NAMM 2024: “Some people were like, ‘That's the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen!’ It turns out it was the most successful instrument we ever could have imagined”: John Petrucci on the wild ride of his signature guitar, the Music Man Majesty

NAMM 2024: John Petrucci’s Ernie Ball Music Man Majesty signature guitar has been one of the most successful instruments the firm has ever produced. The Dream Theater man is fairly humble about his accomplishments, so it doesn’t get talked-up as much as you might expect, but Petrucci’s Majesty is second only to the Gibson Les Paul in terms of signature guitar sales.

However, while Petrucci always felt he was doing the right thing in terms of his needs as a player, he says he never expected the Majesty to reach such regal heights. Indeed, he almost didn’t call it the Majesty…

“When we set out to make this guitar Sterling Ball and I had these crazy conversations,” Petrucci tells Guitar World in a new interview filmed at the 2024 NAMM show. “I had this idea to call it the Stallion!”

Petrucci was eventually talked 'round on that, which is probably for the best, but the prog-metal icon tells us the Majesty was, like most game-changing ideas, not immediately accepted.

“There’s a funny story, when it first came out, some pictures were leaked of it and some people were like, ‘Thats the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen!’” Petrucci recalls in our video interview.  

GW.com EIC Michael Astley-Brown (left) interviews John Petrucci at the 2024 NAMM show

GW.com EIC Michael Astley-Brown (left) interviews John Petrucci at the 2024 NAMM show (Image credit: Future)

“It turns out it was the most successful instrument we ever could have imagined. Now, all the pictures I see of people playing Majestys… it’s not just for prog metal. They’re playing jazz and blues and rock and all kinds of things. 

“It’s interesting with innovation – when you do something that’s never been done before – it hits people and [the first reaction] it is like ‘What is that?’ And then [afterwards], that’s when you realize how special it is.” 

Petrucci compares the feelings he has towards the design as similar to the sense of vindication he gets from writing and playing.

“It’s like music,” says the Dream Theater man. “You make something for yourself because you’re an artist and you want to be true to yourself, but when you see other people enjoying it as much as you do, it’s even more [rewarding].”

Petrucci’s currently doing a lap of honor with the instrument – launching an array of new finish options at the 2024 NAMM Show. 

In total, there will be five new finishes in 6-, 7 and 8-string configurations, plus three maple top Majesty BFR finishes, including the northern lights-inspired option modeled by Petrucci in the clip.

The new Majesty finishes will be available this summer. For more information, head to Ernie Ball Music Man.

The NAMM 2024 releases are coming in thick and fast, but we have our fingers firmly on the pulse. Keep up to date via our guide to the latest NAMM 2024 news.

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Matt Parker

Matt is a staff writer for GuitarWorld.com. Before that he spent 10 years as a freelance music journalist, interviewing artists for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.