Ernie Ball Music Man and Steve Lukather have celebrated 30 years of professional partnership by launching the limited-edition Steamroller signature guitar, which spearheads an overhauled family of L4 electric guitars.
The Steamroller, limited to only 150 examples, is joined by two versions of the L4 template – the L4 HH and L4 SSS – though is undeniably the standout six-string of the lineup, which also marks the Toto titan’s fourth signature drop with EBMM.
As such, it makes sense to start with the HSS-equipped model. Indeed, though the Steamroller isn’t the first time Lukather has opted for a HSS configuration, it is one of the rare occasions where his signature models have come equipped with a Floyd Rose-style bridge, rather than the standard two-point tremolo system commonly found across the Luke range.
Build-wise, it boasts a black limba body with a flame maple top, which is paired with a figured roasted maple neck and 12”-radius ebony fingerboard. Other appointments include a custom Steamroller Walnut Burst satin finish, matching headstock, and that Music Man floating double-locking tremolo.
As for the other L4s, the dual humbucker model arrives in either a Gator Burst or Blue Dream finish, and pairs a maple top with an okoume body, as well as a V-profile roasted maple neck and rosewood fingerboard.
The SSS L4, meanwhile, instead opts for a roasted alder body, but otherwise shares a similar spec sheet to its HH sibling: both feature Schaller locking tuners, an adjustable 12dB push/pull boost control and a two-point tremolo.
Notably, that SSS configuration is also a rarity, with Lukather’s previous models usually opting for a dual humbucker or HSS approach.
However, regardless of whether these numerous pickup configurations are familiar to the range or not, the L4's single-coils and humbuckers will no doubt sound unlike any other Lukather model currently available.
That’s thanks to the presence of EBMM’s Heat Treated pickups, which have been utilized in all L4 models. First unveiled at last year’s NAMM show, the HT pickups were said to have been inspired by “decades of guitar string research” and have since become a stalwart of Ernie Ball Music Man’s lineup.
On paper, the pickups now found on Lukather’s L4 models are said to outperform normal-spec pickups by providing extra output and excellent touch sensitivity – as well as a more powerful bass response and an expansion of higher frequency harmonics.
“In our never-ending quest for tone and fresh sounds, the team at Music Man implemented their new HT pickups that really knocked me out,” Lukather said of his newest models. “As we have had three versions of the guitar, the new Luke 4 model is a fresh step forward in tone with their specially designed pickup technology.
“I love all the different MM versions of my guitar and use them all, but this new one is gonna impress. So many new sounds.”
Price-wise, the L4 SSS and L4 HH are available now for $3,199 and $3,699, respectively, while the L4 Steamroller has a price tag of $3,999.
Lukather has previously heaped praise upon his new guitars and his relationship with EBMM, telling Guitarist: “I haven’t bought a guitar since I started working with Music Man 30 years ago [laughs].
“I got a whole new line, the [Ernie Ball Music Man Lukather] L4. There’s four different versions of my signature guitar with Music Man – it’s sort of like a hybrid of a Strat and a Les Paul and it gives me everything I need in one stop.
“Plus, I love the company. I love the quality of the guitars. I love that they take care of me so well in every aspect of it, you know?
“They send me stuff and I go, ‘I love this.’ I don’t think I’ve ever sent anything back. They just made me all brand-new [Heat Treated/HT] pickups – they’re astounding.”
To find out more, head over to Ernie Ball Music Man.