Finally, after it was revealed that an eight-string version of the Ernie Ball Music Man Majesty was in development way back in September 2020, the latest addition to John Petrucci’s signature guitar family was released last week.
Upon initial inspection, the electric guitar was indeed worth the wait, featuring a mind-boggling array of specs ranging from a mahogany through neck with basswood wings to a multi-scale, compound-radius, fanned-fret fingerboard.
Other notable appointments include the custom-angled, DiMarzio Dreamcatcher bridge and Rainmaker neck pickups, piezo bridge system and gain-boost push-pull controls – all of which add up to to one pretty intimidating mammoth.
Though we’ll have to wait for Dream Theater’s upcoming album A View From The Top Of The World – on which Trooch said the guitar would feature heavily – for a full sonic appraisal of the axe, guitar wizards Nick DePirro and Jason Richardson have dutifully given us a first glimpse of the new signature creation, allowing us to hear just how rad the beast sounds.
And, rad it is. Very, very rad.
Night Verses guitarist and YouTube sensation DePirro, unlocks the model’s tonal palette in just under two minutes, beginning with some sweet clean middle-position lines, making light work of some effortless string-skipping leads. The gain is soon introduced, and used to layer up the dissonant chromatic lines.
A quick flick to the bridge pickup and we hear how the Majesty majestically copes with some high-octane playing, with DePirro pulling out chime-y harmonics from thin air before unleashing an all-out riff-a-thon.
Ernie Ball signature artist Richardson adopts an entirely different approach, diving into some brain-boggling modulation-laden lines that traverse the ‘board’s canvas both vertically and horizontally at lightning speed.
A brief reprieve from the soloing gives way to an array of insanely heavy chugs, which are paired with some tasty layers of supreme, stripped-back melodic work.
Speaking to Guitar World, Petrucci said playing his new axe felt like a “breakthrough”, and commented, “That extra string broadened the range of the instrument.
“Think of it as a keyboard player having more keys so he can go lower – that’s what it’s like with this guitar. Things like scales and arpeggios translate beautifully because their shapes stay the same; I don’t use any sort of weird tuning.
"With chords, you have to adjust and figure out how that added range is going to extend, but that came pretty quickly," he continued. "There was a bit of learning how to work the sound a bit, but it’s been so much fun."
Unfortunately, the eight-string Majesty – which was released as part of an ultra-limited 100-unit run – has already sold out, meaning we must merely continue admiring the axe from afar.
If you’re still keen on checking out the Majesty 8, head over to Ernie Ball Music Man.