adventurous styling all-in-all, though I
couldn’t help but think that the wonderful
split headstock found on MJ’s other models
would assert MJ’s own worthwhile aesthetic
amid the classicism of the design.
I was impressed with the instrument’s
build quality and its honest, heavy-duty
feel—the neck bolt holes were reinforced
for rigidity, the Wilkinson bridge was
beefy and simple, the knobs turned with a
smooth resistance that just felt expensive,
and the thin satin finish on the neck pro-
vided a great blend of silky smoothness and
barely perceptible woody texture. The neck
is a fairly thin but comfortable C shape
with jumbo frets and a 12" radius that felt
great on everything from fast leads to cow-
boy chords. Fret ends were nicely rounded
and the leveling job on our review model
was excellent, but this Groovemaster begged
for that last stage of fine fret polishing.
Master of the House
The acoustic musicality of the
Groovemaster is easy to hear. It’s exceptionally loud, and this actually had me wondering at times if the body was chambered.
Those potentially put off by the use of a
body wood outside of the usual ash, alder,
or mahogany should take note—this poplar slab resonated like crazy in my hands,
straight through to the headstock.
REVIEW > MJ GUitars
I plugged into a Fender Champ and
experimented with some clean tones. The
Groovemaster’s neck pickup communicated
everything I love about a P- 90—clear, ringing highs, a syrupy midrange, and ample
low-end warmth. This smooth single-coil had
the added benefit of living on a 25. 5"-scale
guitar, which lends additional percussiveness
and bass articulation. Dense chord voicings
benefited from this combination, and there’s
an excellent transparency between notes.
The middle position was warm and
sweet—a cool variation on the classic dual-pickup Telecaster sound. It was outstanding
for funky stabs, but packed enough twang
and snap for chicken pickin’.
25. 5" scale
The overall tonal character was complex and three-dimensional, and as I sustained chords or ran through
Radiohead-inspired arpeggios, the Duncan P- 90 rang
through the Champ with long, almost pulsing sustain.
PREMIER GUITAR FEBRUARY 2012 139