Review: AXL Guitars Marquee MJZ

The following content is related to the May 2013 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now, or in our online store.

AXL guitars float on the swelled sea of budget-friendly instruments. But players in the know don’t buy them solely based on price—it’s their distinctive tones that make them so desirable.

New to the AXL lineup is the Marquee MJZ, obviously inspired by classic Sixties-era guitars like the Jaguar and Jazzmaster. On the face of it, the Marquee MJZ seems utterly simple and straightforward: a comfortable and slim C-shaped neck, a solid alder body, a maple neck with 21 vintage-size frets, and a six-screw tremolo. But strike one note, experience the beaming acoustic resonance, and you’ll instantly realize that specs don’t always tell the whole story.

Plugged in, the Marquee continues to impress, creating an immense spectrum of ear-pleasing tonal hues. Much of its electrified splendor must be credited to AXL’s specially wound P-90 pickups—they’re absolutely in a class of their own, creating powerful bloom, depth, low-end rumble and treble zing. The Marquee MJZ is surprisingly quiet, even at insane overdrive levels and emotes with equal passion through blues, jazz, rock, country or full-on metal styles.

List Price $299.99

Manufacturer AXL Guitars,

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Paul Riario

Paul Riario has been the tech/gear editor and online video presence for Guitar World for over 25 years. Paul is one of the few gear editors who has actually played and owned nearly all the original gear that most guitarists wax poetically about, and has survived this long by knowing every useless musical tidbit of classic rock, new wave, hair metal, grunge, and alternative genres. When Paul is not riding his road bike at any given moment, he remains a working musician, playing in two bands called SuperTrans Am and Radio Nashville.