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Music Man Majesty and Helix


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Just had a play with my christmas present...the Music Man Majesty in Arctic Dream finish.

 

OMG!!!!!!!!

 

Never known a guitar to have so many different tone variations just inside the volume knob alone, then there's the piezo, the coil tap, the volume boost, oh and the helix! This guitar/helix combo is quite incredible. This is a John Petrucci guitar but it does rock perfectly and looks amazing in the flesh.

 

Any Music Man owners out there have any tips for getting the best out of the helix with this axe? I'm not using the alt in for piezo, I'm just using a clean snapshot instead and switching to the piezo for that snapshot, balancing with an eq block. that way I can stay wireless. Seems sweet enough.

 

Can't believe the sustain and feedback on full volume. Then cleans up perfectly with the volume knob. Anyway, just had to brag  :) !

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I have a JP15 Blueberry Burst. It has the same electronics as your Majesty. It's a fantastic guitar. Kind of like a Ferrari of guitars. I haven't used the piezo very much yet. My only complaint is I seem to get more compression from the pickups than I like or I'm used to. I guess I still need to learn how to dial in the right tone for them. I just know that I'll set the JP down and plug in my other humbucker guitar, with the identical settings, and no more compression problem. So the JP15 definitely needs a different approach for settings. I don't play metal, or shred, so maybe that's my problem? I play heavy classic rock, Zep, VH, ZZ. It kind of bums me out because I love the guitar so much, so I'm not going to give up on it. Good luck and share a good patch when you can.

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I've had quite a bit of fun playing my Majesty with the Helix.  I run a stereo Y cable (TRS on the Majesty end, splits to 2 mono plugs on the Helix end).  I run the magnetic pickups into the Guitar In and the Piezos into the Aux In.  I set up a path for the Mags, which goes to my DT25, and a separate path for the Piezos, which goes to my Alto TS110A speakers.  It sounds amazing!  

 

Someone suggested, but I haven't tried it yet, to set up an expression pedal to fade/blend between the 2 paths.

 

The Majesty is an incredible guitar.  It's in the top 3 of my collection.  I spent a considerable amount of time playing them in guitar shops over a period of a year and a half before I made the purchase.

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I have a JP15 Blueberry Burst. It has the same electronics as your Majesty. It's a fantastic guitar. Kind of like a Ferrari of guitars. I haven't used the piezo very much yet. My only complaint is I seem to get more compression from the pickups than I like or I'm used to. I guess I still need to learn how to dial in the right tone for them. I just know that I'll set the JP down and plug in my other humbucker guitar, with the identical settings, and no more compression problem. So the JP15 definitely needs a different approach for settings. I don't play metal, or shred, so maybe that's my problem? I play heavy classic rock, Zep, VH, ZZ. It kind of bums me out because I love the guitar so much, so I'm not going to give up on it. Good luck and share a good patch when you can.

If you decide you really can't deal, I'd be happy to take it off your hands (;-)

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I have a JP15 in sahara burst (same electronics set up).  With Helix, I have snapshots set up that bypass the amp models and switch IRs to an acoustic IR for use with the piezo.  You can also try this with the onboard mic pre model.  Have that in line with an amp and just bypass the amp and cab while you turn the mic pre on, but that might take up a bit more DSP (I tend to run two amp blocks for mimicked channel switching).  

 

If you can spare a path (DSP and routing wise) you can have the piezo output always armed with its own signal chain and use a footswitch or the expression pedal to switch from or blend between your mags to the piezo path.

 

Another effective way to use it would be send and return blocks. When engaged you would send your piezo signal to an acoustic amp/PA/other channel on interface etc. 

Either way there are enough ways to set up Helix for multiple uses with a guitar like that.  If you can't quite get it to work the way you want, message me and I can try to help you build a patch.

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I have a JP15 Blueberry Burst. It has the same electronics as your Majesty. It's a fantastic guitar. Kind of like a Ferrari of guitars. I haven't used the piezo very much yet. My only complaint is I seem to get more compression from the pickups than I like or I'm used to. I guess I still need to learn how to dial in the right tone for them. I just know that I'll set the JP down and plug in my other humbucker guitar, with the identical settings, and no more compression problem. So the JP15 definitely needs a different approach for settings. I don't play metal, or shred, so maybe that's my problem? I play heavy classic rock, Zep, VH, ZZ. It kind of bums me out because I love the guitar so much, so I'm not going to give up on it. Good luck and share a good patch when you can.

 

First thing I did was remove the pickups in my JP15.  They were overly focused and had too many upper mids which didnt sound great with the extra maple (neck, fingerboard, top). They are high output, but I think the way they are voiced was the bigger problem for me. I'm a huge Petrucci fan, but we do not agree about pickups and tone in the past 10 years or so.  Its an incredible instrument and swapping pickups made it even better for me.

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I'd also like to know what pickups you decided on. About a month ago I was planning on changing mine out of the JP15 and replacing them with a DiMarzio PAF Master set. But I really don't want to change the JP15 if I can help it, so I decided to try to learn and understand the best way to get good tone from this guitar. I don't hear Petrucci with the kind of compression that I'm encountering. I don't have his rig or support system, but I'm going to try to crack the code. I'm pretty certain the ceramic magnets have a lot to do with it, but he seems to make them work. My main problem is I've started playing my Variax almost exclusively, so I'm not putting the effort into figuring out the JP15. A scooped EQ seems to be the first step, but I'm not finding any warmth so far.

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I already mentioned this, didn't see your reply, but have you tried enabling the input pad on the Helix?

No, I haven't messed with the input pad yet. I guess I haven't felt the need to. My problem with the JP15 is with every amp I own, not just my Helix. I have 3 solid state and 3 tube amps besides the Helix. So I'm fairly sure the compression problem is the pickups in the JP15. I need to find the right combination of settings to make it sing, but I've been avoiding dealing with it. I'll get to it soon and quit bitching about it. But your offer to take it off my hands is very kind of you and duly noted. ;)

Here's a pic of mine:

G58996-2_zps1fnn0dmj.jpg

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Thanks for all the replies guys - lots of options to trial over the holidays!  Mine has the Di Marzio Illuminators in it. I was using Glenn Delaunes Boutique amp patches last night and it sounded absolutely perfect for rock. I took it to my local guitar tech this morning for a proper set up. Out of the box the action was way too high. Easy fixed.

 

So Ill pick it up Saturday, and 'unwrap' it on xmas morning - yippee!

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What pickups did you end up with? Is your music in the same vein as JP's?

 

 

I tried a Bare Knuckle "Emerald" set , but ended up switching again and sticking with a Bare Knuckle "Holy Diver" Set.   I liked both better than the Illuminators that came stock.  But the Emerald was a bit too bright.  The Holy Diver was warmer with a little more output, but doesn't feel compressed.  It also has that liquidy, rounded pick attack like Petrucci's older tone when leads are played on the neck position.  

 

I used to do a lot of tech work, mainly pickup swaps and there are a lot guys in the Boston area who have Petrucci's.  Other really nice sounding options I almost went with were Dimarzio Dominion set (high output ceramics, definitely voiced for metal) or the AT-1 and Air Norton combo (warmer alnico still high output less compressed).

 

I wish my playing could be in the same vein as ol' Trooch, my music is pretty close.  I tend to play mainly metal, but I dislike most gear pegged as "metal". I generally prefer warmer, lower output pickups when I can.  Especially since Helix and other amps I've used have more than enough gain on tap.

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No, I haven't messed with the input pad yet. I guess I haven't felt the need to. My problem with the JP15 is with every amp I own, not just my Helix. I have 3 solid state and 3 tube amps besides the Helix. So I'm fairly sure the compression problem is the pickups in the JP15. I need to find the right combination of settings to make it sing, but I've been avoiding dealing with it. I'll get to it soon and quit bitching about it. But your offer to take it off my hands is very kind of you and duly noted. ;)

Here's a pic of mine:

G58996-2_zps1fnn0dmj.jpgT

That's a beautiful guitar my man!   I promise the pickups are the thing holding it back for you. Ive also played the illuminators in other instruments and the are very tight and clear, but end up feeling compressed and too thin for my tastes. The last 2 years of JPs have seen some the most resonant and well-playing instruments that company has put out. The pickups are the biggest factor in how an electric guitar will sound (on the guitar - not talking about the amp).

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I'd also like to know what pickups you decided on. About a month ago I was planning on changing mine out of the JP15 and replacing them with a DiMarzio PAF Master set. But I really don't want to change the JP15 if I can help it, so I decided to try to learn and understand the best way to get good tone from this guitar. I don't hear Petrucci with the kind of compression that I'm encountering. I don't have his rig or support system, but I'm going to try to crack the code. I'm pretty certain the ceramic magnets have a lot to do with it, but he seems to make them work. My main problem is I've started playing my Variax almost exclusively, so I'm not putting the effort into figuring out the JP15. A scooped EQ seems to be the first step, but I'm not finding any warmth so far.

 

I don't have any experience with the PAF master set, so I can't really weigh in there.  And I feel ya' I had to get over wanting to keep my JP intact too.  For me it was either change the pickups or I simply won't play it.  And remember you're hearing Petrucci through a completely different rig, with pedals/ effects, mics, mastering etc.  There's also the idea that he found what works well for him and he switches pickups every couple of years too.  So you should feel free to swap whatever until it works for you.  (have it done by a professional though - there are some obstacles in wiring the new JPs)

 

The ceramic magnets do have an affect, same way a tube type does in an amp.  But there are plenty of other components that go into the pickup design.  There are plenty of really nice sounding ceramics out there that aren't as compress or stereotypically voiced for rock/metal.  But most alnico's generally have a stereotypically warmer sound.  The stock pickups in (y)our guitar made it hard for me to generate warm tones too. 

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Just had a play with my christmas present...the Music Man Majesty in Arctic Dream finish.

 

OMG!!!!!!!!

 

Never known a guitar to have so many different tone variations just inside the volume knob alone, then there's the piezo, the coil tap, the volume boost, oh and the helix! This guitar/helix combo is quite incredible. This is a John Petrucci guitar but it does rock perfectly and looks amazing in the flesh.

 

Any Music Man owners out there have any tips for getting the best out of the helix with this axe? I'm not using the alt in for piezo, I'm just using a clean snapshot instead and switching to the piezo for that snapshot, balancing with an eq block. that way I can stay wireless. Seems sweet enough.

 

Can't believe the sustain and feedback on full volume. Then cleans up perfectly with the volume knob. Anyway, just had to brag  :) !

Congratulations by the way man, Merry Christmas to you!!  That guitar and finish is awesome looking and they all play like butter.  

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Yeah - my Majesty and Helix have changed my playing for the better!  The piezo & the 3SigmaAudio acoustic IR's are fantastic.

 

 

The Majesty is the most comfortable playing guitar I've ever owned (in well over 300 guitars over the years).  I'm not a huge Petrucci fan (I like some of his stuff) but once I played one I knew I had to have one.  I really love the stock pickups as well.  I love the piezo bridge also, but for whatever reason after getting a EBMM Game Changer with a piezo bridge as well, I prefer the Game Changer's piezo.  The Game Changer is the perfect recording guitar...I wish the Majesty had the full Game Changer system in it - it'd be perfect then IMO, or alternatively I wish the Game Changer had the Majesty body.  I have the HSH-Piezo GC version and there literally isn't a tone you can't get with it!

 

 

With my current stable of guitars and the Helix, I'm having the most fun playing guitar that I've ever had in 33 years of playing.

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