Harmony Jupiter Electric Guitar Review

The newly revived Harmony brand unveiled this Stratotone-like remake last year to great fan fare, but will it hold up to our strict standards?

Credit: Harmony Guitars

Cost: $1299.00, learn more here or find your own on Reverb.com!

Another huge thanks to Ben and Bandlab Technologies, their support by loaning these guitars for review is what keeps this site going!

Overview & Final Score: 8.6

Another popular model from Harmony Guitars, the Jupiter is slightly reminiscent of their vintage Stratotone guitar. This flat top, Les Paul shaped guitar has recently been re-popularized by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. Like their other models, the Jupiter features a Mahogany body with a Nitro finish. A Mahogany neck and Ebony fretboard holds 22 medium-jumbo frets, a 25″ scale length, and C-shaped profile, just like their Rebel guitar.

Those same gold foil humbuckers are also loaded onto this equally simple electric guitar. The cupcake knobs, one for volume and one for tone, contrast the dark body finish nicely. The Jupiter also features their half-bridge system, with adjustable saddles. Basically, it looks like a Tele bridge cut in half, giving it both a familiar and unique look. More locking tuners, dot inlays, and plenty of vintage vibes round out the premium features on this USA-made LP.

Sound: 9

To be honest, the Jupiter has the same electronics as the Harmony Rebel and basically sounds the same. I’m sure the most fine tuned ear could argue that the single cut away shape makes a difference. But really, they are the same.

The good news? Harmony’s Jupiter sounds killer, just like the Rebel. I love the gold foil humbuckers, they’re clear, snappy, and sound great with overdrive. The Jupiter pushed my Vox AC15 into a nice crunch, though nothing as crazy as a PAF-style humbucker would. Harmony’s Jupiter has that distinct garage rock sound, and could easily find its way into the hands of the next alt-rock guitar hero. Layers of fuzz only make the Jupiter more fun, and this is a guitar I’d love to take on stage if I was a player who relied on fuzzed out tones often.

When played clean, the Jupiter easily jumps between U2-like arpeggios and Beatles-style jangle. Chords ring out clear and there is a decent amount of sustain, though not nearly as much as your typical archtop-LP style guitar.

Playability: 8.5

I found the fret work, action, and tuning stability all well above average on this Jupiter. The locking tuners have been consistently great across all three Harmony guitars that I have reviewed here. The C-shaped neck is welcoming and the 25″ scale length sits comfortably between Fender and Gibson, much like a PRS. Personally, this guitar didn’t feel quite as fast up and down the neck as their Juno model, though I’m not sure there is any spec’d difference. Perhaps it was just the way the larger body sits. Though I’m sure the different, less-exaggerated lower horn cut contributed to that. Upper fret access isn’t an issue, it’s just not as easy as on the Juno.

Finish & Construction: 9

No scratches, dents, or any sign of defect on the lovely nitrocellulose finish. The champagne finish will certainly draw some eyes, and this one seemed to have more of a sparkle than the previous version I saw. The pickups were well adjusted, the cupcake knobs look awesome, I’m a big fan of the Jupiter. The guitar also comes with a sturdy MONO case that makes it a lot easier to take this guitar on the road to practice or gig. Also, the Jupiter is insanely comfortable and lightweight, making it a joy to play standing up or sitting down.

Value: 8

This guitar and the Harmony Jupiter are really just two sides of the same coin. Not that that’s a bad thing, I thoroughly was impressed with both guitars! It’s just up to if you prefer the double cut or single cut variety. But once again, the Jupiter is a really solid option and good value for a USA-made guitar. Despite the more affordable price for a domestic guitar, there are no clear signs of any shortcuts or quality control issues. Plus, you get a unique, vibe-heavy guitar. That’s right, I said vibe-heavy. Harmony’s Jupiter just looks like it should be kicking out fuzzy garage rock riffs or precise finger picked clean lead lines.

Good for: Garage Rock, Punk Rock, Indie/Alt Rock, LP Junior Fans, Domestic Guitar Fans, Hipsters Looking To Vibe

Harmony Rebel Electric Guitar Review

A refreshing double cut with modern upgrades from a vintage company.

Credit: Harmony Guitars

Cost: $1299.00, find one on Reverb.com and learn more at Harmony.co!

Check out my official UG Shot of the Harmony Rebel!

Huge thanks to Ben from Bandlab Technologies for getting me this and a few other Harmony products to review!

Overview & Final Score: 8.6

Unlike Harmony’s other two well known electrics, the Rebel isn’t a modern remake of their popular Stratotone or Bobkat models. What it is however is a totally killer double cut with two gold foil humbuckers that scream punk rock to me. In fact, from the minute I first saw the Rebel, I could picture playing The Clash’s debut album front to back with it.

The Rebel’s body is made from Mahogany with a vintage Nitrocellulose finish. The neck is also made of Mahogany, with an Ebony fretboard and 22 medium-jumbo frets. The C-profile and 25″ scale length also make it feel pretty at home in most player’s hands. Custom gold foils have a traditional 3-way selector switch with just one volume and tone control. The stripped down body is simple but eye catching, giving off major rock n roll energy with the half Tele-bridge that has compensated saddles. Oh, and this great guitar has locking tuners, what more could you want?

Sound: 9

I am a huge fan of these gold foil humbuckers. They look cool, but more importantly they give the Rebel some real chime. The Rebel has a vintage oddball meets Les Paul DC vibe, and you know those are two of my favorite things. Harmony’s bridge humbucker is very clear, and paired nicely with overdrive and distortion. I personally loved using this guitar for arpeggio work, in the vein of Coldplay, U2, or REM. Notes rang out clear, and the gold foil humbucker is super warm, pushing my tube amp into a great natural crunch.

The neck pickup was also a nice surprise. As you’ve read before in my reviews, I’m always super impressed when a neck pickup doesn’t get too muddy and retains clarity. I think gold foil pickups like this are the way to go for me, as they add a ton of treble and chime to the creamy neck tones. Lead lines, and even some slide guitar, sounded great with plenty of unique character. Playing the Jupiter alongside the Howl Sirena 3 and my HSS Strat, really demonstrated how nicely this guitar fits between humbucker and single coil. Unlike a P90 though, it is not mid-heavy, with more a full warm, Strat single coil tone without the hum or buzz.

Playability: 8

The C-shaped neck profile feels comfortable, as does the 25″ scale length. I find myself more and more attracted to these 25″ guitars the more I review them. It is easier to bend than all my Fenders but feels less foreign than a Gibson or Jaguar/Mustang. Overall, the tuning stability was really good thanks to the locking tuners and stylish half-bridge. The only issue for me was I felt some of the fretwork was a bit rough. Nothing concerning, just a few rough edges as you run up the neck, but not ideal on a USA-made guitar. On the other hand, the action was perfect right out of the gig bag. To be fair, I also love the six on a side headstock that I always think of when someone says Harmony.

Finish & Construction: 9.5

Harmony’s finish work has just been great on all the guitars they have sent me. I may not have loved the Champagne color, but the nitrocellulose finish is awesome. This guitar is somewhat the opposite of the Juno I reviewed, where the neck playability wasn’t as good, but I’m so much more in love with the finish, construction, and design. The Rebel is a guitar I would take to a gig immediately, as opposed to the at-home songwriting the Juno inspired me to do. The Burgundy color is beautiful and the larger body feels way more familiar to me. Could this Rebel become my new favorite DC-style guitar?? This guitar arrived with no dings or scratches and the few rough fret edges were the only issue I really could find on Harmony’s Rebel.

Value: 8

The real value of the Harmony Rebel lies in a few distinct characteristics. First off, it’s a very affordable American made guitar, so if supporting domestic production is important to you, this is an excellent option. Second off, it has some real quirk with the golf foils in a fairly familiar package. Those humbuckers really fit beautifully for players who love single coil chime and sparkle, but need a bit more crunch and output. Plus, losing that sixty cycle hum won’t hurt either. At just above $1000, it’s a steal for a USA-made guitar and it certainly seems to have excellent build quality at the price point as well. Overall, I’m a big fan of the Rebel though I would have appreciated a coil split, but the sturdy MONO gig bag that comes with the guitar more than makes up for that!

Good for: Punk, Garage Rock, Indie/Alternative Rock, Doublecut Fans, Those Looking For Something With A Little Flair

Quarantine Project: Turning The Stadium NY Strat Into My Ideal “HSS” Guitar

P90s, a Wide range humbucker, and locking tuners highlight our DIY MOD project Strat

My love affair with HSS Strats began with my very first guitar, a MIM Strat with the HSS configuration. While that guitar will always be my number 1, or at least tied for number 1 with my future Gibson Explorer, I have always wanted a handful of modified HSS Strats. In fact, I always though a few different types of these guitars could provide the same tones as dozens of other guitars. They’re incredibly versatile and I see them as an ideal live guitar.

Sitting around bored at home, I thought why not take that solid Stadium NY Strat from Pelican Beach Music, and see if I could unlock its full potential. I loved the sparkly, candy apple red finish and the overall build quality was solid for an affordable guitar. So why not update the electronics and tuning stability and see if I couldn’t build a stage ready partscaster?

Securing The Parts

I decided pretty early on I wanted to do something weird with this Stadium Strat, but how could I make an HSS Strat weird? Well, P90s are technically single coils right?? So I contacted WD Music and quickly figured out that they could make me a custom pickguard for this project. I simply sent them in the original pickguard from the guitar, and they made me a stunning black pearl guard with a P90-P90-Humbucker configuration. If you’re gonna build a unique homemade guitar, you have got to hit up WD Music first, they are life savers!

With the pickguard secured it was time to upgrade the tuners. Being an import model, you can’t just drop Fender bridge or tuners into any Strat-style guitar like this Stadium offering. Luckily, Kluson exists, and has a wide selection of high quality tuner replacements for guitars cut to oversea’s standards. I wanted gold locking tuners, seeing as I’ve never owned a guitar with locking tuners before, and picked out their 19:1 Gear Ratio Contemporary Die-cast tuners. They fit right into the Stadium Strat, improving the looks and tuning stability by a mile. I’m probably going to be putting these tuners on all my Strats going forward, especially the old Squier I modded a few months ago!

Lastly, I needed to decide on the pickups and didn’t really want to be boxed into traditional options. That led me to the huge pickup repository offered by Guitar Fetish. They’re super affordable, sound strong, and most importantly, they offer literally every type of variation and flavor of pickup. I decided to go gold foil P90 in the neck, soap bar P90 in the middle, and their take on Fender’s wide range humbucker in the bridge. Plus, the humbucker is coil split enabled thanks to a push-pull tone pot.

Wanna See Something Brutal?

The Stadium Strat was unfortunately not perfectly routed to fit this new pickup configuration I had in mind and my lack of access to a router was an issue. So my brute force idea? Get a forstner bit and go to town hollowing it out!

Is this how a professional would do it? Definitely not, but I’m not a professional and the point of me doing this is to prove anyone can make DIY mods work if they’re willing to get their hands dirty! At the end of the day, everything finally fit in and worked so I’d call that a success.

Sound Comparison

Here is the original quick demo I recorded of the Stadium NY Strat from Pelican Beach Music. If you check the original review, you’ll see it had a pretty decent Strat sound but was fairly underwhelming otherwise.

The upgraded pickups make the guitar not only look awesome, but it sounds so much better to my ears. It’s just as versatile as I ever wanted it, but more importantly the neck sound of that gold foil is just so much fun to play lead on. It only cost a few hundred dollars when all was said and done, and the guitar feels, plays, looks, and sounds way more fun. How do you think it turned out?

Before anyone comments on the gap in the wood between the pickguard and the body, I do have a plan for that! But right now I’m too lazy to finish it…

Final demo below!

Howl Guitars Sirena 3 Review

Top notch build quality highlights this stripped down take on the classic Les Paul

Credit: Howl Guitars

Cost: $879.00 from Howlguitars.com!

Overview & Final Score: 8.4

Howl Guitars’ recently unveiled Sirena 3 is a gorgeous and user friendly take on the Les Paul guitar design. There are plenty of distinct features that make the Sirena 3 interesting, without deviating too far from a basic guitar that anyone could pick up and love. A clear satin finish sits atop a Korina top and back. White body binding surrounds the arch top that holds a single Alnico V humbucking pickup with coil-split volume knob and a wrap around tailpiece. The neck and fretboard are both Roasted Maple and are wrapped in binding with crested inlays. A bone nut provides yet another premium feature to this impressive spec sheet alongside Custom Tonepros tuners and a long tenon neck joint for maximum stability and sustain.

That is quite a lot of guitar for under $1000, a feat they likely accomplish by the simplified electronics and South Korean construction. Make no mistake about it, the Sirena comes out of the box looking closer to a custom shop guitar than an import model.

Sound: 7.5

Howl’s Sirena 3 packed a huge PAF sound into that bridge pickup in my opinion. It had that vintage, “loud without being overpowering” tone where I could still hear each string ring out. This made power chords with layers of distortion on top a real joy to play, as the single pickup guitar brought me back to my punk roots. It felt like the perfect marriage between Mick Jones’ (of The Clash) Les Paul Junior DC and Les Paul Custom guitars.

The coil split is a nice touch, and I messed around with it a lot for rhythm tones during songs and Edge-like delay tracks. To be honest, I’m not super impressed with the sound quality, as it seems to just be a bit more of a volume cut. In my coil splits I prefer the pickup to take on that slap or chime of a single coil and I just didn’t get that here. On the other hand, it was still useful for playing dynamic pieces and adding in something different!

I love the single humbucker and single knob controls. Of course I’m knocking off a point here because it isn’t very versatile, but once you get over that the single humbucker tone is awesome. It easily pushed my tube amp into crunch and eventually, full on distortion.

Playability: 8

Overall, the Sirena 3 was a joy to play. The tuning stability was really, surprisingly strong compared to the trio of locking tuner guitars I played before this Howl Guitar. The Sirena was pretty much on par with their stability with just the Tonepros and wrap around bridge (my favorite freaking type of bridge). There was minor fret buzz around the first two frets, but that can be easily corrected. The neck is big, with that old LP baseball bat feel. The Sirena’s roasted Maple fretboard and neck were comfortable pretty much all the way down the neck, with awesome fretwork too. I always find LP’s to give me a bit of a hard time at the higher frets, but this was certainly no better or worse than my Gibson.

Finish & Construction: 9

The charcoal finish may seem a little plain but once I saw it in person I was super happy with it. It not only showed up completely flawless, but it just gives the Sirena 3 such a strip down, old-school rock n roll vibe. I feel like I could see Keith Richards or Joe Perry walk out on stage with this. The binding, finish, and hardware installation all was pretty much flawless. Plus, my love of vintage Gibson Explorer’s means that their use of Korina wood really struck a chord with me. The looks and feel of this guitar are way past the price range it is in. The roasted Maple feels super smooth and looks killer too. If nothing else, this guitar has near perfect bones, with excellent bridge, wood, and design choices made by Howl Guitars.

Value: 9

Howl’s Sirena 3 really won me over with the feel and look of the guitar. For the price it just feels like I have some crazy boutique Les Paul in my hands. The Korina wood honestly gives it a bit more top end than the traditional Mahogany you’d find used for a guitar like this. The arch top, finish, and binding was all flawless and honestly I often find issues on $1000+ guitars. For just shy of $900, I’m pretty happy with the Sirena 3 but it definitely has more appeal to some players versus others. As someone who grew up listening to punk but also legends like Led Zeppelin and The Who, this guitar beautifully bridges those sounds together for me.

Good for: Classic Rock, Blues, Punk, Players Looking For Something Between Epiphone and Gibson, Korina Wood Stans

One Thing I’ve Learned After 1 Year Of Guitar Reviews

You know what, some guitars just aren’t that different…and that’s okay!

I’ve been fortunate to have a career in guitar journalism for about a year and a half now, with almost exactly one year of guitar review experience now in the books! I never would have imagined the likes of Fender, PRS, or Ernie Ball Music Man sending me guitars to review, demo, and talk about. I’ve reviewed guitars as expensive as $5000+ and as cheap as $60, and everything in between.

The difference between relatively expensive guitars ($1000 or more) and super affordable guitars ($300 or less) is obviously pretty big. Brand name pickups or hardware, finish quality and colors, and overall craftsmanship are the features that really stick out at these high prices, resulting in a great sounding and feeling guitar.

But honestly, when you starting playing guitars in that $500-$1000 range, they are more similar in overall quality than not. That’s why you’ll see so many guitars in that price range get a score of 7.5-8.5 on Guitarsforidiots.com and Ultimate-Guitar.com, where I also handle reviews. That’s not to say these guitars are all the same, because they have a ton of fun, interesting variety. In fact, that’s what I’m always writing about, is the variety.

But at the end of the day, the awesome $1100 Harmony Juno I just reviewed isn’t that far off from the $600 Fender Lead III. In fact, both are awesome guitars that won’t be a disappointment. The fact is that price isn’t necessarily derived from quality. Surely it is sometimes, which is what makes an awesome Squier so much better than the $60 Glarry products. But at the end of the day, a guitar’s price can be inflated by the brand name, country of origin, or business model of the company making it.

Basically, my take away message here is that if you think the USA-made Harmony Juno is overpriced because it is comparable in overall rating to a Mexican Fender or high end South Korean guitar, you’re wrong. Maybe it isn’t the best value out there, but the Juno is an awesome guitar and that 8.4 score reflects my thoughts that “if you want this guitar, it will exceed expectations”. In fact, that’s why I started putting a section at the bottom of each review saying what the guitar is best suited for!

If you buy the Juno, which I highlight for its clean tones and songwriting applications, and expect it to be the Fender Lead III, which is a super high output, distortion-ready guitar, yeah, it won’t be an 8.4 in your mind. All the scores are relative and when you see a guitar like the Harley Benton DC Junior get an 8.1 with a price of barely $200, that means you should think it’s a good value. Not necessarily that it is just as good a guitar as the Gretsch G5622T. They are both excellent guitars but suited for very different styles and players. The Harley Benton is an 8/10 for a Les Paul Junior, shockingly good results from such an affordable guitar.

The way I review guitars is always changing, as I don’t think any reviewers are exactly the same nor do any stay exactly the same over the course of their YouTube/magazine/website career.

So when you read my reviews looking for information about what guitar you should consider buying, look for key words like “versatility” and check my suggestions about what each guitar does best. Of course, anyone could pick up a Silver Sky and turn it into a perfect metal guitar in their hands. But definitely don’t buy that guitar for metal without playing it yourself first. On the other hand, if you’re in a punk band, then yeah, order a Fender Lead III because it’s an awesome punk/garage rock guitar and many more reviews out there reinforce that idea. Only buy a guitar without trying it out in person when you’re confident it will suit your needs, especially if you read 4 different reviews all saying the same thing!

Hopefully this rant makes sense and helps explain why you may sometimes see so many guitars get similar ratings out of 10. It doesn’t mean they’re all the same, it just means they’re all great options. We’re living in the golden age of guitar manufacturing and overseas models no longer suck. If a guitar is similar quality but a bit more expensive, it’s usually because of some intrinsic value. Is it made in the USA? If supporting domestic builders is important to you than the extra cost may be worth it. Is it a unique signature model? An extra few hundred may be worth it if you can’t just pick up any off the shelf Strat to get your favorite musician’s guitar model. Either way, when reading reviews just remember context is everything, price isn’t everything, and compare similar guitars, not widely different models when comparison shopping!

Shameless plug coming below….

Oh, and buy guitars through my Reverb links so I can keep the lights on and grow this website into the resource tool I always wanted but never found as a young guitarist!

Harmony Juno Electric Guitar Review

A short scale, compact offering with gold foil P90s that’s new for 2020 from Harmony

Credit: Reverb

Cost: $1199.00 from Harmony.co and Reverb.com!

Check out my UG Shot of the Harmony Juno for some quick sounds and my thoughts!

Overview & Final Score: 8.4

Harmony’s Juno electric guitar packs a ton of volume and tone into a really small package. 25″ scale length guitar features 22 frets on a C-profile neck that leads to a deceptively small LP-style body. I was sent a gorgeous “Champagne” colored guitar with a classic nitrocellulose finish. Harmony’s signature custom “half-bridge” sits below two gold foil P90s that are 3-way switchable. The electronics include an Orange drop capacitor that lets you roll off a ton of treble when you pull the cupcake volume knob.

The lightweight and compact Juno sports a USA-made Mahogany body and neck with Ebony fingerboard. Harmony’s locking tuners provide great tuning stability and modern flair to this vintage inspired guitar. It’s certainly not short on looks, even if it has a short scale length.

Sound: 8.5

For some reason, the smaller scale and comfortable feel of this guitar made me just want to finger pick on it. I was instantly impressed with the incredibly clean tones from these gold foil P90s, and found myself playing chill, mellow arpeggios and chords instead of my typical punk riffs and pentatonic solos. The P90s were also exceptionally quiet for single coils, played through both my solid state and tube amps. Harmony’s Juno had a ton of chime in the bridge position, perfect for sparkling pop lines and modern, almost acoustic-like rhythm tones.

The neck position was creamy, more Les Paul like, and was perfect for those single note blues and jazz lead lines up and down the neck. The neck pickup also didn’t get too muddy, until you engage the push-pull. To be honest, I don’t fully understand this push-pull Orange drop capacitor. It made the pickups incredibly muddy, with all treble rolled off. It was fun, and I certainly got some cool slide tones out of it, but really couldn’t do anything else with it. However, that’s not necessarily a knock on the Juno as that’s just an extra feature. The gold foil P90s were also great with some distortion and fuzz, easily venturing into Black Keys territory, much to my delight. But honestly, the clean tones are just vibrant and engaging, that’s why you should pick up this guitar in the first place in my opinion.

Playability: 9

Tuning stability was excellent, thanks to Harmony’s high quality locking tuners. The C-profile neck and short scale made it super comfortable, fitting in between both a Gibson and Fender feel. Honestly, the super small body made me feel like I had more control of the neck, which (maybe this was just placebo) improved the playability a ton in my opinion. The fret work was also excellent, with easy access up and down the fretboard. Specifically, they emphasized that lower cut out, so that it’s far more comfortable than your typical Les Paul. This gives it both a more unique appearance and excellent feel. It is by all means a player’s guitar!

Finish & Construction: 8

The champagne finish isn’t for everyone, but the finish quality was excellent. The nitro feels and looks amazing, somehow seeming both worn in and brand new. The construction gets high marks from me as well, I love how light the guitar is. It’s super easy to play sitting down, to carefully fingerpick and I see it as a great tool for a songwriter, more-so than a live, gigging instrument. Not that it wouldn’t make an excellent live guitar, I just feel like I would buy this to write songs in a studio or house. There was one small ding on the headstock, but I’m not too mad about it, a lot of times companies send used models for review and I’m just super appreciative they sent me one! I would have few reservations about Harmony’s build quality, as everything else was near-perfect on this Juno!

Value: 8

The Harmony Juno certainly won’t break the bank, but at almost $1200 it’s no impulse buy either. For the money, I believe you get an excellent guitar with unique looks and tones. The Juno is an above average value for the money overall, but certain players will get more out of it than others. Songwriters, acoustic players, and studio musicians will love the comfortable feel and tuning stability. This is a guitar you can play for hours with a tape recorder and notebook by your side. It’s a superb example of a “lifestyle guitar” or a guitar I think you’ll constantly pick up throughout the day and never get rid of.

Good for: Jazz, Pop, Blues, Clean Tone Enthusiasts, Smaller Sized Guitar Players, Players Who Fingerpick

Schecter Guitar Research Unveils Trio Of New Models

The Tempest, PT Fastback, and Corsair 2020 are ready to hit the market!

Schecter Guitar Research announced three stunning new models to be added to their 2020 guitar lineup. Featuring the semi-hollow Corsair, the solid body Tempest, and my personal favorite, the PT Fastback, Schecter is not messing around. Let’s dig into some of the specifics of each model!

PT Fastback

No one loves a good Telecaster more than me, but once Schecter added in the Ultra’Tron humbuckers they really won me over. This model mixes classic Fender Deluxe Tele vibes with some premium features. X-Jumbo frets, body binding, and push-pull coil splits for each pickup give it a distinct modern flair. This Gold Top finish is just the icing on the cake. These will have an MSRP of around $869 and are on my must-try list.

Tempest Custom

This Tempest Custom screams high-class, offset Les Paul vibes to me. The pearloid slit crown inlays are gorgeous and separate 22 X-jumbo frets on the 3-piece Mahogany neck. Powered by Schecter’s USA-made Pasadena Plus pickups, push-pull pots allow for each humbucker to be coil split. Wrap that all up with stunning color options and locking tuners and you have a pretty lit guitar for the $1569 MSRP value.

Corsair 2020

Introduced to the line based on the success of their Corsair Custom model, the Corsair 2020 is a more affordable version that’s just as eye catching. Schecter’s Diamond Humbuckers are coil-split enabled using push-pull volume pots, and the tremolo arm adds a nice, vintage aesthetic as well as a useful tonal option. Grover rotomatic tuners, 3-way selector switch, and classic ES-inspired looks make this a pretty sweet semi-hollow that will have an MSRP of $1429.

Gibson Launches Virtual Guitar Tech Service & I Got To Test It Out

Credit: Gibson

If you were worried about getting work done on your guitars while on lockdown, Gibson has got your back. For proud owners of Epiphone and Gibson guitars, the company has launched a 100% free Virtual Guitar Tech Service where you can sign up for specific times to meet one on one with a professional Gibson guitar tech.

Sign up on Gibson.com or Epiphone.com!

I was fortunate enough to get the chance to try this awesome service out before it went live and I honestly loved it.

How It Works:

You schedule a first meeting, a virtual consultation essentially, where you’ll discuss what specific topics about your Gibson or Epiphone guitar/bass you want help with in a one-on-one setting with a pro guitar tech. These virtual guitar teches (VGT) can cover electric guitar and bass, acoustic guitar, and they even have a mandolin specialist!

During this first virtual meeting the VGT can also instruct you what specific tools you may need before your next session well you’ll learn to remedy the issue. Need strings? He or she can direct you towards the best options for your playing style! Tools like screw driver types, peg winder, socket wrenches, whatever it is they will guide you. It is important to note though that this free service is generally limited to the more simpler guitar techniques such as neck set up, string changes, guitar care, etc…You won’t be learning to solder in new pickups or set in a new neck on your LP through this program.

After this free 30-minute consultation video, you’ll schedule your free 60-minute meeting to actually address the tune up problems. The VGT will walk you through adjusting the action or changing strings, giving you the confidence and instruction you need to learn vital guitar tune up basics!

I had the pleasure of going over my heavily modified Gibson LP Special and giving it a set up alongside a Gibson VGT. Not only was Mark, the VGT I met with, incredibly helpful and detailed in going over the work but he was also just a wonderful guy! There is no doubt in my mind that this Gibson program will make it 100% easier for beginners to get the help they need with their guitars. More importantly, it may be the single best way to learn these simple guitar set up tricks without taking a luthier class in person! Expect a full detailed rundown of my experience to be up on Ultimate-Guitar.com shortly!

Ernie Ball Music Man Majesty Purple Nebula Electric Guitar Review

Limited to only 200 instruments, these new Majesty’s are a work of art with feel and tone to match.

Cost: $5299.00, find out more here!

Check out my official Ultimate-Guitar.com Shot Here

Overview & Final Score: 9.8

Where to begin with this new Majesty….It’s probably the most feature loaded guitar out there. This brand new John Petrucci Majesty comes out of the gate with a stunning “Purple Nebula” Finish on top of a neck-through body construction. The neck is two pieces of Honduran Mahogany, with Alder on the sides of the body, and Quilted Maple on top.

Hardware includes locking tuners, Ernie Ball Music Man’s Modern Tremolo, two separate 3-way selector switches, and a built in piezo underneath that crescent style trem system. You can switch between three options including piezo pickup, magnetic pickups, and a blend of the two using the top switch. The bottom one is a typical HH configuration 3-way selector switch to control the DiMarzio Rainmaker (neck) and Dreamcatcher (bridge) humbuckers. But it’s not done there. Push in the volume knob for the magnetic pickups and you can instantly add 20db of boost to your tone. Pair that with a tone control and piezo volume control and you can get almost unlimited utility out of this Majesty.

Sound: 10

This Majesty is really one of those rare “do-it-all” guitars. The DiMarzio pickups retain excellent clarity and articulation, even with my ProCo Rat and Big Muff layered on top. This was especially impressive in the neck position, which I typically avoid on guitars. DiMarzio’s Rainmaker never really got that muddy or bassy tone that I hate in my neck pickups, even with the tone knocked down a bit. Bridge humbuckers always sound sweet to my ears, but this Majesty sounded even better than normal, with a very snappy, rhythmic response when played clean that I usually only get from single coils.

Probably my favorite feature, the built in boost far exceeded my expectations. I’ve never actually played a guitar with this feature and I was so excited by the tonal versatility this guitar provided without me touching my pedal board. The piezo was also excellent, letting you go from acoustic tones to electric sounds and then to a solo or lead setting within seconds. The boost also drove my Vox AC15 right into beautiful tube overdrive and crunch. I can’t say enough great things about this guitar’s sound, but I mean that should be expected at an almost $7k price tag.

This guitar, in my opinion, was not designed to be made for John Petrucci or Dream Theatre fans. It was designed to be the best electric guitar on the market for a hardcore musician.

Playability: 9.5

The neck on this new Ernie Ball Music Man Majesty is just nuts. It’s smooth, with an excellent finish on the back. I never felt like my fingers got stuck on the finish and all the frets were super easy to reach. The exaggerated horns on this guitar make it easy to even wrap your thumb around the top strings, something I love to do but often struggle with on guitars. Tuning stability was excellent, as the modern tremolo held tune great even with some aggressive whammy bar work. The locking tuners slipped out of tune a little bit more frequently than I thought, similar to what I saw on the Ernie Ball Music Man Sabre. On the other hand, the neck through body provided crazy rich sustain. Pretty impressive playability and definitely gig ready.

Finish & Construction: 10

Look at that “Purple Nebula” finish, the Quilt Maple top is just stunning. One of the top three finishes I have ever seen in person. Also, the finish is truly spotless, no scratches or signs of lazy finish work or clear coat globs. While this guitar may look like a collectors edition worthy of being wall art, it is a player’s guitar through and through. A player’s guitar that just has crazy looks.

Another excellent feature of the construction was how light the body of the guitar is. It’s definitely not the largest guitar body out there, but it also doesn’t feel small enough to feel this light. I assume it would be very comfortable to play this guitar on stage for hours, something Petrucci likely prioritized. All the hardware is well installed, it’s one of those really expensive guitars that you just look at and say “yeah, I see why this costs x dollars”.

Value: 9.5

An almost $6K guitar getting this how of a value score? Unheard of on this website. But realistically, I think if you can afford this guitar you’ll be surprised by how much you pick it up and use it. It isn’t built to hang on a wall and it costs so much because it genuinely feels to me like it was engineered to be the best player’s guitar on the market. The amazing features, construction quality, and looks back up the hype. It’s not a guitar for everyone, and I’ll certainly be going back to my Strats and LP Juniors for punk and indie rock. But, I was surprised at how easily I could pick this guitar up and make it do whatever I wanted. You can shred and be JP with it, or you can write your own low-fi punk songs. I’m impressed and I think most people will be too.

Good for: Shredders, Serious Gigging Musicians, Professional Musicians, Players Who Really Need Versatility

Check out my official review for Ultimate-Guitar.com where I’ll also be putting up a UG shot of the guitar!

An Interview With Nate DeMont of DeMont Guitars

My obsession with Illinois-based DeMont guitars began late last year when I reviewed their Goldfinch electric guitar. This custom-designed and USA-built six string was small and light, but packed a monstrous punch. Now, Nate DeMont, the man behind DeMont guitars is planning even bigger things for DeMont’s line of offerings, as well as a few familiar brands some of you may have heard of…

Fortunately for us, Nate sat down to answer a few questions about what we can all expect to see coming DeMont headquarters in the coming months and year!

Matt: What inspired you to start building your own guitars? What was the first guitar you ever assembled or built and did it come out great on the first try? 

Nate:

When I was 14 I walked into Rick Cremer’s “Cremer Guitar Werks” in Aurora, IL, which has since moved locations. He had a small little shop that was fantastic, and did repair and custom work. I love it!The first guitar I build was a strat style multi-piece solid OAK body that I got as scraps from our wood-shop program in Highschool. I was a senior at Oswego, OHS, in Illinois with the best wood-working program at the time. I had been building a lot of furniture, but wanted to try a guitar. The neck I did not build, but took from an old washburn lyon, and reshaped and painted it. I didn’t know a thing about wiring so I hired Cremer to wire it. I really didn’t know about building guitars, but it actually worked pretty well and I used it on several recordings in college!


Matt: With any of your current or future guitar models, what is one distinct goal you hope to accomplish? Are you trying to leave a specific impact on the guitar? 

Nate:

We are now making both Guyatone and DeMont brand guitars. Likewise, we hope to re-introduce Kent model guitars. Guyatone instruments will be based off of vintage designs, but new models. Currently we are working on the S7, E5, and G3. The G3 will be the most innovative and highest end, and we have come up with new construction to make a semi-hollow electric guitar. We are in the processes of milling some of our own hardware for these instruments as well. The goal is to be as unique as possible, while still paying respect to the vintage models. The DeMont brand guitars will focus more on the unique and interesting cuts of wood we get locally. Most all our lumber is milled and dried by ourselves here outside of Chicago. Each DeMont Guitars, even though it may be the same model, is made as it’s own instrument out of different combinations of materials to compliment and highlight the best aspects. These are more of a ‘player’ that follows in the foot-steps of old USA brands like Harmony, Kay, Valco, etc…
We are working on one new DeMont model electric guitar and continue to produce DeMont Goldfinch models as well.

Matt: What is your favorite thing about the amazing DeMont Goldfinch model that I was lucky enough to review last year? 

Nate:

That we were able to make it! It is our first production-model guitar. Before this, all were one-offs, or custom shop. It’s a steep learning curve to produce the same style instrument, but each one seems to get better and give us new ideas. I especially like choosing the neck wood, since I feel that relevant properties often get overlooked on many mass-produced instruments. Since we mill our own lumber, we are able to use the exact cuts we want. 


Matt: If any famous musician could walk into your shop, purchase one of your guitars and tour the world with it, who would you want it to be? 

Nate:

Sufjan Stevens – I love his music, and he seems like a great guy. I don’t mind so much how famous someone is as much as I like how nice and friendly they are….although fame does help promote our instruments! Ted Nugent just showed up on a livestream sitting next to a DeMont Goldfinch which was pretty awesome.