Lunchtime gear hunting – Taylor Solid Body Electric Guitar, BFR John Petrucci Musicman F-1

Went with one of my buddies to Sinamex music today as he was looking for an audio interface for his Mac so his wife can sing into Garage Band.

To my surprise they had two of the much-talked-about Taylor electric guitars in stock – the Standard and the Custom. Known for their superb acoustics and semi-acoustics (I have at a Baby Taylor guitar which I love immensely which I strum in the office), they’ve only recently started making these solidbody electrics. Given their reputation for the superb build quality of their acoustic line, expectations have been high and there’s been a lot of buzz surrounding their release. I’d heard they weren’t coming until February (as the salesman confirmed) but that they had had a sneak preview order of three units since November. The Classic model which would have completed the triumvirate had already been sold, so I sat down and tried out the two remainders.

Meh. Don’t believe the hype.

Sure, they are built beautifully. They are light and seem thinner than than they are (an illusion I think due to the contouring at the side of the body). The figuring on the veneer top is highly attractive. Didn’t like the control knobs personally though. On the Custom there was an ugly glue job at the nut with excess glue rising far too high and spoiling the perfection.  Soundwise, I found these guys pretty uninspiring. None of the voices made me go ‘wow’. Although there is a fair range of noises coming out of these instruments, none of them floated my particular boat. The best of them was a zingy almost semi-acoustic noise that one could imagine being coaxed from a 410CE. Overall both the guitars I’d categorize in the ‘very bright sounding’ bucket and certainly overpriced at $3195 and $3885 respectively.

However, the salesman, clearly impressed by my highly advanced shredding asked me if I wanted to try out a quite special guitar and handed me a (Ernie) Ball Family Reserve John Petrucci Musicman F-1 model – the top of the range of the Dream Theater guitarist’s signature line. The BFR ‘brand’ must be Ernie Ball’s premium range in the same vein as PRS’s ‘Private Stock’. I’d never heard of it up till now; can’t say I liked the BFR logo inlaid into the 12th fret though – that was the only ugly design snafu…

Perhaps I didn’t get enough time with it (about 15 minutes) but I didn’t find the piezo sound to be particularly wonderful and was expecting something closer to the pseudo-acoustic noises that may emanate from a Parker Fly, but for sheer playability, this guitar is very hard to beat. The neck is wonderful. Super sheer and playable with a low (but not buzzy low) action that is uniformly setup for supreme accessibility and ease. The thin neck profile and flattish fingerboard all help make this an addictive player. I loved it.  The one I played was a Walnut Burst – beautifully finished. $5800 though. Doh. For that money I can get a custom built Tom Anderson, which I think I will.

bfr_walnut1

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7 Responses to “Lunchtime gear hunting – Taylor Solid Body Electric Guitar, BFR John Petrucci Musicman F-1”

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  4. Interesting take on the Taylor SBs. I was pretty enthusiastic until I saw a couple of them in person. There were some serious flaws in the workmanship of the two I saw. I didn’t have time to really play them, and I think in general Taylor makes great guitars. But I’m seeing more and more reviews of these where people seem unimpressed. Thanks!

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  7. Allen Esworthy

    Went with one of my buddies to Sinamex music today as he was looking for an audio interface for his Mac so his wife can sing into Garage Band. To my surprise they had two of the much-talked-about Taylor electric guitars in stock – the Standard and the…

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