When it came to creating the latest iteration of his signature Majesty, John Petrucci was all in. While holding down duties with the biggest prog-metal band on the planet, the Dream Theater legend was a constant presence at the Ernie Ball Music Man workshops — partnering with our designers and craftsmen as every last aspect of the new breed was pulled apart, reimagined and tested to perfection. You’ll find blue-sky thinking in everything from the fresh finishes to the all-new tonewoods. But perhaps the biggest departure from the original Majesty announces itself when plugged in.
What’s unique about the 2019 Majesty’s are the pickups. Petrucci said.
Tone & Timbers
A great electric guitar is an ecosystem, where every element plays an integral role. Having specified premium mahogany, maple and basswood in the build of the new Majesty models, Petrucci wanted to complement the stunning natural voice of those tonewoods with pickups co-developed with his long-time favorite manufacturer, DiMarzio.
We made the pickups bring out more of the natural essence of the tonewoods used to make the guitar,” he explained. “They are optimized to faithfully reproduce and amplify all of the depth, warmth and boldness that the guitars naturally possess.
Evolution & Revolution
Ever since Dream Theater’s 1989 debut album, When Dream And Day Unite, Petrucci’s guitar tone has been on the move. Three decades later, the bold, sonic palette on this year’s Distance Over Time was inspired by the brand-new DiMarzio Rainmaker and Dreamcatcher humbuckers created specifically for the latest Majesty models. “These pickups reflect John’s continuing process of refining and expanding his sound,” DiMarzio Chief Engineer Steve Blucher explained.
Although they were initially designed for the Majesty guitar line, their basic performance shows the overall direction John said he wants to follow in pursuit of his personal sound.
Finding His Voice
Voicing a custom pickup is an artform, and the new Majesty models were born from a painstaking process of trial and error.
“Technically speaking,” Petrucci explained, “we smoothed out some of the highs, focused the mids and tightened the low end while slightly decreasing the output. The guitar actually appears louder-sounding as a result, though, because everything is more open-sounding.”
Meanwhile, Blucher’s team worked tirelessly to capture the sound in the guitarist’s imagination. “Both pickups have an increased sensitivity to pick attack and more dynamic range overall,” Blucher said. “The Rainmaker has an interesting blend of both warmer highs and more open mids, to blend classic and modern approaches to the neck position tonality. The Dreamcatcher pickups focus more power on the low mids to allow the bridge position to cut through the mix without brittle highs or muddy lows.”
We could give you the science behind the magnetic fields and pole-pieces – but ultimately, the proof of Petrucci’s triumphant quest for the perfect pickup is evident in the new Majesty series. Whether you first experienced these electric guitars at their NAMM 2019 world debut, heard them on the acclaimed material from Distance Over Time or have just taken delivery of your own – you’ll know this is a one-off instrument where tone and feel co-exist in total equilibrium.
The result is a more forward, clearer, broader and more pronounced and ultimately expressive tone,” Petrucci said of the new seven-model Majesty range. “It’s massive.