Here at Regent Sounds, we have long been a proud dealer of Music Man guitars. An historic company – much like the giants that are Fender and Gibson – Music Man was founded by Tom Walker and Forrest White back in 1971, with the latter having worked extensively with Leo Fender himself, since 1954. Both Forrest and Leo continued their close working relationship together, and went on to design both guitars and basses together, throughout the ‘70s. While many are already aware of this, many also remain oblivious to the strong influence Fender had on Music Man’s legacy; which leads us nicely into some of the company’s brilliant new offerings for 2019. Among a series of signature models, some of our favourite guitars have received some impressive new livery, with both the Cutlass RS and Stingray RS now each available in a trio of new finishes.
One inherent feature common to all Music Man instruments, is the sheer attention-to-detail, and fine level of craftsmanship and build quality that goes into each, singular guitar. The guitars feel contiguous and synergistic in their design – with all components operating seamlessly, amalgamating into an instrument that works exceptionally well, across the board; both in acoustic and electronic terms. The updated-for-2019 Hunter Hayes model is another fine example of this, but with some very innovative features, that make it a real switchblade among SSS-configured guitars. A lightweight alder body is paired with a roasted, figured maple neck, and electronics that include a piezo-saddle bridge, which can be blended into the tones of the guitar’s passive pickups with a dedicated knob. A third knob also serves to mix the signal of the neck pickup into whichever position is being used, while a 2-way toggle switch provides the option to switch in a massive 20 dB boost, into the circuitry, as well. This is a feature-laden, Swiss Army knife of a guitar, and certainly one of Music Man’s most impressive offerings, this year.
But it’s not just Hunter Hayes whose signature models are new for 2019. The company also announced a Jason Richardson Cutlass 7, and a limited Dustin Kensrue Stingray. The former sees a shredder’s dream come true, with its edgy aesthetic, 24 frets, seven strings and astounding 15-inch fingerboard radius. The guitar has a striking presence thanks to a beautifully figured Buckeye Burl top, and trans alder body. Like the Hayes model, Richardson’s signature offers a 20 dB boost, discretely tucked into the guitar’s apparent three-control design.
And on the topic of shredders’ dreams, NAMM 2019 also ushered in the announcement of two new limited Majesty guitars – the famous instrument associated with long-time Music Man artist, John Petrucci. A striking Tiger Eye finish, new custom-designed DiMarzio pickups and options of 6 and 7 string configurations, are all among the features of these impressive electric guitars.
Basses aside, the last new-for-2019 – and almost polarisingly more stripped-back instrument – comes in the form of the Dustin Kensrue limited Stingray. The Stingray has long been famous for being a bare-bones, no-frills workhorse, that is – as usual – built to exacting standards, and capable of some monstrous tones. And Dustin’s model is no exception. In fact, on the surface, this guitar appears to simplify things even more, with a minimalistic control layout, consisting of a single stacked volume and tone control, so that both parameters can be controlled with ease. But it’s not quite as stripped-back as it seems. A push-button switch on this instrument allows you to switch between a standard mono output (engaging volume and tone controls), or a stereo output, where each of the two pickups is routed individually to the tip and ring of the guitar cable. We think this is a very neat design feature, for those wishing to experiment spatially with stereo rigs.
At the time of writing, we already have a fine selection of Music Man instruments hanging on the walls of our Denmark Street store, however, as many of the aforementioned models are not yet available, we expect to start seeing these leave Music Man as early as April. Why not stop by our legendary little shop, and have a noodle on a Music Man, so you can see if they live up to their – in our opinion – rightly-deserved, outstanding reputation? Whether it’s a semi-hollow Axis Sport, a Majesty, or a Cutlass, we have just the instrument for you.
Until next week…