|Body And Neck:|
The American virtuoso John Petrucci is known for having some of the most prestigious signature guitars on the market. However, like most great things, you have to pay a lot for them. Thankfully Music Man’s Sterling offshoot has developed the JP70, which gives you a flavor of Petrucci’s higher-end models, yet with a more affordable midrange price tag. Today we are taking a more in-depth look at this seven-string guitar.
If you are aware of Music Man’s JP6 – the original high-end John Petrucci signature model – this 7-string JP70 will be very familiar, featuring the distinctive style that both catches the eye and makes playing a real pleasure. This includes the beautifully-contoured double-cutaway body shape, the 5+2 headstock design, and the ergonomic scooped arm relief (more guitars should have these!).
The midrange SBMM JP70 is made from a slab of solid basswood offering a lightweight experience. Several attractive finishes are available, including Trans Purple or Trans Green Burst, as well as more conservative Metallic Black or Pearl White versions. The hard maple neck has a strong bolt-on design, with a rosewood fretboard featuring 24 medium jumbo frets. Running up the fretboard is another design point unique to these guitars – the custom JP inlays, with the JP Shield logo inlaid at the first fret.
Of course, being designed in part by a virtuoso, this is a wide, slim neck that gets out of your way while you play. Combined with that armrest and the lightweight basswood body, the JP70 delivers a very comfortable playing experience that all 7-string guitarists can appreciate. Plus, while it’s made overseas in Indonesia, the guitar receives a full Stateside inspection and setup, so it should be good to go straight from the box.
Moving onto the hardware side of things and things remain pretty good for the price. You’ll find two high-output Sterling-designed passive humbuckers at the bridge and neck. These are controlled by a single master volume and a master tone control, which do the job, along with the three-way pickup selector switch.
Sterling does not skimp on the rest of the hardware, with a floating modern tremolo bridge, which is a heavy-duty component that feels strong and capable. This is paired with a quality set of locking tuners, although it’s a shame to see no locking nut, as a few tuning stability issues can occur after more aggressive tremolo play (think big divebombs).
Finally, being associated with Ernie Ball, it comes shipped with a set of EB’s 2621 Regular Slinky strings, along with a Deluxe Sterling Bag to protect this lovely instrument.
For stock pickups, the two humbuckers offer some pretty beastly tones when distorted, with everything coming across tight and lively. Lead playing is a pleasure, with great articulation and mix-cutting power.
It certainly offers you the chance to sound like Petrucci, even if you can’t quite play as fast! So, it’s ideal for hard rock and many metal styles, although the clean tones are warm, clear and well-balanced, which will appeal to jazz guitarists.
Design, playability and hardware all come together to deliver a monster guitar that sounds excellent, even with stock pickups. Adding a pair of aftermarket John Petrucci signature buckers would boost this tone even further. But, as it is, whether you are looking for a gig-worthy 7-string guitar or just something to keep in the studio when you feel like expanding your tonal range, the JP70 is a great compromise between high quality and affordability.