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Review: MusicVox Space Cadet 12-String Guitar

These videos are bonus content related to the December 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.

While Matthew Eichen’s outrageous MusicVox guitars may not have inspired the same violent reactions as Stravinsky’s neoclassical symphonies or Picasso’s first cubist paintings when they first emerged, they come from a similar mindset that challenges the familiar and realigns perspectives.

MusicVox’s new Space Cadet 12-string electric is a great example of his convention-challenging thought process.

In a world crowded with wannabes and knock-offs, the Space Cadet 12-string is refreshing for not only its unique body shape but also its subtle upgrades that make it one of the most satisfying 12-string electrics ever made.

Features
Like its six-string counterpart, the Space Cadet 12-string guitar is a more conservative take on MusicVox’s outlandish single-cutaway Space Ranger body shape, with a less-exaggerated lower-cutaway horn and a less-radical headstock shape and configuration. The model features a light, comfortable mahogany body, solid maple neck with a rosewood fretboard and 22 frets, and Tune-o-matic-style bridge with a stop tailpiece. Our example had a pair of MusicVox’s own humbucking pickups (P-90-style single-coils are also available) with a three-position pickup switch and master volume and tone controls. The tuners are arranged in a half-perpendicular/half-parallel fashion on a slotted/solid headstock to facilitate tuning, similar to a classic Rickenbacker configuration.

Performance
The Space Cadet 12-string stands out quite notably from other 12-string electrics for its wide fretboard and string spacing. Most 12-string electric necks are about the same width as a standard six-string neck, which makes it difficult to play anything beyond cowboy chords and basic arpeggio patterns. On the Space Cadet, it’s much easier to play barre chords cleanly, shred on single-note passages up and down the neck, and even bend notes. The humbuckers on our example gave the shimmering 12-string textures added midrange bark that made the overall tone more twangy and less tinny.

Cheat Sheet
Street Price $899
Manufacturer MusicVox, musicvox.com

The Bottom Line
With its ultra-wide fretboard, the MusicVox Space Cadet 12-string provides enhanced playing comfort that greatly expands the versatility of the electric 12-string guitar.

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Chris is the co-author of Eruption - Conversations with Eddie Van Halen. He is a 40-year music industry veteran who started at Boardwalk Entertainment (Joan Jett, Night Ranger) and Roland US before becoming a guitar journalist in 1991. He has interviewed more than 600 artists, written more than 1,400 product reviews and contributed to Jeff Beck’s Beck 01: Hot Rods and Rock & Roll and Eric Clapton’s Six String Stories.