Ernie Ball Music Man Luke mini review.

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by electronpirate, Aug 28, 2008.

  1. electronpirate

    electronpirate Member

    Messages:
    2,935
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2005
    Location:
    The Jewel of the Rockies
    I've been in the market for an 'all in one' guitar that keeps me from changing during sets. Latest on the radar is a EBMM Luke with Active pups. Here is part of a review playing one over a few hours at a local shop here in Denver.


    Here's the one I tried:

    http://www.drumcityguitarland.com/d...42277-6-String-Electric-Guitar-P1865C435.aspx

    Set up for me quickly by one of the techs there. Great service at Drum City GuitarLand in Denver. Plugged into a Cube 30 and set for a Blackface setting no FX, EQ at noon.

    I REALLY liking it. SC position 4 sounded the coolest to me clean. Both SC's were good in their own way...different lower gain feel to 'em. All very usable for different tones. Position 2 doesn't sound to unique, I can dig and get *some*dirt there. Position 5 (bridge) is just okay. I can see the comments on 'sterile' there. It has it's place in certain songs, but doesn't thrill me.

    Dirt: Dialed for a Marshall stack thingy...gain at noon. Right to Bridge HB. Wow, clarity and bite. Not spikey bite, but very clear and defined. Love it. Solo's singing, notes resonating (no verb!) Dial back volume a hair, and working well for chordal work. Still have some highs with definition, and bass is deep and commanding...would fit nicely into the mix without too many mids. Position 4 is great too, the addition of the SC in there gives it a nice 'crispy' feel.

    Lose myself for roughly an hour playing with these settings and different pups. Dialed back it cleans up, back to full it jumps right out. This is my first REAL experience with Active pups, so this is new to me. The guitar seems to want to help me play better. Completely responds to whatever I do. I have a harder time slurring it up to make up for bad playing (a good thing), but I'm rewarded with great tone out of it when I get it right. The pups seem hyper-sensitive to my playing, so light/hard picking is much more pronounced.

    The feel of the guitar itself is a very solid experience. The 'V' neck shape is not really noticeable to me...I'm told each has a different profile, so I'm in the unusual position of wanting to try others to see if one has a little larger neck and V...go figure. The fretboard is PERFECT. I love low action, and this is even too damn low for me...more on that later. The fret size is right on par with what I like, low to medium. I tested each one, and could not find a flaw anywhere, it played the same no matter where I was. Incredible workmanship.

    Okay, drawbacks time:
    I struggled playing with the fretboard angles. I guess I'm used to a more curved feel, so this one I had some difficulty. I'm sure it's an adjustment that resolves over time, but worth mentioning.

    The volume pot seemed like it wasn't terribly responsive. It wasn't really until I was down to 2 or 3 that I had a really solid noticeable cleanup in tone (granted, some of this is the amp.)

    Overall. A great, very well made guitar. While it didn't make me want to buy it right then and there, it's far and away a better feel than the last 43 Les Paul's I've played. (Although if they had a flame Ruby Red one, it might be in my house now...) It's still #1 on my radar to buy, but I do want to take a look at some of the 'Standard' (non BFR) ones for comparison. Bottom line is, we didn't bond like old friends like I had hoped. But I came away with a fresh appreciation of just how good these guitars are. Battle is far from over as I'm going to try the rest of the local stable, and maybe one of those will slap me hard. My main thought would be that I wouldn't enjoy the pups, but I really thought they are the way to go!

    When I have some more time next week, I'm going to try the Petrucci w/piezo, and see how that feels to me as well.

    Comments?

    Sidenote: I also came away impressed with a Cube 30 as a great little amp for SS. VERY surprising bottom end and oomph for a tiny little box.

    EP
     
  2. big mike

    big mike Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,511
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2003
    Location:
    NorCal
    Nice! That's a BFR. Sexy axe.

    Yeah Nature of the beast on those EMG's. they don't clean up quite as well (IMO) with a volume twist as passives.
     
  3. acwild

    acwild Member

    Messages:
    2,199
    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2007
    Location:
    Hillsborough, NJ
    I've had somewhat similar experiences with the Luke as well. EBMM makes my favorite necks and the Luke's neck profile feels very much like my V-Neck Strat. I was completely at home playing it. Something about the guitar just didn't jump out and grab me though. Maybe it's the weight or the EMGs.

    The Petrucci on the other hand is a completely different playing experience.
    For me, it's a completely comfortable guitar. You just have to remember to keep your picking hand near the bridge or else you'll collide with the pickup selector a lot. It's neck is thinner than the Luke's, but for my hands, it has one of my favorite carves. Every pickup position sounds great. If I were going to design a guitar, I'd get the mid-position setup like the Petrucci's with just the inner-coils active.

    Having the piezo option is cool. I have to admit that I rarely ever use it though. Nice to know it's there, but for all practical purposes, I rarely get the desire to turn it on. Jmho.
     
  4. big mike

    big mike Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,511
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2003
    Location:
    NorCal
    For me it was the EMG's. I'll likely get another at somepoint, or maybe a morse instead. I've been through a few EBMM's and they're just a fantastic guitar.
     
  5. candid_x

    candid_x Supporting Member

    Messages:
    6,969
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2007
    Location:
    Golden Valley, AZ
    Pirate, if you like the overall feel of the Luke but aren't feeling the EMG's, consider the Silhouette Special. Radius is 10" and the neck has a nice C carve, which may work better for you than the 12" radius Luke, since you mentioned it felt too flat to you.
     
  6. robelinda2

    robelinda2 Member

    Messages:
    2,649
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Yep, dont forget the Silhouette Special!
     
  7. glockaxis

    glockaxis Supporting Member

    Messages:
    153
    Joined:
    May 28, 2007
    I love the Luke. Such a diveerse instrument. The active EMGs are my favorite pickups, especially that 85 in the bridge. I still wish they offered the original w/ a floyd and single volume (the 2 color options on that one were stunning)---I'd buy 2 right off the bat.
     
  8. Jimi D

    Jimi D Member

    Messages:
    1,425
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2003
    Location:
    Ottawa, ON
    I miss my Luke. Traded my early one for a Jem. Got the better of the deal financially, but it was a bad trade nonetheless. :(
     

Share This Page