NAMM 2018: Ernie Ball Music Man
There’s a lot of activity on the Ernie Ball Music Man stand this year, starting with an updated variant of the original Albert Lee model, the Albert Lee HH. Sharing the same style, the HH model comprises a lightweight African mahogany body, 25.5” scale rosewood neck and fingerboard, giving the Albert Lee HH its signature rich warmth. Dual custom wound DiMarzio humbuckers and 5-way switch deliver a full range of tonal options, from full on humbucker thickness to chimey clean single coil bite.
Particularly eye-catching is the Luke III Ball Family Reserve, billed as ‘the next evolution in the design process started with the original Luke model some 25 years prior’. Features will include an added mahogany tone block, onboard 15db adjustable boost, beautifully figured A++ maple top and roasted birdseye maple neck. New for 2018, the Luke III BFR is now available in an exclusive Boysenberry finish.
The 2018 Cutlass HSS features a brand new roasted figured maple neck with rosewood or maple fingerboard (fingerboard option depends on body colour). The HSS model retains all of the familiar elements of the original Cutlass including an alder body, super smooth modern tremolo and oversized 4 over 2 headstock. The bridge pickup in the HSS is a custom wound Music Man ceramic humbucker with a vintage sound. There will also be new finishes: Firemist Silver with maple fretboard and Stealth Black with ebony fretboard and matte black finished maple neck.
The JP15 features a lightweight African mahogany body with a figured maple top. ‘Figured roasted maple neck and fingerboard add just the right amount of snap and brightness while providing more stability in ever changing climates’. Ernie Ball says. The JP 15 is powered by twin custom DiMarzio Illuminator pickups, piezo bridge system and onboard 20db gain boost. Available in 6 or 7 string with Music Man JP tremolo, 3-way toggle pickup selector, and Music Man hardshell case. Now available in a translucent Black Burst matte finish.
First introduced in 1976, for 2018, the StingRay 4 bass has been reimagined with new features and appointments that Music Man says provide a new level of playing comfort while retaining that iconic StingRay sound. Featured revisions include an enhanced contour that is rounded for more comfort in any playing position, a sculpted neck joint for uninhibited upper fret access to all 22 stainless steel frets, and lightweight aluminium hardware providing a lighter, more balanced instrument. The new and improved StingRay electronics feature neodymium magnets for higher output and a new 18-volt 3-Band preamp for extra clean headroom without clipping.
The StingRay 5 has undergone a similar overhaul, too.
Back with guitars, the St. Vincent signature model will now be available in a Ernie Ball Music Man designed dual humbucking pickup configuration. The new St. Vincent HH package features lightweight African mahogany body, roasted figured maple neck with ebony or rosewood fingerboard (depending on colour), black or chrome hardware, matching pickup covers, and 5-way switch. Available in four finishes: Charcoal Sparkle, Blue Dawn, Stealth Black and Sea Breeze.
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