A few guitars would spring to mind if you were asked to guess the highest-selling signature guitar. Of course, the number one spot would unquestionably go to the Gibson Les Paul – it was, after all, a Les Paul signature model to start off with – but what would be number two?
Brian May’s Red Special? Steve Vai’s Ibanez JEM? One of Slash’s own Les Paul models? How about Eddie Van Halen’s EVH Wolfgang USA?
Well, if you guessed any of the above, you’d be wrong, because the answer is, in fact, John Petrucci’s Ernie Ball Majesty electric guitar.
Petrucci himself revealed the surprising stat while in conversation with Phillip McKnight, who quizzed the Dream Theater guitar icon about his “risky” Majesty model, which, at the time of its initial release, explored new design concepts and challenged the norms of guitar building.
“It turned out to be such a wonderful instrument,” commented Petrucci, before announcing, “Now we’re in a position where these signature guitars are the highest selling signature guitars only behind the Les Paul, which is mind-blowing to me.”
Tracing the model’s rise from a mere concept to one of the most successful signature six-strings of all time, Trooch discussed his penchant for designing and problem-solving, with the Majesty representing his vision of a truly formidable instrument.
“I discovered fairly early on in my career that I was really into gear development," he said. "I had all these opinions about how stuff should be. I always have these ergonomic things in my mind.
“When I connected with Ernie Ball Music Man 20 years ago, I discovered I was working with people who were totally into exploring and solving all those issues that the artist would present.
“They were up for the challenge. When it came to developing the Majesty after we had already done a signature instrument, a lot of the design details were worked out already and carried over to the majesty.
“What I was aiming to do was not really reinvent the stuff we had already worked really hard on, but to now take the guitar to the next level by doing our first neck-through version.
“But I didn’t just want to do a neck-through version of what we already did. I had this whole idea of making a guitar that was just like driving a race car – everything about it was just so easy to play.
“It was light, the curves and contours just got out of your way, the neck was incredibly easy to play and it had this great action. We set out to do all those things.”
The revelation regarding the Majesty’s selling power echoes comments made by Ernie Ball president Brian Ball, who concurred to Forbes (opens in new tab) that Petrucci’s guitar is “the number two selling guitar on the planet – and that’s only behind Les Paul, which is still considered a signature guitar”.
Earlier this year, the latest addition to Petrucci’s family of signatures – the eight-string Majesty – was released, and has since made its debut in Dream Theater’s new track, Awaken the Master.
To check out John Petrucci’s many Majesty models, head over to Ernie Ball Music Man (opens in new tab).