I took delivery of this beautiful guitar on Thursday - only one day late thanks to the big blizzard that hit the NE. MANY thanks to Pete DuBaldo for the great service! Pete's the best! See this thread for his heads up on this "special edition" SBMM JV60. I think he still has some left - SBMM Valentines with flamed roasted maple necks and a
First - a few pics followed by some thoughts on the guitar.
Thoughts - first a disclaimer - I have owned an EBMM Reflex, Morse, AL and a Silhouette at one time or another. Those were my standards to which I compared this guitar. Fair? Maybe not given the price difference but nonetheless a good benchmark in my book .
1. The neck - thanks to this guitar I have come to the conclusion that a 12" neck radius is it for me. More room for my large fingers on the fret board. This neck is VERY comfortable. The soft-V (the V is not even noticeable to me really) to C profile suits me to a T. Enough mass to get a good grip on chords but still the right amount for leads as well. Very smooth as well. VERY nice flame on the neck (special to this group of guitars - not standard). I've had about 2 hours of play on it so far and it's breaking in nicely. Pete's fret polish job (another special feature of this group of guitars) is top notch.
The only issues I have with the neck are while it is plenty smooth it will be getting the light sanding and Birchwood Casey Tru-Oil and wax treatment. That makes the best feeling neck in my opinion. The other issue is the fret board edges are very abrupt. If they were rounded a touch that would be an improvement (they will likely get rounded a bit during the aforementioned neck treatment). Neck score - 8.5 out of 10.
2. Fit and Finish - given the price point of this guitar the fit and finish are outstanding. Neck pocket looks good, frets are good - no sharp stuff. Paint job no flaws, etc. All around a great job. FF score - 9 out of 10.
3. Electronics - between the boost circuit in the volume knob and the split HB switch in the tone knob (special mod only offered by DuBaldo's with this special group of guitars) this guitar yields a boat load of different tones. I'm a huge humbucker fan and I find I'm not missing a bridge humbucker at all. The single coil is dead quiet and has plenty of growl when needed. NOTE - the tone knob is your FRIEND. It really expands the sonic palette of this guitar by a ton. Make sure you use it! Electronics score - 9 out of 10.
4. Playability - let me just say that after I fine tuned the setup to my liking (lowered the action a bit and adjusted the intonation a tad) this guitar holds its own with EVERY EBMM guitar I've ever played. While it doesn't quite have that "it" that all of the MM's are known for it comes VERY close. It has its own "it" going on for sure. Like I mentioned I've only had about two hours of play on it so far and it is breaking in nicely. It felt very stiff when I first started playing it but that is fading fast.
The only major (in my OCD mind for sure) thing missing from the playability standpoint is the compensated nut. If at some point MM would license SBMM to install it on their guitars it would be all over for me. Playability score - 8.5 out of 10
Please keep in my this is only my opinion and of course your mileage may vary. Also keep in mind not all JV60's have the flamed neck, fret polish and split HB split feature like mine does. I hope this helps anyone out there considering an SBMM JV60.