May 202019
 

Just when you think the John Petrucci–inspired Music Man Majesty guitars can’t get any better, they go and do something like this. Behold the Majesty 6 Tiger Eye, a stunning example of craftsmanship, playability and flexibility!

Having already been a fan of these beautiful guitars, I was excited to open the rugged hardshell case on my test model. What I saw completely floored me: a gleaming, glossy work of art that looks as if it’s been carved from a single piece of glass. In reality, the Majesty 6 Tiger Eye sports a mahogany and flame-maple neck that runs the entire length of the instrument, with alder wings making up the rest of the body. The high-gloss polyester finish might be the slickest and smoothest I’ve ever seen. It’s simply flawless. The ebony fretboard, with its smart inlays, contrasts nicely with the bright chrome hardware. Lastly, the subtle flame maple in the middle of the body rounds out the amazing cosmetics. This guitar has a timeless elegance — nothing is gaudy, and everything is beautiful.

I talk a lot about how electric guitars sound before you plug them in, but that point really deserves mention with the Majesty 6 Tiger Eye. The guitar is impossibly resonant. When you hit a chord, you don’t just feel the vibrations through your whole body — it’s more like you feel them through your entire house. That sustain extends all the way up the neck, with even the uppermost regions chiming like a piano. The neck is wide and flat (like, 17-inch-radius flat!), and it’s fairly slim front to back. I typically favor a beefier, rounder profile, but I must admit that three-notes-per string Holdsworth (or Petrucci) imitations are a breeze on this guitar. And the frets are so even and polished that you’ll easily hear the notes you didn’t get quite right. Bends are a dream and can go up forever thanks to the flatness. The whammy system is completely smooth and comes back in tune every time.

Sonically, the Majesty 6 Tiger Eye is equipped to deliver anything that Petrucci might need onstage or in the studio, including sparkling cleans, big power chords, searing lead lines and jangly acoustic timbres. It does all that and more, and because of the über-clever controls, it can produce many of those sounds at the same time. The Majesty 6 features DiMarzio Rainmaker (neck) and Dreamcatcher (bridge) humbuckers that can be split with the push/push tone control. This alone provides a bunch of great sounds. The pickups are very clear and articulate, with a real 3-D depth. The neck pickup is creamy but not at all woofy or murky. Combined, the humbuckers sound sweet and musical, but splitting the coils really brings out the zing. I don’t always love the sound of half a humbucker, but I love these. And because they’re split only when the pickup selector is in the middle position, you can pre-split them, rock out on the bridge or neck humbucker, and then switch to the middle for an instant dynamic and tonal shift. On the subject of dynamic shifts, the volume knob features a push/push function that engages a 20dB boost.

In addition, the Tiger Eye’s whammy has a piezo bridge for acoustic-style tones. While I’ve never heard a piezo-equipped electric that can truly nail the sound of a flat-top, this tone is very pleasant. You access it with the three-position switch on the upper horn that toggles between magnetic, magnetic and piezo, or pure piezo. You can also switch the output jack to a TRS configuration and send the piezo signal to a separate amp or preamp. I got killer results by routing the magnetic pickups to a Kemper Profiler and the piezo to a D-Tar Mama Bear digital acoustic preamp that I ran direct. It took some work to get all the levels right, but once I did, I had any electric tone as well as a realistic acoustic sound at my fingertips, and I could mix and match them at will.

This guitar is like a finely tuned exotic sports car. It’s gorgeous, sexy, powerful and, yes, expensive. To my ears, it has so much of its own thing that I might be hesitant to switch between the Tiger Eye and a Strat or Les Paul on a gig. Having said that, I would add that this guitar can cover so much sonic territory, you might never need to switch guitars. It’s for these many reasons I give the Majesty 6 Tiger Eye our Editors’ Pick award. If you dig what this guitar does, you’ll be hard pressed to envision an instrument that could do it better. And as Music Man is making only 300 of them, if you want one, get it now.

SPECIFICATIONS

Majesty 6 Tiger Eye

CONTACT music-man.com
PRICE $4,999

NUT WIDTH 1 11/16″
NECK Mahogany and flame maple
FRETBOARD Ebony, 25.5″ scale with 17″ radius
FRETS 24 medium jumbo stainless-steel
TUNERS Schaller M6-IND locking
BODY Alder wings, mahogany and flame maple through-neck
BRIDGE Petrucci Music Man floating tremolo with solid steel saddles
PICKUPS DiMarzio Rainmaker neck humbucker, DiMarzio Dreamcatcher bridge humbucker, piezo bridge
CONTROLS Magnetic pickup volume with push boost, tone with push coil-split, piezo volume, 3-way switch (piezo, magnetic or both), 3-way magnetic pickup switch
FACTORY STRINGS Ernie Ball RPS Slinkys .010–.046
WEIGHT 6.64 lbs
BUILT USA

KUDOS Flawless construction. Huge tonal range
CONCERNS Sticker shock will scare off some players

Review: Ernie Ball Music Man Majesty 6 Tiger Eye
Source: Guitar Player