Man Luke III – Neptune Blue PDN – Review.
The Music Man brand is mostly
known for its now legendary Stingray bass and line of amplifiers.
Originating from an earlier company named Tri-Sonix,
it was founded by Forrest White (Ex-Fender) and Tom Walker,
and headed by Leo Fender himself after his sale of Fender
to CBS. Later in 1984 it was purchased by the Ernie Ball Group,
and has long been producing its line of guitars endorsed by
guitar greats such as John Petrucci
(Dream Theatre), Steve Morse (Deep Purple) and Steve Lukather
Moving on from the history, in
this article we will be reviewing the latest Luke III signature
model (Steve Lukather – Toto) model with dual humbucking
pickups and a limited edition Neptune Blue finish. This model
is only available through the Music Man Premium Dealer Network.
This guitar is quite a departure from the previous Luke models
as it has a 30% larger body when compared to the standard
model and a maple neck/fingerboard which is unusual for a
Luke, as most others have rosewood fingerboards. Also it does
not have active EMG pickups as on most Luke models, but does
include an active boost. Therefore the guitar is actually
more retro in vibe that the original Luke but has the versatility
thanks to the active boost circuit.
The guitar has a solid body made
from select African mahogany and as mentioned before, is finished
in Neptune Blue with a polyester finish which is usual for
Music Man Instruments (As opposed to Nitrocellulose for high
end vintage spec Fender and all Gibsons).
The 25 ˝ inch scale neck and fingerboard comprise one piece
of maple which, has been “roasted” in high tech ovens.
This visually makes the wood look darker and also removes
the moisture and impurities for a highly stable neck. The
neck is finished with Music Mans proprietary Gun stock oil
and wax blend. The headstock back and front are finished while
the back of the neck is left natural for faster playing without
the sticky varnish some players complain about on finished
All the hardware is finished in
chrome; frets are low profile not dissimilar to vintage frets
but wider. The bridge/tremolo is of Music Mans own design
and vintage in style. Tuners are Schaller M6-IND locking items
with the trademark four up two down Music Man arrangement
to provide a straight string pull for better tuning stability.
Moving on to electronics, a pair of DiMarzio humbucking
pickups are installed together with a five way switch
and the aforementioned boost circuit. This is activated by
pushing the volume knob down and then it springs up to engage
the circuit. The five way switch allows selection of the bridge,
neck or both together in positions 1, 3, and 5 or can spilt
the coils to allow the outer coils to be selected on position
2 and inner on position 4. To balance these sounds under the
rear back plate two trim pots are provide to allow setting
the overall boost level and the difference in level between
humbucker and coil tapped sounds.
A single tone control rounds off the control section.
A quality hard case is also provided.
Fit and Finish
The Luke III guitar is classed
as a premium instrument and therefore the fit, finish and
quality expected is very high. I am pleased to say that it
meets expectations in every way. The paint finish is flawless
and stands up well to normal use. The fret work is of a high
standard with very smooth rolled edges. The gun oil infused
neck makes for a fast playing and slick instrument. Electronics
are top notch and should have no problems with regular use.
Plugged into my Blues Junior valve
amplifier The Luke 3 sounds very fenderesque,
the bridge pickup has a Telecaster like sparkle clean dirties
up nicely with some overdrive and can crunch like a rock monster
when driven hard . Move to position 2 and this engages the
outer coils in parallel which give us a Stratocaster like
quack evocative of any great Dire Straits tune.
The middle position with both humbuckers
gives us a useful rhythm tone, whilst position 4 splits the
two inner coils also in parallel and provides a darker version
of the sound at position 2. Last but not least the neck humbucker
has a warm jazzy tone clean and is the clear choice for soaring
With any of the positions the
active preamp can also be engaged this give clean/dirty sounds
a punchier warmer sound and more volume whilst adding gain
and overtones to already overdriven tones. It’s like a “more”
switch if you will that goes up to “eleven”.
A superbly made
and unique guitar, which should appeal to guitar players of
By Ernest H Slade
||Guitar was signed by Steve Lukather of Toto on 23/05/2015