Every month throughout 2020, Ernie Ball Music Man has been putting together a batch of selected, limited edition instruments for us to drool over. And for December 2020, the company is going out with a bang: a 6- and 7-string John Petrucci Majesty signature model finished in a stunning Bali Blue Burst is joined by an Axis and two limited edition StingRays.
John Petrucci Majesty Bali Blue Burst
The December 2020 edition of the monthly Ball Family Reserve gets off to a flying start with the John Petrucci Majesty Bali Blue Burst, a limited edition comprising a 6-string version with 95 units available and a 7-string release of just 45 pieces. Each guitar has a baked maple 24-fret fingerboard that I think offsets the blue burst finish very tastefully. Both versions have a piezo pickup in the bridge, plus a pair of DiMarzio Rainmaker and Dreamcatcher humbuckers.
Every guitar in this run is hand-signed by John Petrucci and includes a numbered certificate of authenticity to mark the special release. I think these models will both be popular, as Mr Petrucci has a legion of loyal fans.
Axis Semi Hollow Buttery Blonde
Next up is this rather rare Axis Semi Hollow Buttery Blonde with a highly figured maple top and unique M-style f-hole. It looks a little unusual but then again that’s in keeping with this quirky guitar model, so I’ll roll with it. A single Ernie Ball Music Man custom-wound humbucker is mounted right where you would normally have a gap between your bridge and neck pickup!
It has a nice-looking bound flame maple neck with three-piece split-block abalone and Mother of Pearl inlays. The ebony fretboard is bound and loaded with 22 stainless steel frets. I’d love to play one of these to hear what it can do; I think it could offer some really interesting tones.
This model is being released in a small run of 30 guitars. If you buy one, please report back to us and tell us how it sounds.
StingRay Special in Natural Okoume
The December 2020 collection includes to two bass models. The first is the StingRay Special in Natural Okoume powered by a a single neodymium humbucker, with push/push volume boost and a three-position rotary pickup switch. I’m not 100% convinced by the white pickup cover against the black pickguard, but other than that, this is a good-looking bass.
The lightweight okoume body is finished in a satin classic light yellow tint which looks really nice. The highly figured flame maple neck is outfitted with 22 high-profile stainless steel frets on a rosewood fretboard. Ernie Ball Music Man will only be releasing 80 units of this model, so it should prove popular. The Sting Ray bass is great instrument.
StingRay 5 Special in Kinetic Blue
The last model in this December release is the StingRay 5 Special in Kinetic Blue. It’s got a very modern aesthetic; the whole bass is finished in blue and there is no pickguard. This thing looks stripped back and ready for action. The Kinetic Blue is a a colour-shift finish and so I bet it looks a lot nicer in real life. I owned a JP6 and JP7 in one of these colour shift finishes and they are really hard to photograph.
This 5 Special has a single neodymium Music Man humbucker and a 3-band EQ, Volume control and a 3-way blade switch. This model is being produced in a run of only 85 models worldwide.
Ernie Ball Music Man Ball Family Reserve
I always look forward to finding out what Ernie Ball Music Man has put together for the Ball Family Reserve package each month. 2020 has been a great year for cool guitar releases, with some lovely finishes and amazing instruments. Hopefully, the company will carry on with these in 2021. It’s been fun to see what they can come up with throughout the year. To read the full specifications one each of these limited run December models follow the link below to the official page with all the details.