MJ Guitar Engineering

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by jcoggins7, Feb 24, 2008.

  1. jcoggins7

    jcoggins7 Member

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    Does anybody on the board have one of their guitars, specifically, the Mirage?
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2009
  2. opiate

    opiate Silver Supporting Member

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    Yeah, I have a couple of MJ's, a gold MJ Catalina (Mirage Hollowbody) and a black Roadster Baritone.
    They are really cool. I absolutely love the design. I was obsessed with these guitars long before I ever got to play one, just from seeing pics.

    I got my hands on the Catalina (which is their top of the line model) in a trade. It is really cool but the original owner had it equipped with DiMarzios which are relatively low output (and relatively low on tone as well). For a while now I've been meaning to swap those out for something meatier, but I never got around to it. I rerally don't think this guitar is all that it could be if it had the right pickups in there.

    The Roadster Baritone is a different story. I got this one straight from MJ and it came with a nice set of Duncans which work well as a sort of 'all purpose' setup. It was my first baritone so I went with relatively generic pickups cause I didn't know what I wanted. The guitar exceeded all my expectations in every way. It sounds and plays great. It is also very well made. It has a low of fucus and is quite resonant. A perfect all around baritone.

    The MJ people are great to deal with. You can email them about anything or just pick up the phone and talk to Mark (the guy who builds them) or one of his family members (MJ Guitars seems to be a family business).

    The only real problem with MJ is that you can NOT get your hands on one to try out anywhere. They deal direct only so you can't walk into a store and try one.

    Here are a few shots of mine:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    BTW this last picture reminds me... these guys have the most INSANELY figured maple necks I've ever seen.
     
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  3. opiate

    opiate Silver Supporting Member

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    Kevin was their big 'signature artist'. A few years ago he sold a lot of his MJ's on Ebay, for quite cheap really. Had I been a big fan of his I would have snatched them up, but otherwise I coudn't deal with all the 3EB inlays and signatures and stuff.

    I still wanna get a Sustainiac equipped MJ. AND, the new Montana model looks amazing too.
     
  4. John LeQuire

    John LeQuire Member

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    I've also been intrigued by MJ Guitars. They've been around quite a while, but seem to be often overlooked. I believe Joel Kosche, from Collective Soul, is also an endorser.
     
  5. opiate

    opiate Silver Supporting Member

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    I really think that the reason MJ Guitars never really became very popular is simply due to their ecision to go 'direct only', and have no dealer network. Yes, this works for some manufecturers, but not all.

    They also made a decision at one point that really puzzled me. In the very beginning of MJ Guitars you could order ANYTHING. Their list of options was stunning. You want a Mirage with a B-Bender, a baritone neck and a Sustainiac? No problem. Well at some point they moved away from that, and i think that really goes against the whole 'small builder going direct' philosophy. I'm pretty sure that they'd still build you some really out there stuff if you call them and ask, but having that awesome options list on their website back in the day was a really cool marketing tool.

    One of the crazier guitars they've made is a Mirage with a built in Kaoss Pad. I beleive that was for the dude from Beck.

    ian
     
  6. opiate

    opiate Silver Supporting Member

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    Hey Jon, tell us more about that Mirage.
     
  7. DualRectifier

    DualRectifier Silver Supporting Member

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    I got interested in them after seeing Collective Soul play at a small local party. I called and asked about getting one done with a piezo installed, but the guy on the phone didn't seem very knowledgeable about piezos. So I ended up not ordering it. I believe they've done a few piezos, but they weren't experts on wiring as far as I recall. I wanted either an SSH or an HH with a 5 way switch, and specific, but pretty standard, wiring. They called me every few days for a month after that, trying to get me to buy, but I couldn't get to a comfort level with asking for what I wanted. The price skyrocketed quickly.
     
  8. John LeQuire

    John LeQuire Member

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    Awesome! That is one spectacular maple neck!
     
  9. joel

    joel Member

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    I've got a couple of those. MJ builds a nice guitar, I think. Mine compete for playing time with a CS strat, a Thorn, and a PRS. They're at that level.
     
  10. opiate

    opiate Silver Supporting Member

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    Quote From Jon:
    >It was a custom order by my brother, but I will tell you what I can about it.


    Hey, is your brother Mike by any chance?
     
  11. opiate

    opiate Silver Supporting Member

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    I hunted for a Catalina for YEARS.
    Catalina is sort of their showpiece guitar, the one they use in their catalogs and website and so on, but apparently very few were made. I asked Deirdre at MJ how many they've actually ever done and she said she'd have to look at the records to get the exact number, but that it was probably less then 15 or so.
    So, yeah, finding one of these is nearly impossible. I did see one other one go up for sale, and that was a sunburst with 3EB inlays.

    I got mine in a trade. I gave up a very cool LP Custom for it. I don't regret it for a moment. I really think that the Catalina is one of the most unique looing (and just plain old coolest) guitars I've ever seen.
     
  12. opiate

    opiate Silver Supporting Member

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    Very interesting. This is really different from my own experience with them. Perhaps you dealt with someone who isn't directly involved in building the guitars.
    I find them to be quite good at interesting wiring. Their guitars offer some relatively odd options such as kill switches and the possibility of having an onboard Sustainiac pickup. I've talked to them about putting in piezos and so on, and they always seemed to be on top of all the wiring questions.
     
  13. opiate

    opiate Silver Supporting Member

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    hahah, yeah Jon, I know him from another forum (guitar_gear at yahoogroups). As a matter of fact I think I put him in touch with MJ when he was looking for a custom made guitar. :) The world is so small :)
    ian
     
  14. coldshothouston

    coldshothouston Member

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    Take a chance an order one. I have two mirage sparkles. Silver and black. The black rainbow on the website pictured is actually mine. Joel from Collective Soul sold me on them a couple years back. I will never buy a factory line guitar again. I have LP customs, and PRS 10 tops but the MJ is just so much nicer to play. I highly recommend giving the company a chance.
     
  15. raja

    raja Member

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    I have been drooling over MJ guitars for a looong time and want one!
    yes I do!
    But 1st i've got to get through my divorce :omg and then when that's said and done....
    if I got anything left....I might just treat myself to a mirage!
    and yes I've spoken to the folks there and they are very nice folk
    so if you want something different....do it!
     
  16. jcoggins7

    jcoggins7 Member

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    I have an MJ Mirage GT on the way sometime soon...tone report to follow.

    Edit: FWIW, everything everyone has said about them all being super super cool guys is absolutely 100% true.
     
  17. DGTCrazy

    DGTCrazy Moderator de Emporio Staff Member

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    Wow....a 3 year old MJ thread revived!

    I own 3, two of which Mark built me as One-Offs. My "Fire Engine" guitar is on his website. Nathan, his son, is now taking over the shop. They relocated to Montana in Bozeman because Sonoma County was just too expensive for them.

    Their attention to detail, customer service and guitars are top notch. FWI....they have let me demo guitars, and will ship to me whenever I ask. They also offer personal financing, and will do trade-ins towards the purchase of a new MJ.

    Here's a pic of the Fire Engine ( Mirage Custom). FYI....his price is a typo, as I paid $5k
    [​IMG]
     
  18. AtomicAlive

    AtomicAlive Supporting Member

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    I owned a Mirage for quite awhile. A very high quality guitar, but it felt tiny (the body and neck length) for some reason. Super skinny neck, super light body (I am sure you are able to customize stuff like this when ordering, just saying). It had a really cool tone and had its own thing going visually and sonically.

    I ended up traded it away, but I have nothing bad to say about it. The guitar definitely had a "wow" factor to it - very unique.
     
  19. jcoggins7

    jcoggins7 Member

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    I've been digging my Mirage GT...have one of the new Groovemasters and a new Mirage Custom in the works right now. Can't wait to get my hands on them.
     
  20. jcoggins7

    jcoggins7 Member

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    Just an update...still loving my Mirage GT, and just got my Groovemaster a little less than two weeks ago. Had them put Sperzel locking tuners and a fully-adjustable wrap-around bridge on there instead of the standard gear. Also went with Ethan's hand-wound P90s instead of the Duncans, and had them do a Sherwood Green finish that they don't normally do. Here's a picture:

    [​IMG]

    It sounds and plays amazing...the neck's a little chunkier than the GT I think. BALLSY tone, and the bridge and neck pickup are perfect complements to each other. Can't wait to get the Mirage Custom they've been working on for me. I'll have some live videos of the Groovemaster sometime soon.
     

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