this where the assumption is that you’re a trained professional giving an objective review. Otherwise, why not just post it up at Harmony Central?

No one else does what I do on a blog, especially not one that registers into Google so quickly. No one publishes something from the view of the majority of guitar players. Many of which go to a guitar store but have no reason to write about what they see and feel when they’re there. We all read the magazines with creative-writing majors touting the glories of some guitar like a BC Rich Bronze series because he’s advertiser friendly, but what do we really gain from it? Do you really trust a company when they’re telling you how they’re doing? I hope not.
Instead, I am the friend of yours you ask when you’re thinking about buying a guitar. I’m the guy staring at a guitar in a window. And I’m the guy who knows what I like, and you compare your opinion to mine and figure out what you like. For instance, you’re thinking about buying a Charvel San Dimas 1H (You better be) and you want to look up what people say about it. You read the short blurbs on Musiciansfriend’s reviews, you read the specs on Charvel’s site, and maybe you’ve read a review in Guitar World. Then what? You’ve read something from the manufacturer, an advertisment, and an owner, none of which have done what I write about; go into a store, pick up a guitar that looks good and play. I’m not trying to be some sort of person speaking for the little guy, be it the 12 year old picking up a squier, or the 45 year old rekindling their youth, I am speaking from little guy to little guy. Those reviewers know what’s coming, they know they’re getting a Les Paul Supreme in their office. Me, however, i’m staring at a wall of guitars, waiting for one to sing to me. And i’m hear telling people if I like the tune.

This is the basis of opinion and critical thought. You know where the opinion is coming from, you judge accordingly. To believe you are informed, one must attempt to get as many opinions from as many different viewpoints as possible. You can take every opinion with a grain of salt, then you take what you’ve learned and evaluate accordingly. In this case, it’s musical instruments.

So why am I doing this here? Harmony Central is for anyone. Here it’s just me. How can you be sure that the review you’re reading on Harmony Central isn’t written by someone in the company? How can you be sure it’s not written by an advertiser? You can’t. Here, you can see that i’ve given reviews to some of the most highly competetive guitar companies honestly and unbiased. And, there’s only one person writing here. Not a mish-mash of bulletin board posts which are difficult to find and decipher. Here it’s simple.

I hope i’ve answered your question, Norrin, and answered others to come.

-The G.

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Filed under 20th Anniversary Silhouette, Ernie ball, guitar, guitar center, guitar player, guitar rant, guitar review, Guitar store, music, Music Man, Nay-saying, negativity, Rabble Rousing, Silhouette

Rabble Rousing?!

Apparently i’ve received my first flack for some of my comments on the Ernie Ball. Who knew they had such a militant following? Here it is for all to see, someone pointing out my flaws as a reviewer, something I would willingly admit on a business card. Instead of simply leaving it in the realm of comments, I feel I shall put it up here. Leaving the comments open to comment, including my response.

  1. Jimi D Says:
    September 6th, 2006 at 12:22 pm e
    This review is worthless – the reviewer is an inarticulate troglodyte and his opinions are valueless and misinformed. The 20th Anniversary Silhouette does not have the same neck profile as the Petrucci Sig. – in fact, the necks are tangibly and undeniably different. The 20th Anniversary Silhouette does not have active electronics – no 9-volt battery would ever be required. And lastly, Ernie Ball Music Man guitars are revered for their incomparable necks – check any decent guitar forum (The Gear Page, Birds & Moons, FDP) and you’ll find dozens of proponents of the Music Man gun stock oil & wax neck finishing, and every print publication for guitarists (including Guitar Player, Guitarist, Total Guitar, Guitar) that has reviewed the Axis has praised it’s neck. In fact, the Axis neck is a digitally carved copy of the neck from Eddie Van Halen’s # 1 favorite frankenstrat, developed when EVH had his signature guitar with EBMM, and this writer’s suggestion that he played an Axis that had an “unfinished” neck where “they forgot to round out the back” demonstrates an ignorance so monumental that it’s frightening. His assertion that it is somehow a substandard neck simply illustrates his complete lack of appreciation for a contemporary classic design that has found favor with a huge number of amature and professional musicians throughout the world.

As it turns out, this person is the moderator of an Ernie Ball forum…
Touching. Simply touching. Who knew that my few hours with a guitar in a store would be no match for that of someone who practically works for Ernie Ball. Anyway, on to my response.
However informed you believe you are, being an Ernie Ball owner, i’d like to direct you to this page:

http://www.ernieball.com/site/flyers/20th_ann.html

If you’ll notice that it says Piezo available, which was what I played. It was my mistake, I corrected it. I’ll pony up to that one.

However, if you had read my post, you may have read that I was at a Guitar Center. Maybe with a little bit of decisive reasoning, you could’ve concluded that it may have been a floor model, and it’s poor quality was attributed to that. And despite the fact that people say “one bad apple doesn’t spoil the whole bunch,” it did in my case, 6 years ago, when I was new to electric guitar. It should be a testament to either Guitar Center or Ernie Ball that no one was taking responsibility for making the flagship model of a company in excellent condition at all times. Unless you work for them, I have no idea why you’re standing up for them.

Also, had you read my posts, you’d also know that I am just another one of those people who plays lots of instruments at music stores; so what people get are gut reactions from me, not some polished reviewer who has had time to sit down and practice his sucking up to a company. These are my opinions, and opinions give people extra data that people can use in the event they purchase a guitar, and more knowledge for judging what they like in other guitars.

And I don’t know why you’re going out of your way to give me grief, I said the guitar was one of the best i’d ever played, and it might be the next guitar I buy. So I insulted the integrity of your favorite company in part of my post? Sorry I didn’t suck up to them for every sentence like you’d assume in the publications you quoted from memory.

-The G.

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Filed under 20th Anniversary Silhouette, guitar player, guitar rant, guitar review, Music Man, Nay-saying, negativity, Rabble Rousing, Silhouette

Ernie Ball Music Man 20th Anniversary Silhouette

I’ll admit it, for the my entire career as a guitar player, I have hated Ernie Ball Music Man guitars. I have very vivid memories of going to a Guitar Center, picking up a really nice looking Axis, only to have the experience ruined by the neck. It felt triangular to me, and almost like they forgot to round out the back of the neck. Not only that, but the wood was dirty due to some lack of sanding and finishing. So it stuck in my mind as one of the most uncomfortable guitars ever made, so I never picked one up again. It kept me away from Ernie Ball altogether until one of my favorite guitarists got picked up to do a signature guitar. John Petrucci, the guitarist for Dream Theater, rekindled my interest in Ernie Ball and gave me reason to touch them again. Maybe i’ll review the JP Signature at some point, but right now, we’re on a different mission with coincidental undertones (I’ll explain in a bit)

I went to Guitar Center with a friend of mine who plays bass. He had just purchased one of Ernie Balls new HH basses, so he felt some sort of brand loyalty to Ernie Ball. He sat in front of one of the cheapo Crate amplifiers, ready to butcher a song on guitar, an instrument he’d never really excelled at. He picked up the nearest Ernie Ball, it was the 1800 dollar, 20th Anniversary Silhouette which was positioned quite close to him. He played the guitar, and I looked at it with contempt, still remembering the experience with an Axis a long time ago. I’d never played the Silhouette, but I just assumed it had the same neck as the Axis, but with a double cutaway body. My friend got a phone call, and was just sitting there holding the guitar. I decided to take his seat, and he handed me the guitar. The transformation had begun…

The Specs: It’s a 24 Fret, Dimarzio Loaded beast of simplicity with no tremolo, locking tuners, three way pickup selector, volume and tone knobs. The top is an odd beast, a layered top like a triple ply pickguard, but with wood, plastic, then wood again. It was different, to say the least, from anything else i’d ever seen, as most guitars with plastic around the side consisted of cheap plastic binding, but this was a black plastic with a maple veneer on the top. Very attractive.

The Neck: This was what converted me. My hands fell into an immediate pattern which i’d never felt before. A different kind of comfort i’d never felt on medium jumbo frets. They were spectacularly finished, and with 24 of them, I was in heaven. My ideal prescription for a guitar consists of a 24 fret neck, and one as good as this will most definitely go on my list when some company comes to approach me about building a signature guitar. (I won’t hold my breath) It was smooth, unfinished (They did a bang up job!) and despite being a bolt-on, I felt no limitations like I would on a Fender Strat or Telecaster.

The Body: This might be the only thing I’ve got a problem with. The horns are stretched a little much for my tastes. The bottom one has a perfect curve to it, but the top is a little long, giving it an almost Danelectro Longhorn look to it. But it was perfectly contoured for playing, which is really all that matters. I say that knowing perfectly well that BC Rich wouldn’t be as well known as they are had feel been all that matters when people were buying guitars (Another review some time). Qualms aside, it was light, the pickups fit in there perfectly, and there was no clutter to it; just a beautiful looking guitars. Also, since my ideal guitar has a fixed bridge, (Though a trem is an option on some 20th anniversary Silhouettes) this one is starting to fit the bill as one of my favorite guitars.

The Electronics: Simple active (I am mistaken. An eloquent comment proved me wrong. What I thought was active pickups, was actually a piezo preamp.) circuitry with Dimarzio pickups. I’ve always been a fan of Dimarzios, but these just had a different dynamic, which was excellent. The were clear and crisp in all settings with no muddiness like some single coils tend to do, and some stock Humbuckers. Though, I’m not a big fan of active circuitry, as most people can’t find a 9 Volt battery when they need one.

The Hardware: Good bridge, nice knobs, what else is there?

The Whole shebang: Now, what I mentioned before was that the only other Ernie Ball I really had enjoyed was the JP signature, and I have a feeling this guitar took some of it’s ideas from John Petrucci’s ideas for Ernie Ball. The neck is probably the exact same one, and the fact that the action is perfect shows that a real player had something to do with it, not someone trying to make one-off guitars without caring about playability. (Gibson SGs, anyone?) As simple as it is, this is a great guitar. It feels great, sounds great (even through a cheap amp), looks great, and is a product of American craftsmanship, of which I am a huge proponent. The Ernie ball 20th Anniversary Silhouette has brought me back into the realm of Ernie Ball, and I’m here to stay.

However, i’m not going to give it the A+ that the Charvel had. This Ernie Ball has everything i’d ever want in a guitar, no hassles, fuss or anything that would bother me, and it would sound amazing. The Charvel I reviewed only had 22 frets, and it had a Floyd Rose, some of my biggest irritations in guitars. The thing is, there was an electricity I felt when I picked up that Charvel; an almost undescribable feeling that just made me want to play, and I thought it was an amazing guitar. This Silhouette is, without question, my ideal guitar, and something that fulfills that criteria is a diamond in the rough. I want it to be my next guitar, even if they triple the price. However, it didn’t inspire me like that Charvel, and for that it get’s an A. That plus is reserved for something out of this world.
Pros: Everything is fantastic. My ideal guitar, all the way.
Cons: None.

The Grade:

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Filed under 20th Anniversary Silhouette, Charvel, Ernie ball, guitar, guitar center, guitar player, guitar rant, guitar review, music, Music Man, Silhouette