The Ball Family Reserve models for December 2020 have been unveiled and once again opulence is the watchword, as Ernie Ball Music Man lavishes high-end specs on its most prestigious electric guitar and bass designs.
This month sees John Petrucci's Majesty signature electric return in an exquisite Bali Blue Burst finish that covers everything but the baked-maple 24-fret fingerboard. There is a six-string option, limited to 95 pieces worldwide, with a seven-string limited to just 45 units. Each comes hand-signed by the man himself and has a lot going on.
There are few more innovative relationships between player and manufacturer than Petrucci and EBMM. The Dream Theater guitarist's Majesty series is many respects the acme of electric guitar evolution.
Of course, many of us do not need a floating piezo-equipped bridge a pair of DiMarzio Rainmaker and Dreamcatcher humbuckers to get through our sets, but this is the sort of thinking that takes the instrument further.
Taking the build quality as read, these have typically imaginative electronics, with an onboard 20dB boost that's just dandy for splitting the atom during your solos.
Elsewhere, there is am Axis finished in Buttery Blonde – a postmodern T-Style with a semi-hollow basswood body topped with a highly figured maple top and M-style f-hole.
The Axis [pictured below] houses a single Ernie Ball Music Man custom-wound humbucker positioned somewhere between the middle and neck positions, and has a bound flame-maple neck with 3-piece split-block abalone and MOP inlays. The ebony fretboard is bound and replete with 22 stainless steel frets.
The Axis is limited to 30 pieces worldwide.
The StingRay series has also been updated with the StingRay Special in Natural Okoume – its first full 34" scale bass with passive electronics.
The okoume Special is fitted with a single neodymium humbucker, with push/push volume boost and a three-position rotary pickup switch, and has a ridiculously figured flame maple neck. It is incredible. On top you'll find 22 high-profile stainless steel frets on a rosewood 'board.
The lightweight okoume body is finished in a satin classic light yellow tint. Very understated, very cool, very limited edition. Only 80 units will be produced.
Finally, we have the StingRay 5 Special in Kinetic Blue – a "colour-shift" finish that has hitherto only been applied to Petrucci's Majesty series. Here it has been applied to the body, neck and headstock.
The 5 Special has a single neodymium Music Man humbucker with an abundance of tone-tweaking options. The electronics are rear-mounted, meaning EBMM can do away with the pickguard, and the circuit features a 3-band EQ, volume, and a 3-way blade switch. This is limited to 85 pieces worldwide.
See Ernie Ball Music Man for more details.