Fans of music man guitars, Dream Theater maestro John Petrucci, expert craftsmanship, or any combination of the three are no doubt familiar with the Majesty model. The Monarchy Series incarnation on review here has some new tricks up its sleeve, but it kept everything that made the earlier version so great. I tested it through a PRS Sonzera combo and a Kemper Profiler.
Opening the case was a breathtaking, Pulp Fiction-style affair, because this guitar is simply gorgeous. The Majestic Purple color is sumptuous and the combo of the gloss top and the matte-finish back is super cool. Every detail on the guitar looks smart and works perfectly, from the awesome toggle switches to the compensated nut to the über-ergonomic knobs. It’s amazing to see so many hip mods to features that so many other builders take for granted.
Amplified, the Majesty exudes all the diversity and precision of its signature namesake. The clever switching system allows you to get humbucker, inner-coil, and piezo tones—plus any blend of them with no fuss at all. The DiMarzio Sonic Ecstasy magnetic pickups have a clear, defined sound both clean and dirty, and splitting them for two-pickup sounds provides just the right dynamic shift for transitioning between a chorus and a verse. The piezo sounds are musical and useful. To my ears, no piezo really sounds like an acoustic guitar, but the timbre has become a legitimate sound unto itself. I was surprised how much I liked blending the Majesty’s piezo with the humbuckers on dirty tones, which resulted in an interestingly detailed tone for distorted arpeggios.
Another great feature is the 20dB boost that you can engage by hitting the mag-pickup Volume knob. This sent the Sonzera into sustaining feedback, but didn’t raise the noise floor appreciably. The boost also proved how responsive the DiMarzios are, because even with the substantial increase in gain, both humbuckers still cleaned up admirably; so much so that I might leave the boost on, keeping the volume at 5 or 6 for crunch rhythms and then cranking it for solos.
Although I generally prefer a more curved fretboard than the Majesty’s ultra-flat 17" radius, it’s impossible to deny the shred-friendly playability of this beast. Three-note-per-string legato runs leap off the stainless-steel frets, huge bends are silky smooth, and you can absolutely reach every last one of the 24 frets. The whammy system is yet another elegant design and stayed in tune easily, thanks in part to the perfectly straight string-pull that the classic Music Man headstock affords.
This is an extremely well-thought-out instrument that could cover a huge array of styles. It comes across as modern, efficient, powerful, stylish, and sophisticated—like a brand-new sports car. It’s easy to see why Petrucci and his legions of fans dig the Monarchy Series Majesty, but players of all social strata and birthrights would do well to check out this benevolent ruler.
MONARCHY SERIES MAJESTY 6
PRICE $2,999 street
NUT WIDTH 1 11/16"
NECK Honduran mahogany
FRETBOARD Ebony, 25 ½" scale, 17" radius
FRETS 24 medium jumbo stainless-steel
TUNERS Locking Schaller M6-IND
BODY African mahogany with maple top
BRIDGE Custom John Petrucci Music Man Piezo floating tremolo, made of hardened steel with stainless-steel saddles.
PICKUPS Two DiMarzio Sonic Ecstasy humbuckers, piezo bridge pickup
CONTROLS Custom Music Man active preamp; push/push Volume for 20dB gain boost, 500k push/push passive tone for custom two-pickup configurations, .022μF tone capacitor
FACTORY STRINGS Ernie Ball RPS 10 Slinky, .010-.046
WEIGHT 6.75 lbs
KUDOS Flawless design. Wide range of tones. Beautiful cosmetics.