The last time GP reviewed one of the Dream Studios models in June 2015, it was a more conventional-looking Riverboat 3. This time, things got a little off-kilter.
The Jupiter Blues is, to say the least, a unique and eye-catching instrument. Dream Studios owner Bill Ryan and his crew may have been inspired by the experimentation going on at his other business—Supercross Industries, which manufactures tech-y BMX frames for motocross zealots—because they did a bit of a number on this baby, which has already been embraced by rockers such as Mark McMillon (Hawthrone Heights) and Joe Candelaria (Forever Came Calling).
“We had always heard stories of Bo Diddley and Eddie Van Halen hacking up old guitars until they felt they sounded right,” explains the Dream Studios website, “so we took the CAD drawing of our Nightmare model and started hacking away.”
The result certainly isn’t your dad’s blues machine—especially with the Jupiter decked out in the very cool Amethyst Burst (other colors include Metallic Copper, Ferrari Red, Catalina Yellow, and Natural Burst). The body is chambered, but this is still one of the heaviest guitars I’ve ever played. I have back issues, so I’d tend to use the Jupiter Blues for short sets and studio work. I’m a fan of big, fat, and flat necks, and this one was an absolute delight to play. I found it very easy to move my hands wherever I needed to go. The Volume and Tone knobs are positioned below the stop tailpiece and near the lower area of the body, so it can be a challenge to quickly manipulate controls on the fly. Dream Studios includes the Seymour Duncan Firestorm on the Jupiter Blues, which provides a 20dB gain boost for solos, punching out riffs and licks, and smacking your amp’s front end for a bit more grit. It’s a great feature, but the switch is placed on the lower bout, and it’s a bit of a reach to activate it.
Construction quality is excellent throughout. The hardware is well fitted, the frets are nicely done, and I discovered no anomalies in the stunning finish.
The Jupiter Blues is one of those guitars that sounds glorious when you play it unplugged. It seems as if the guitar resonates from bottom to headstock. Once plugged in to my combination of Peavey XXL and 6505 amps, the Seymour Duncan Custom Custom bridge pickup produced a classic hard-rock tone—articulate, warm, and sweet, but without being hyped or having certain frequencies too much in your face. That’s not the case with the neck pickup, which is a Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates designed to create that raw, rebellious sound of Texas blues-rock. It’s a great balance to have along with the Custom Custom, as the Pearly Gates is slightly rude and sustains great. By switching pickups and working the guitar’s Volume and Tone controls, I could find really good tones for everything from jazz to hard rock to funk and punk. The output isn’t quite as high as I’d really want for chugging metal riffs, but I could get close.
The Jupiter Blues feels good to play—although I had trouble with its weight—and it delivers some great tones. And, as a bonus, no one in the audience is likely to forget seeing its wonky yet futuristic design.
Price $1,575 direct
Nut 1.73" bone
Neck 24.6" scale, U shape, set
Frets 22 medium
Tuners Grover Sta-Tite
Body Mahogany with maple top, chambered
Pickups Seymour Duncan SHPG-1 Pearly Gates (neck), Seymour Duncan SH-11 Custom Custom (bridge)
Controls Two Volume, two Tone, 3-way selector
Factory Strings D’Addario EXL140, .010-.052
Weight 8.42 lbs
Kudos Eye catching. Unique. Plays great. Excellent rock and hard-rock tones.