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Thread: Considering the LIII Claro Walnut

  1. #1

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    Considering the LIII Claro Walnut

    So this would be a very pricey guitar - I love the walnut tops, and this edition has stainless steel frets (anyone know if any other LIII's have stainless frets?)
    My concerns are:
    1. I'm 6'4" with large hands, and I have read that the necks on the LIII's are on the smallish side.

    2. I like jumbo frets - how do the flat wide frets on the LIII compare? I like having some space to get my fingers to the side of the string for bending...

    3. Not sure I'll be a fan of the bent saddles (I hate having the height adjustment screws poking out at the top), but I imagine it's easy enough to replace the saddles with the solid steel ones?

    For LIII owners that share my initial thoughts, how are you dealing with them and is this going to be a big compromise? For $3.5K it's a big gamble...

  2. #2

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    1. You'd better try one indeed. They are narrow but, you might just get used to it,... effortless. I did.

    2. Read above. MM necks are just the best so is the fret work.

    3. Don't worry, you'll love it!


    Luke III is ultimately versatile; looks great and is a dream to play.
    AL SSS BFR Pinkburst
    AL SSS Neptune Blue
    AL HH Starry Night
    AL HH Candy Apple Red
    AL MM90 Sparkle Turquoise
    L3 HSS Olive Gold

  3. #3

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    There have been some LIIIs with SS frets. The Tumescent run, off the top of my head ...

    I don't think the LIII necks are that small, but it depends what you're comparing them to. Coming from my Albert Lee or Steve Morse, it's not a big change. If you're not used to MM necks, you may find it different.

    Any of the EBMMs with SS frets use the same fretwire. It's great! Fairly large. Quite a bit taller than what's stock on the LIII. (I prefer the larger frets myself, but the stock LIII frets don't feel all that small.)

    Saddles ... that's a personal choice. I like the 'zing' of the bent saddles. If you don't like them, you can order a set of block saddles from MM (what's on the Axis SS, for example) and put them on.

    It's a helluva guitar. The pickups and preamp are magic. But only way to know if it's for you is to play it. If you can get your hands on a regular LIII and like it, imagine that with taller frets.

  4. #4

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    Oh, so the stainless frets are taller even on the LIII? Then I would definitely gravitate toward the walnut model - there are a few still out there. Good to know, and thanks for the response, beej!

  5. #5

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    Yes! So it'd be the same wire as on the Petrucci, any of the newer models with SS, etc.

    Go get 'er

  6. #6

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    I might disagree just a bit.... When switching from my AL to the Luke III, it always felt smaller. But that V profile is the best ever. Go ahead. This is a GREAT guitar.
    AL SSS BFR Pinkburst
    AL SSS Neptune Blue
    AL HH Starry Night
    AL HH Candy Apple Red
    AL MM90 Sparkle Turquoise
    L3 HSS Olive Gold

  7. #7

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    Yeah, I wish the neck width was 43mm instead of 41.3mm - I get hung up on that...

    For those that own the Luke and the JP15 - how does the flush mount vintage trem compare to the recessed trem on the JP15? I'm not really going to be dive-bombing or pulling up on it more than for the purpose of vibrato (maybe half step in either direction).
    I like the fact that the Luke is a bit more of a traditional Strat type design - seems to fit my personality more. Also the 12" radius is a bit more laid back than the really flat 17" radius on the JP. And the layout of controls on the Luke is more my bag - a bit more room for my picking hand.

    But it the JP is a better fit, I might have to consider that...

  8. #8

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    I like that I have the option to put the trem on my LIII on the deck, and indeed it is set up that way currently. I moved my JP15 (my first EBMM) as it just wasn't a fit for my playing style after I got more familiar with their lineup. It's a beautiful guitar, impeccably made, but it's designed for JP, and I don't play his style of music (or with anywhere near his proficiency).

    The LIII is just as impeccably made. I have one from a BFR run that has SS frets, but I can't compare them to the size of the nickel frets that are standard, as I've not played one. But it is such a comfortable guitar to play, and sounds just awesome.
    ---------------
    Axis SS Semi-Hollow in Diablo Blue
    Hunter Hayes Cutlass in Lake Tahoe Blue
    Cutlass RS in Charging Green (incoming)
    Luke 3 HH in Starry Night
    Valentine in Trans Maroon
    Reflex Game Changer HSH with Piezo

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by ToneGrinder View Post
    So this would be a very pricey guitar - I love the walnut tops, and this edition has stainless steel frets (anyone know if any other LIII's have stainless frets?)
    My concerns are:
    1. I'm 6'4" with large hands, and I have read that the necks on the LIII's are on the smallish side.

    2. I like jumbo frets - how do the flat wide frets on the LIII compare? I like having some space to get my fingers to the side of the string for bending...

    3. Not sure I'll be a fan of the bent saddles (I hate having the height adjustment screws poking out at the top), but I imagine it's easy enough to replace the saddles with the solid steel ones?

    For LIII owners that share my initial thoughts, how are you dealing with them and is this going to be a big compromise? For $3.5K it's a big gamble...
    I can only comment on L2's but the main differences between 2 and 3 are pickups and body, so the necks should be evenly comparable.

    The necks on the Luke models are definitely pretty small at the nut, not as small as say my '71 SG but still compact compared to a classical guitar. That being said, I don't think it would limit, inhibit, or exclude any player based on their physiology. Maybe George Foreman would have a hard time making a good F barre chord, but the close string spacing does make it easy to make funky chords, kind of Luke's jazz influence coming out there.

    Test drives are always free. At least if there's a Luke III claro walnut in a music store close to you.
    St. Vincent "Prince Vince" trans purple gold hardware stealth pg roasted bound neck
    Albert Lee MM90 piezo "Silver Surfer"
    Classic Morse
    Luke BFR Koa
    Axis Super Sport Semi-Hollow natural flame piezo
    Silhouette Special
    Stealth Bongo H
    White Cutlass Bass roasted neck

  10. #10

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    Thanks Casey - now I'm teetering between the LIII and the Cutlass HSS... the Turquoise one just looks rad. Can you (or anyone else) comment on the comparison in terms of the neck, overall feel, and the sound?
    Looks like the Cutlass is a big bigger, with the longer headstock (I'm 6'4", so that might actually suit me better...).

    The answer, of course, is that I need both - but can't make that happen right now.

  11. #11

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    FYI, with the exception of the JPs and Armadas, all Music Man guitars have 1 5/8" nut width (1.625", 41.3 mm) which was the default standard nut width on Fender instruments in the 50's and 60's. The JPs and Armadas are 1 11/16" (43 mm) which was the standard nut width on Les Pauls in the 50's and early 60's.
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  12. #12

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    I have the exact guitar you're considering and I love everything about it. I have most of the EBMM lineup and the Claro Luke is one that I frequently pick up to play. The neck is extremely comfortable and the guitar is great for all types of music. You really can't go wrong.
    Nomac Majesty #14 | BFR Koa Majesty | BFR Claro Walnut Majesty | BFR Fuchsia Sparkle Majesty
    BFR Gold Sparkle Majesty | BFR Steak House Majesty (On Order, no ETA) | BFR6 Koa
    BFR JP15 Teal Green | BFR JP16 6 String | BFR JP16 7 String | JP7 Mystic Dream
    JP6 Sky blue | BFR Claro Luke III | BFR Valentine White/Gold | BFR Stingray Translucent Gold
    BFR Cutlass Natural Gloss | Sterling: JP100D Orange Burst, JP150 Prototype MysticFire & JP60 Prototype MysticFire

  13. #13

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    Just took delivery of a Luke III BFR HSS in Hazel Burst. I wouldn’t worry too much about the neck dimensions or the frets. I have very long fingers and play medium jumbo to jumbo frets on my PRS guitars. Was apprehensive about the purchase because of the neck/fret dimensions but It feels great. No issues whatsoever. I almost pulled the trigger on a Luke III BFR Claro but HH pickup configuration wasn’t what I really wanted. When I went back to look for it it was gone. Somebody got a beautiful guitar ! Mine came in stock within a day and I grabbed it. Fit and finish are impeccable. Fretwork is great and, as mentioned in a previous post, it’s great for all types of music. I was very surprised with this guitar as it’s my first EBMM guitar that I’ve ever played in my 45 years as a guitarist. I’ll try to post photos of mine soon. Keep us posted if you get it. I’m sure you’re going to love it.

    Cheers,

    Rick

  14. #14

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    Thank you all for your responses - I'm going to try it after my upcoming business travel, when I can spend enough time with it inside the return window.

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