Music Man Vault Black Friday Deal

New Axis BFR is awesome… but…

TimFoster

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Just under 30 years ago or so, I bought a trans black EVH… It suited me perfectly at the time, being a huge Eddie fan playing in hard rock bands… As time passed and my tastes mellowed, I gravitated towards strats and single coils — until one day I decided to sell the EVH. It wasn’t getting used, and having been heavily gigged it didn’t have a whole lot of collectibility left in it — it was a player’s guitar at best.

In the days since I kept an SG around as a more “rockin” dual-humbucker guitar when needed, but never really loved them in terms of feel, fit and finish…. So I recently thought — why not go back to where I started? Ima rekindle my youth and get me another Axis!!! Ever since I sold it, I maintained in my mind’s eye that it was the most comfortable and effortlessly playing guitar I ever owned.

And so I did… a few months ago I bought a new Burl top Axis Super Sport BFR. It had everything I wanted — coil splitting, locking tuners, stainless steel frets… roasted flamed maple neck with that smooth effortless feel… looks awesome!!! Sound is surprisingly flexible — the coil splitting, while not a perfect replacement for a single coil, is absolutely useable…. And the standard (non Floyd) EBMM trem is reaaaaaaally impressive — has a nice light feel compared to something like a Gotoh 510 and stays in tune shockingly well for what it is…

Buuuut… having played strats the past 20 years, and more recently Suhr variants with bigger necks and wider nuts, I’m having a hard time negotiating the narrow/smaller neck profile on the axis. It’s not that I can’t play it, but with 35 years of playing under my belt I know enough to recognize it’s no longer my preference or best suited to my style. (My main gig is actually as a banjo player and i tend to do a lot of finger picking on guitar, so wider spacing between strings is always welcome.)

I’m not sure what I’m looking for in this posting other than perhaps talking myself through to acceptance with the situation, lol. Has anyone encountered similar, with regard to the Axis neck profile? I hate to take a bath selling it, but I’m also not really in a position to hold onto something without some utility behind it…. It’s been sitting here mostly unplayed, and I guess I’m just disappointed. Not in the guitar — it is everything it claims to be — but at the recognition that maybe it just isn’t my thing anymore…

I’ve played a few other EBMM’s over the years — silhouettes and maybe one or two others, but really don’t recall any nuances in terms of feel. Is it a fair statement to say that the Axis neck profile and width is on the smaller end of the EBMM spectrum? Or are they all in a similar ballpark? FWIW I’m definitely not a fan of the wide/thin necks on a lot of the usual suspect super strats… nor am I looking for a baseball bat… Right now I’m feeling like another Suhr may be my best option, but would ideally like a bit of variety. Spice of life and all, right?
 

wannarock8

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Actually I wouldn't say the neck on the Axis Super Sport is among the smallest EBMM profiles. It's slim compared to necks by some other guitar companies.
I have two Axis SS's, a Y2D and a JP16. Of those, the JP16 neck is pencil thin and very flat. The Y2D neck is wider but very flat. The Axis SS necks are deeper and more rounded in back.
I've got guitars by PRS, Hamer USA, Carvin and a few others. I do think EBMM necks tend to be slim compared to some other guitars out there. They seem to be made to make fast, technical playing easier.
 

jlf599

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I’ve played a few other EBMM’s over the years — silhouettes and maybe one or two others, but really don’t recall any nuances in terms of feel. Is it a fair statement to say that the Axis neck profile and width is on the smaller end of the EBMM spectrum? Or are they all in a similar ballpark? FWIW I’m definitely not a fan of the wide/thin necks on a lot of the usual suspect super strats… nor am I looking for a baseball bat… Right now I’m feeling like another Suhr may be my best option, but would ideally like a bit of variety. Spice of life and all, right?

Greetings! I own a couple of Axis, a couple of Lukes, a Morse HH, a Cutlass, and a Sabre. The two biggest necks out of those are the Morse HH and Sabre. The Sabre is definitely the biggest carve (though not by much) but nowhere near a baseball bat. If you like the EBMM neck finish (and there's really nothing like it that I've found), you might see if you can find one of those to try?

I do joke that the Morse HH is the best Les Paul I've ever played. It's neck feels almost identical to my 91 LP Standard in size...so that's maybe something to ponder, too?

J
 

TimFoster

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Thank you both for your insights — much appreciated! It sounds like a Sabre or Luke may indeed be more along the lines of what I’m looking for. Not sure I’d pick one up without being able to play it first, but will certainly see what I can find in my neck of the woods…

And yeah… that neck finish is definitely a big part of the allure for me. It lends a perfect feel for
my tastes — super smooth with effortless sliding, while still providing a direct and organic connection to the wood itself. I don’t even know what the hell means, lol. Maybe I should just say “I really dig it” and leave it at that, lol.
 

jlf599

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Thank you both for your insights — much appreciated! It sounds like a Sabre or Luke may indeed be more along the lines of what I’m looking for. Not sure I’d pick one up without being able to play it first, but will certainly see what I can find in my neck of the woods…

And yeah… that neck finish is definitely a big part of the allure for me. It lends a perfect feel for
my tastes — super smooth with effortless sliding, while still providing a direct and organic connection to the wood itself. I don’t even know what the hell means, lol. Maybe I should just say “I really dig it” and leave it at that, lol.

Heh. I know what you mean. I think. :) The neck finish of EBMMs has ruined me for other guitars.

I did buy the Sabre blind and I don't regret it one bit. It's pretty amazing. I hope you can find one to try out!

J
 

xjbebop

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A lot of these replies are referring to neck thickness, whereas I think (?) you are more concerned about nut width / string spacing...???
I own many different guitars, and the Albert Lee model is my #1 go-to. That being said... like you, I struggle with the narrow nut. The AL would be 100% perfect for me if the nut / spacing were just a little wider.
I had a Luke III for a while, and it was a beautiful guitar. But the nut end of the neck felt way to tight for me, and I didn't get along with the "V" carve. Ended up trading it for another AL...
Have a few Super Sports as well, and they are a close 2nd to the AL for me... but aside from the different neck carve (asymmetrical vs "C"), I still wish the nuts were a little bit wider...
Hate to say this here, but I have a few prs S2 models (Vela & standard 22), and the necks on those are perfect for me...
REALLY wish my AL necks were the same size....
 

Ishmun

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A lot of these replies are referring to neck thickness, whereas I think (?) you are more concerned about nut width / string spacing...???
I own many different guitars, and the Albert Lee model is my #1 go-to. That being said... like you, I struggle with the narrow nut. The AL would be 100% perfect for me if the nut / spacing were just a little wider.
I had a Luke III for a while, and it was a beautiful guitar. But the nut end of the neck felt way to tight for me, and I didn't get along with the "V" carve. Ended up trading it for another AL...
Have a few Super Sports as well, and they are a close 2nd to the AL for me... but aside from the different neck carve (asymmetrical vs "C"), I still wish the nuts were a little bit wider...
Hate to say this here, but I have a few prs S2 models (Vela & standard 22), and the necks on those are perfect for me...
REALLY wish my AL necks were the same size....

I agree with xj here - and had the same experiences with the Axis. Amazing tone; but I always felt it had the least width of the EBMMs I've had/tried. Also had the same issue with my ALHH I used to own too.

What solved the issue for me was to go with a 25h Anniversary - the bigger body + different neck shape (based on a Sil?) fit much better and I didn't have that feeling of small-width in the neck.
 

Pink

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Look up. Waaaaay up.
$0.05 thrown in (since we no longer have pennies up here).

If you bond with a Suhr, buy a different Suhr.

I went in the opposite direction as you…I really liked the Silhouette Special, but convinced myself that I needed something vintage-y. So, sold the EBMMs I owned to buy into the American Vintage dream. I owned a ‘57 and the Hot Rod ‘62, but missed the ‘compact’ design of the Silhouettes. Sold the Strats and used the funds to buy a couple of used Silhouette Specials. The EBMMs don’t sound as good to my ears as the AVs, but they suit me and my playing style that much better.
 
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Dargin

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The Sabre has a 1 11/16 nut and a 5 way switch....that is going to get you closest to a Super Sport with wider string spacing.
 

kimonostereo

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At least EBMM is making one model with 1 11/16" nut now. I wouldn't hold my breath that they'll make that option for any other models since most are artist models. Maybe the Cutlass and Stingray one day? Haven't had a chance to try a Sabre as I don't think there are any locally in Hawaii.

The EVH/Axis really cemented my love for Ernie Ball oil finished necks and the asymmetrical profile. I also fell in love with the neck on the Luke I. I liked both of those profiles as they felt really comfortable for my relatively smaller hands. The profile of the Luke II and III always felt similar but not quite the same to me. When building my own guitars with aftermarket parts, I've always gone for a similar profile to the EVH/Axis as I could never find an aftermarket neck with the same specs as a Luke I.
 

TimFoster

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A lot of these replies are referring to neck thickness, whereas I think (?) you are more concerned about nut width / string spacing...???

Hey XJ — yeah, it’s more a matter of nut width and string spacing for me. That said, in a perfect world (when EBMM comes knocking to design my signature model, any day now, lol) I’d increase the width of the axis nut/neck, but might also scale up the rest to a lesser degree in terms of thickness…. Or perhaps not — maybe the width would be enough.

I’ve been reading some threads on the Sabre. Width is definitely there — actually a fraction wider than my Suhr’s, but…seems they’re also a bit thinner than the axis, and not sure I could jive with that.

I dunno. I think for now I may stick with what I know and am comfortable with. There are two GC’s within reasonable driving distance, and while neither stock Ball’s new nowadays I do see used ones float through every now and again. They go quick, but I’ve made it a habit to browse their used inventory somewhat frequently and if I ever see a Sabre, Luke or Albert Lee come through I’ll definitely give it a spin!
 

Astrofreq

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For me, I notice the finish on a neck more than necessarily the shape. I’m spoiled by EBMM and necks have to be bare wood and no lacquer. So, if I pick up a guitar with a lacquered neck, every part of me screams …. Ewwwwww.

All my EBMM have bare wood necks, so it’s pretty easy for me to switch from one model to another.
 

RSG

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Tough spot to be in especially if you've tried narrow necks multiple times and they don't work for you. I go in phases, sometimes I go for my LP with huge 50s neck or PRS with wide/fat neck and that works for a while... until I pick up my ASS MM90 and then I'm like "where have you been all my life?" It would be tough for me to not fully appreciate an ASS neck, so I sympathize.

I'll offer a rather expensive suggestion... try a Tom Anderson. I know, I know, blasphemy mentioning anything other than EBMM here, but Tom's guitars are as close as I've found in comfort and playability to a MM dollar-for-dollar. The options are nearly endless so you may find a combination that works for you. Suhrs are great guitars too, but when I think about all the guitars I've owned that have stood out as outstanding players, it's been the ASS and the Anderson Cobra T hands down.

Good luck either way.
 

xjbebop

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""sometimes I go for my LP with huge 50s neck or PRS with wide/fat neck and that works for a while... until I pick up my ASS MM90 and then I'm like "where have you been all my life?"

That's exactly what I go thru with my AL's. Even though I wish the nut was a skoosh wider, every time I pick one up after playing other gittars for a bit, I think "It's good to be home"....
I often ask myself why I even own / play anything else anymore, but I'm not ready to give up the variety...
 

edhalen

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I do joke that the Morse HH is the best Les Paul I've ever played. It's neck feels almost identical to my 91 LP Standard in size...so that's maybe something to ponder, too?

J

So VERY cool to see another Tahitian Blue Morse HH owner!!! I absolutely LOVE mine! I put a set of SD Pearly Gates pups in mine and I'd argue there's no LP on the planet that can hang with it! I call it the "LP Killer" :). If the OP can find one give it a try for sure!! I believe the neck carve on ours is the same as the Dark Lord - which if memory serves correct was a digital scan of one of Joe B's 59 LP's. Maybe a fellow knucklehead can confirm this. I thought I read that in our forums here a long time ago.
 

JasonT

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I’d suggest checking out a Reflex or 25th Anniversary. They are wider at the nut and have more string spacing than an Axis, but are similar to an Axis. Slightly bigger body. Different but comfortable neck shape. Vintage trem or hard tail. Good luck!
 

PeteDuBaldo

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So VERY cool to see another Tahitian Blue Morse HH owner!!! I absolutely LOVE mine! I put a set of SD Pearly Gates pups in mine and I'd argue there's no LP on the planet that can hang with it! I call it the "LP Killer" :). If the OP can find one give it a try for sure!! I believe the neck carve on ours is the same as the Dark Lord - which if memory serves correct was a digital scan of one of Joe B's 59 LP's. Maybe a fellow knucklehead can confirm this. I thought I read that in our forums here a long time ago.

The neck on the Tahitian Blue is indeed the same chunky neck found on the Dark Lord - a chunky neck originally made for a y2d that belonged to Joe Bonamassa. I don't know if it was based off of a scan of his '59 or if EBMM just made it extra chunky for him.
 

edhalen

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The neck on the Tahitian Blue is indeed the same chunky neck found on the Dark Lord - a chunky neck originally made for a y2d that belonged to Joe Bonamassa. I don't know if it was based off of a scan of his '59 or if EBMM just made it extra chunky for him.

Thanks for confirming that it was the same as the Dark Lord. I thought so.
 

jlf599

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I truly lucked out on the Tahitian Blue Morse HH. I took a chance on it without playing one and feel like I hit the jackpot. It really does feel like my LP Standard...only with the killer EBMM neck finish.
 

edhalen

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I truly lucked out on the Tahitian Blue Morse HH. I took a chance on it without playing one and feel like I hit the jackpot. It really does feel like my LP Standard...only with the killer EBMM neck finish.

....not to mention the killer quilt, binding job and SS frets :). Change out the pups to the Pearly Gates if you want to take it over the top :).
 
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