John Petrucci and Ernie Ball Musicman's much-anticipated collaboration on an eight-string version of the Dream Theater guitarist's signature Majesty electric guitar has been unveiled, and it is as incredible as we have imagined it would be.
Resplendent in a the classic Majesty finish Mystic Dream – a polychromatic finish that changes colour depending on the angle from which the light hits it – the Majesty 8 could credibly lay claim to being the ultimate extended-range guitar.
As Petrucci says when introducing the model, it marks a number of firsts for Petrucci's signature Majesty line. Besides being his first eight-string guitar, it's the first to have a hard-tail, the first with fanned frets, with its 27" to 25.5" multi-scale fretboard and angled compensated nut design to enhance intonation.
The pickups are once more signature DiMarzios, but were developed specifically for the eight-string, with a Dreamcatcher humbucker at the bridge, a Rainmaker at the neck.
But as with the other Majesties, these are controlled by a most imaginative circuit that includes an onboard preamp that can deliver an on-tap +20dB of boost via the volume pot, and the bridge is equipped with a piezo pickup that's controlled via switch on the guitar's upper horn.
Other typically high-end appointments include the locking Schaller tuners, stainless steel frets, and indeed the body itself, which has a mahogany through-neck build with basswood wings.
Each instrument is handnumbered with a control plate signed by Petrucci, and sadly limited to 100 units worldwide. Priced $4,199 and already sold out on the Ernie Ball Music Man website, most of us will have to vicariously enjoy this instrument. And that we will.
Dream Theater fans will already be counting the days until 22 October, when the prog-metal titans' new album, A View From The Top Of The World, is released. Speaking to MusicRadar in April, Petrucci said the eight-string makes its debut on the recording, and had presented him with a number of new musical possibilities.
“I looked at it like a piano with more keys. There are more options for bass notes, rather than approaching it from a stylistic standpoint. So I looked at it from more of a compositional aspect, from the mindset of having more choices to play a riff in this key and then extend the range down and go below where I’m normally able to go. And I had a lot of fun doing it!”
In the meantime, Ernie Ball Music Man signature artist Jason Richardson and the prodigiously talented Nick DePirro of Californian post-rock experimentalists Night Verses have put the Majesty 8 through its paces, with two very different arrangements that demonstrate the breadth of tones you can get from it.
For more information on the Majesty line, see Ernie Ball Music Man.