Help choosing my third (and final?) EBMM JP guitar
What I’m ruling out
The Majesty guitars
I own a Sterling Ball Majesty and I love it. I still play it now, even though it feels far cheaper than the EBMM’s I own. As far as I’m convinced, having handled an EBMM Majesty, the Sterling plays better. Seriously. I also find the shape to be distracting and vastly prefer the JP body design. In fact, I very narrowly chose the JP15 over the Majesty back when I bought it, after watching various comparison videos and demonstrations. As far as I’m concerned, the 15 and Majesty are just about on par with each other in terms of build quality, with a few sonic differences and differences in feel. I am also concerned about the electronics of the majesty, being very complicated and something that only Ernie Ball can fix in the event of issues.
Sorry JP6 and JP BFRs. After playing the JPXI, I don’t think I could ever go back to rosewood. I specifically chose the JPXI over others at the time because it offered an ebony board which I couldn’t wait to try. Not only does it feel slightly better on the fingers, I think it looks a million times better, too. I even saw a JPXI with a rosewood neck, but I avoided it merely because it dropped the ebony fingerboard for rosewood. I will add here that the finished neck on my JPXI has never been a problem, and feels incredibly natural. I no longer feel that finished/unfinished is a deciding factor in future EBMM purchases.
As far as I’m concerned, two 7-string guitars is unwarranted. The vast majority of what I play is done on a 6-string. I always prefer to play 6-string stuff on a 6 where I can. I have seen some incredible 7-string guitars, including a JP15 in Eminence Purple, but you won’t find them here because I can only justify one 7 string guitar. My only exception would be a JP7 in Mystic Dream.
The guitars posted below are located not only within my country (UK), but also Europe and beyond. I was initially concerned about customs fees and taxes, but I am really limiting myself by sticking to guitars available in my country, which are very few and far between.
Based in the UK (no extra fees)
JP12 Cherry Sugar 6-String, mint condition
This guitar shares the same flat neck and body of the JPXI, but with a basswood body and one less string. As far as I’m concerned, this is a solid JP guitar in immaculate condition for an excellent price, but it may be too similar to what I already own. Damn, I do like the flat radius so much that this is a top contender, especially since it has stainless steel frets also!
JPX-6 Barolo, near mint
Beautiful finish on this one. Not too sure how I feel about the chambered body, and a little above a decent asking price. Other than the undeniably beautiful finish, I’m not sure if this is a step back from the JPXI, which was most certainly an evolution with the flat radius.
JP6 20th Anniversary, Honey Butter
I posted this here because there really aren’t many options for JP guitars in the UK, but this one IS special. I love the colour and black around the edges, reminiscent of what John played at LTE Live in LA, except unlike those BFRs, this has an ebony fretboard. The matte black hardware rules also. I’ve never been a fan of gold hardware, but this is subtle and done correctly.
JP7 Mystic Dream, near mint
See below for an explanation of why this is here, despite my reservations about rosewood and another 7 😛
JP6 Mystic Dream
I know what I said about rosewood fingerboards, and I do have reservations about nickel frets on a guitar of this price, but that has to be my favourite finish on a guitar, ever. Quite remarkable. I’ve seen this guitar and 7-string counterparts float around eBay here and there, but all of them are at least 15 years old and are almost always a little beaten up. As someone who takes immaculate care of all I own, it is really cool to see one with a 2020 serial. However, owning a JP15, is this not a step back? Is the JP15 not an evolution of the original JP6, or a different guitar entirely?
JP6 Stealth Black
Same characteristics as above, but with an ebony neck and (presumably) matte finish. I dig it.
If anyone here has anything to say about these guitars and owns/has owned several of them, please do leave a reply with your thoughts. This is no easy decision because they command quite the (justified) asking price and this will probably be my last purchase for some years, unless I sold one of my current JPs but they are both keepers. In terms of my thoughts, I am slightly swayed toward one of the UK sellers for the sake of saving money on taxes, but at the end of the day, the European guitars are priced lower and would probably work out more or less the same.
Have a blessed Sunday!