Music Man Axis Super Sport Review
The Axis by Ernie Ball Music Man (EBMM) is the same guitar as the original EBMM Van Halen (EVH) model with a few
position changes of the volume know and pickup selector. The Axis was introduced when EVH decided to
move to Peavey for his signature guitar model. The Axis Super Sport is another incarnation of the Axis
with a few twists which will be covered in the features section. The EBMM Axis Super Sport is what is
being reviewed here today.
First lets cover the basics. The Axis Super Sport (and Axis) is a 25.5 inch scale guitar (ala Fender)
however the headstock is only 5-7/8th inches long which is shorter than the traditional 6 tuners on a side
headstock. This gives the Axis the appearance of being a shorter guitar. The neck is selected birds eye
maple with a maple fretboard. As seen in the picture the neck is highly figured. The neck is unfinished
and requires periodic maintenance to keep the wood in perfect condition. One very cool feature of the
Axis models is the ability to adjust the truss rod without removing the strings or other components.
The body is flat topped and made from basswood (all EVH models have been bass wood) with a book matched
figured maple top, the P90 versions have ash bodies. One thing I will say is the top on this guitar is
absolutely stunning with a very beautiful quilt in what EBMM call Black Cherry Burst.
Pickups are custom Dimarzio per EVH's specs and are the same pickups found on the EBMM EVH model. The
internals are shields with a graphite resin and the control cover is aluminum lined.
Now lets talk about the differences between the Axis and the Axis Super Sport. The most noticable is the
bridge, Axis has a locking Floyd Rose type trem while the Axis Super Sports are available with a vintage
tremolo or strings-thru-the-body bridge of chrome plated, solid steel saddles. The vintage tremolo is
optional. The other major difference is in pickup selection the Axis has a basic 3-way selector similar
to Les Pauls while the Axis Super Sport has a 5-way switch. Placing the 5-way in positions 2 and 4 activate
the pickups into single coil mode for the neck and bridge. The Axis Super Sport is also available with
Action, Fit & Finish
As mentioned above the top on guitar is absolutely gorgeous and the picture doesn't quite capture the
effect. Originally I was also concerned about the unfinished neck but after spending a few hours playing
any qualms about the neck were quickly laid to rest. The playability and comfort is incredible, your
hands just seem to fall into the right place and the action is perfect. I received my guitar setup with
10's have no problem playing for 3-4 hours without fatigue in my hands.
The vintage tremolo on the Axis Super Sport allows the action on each string to be setup independently
along with the overall bridge height which allows for a perfect setup. Along with being able to adjust
the truss rod with the strings in place make for hitting that perfect setup that much easier.
The first conclusion would be this guitar produces a very EVH sound. While it does sound good playing
Van Halen tunes the electronics also allow a great deal of versatility. Playing through a Fender Champ
and a tube screamer with the selector switch in the 2 position hitting Clapton-esque tones or other
blues licks sound pretty sweet. During a extended jam session using my Dean Markley RM40 I was able to
jump from Stones to Hendrix to Cream to Fleetwood Mac with out a problem just by changing the pickup
selection on the Axis Super Sport.
Basically the Axis Super Sport is capable of producing most any sound desired and should not be limited
to only reproducing Van Halen sounds or songs. Since acquiring the Axis Super Sport my 2 Strats have
not left their cases and my Tokai Love Rocks is still out due to my Axis being tuned down a half step and
I'm to lazy to retune in between songs.
If you haven't been to the EBMM forums your
missing out. The luthiers at EBMM hang out on the forum and are ready to answer any question along with
a knowledgeable group of players.
The contacts page at Ernie Ball has customer service
email contact for Music Man guitars and a separate email for International. Some of the email address
even have names associated with them so you actually know who your contacting. Imagine that, far more
customer friendly than many other brands.
I absolutely love this guitar!!! During my search I was focused on finding a Gold Top Wolfgang (I've got
a thing for Gold Tops) and stumbled upon the Axis Super Sport with the help of a friend. Best guitar
decision I've ever made hands down, the range of sounds allows the guitar to fit into any set. The ease
in which the instrument can be played have allowed me to get far more playing time in before fatigue or
hand/wrist/arm discomfort becomes to annoying.
Would I buy another? You bet, especially if EBMM releases a Gold Top version.
Music Man Axis SuperSport HH Electric Guitar Translucent Gold Maple Fretboard
Music Man Axis Electric Guitar Translucent Gold Maple Fretboard