Patrick James Eggle Macon Junior DC: What is it?
This double-cut electric guitar from Patrick James Eggle might wear its influences on its sleeve but in an era when vintage instruments are a market exclusively for the one per cent, who are we to complain?
Who are we to complain when the design remains as relevant now as it did when it was released, back when Eisenhower was in the White House?
Certainly not when one of the UK’s preeminent luthiers has been utterly clear-eyed when it comes to building a Junior-style rock ’n’ roll bruiser that is designed to arrive out of the case ready for action.
Whether single or double-cut, it’s a format that has been tried and tested. PJE makes a few variations on the theme but this is the closest to the original idea, with a slab mahogany body, one-piece, a 45mm-thick hunk of tree with a matching neck that joins the body with a long tenon and is topped with an Indian rosewood fingerboard.
Maintaining the illusion of the good old days, this rosewood is as dark as strong coffee and unbound. After all, the original was a student’s guitar.
This, however, is anything but. The quality of craft here is unimpeachable. Aesthetic flourishes are kept on the DL, such as the tortoiseshell binding on the body to match the pickguard. No need to go overboard; aesthetic discipline is an underrated quality in guitar design, and here the whiff of the austere merely draws attention to the top-tier materials.
The Grained Blonde finish has a heat-aged nitro lacquer that is a million miles away from a relic’d guitar but has some attractive frown lines in the finish, those little cracks that suggest a life well-lived.
The rear of the neck deepens that illusion with a finish that is all but worn off. The generous C profile – 22.5mm at the 1st fret, filling out to 24mm at the 12th – feels reassuringly old-school, a comfortable footing for rhythm guitar.
PJE has equipped the Macon Junior DC with a single Mojo P-90 Dogear single-coil, volume and tone controls, and a milled aluminium ABM 3025 intonated wrapover bridge and tailpiece. On the headstock, you’ll find the PJE livery and a set of Gotoh SD90 vintage-style tuners with keystone buttons.
The aged nickel look, again, feels like a riposte to the modern world without necessarily going full-on time machine. Sometimes with relic’ing and ageing, it doesn’t pay to look like you’re trying too hard.
Patrick James Eggle Macon Junior DC: Performance and verdict
The Macon Junior DC is those who like their high-end electric guitars raw and unfiltered. There’s refinement where you need it – hello, rolled fingerboard edges – but in terms of its voice and performance and feel, you are going to want to throttle it, and then go back for more.
This is the appeal of the Gibson Les Paul Junior and so it is with all of those it inspired. The neck profile prioritises comfort. The fretwork is immaculate. It might not have the time machine build in the strictest sense of the word but it will see hours flash by like minutes without you wishing to put it back in its case.
• Patrick James Eggle Oz Cream T
With its classic set-up, lightweight construction, great tones and awesome neck, the Oz Cream T is one seriously addictive guitar.
• Nik Huber Guitars Krautster
A beautifully made, great sounding slice of kick-ass rock 'n' roll from one of Europe's finest boutique makers.
• Gordon Smith GS1 Heritage
The GS1 Heritage is a mean rock machine that will easily double as a quality spare or slide guitar with a resonance that’s rare to find at this price.
That, really, is the only thing you need to know about a guitar, that it makes you want to play the instrument during each available waking hour.
Sound-wise, that P-90 does a neat line in pugnacious midrange with that badly bred dog quality that really comes into its own once you push your guitar amp into overdrive. But of course, this is a guitar with dynamics on its mind, too, and when you roll things back – either on the tone or the volume – you’ll be confronted with a range of sounds that bely the minimalist format of a single-pickup guitar.
As players such as Jared James Nichols would tell you – two can be nice to have but you only need one. Roll that volume back and forth to tame that feral beast, or to let it off the leash. Whatever the song needs.
And Patrick James Eggle has given the Macon Junior DC just what it needed, too. Namely, a thoroughly detailed, seaworthy build, with proportions that seem to distil the electric guitar down to its very quintessence. This is the electric guitar’s id, the soul of a 20th-century machine, and its effervescent tones are as compelling in the 21st century as they ever were.
MusicRadar verdict: If you are going to go riff on the classics, this is how to do it, with a build that screams quality, and a bonafide tone machine that screams rock ’n’ roll.
Patrick James Eggle Macon Junior DC: The web says
"If you could find a real double-cutaway Junior that felt, played and sounded as good as this does, well, we’d doubt you’d snag it for this price... To some, of course, a guitar like this is simply a Gibson knock-off with the wrong name on the headstock, but it’s one of the best cover versions of that classic design we’ve played, turning the simple student model design into a thoroughly top-level tone machine."
Guitarist (opens in new tab)
Patrick James Eggle Macon Junior DC: Hands-on demos
Patrick James Eggle Macon Junior DC: Specifications
- ORIGIN: UK
- TYPE: Double-cutaway, set-neck solidbody electric
- BODY: 1-piece mahogany
- NECK: 1-piece mahogany, C-60 profile, glued-in
- SCALE LENGTH: 625.5mm (24.625”)
- NUT/WIDTH: Bone/43.15mm
- FINGERBOARD: Rosewood with ‘clay’ dot inlays; 305mm (12”) radius
- FRETS: 22, medium/tall Jescar 55090
- HARDWARE: Milled aluminium ABM 3025 intonated wrapover bridge/tailpiece, Gotoh SD90 vintage-style tuners with ‘keystone’ buttons – aged nickel
- STRING SPACING, BRIDGE: 52mm
- ELECTRICS: Mojo P90 Dogear single coil, master volume and tone controls (with direct out ‘blower’ switch)
- WEIGHT (kg/lb): 3.26/7.17
- LEFT-HANDERS: Yes
- FINISHES: Grained Blonde (reviewed), Grained Black, Aged Mahogany, Cherry Red – heat-aged gloss nitro
- CONTACT: Patrick James Eggle (opens in new tab)