Music Man reinvents the bolt-on semi
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Placed side-by-side on a stand next to a Gibson ES-335, this 2014 Axis looks more like a tenor ukulele. In reality, its body width and length is virtually identical to a Telecaster (actually about 6mm longer), although the more Les Paul-like rounded lower bouts and a noticably smaller treble horn give the impression that it’s much more bijou.
But it’s not just the body size that seems ultra-compact. Although it has the same scale length as the Tele, from the base of its body to the tip of its headstock the Axis measures 920mm; a Telecaster is 980mm, a 60mm (2.4-inch) difference accounted for by the smaller Music Man headstock and the lower position of the bridge on the body. Obviously, then, it’s dwarfed by an ES-335, but then so are many players – and that’s where these modern semis fit in. Music Man’s guitars are never weighty: this one is very light, weighing 2lbs less than our ES-335.
The Axis, like many modern semis, is hewn from solid wood, not laminates. Here, the 50mm ‘slab’ body is primarily basswood, but routed out to leave thin sides, an even thinner back, plus a solid centre block and even that, on this vibrato version, is cut into to take the inertia block and springs. It’s then sealed with a roughly 5mm-thick bookmatched piece of lightly flamed maple. There’s room for just one soundhole, which is more m-hole than f-hole.
Here, Guitarist editor Jamie Dickson puts the guitar through its paces using a Magnatone Super 59 amplifier. Read the in-depth review in Guitarist magazine issue 384, on sale 25 July 2014.
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