WHICH ARTISTS PLAY MUSIC MAN GUITARS?
Music Man are one of those brands who have risen to
the top on their own terms. Leo Fender’s DNA is most certainly in there (Music
Man was the company he co-founded after selling Fender) but the brand very much
has its own identity. Straight out of San Luis Obispo in California, these
beautifully eccentric creations bring a spark of inspired creativity to the
guitar world, and as a result have picked up a most impressive roster of artist
Today, we feel like it’s worth showcasing this
artist aspect of the brand a little, particularly when there is such a bevy of
beautiful instruments attached to the subject! From prog metal gods to
avant-pop iconoclasts, the stable of talent connected to Music Man is a diverse
one indeed, and a most impressive one to boot! Who is your favourite?
The Dream Theatre fret wizard has been an intimidatingly talented proposition for decades, so any brand he chooses to wield is a great indicator of quality. Petrucci has actually had a gazillion different Music Man guitars over the years, ranging from his somewhat Superstrat-like JP series models to his altogether more ‘alien’ looking Majesty instruments, with or without carbon fibre veneers!
As you’d expect from a ferocious shred-metaller, all of his models perform like Lamborghinis, with flat radius fingerboards, signature pickups and (often) nitro boost switches built into the electronics!
Most of his guitars are available as 6 or 7 string guitars (the Majesty is available as an 8!), and you’ll also see special editions (including super high-end ‘chef’s kiss’ BFR Ball Family Reserve models) with limited edition timbers and finishes.
He has a wide range of signature models, including the Music Man JP15 Electric Guitar, that we currently have in stock at Art of Guitar. This guitar is a true masterpiece, delivering the same exceptional quality and playability that Petrucci demands. If you're a fan of Petrucci's playing and want to experience his sound and style, the Music Man JP15 is the perfect choice. Basically, if you can’t find a Music Man guitar of his to suit you, then wow is you picky!
Session ace and Toto gunslinger Steve Lukather has appeared on more records than electricity. He’s also another Music Man artist who has a whole stable of guitars to his name. The Luke guitars all share largely the same body shape (though the Luke III is a tiny bit bigger than previous iterations) so the changes found between his Luke, Luke II and Luke III models are more about hardware choices and pickup configurations.
Lukather was an early adopter of active EMG pickups, so early models featured those. Subsequent Lukes have incorporated his various signature DiMarzio pickups, and most recent Luke III guitars actually have specially made Music Man pickups, which is a pretty confident flex for the bran; after all, if someone as discerning as Lukather is happy to go with the in-house efforts over his own previous signature units, then they must be pretty dang great! He must have one of the world’s most experienced sets of ears, so he’s hardly going to just go with the flow on such an important element.
If you are looking for a guitar that can wear many musical hats, and look simultaneously flash and dressed-down, then you’ll likely love the Music Man Luke. One of his popular models is the Music Man Luke 3 HH, and we have it available at Art of Guitar in the eye catching Luscious Green Flame finish. The Luke 3 HH offers versatile tones and exceptional playability, making it a guitar that can handle any musical genre.
Talking about unique shapes, Tosin Abasi’s new Kaizen guitars certainly make a similar case for uniqueness, though they perhaps owe a slight debt to Albert Lee’s (see below) model? That and a Jackson Warrior? We can kinda see it! This unique, cyber take on guitar design is perfect for such an innovative player, and it’s worth remembering that Abasi has not only been an Ibanez endorser in the past, he’s also created a guitar company of his own! This speaks volumes again about Music Man’s production quality, if such a deliberately meticulous person is willing to come onboard.
For Tosin’s music with Animals as Leaders, some extended range action is required. The Music Man Kaizen models, therefore, are available with 6 or 7 strings. All include multiscale necks and an ‘infinity radius’ fingerboard (it’s conical instead of circular, basically), to bring forth a guitar that belongs very much in the 21st century.
Discover the future of guitar playing with the Music Man Kaizen 6, available exclusively at Art of Guitar! Be the first to experience this exceptional instrument, as we are the only place on this side of the world that has it in stock. Come check it out and unleash your creativity with the cutting edge design and unparalleled playability of the Music Man Kaizen 6.
Country picking legend Albert Lee has always blended tradition with elements that are decidedly more original. So, it follows that his guitar begins with a traditional S type vibe before turning up the ‘weird-o-meter’ somewhat and achieving a design that’s one foot in the past, the other in the future.
The Music Man Albert Lee is made with an Okoume body to keep the weight nice and light and can be had with either three single coil pickups or a pair of humbuckers. If you are a Strat person but want something a little left of centre, don’t miss out on the Music Man BFR Albert Lee MM90 "Ghost in The Shell" model in stock at Art of Guitar Now, they don’t come better built than this!
No blog about Music Man instruments could be complete without the inclusion of Tony Levin. One of the world’s greatest bassists (and not a bad photographer, either!), Levin divides most of his playing time between Peter Gabriel and King Crimson, but he’s also a highly revered session player. Throughout all these duties, if he’s not playing a space-age Chapman Stick, he’ll be seen with a Music Man StingRay bass.
It seems kind of crazy that he doesn't have his own signature models (he’s far better known than some of their guitar endorsees…), but then perhaps he just doesn’t want one!
Tony goes between 4 and 5 string models, and has spoken often about how important the active EQ section on his StingRays are to both his live rig and his studio sound. At Art of Guitar we have the special Music Man StingRay 5 35th Anniversary bass in stock, celebrating the iconic StingRay's legacy. This bass features a powerful and versatile active EQ section that Tony Levin himself praises for its impact on both live performances and studio recordings. From the Court of the Crimson King to Solsbury Hill and back, the StingRay can do it all with punch and pizzazz.
THE ERNIE BALL MUSIC MAN FAMILY
This selection today hopefully shows how diverse the Music Man brand are. To attract players from such different schools of style is impressive, particularly when those artists happen to be masters of their craft. And this isn’t even everyone with a signature instrument!
As mentioned earlier, Music Man are one of the few brands who can put out fresh guitar designs - that don’t instantly have Fender or Gibson reaching for their lawyer hotlines - and have them find a legitimate place in the market. That is no easy feat! But then again, passion and quality speak for themselves, so maybe it’s just a case of guitar players giving them a shot out of curiosity and then falling for the instruments due to their own merits?
Whatever it is, some of the most famous and influential artists on the planet agree that Music Man is as good as it gets.
To explore our full range of Music Man guitars and basses, including the models mentioned above, make sure to visit the Art of Guitar gallery or browse our selection below. Discover the exceptional craftsmanship, unique designs, and unmatched playability of Music Man instruments. Start your musical journey with a Music Man guitar or bass today!