Review: Ernie Ball Music Man Monarchy Series Majesty Guitar
If you’re the type of person who looks at a product’s price before anything else, you may wonder what the new Music Man Monarchy Series Majesty offers for its nearly $3,000 street price that less expensive instruments don’t have. The explanation is sort of like the difference between a Lamborghini Huracán and a Toyota 86—both are made from similar materials and can quickly get you from point A to point B, but the differences really become evident once you try both out.
Like a Lamborghini Huracán, the Majesty is a sophisticated supercar of a guitar with incredible feel, comfort, responsiveness and playability unlike anything else out there.
If you’re the type of player who strives to play better than the rest and absolutely demands to always perform the best you possibly can (like Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci, who is the model’s primary designer), the Majesty is a very worthy investment.
On the surface, the Majesty is a dual-humbucker shred machine with a floating tremolo bridge, but there is much, much more to it. The body is intricately and generously sculpted with comfortable, smooth curves and features a neck-thru-body Honduran mahogany neck seamlessly blended to an African mahogany body with a flame maple top that surrounds the pickups and bridge in a distinctive shield-like shape.
The neck has a jet black ebony fretboard, 25 1/2-inch scale, 17-inch radius, 24 medium jumbo stainless steel frets and incredibly cool mirrored acrylic inlays that continue the shield motif and reflect even the slightest light for maximum visibility on dark stages. The neck’s profile is shallow and relatively flat, and the matte finish on the back of the neck ensures a steady grip. Every single detail on the Majesty reveals meticulous refinement and attention to detail.
The nut is compensated and made of black melamine to provide the perfect balance of grip and slip that always returns the string to its initial, desired placement and keeps the guitar perfectly in tune. Schaller M6-IND locking tuners also keep the tuning rock solid. The electronics are all first-rate, consisting of a pair of DiMarzio Sonic Ecstasy humbuckers and a custom John Petrucci Music Man piezo pickup system built into the floating tremolo’s saddles.
Controls consist of only three knobs and two toggle switches, but they provide a vast universe of awesome magnetic and acoustic-like piezo tones thanks to versatile custom series/parallel wiring configurations and push/push control knobs that activate coil splitting with the magnetic pickup master tone control, a +20dB active preamp with the magnetic master volume, and mono/stereo output with the piezo volume. One other subtle but important detail is the graphite acrylic resin-coated body cavity and aluminum control cover that completely eliminate noise.
In the hands, the Music Man Monarchy Series Majesty feels like a true luxury instrument with incredibly smooth, comfortable curves in all the right places. Even the strap buttons are perfectly located to provide balance and place the neck in an ideal playing position. What’s really remarkable is how the Majesty is the equivalent of Ned Flanders’ sexy ski suit—it feels like nothing at all, with just the neck and strings beckoning the player’s unimpeded touch, leaving nothing in the way to restrict the performance.
And like a Lamborghini Huracán, the Majesty delivers a powerful, mighty roar thanks to its Sonic Ecstasy pickups, which are boldly aggressive yet deliver every finest articulate detail and nuance of a player’s technique. The piezo pickups deliver acoustic-like rhythm zing and can enhance treble detail when blended with the magnetic pickups. The floating tremolo is an engineering masterpiece that never goes out of tune and can easily be manipulated to drop or rise to desired notes with precision.
STREET PRICE: $2,999
MANUFACTURER: Ernie Ball Music Man, music-man.com
• The pair of DiMarzio Sonic Ecstasy humbuckers, piezo saddle pickups and versatile wiring provide a vast multitude of tones.
• Smooth contours, neck-through-body construction, balanced body shape and an overall weight less than seven pounds adds up to unimpeded playability.
THE BOTTOM LINE
For guitarists who strive to always play at their peak and who need a wide variety of tones accessible at their fingertips, the Music Man Monarchy Series Majesty is worth every penny for discriminating players who demand the best.