Lawrence

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What are the differences between Luke I,II & III? Is the Luke II now discontinued?
I have just acquired a Luke II with matching headstock finish.Would this have been a special order?
Or did they introduce the M/H at some point during its production?
Any ideas on what actual factory finish this is.I would say its more blue than grey/silver in normal light.See 2nd photos.
 

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Lawrence

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Color is more like these 2 photos.Courtesy of google photos.
 

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John C

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I think I can clarify a bit - if not someone will jump in and correct me.

First off - the color you have is what they called "Luke blue" and as far as I can remember was only available on the Luke II.

Second - matching headstocks was an option on the Luke II for a number of years. I think the progression with the Luke II was limited colors/no matching headstock, then opened up to all colors available in a given year and you could add a matching headstock as an option, then toward the end of its run back to limited colors and I think no matching headstock (but I could be wrong about the matching headstock option).

Third - yes, the Luke II is discontinued. I think as of the end of 2017, but maybe earlier. It went to the limited colors at the end of 2015.

Fourth - the Luke III vs. the Luke II: The Luke 3 has passive pickups from DiMarzio - signature pickups for Steve - combined with an active circuit. There are 2 versions of the Luke III - one is HSS, the other is HH. Both have an on-board boost circuit activated by a push/push volume pot, plus they have a buffer preamp in the circuit that raises the output level of the single coils (HSS model) or the split-coil settings (on the HH model) to the same output level as the full humbuckers. The Luke II of course has active EMG pickups.

The Luke III body is slightly larger than the Luke II body - still not as large as say a Cutlass or a Fender Stratocaster, but slightly larger.

The Luke III originally came with the solid rosewood neck; that changed to a roasted maple neck with rosewood fingerboard in 2014 or 2015 - which was also the first year for the current "Bodhi blue" color.

Both were available in regular and Ball Family Reserve versions.

Hope this helps.
 

Lawrence

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Thanks John
That is very helpful and saved me a lot of time searching around the net.
Am I correct to assume the Luke II body shape is the same as the silhouette?
 

John C

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No; it's not quite the same but similar. The Silhouette has more "sculpting" to it - it's beveled around the horns while the Luke I/Luke II are rounded. Plus the Silhouette has 24 frets to the Luke's 22 frets. I think the Luke I came out before the Silhouette Special (the 22-fret version of the Silhouette) but the dimensions of the 2 are similar.

Sorry, I forgot to discuss the Luke I - while the body and neck are the same as the Luke II the Luke I had the recessed Floyd Rose bridge, no tone control, and a different set of EMGs. Sorry, I don't recall what the Luke I EMG set was, but it was before Steve had a signature EMG pickup model (but it was his original "signature" EMG set).
 

John C

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You're welcome. While I never really owned a Luke (either I, II or III) I have owned several Silhouette Specials and have tried out more than a few Lukes - the bodies are close, but just not quite the same. I briefly had a Luke III (the HH version - early model in Olive Gold with the solid rosewood neck) but it essentially came in as a straight-up trade for an Albert Lee that I owned and it went out within 5 days to someone who put up a "want to buy" specifically for a Luke III in that color/configuration.
 

Lawrence

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Is there a photo anywhere on here comparing the II & III bodies side by side.I wonder why there was a need to have a larger body?
 

Craiguitar

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Sorry, I forgot to discuss the Luke I - while the body and neck are the same as the Luke II the Luke I had the recessed Floyd Rose bridge, no tone control, and a different set of EMGs. Sorry, I don't recall what the Luke I EMG set was, but it was before Steve had a signature EMG pickup model (but it was his original "signature" EMG set).

The Luke 1 still has an 85 humbucker, but the single coils ae SA57's, which are a somewhat beefier sounding version of the SA.
 

kimonostereo

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Always liked the original EMG set in the Luke I, but Luke’s tastes changed and it was reflected in the instrument. Anyone know if he still breaks out any of the Luke IIs anymore? He did during the initial release of the LIII.
 

tbonesullivan

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I did not see him use any Luke II's when I saw him with the Ringo All-Star Band. He's got a fleet of custom finish LIII's apparently. His tastes have moved on I guess.
 

PinkPR

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Digging out the thread 3 years later.
I own a Luke I, II and III, and I wanted to share my thoughts about the topic and some of the answers.
I must say that my Luke I is one of the very very firsts ever produced, so my knowledge is limited to the early Luke I series.

I won't discuss obvious things like the pickup configuration or floyd rose vs vintage tremolo. Only things you see when having all 3 models in hand.

First, the color of your guitar is "Luke Blue". No debate.

Now let's check differences between all 3 models.

Body dimensions : I and II are exactly the same. III is a bit bigger, and I assume the reason is aesthetics. I and II looked like 'toy guitars' with the small EB headstock and slightly smaller-than-usual bodies. Steve Lukather stated that they changed the "Luke" denomination for "LIII", which is better for people who won't like signature guitars, or won't like Lukather's name on their guitar. Therefore we can assume that EBMM proposed a body dimension that will better fit customer's taste.
After all, they are looking after selling these guitars. So they better please customers.

Neck : I's neck is really thinner and has a flatter fretboard than II and III. I is equipped with floyd rose, which forces a flatter fretboard. The V shape is softer compared to II and III.
I feel like the II has the harder V shape compared to III. Maybe just a matter of production, like how much they sand it in the end. I have touched other IIs that had a rounder neck.

Electronics : III has DiMarzio transition pickups (HH model). II has EMGs 85/SLV/SLV, and I has EMGs 85/SA/SA as far as I know (never unmounted pickups to verify). Luke II's single coils sound very bassy compared to Luke I.
II receives a tone knob where I only has a single volume knob. III has additional controls accessible from the back. You can choose how much gain you'll have with the gain circuit (0 - 20dB I guess ?). You can also control the gain on the 2 and 4 positions (split coils).
I believe not all IIIs has the same preamp PCB on it.

Miscellaneous :
Late IIs had a compensated nut. This nut is by default on all III since the beginning of production.

Btw, we have seen Steve Lukather using a I, II and III on Toto's 35th anniversary live.
I don't believe he wanted to use all 3.
My point of view is : he had to, by contract or agreement with EBMM.
At the time, IIs and IIIs were in production, and they were making a reissued Luke I.
Therefore having Steve Lukather seen with all 3 guitars was a good ad for EBMM.

As soon as I and II's production got stopped, we never saw him again with a I or II.
After all, the III is the latest evolution of his signature guitar. Why would he go for an old model that he got rid of by himself ?
 
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