Quick confession time – I must admit that I did not know the Music Man Valentine was in fact a signature model and I think that is a good thing – Yes I know who Maroon 5 are – No I did not know who James Valentine is – I’ve always had a soft spot for Music Man Guitars especially the Super Sport models and various Silhouette models with HSS or HSH pick-up combination – So I just assumed, without really looking, that the Valentine was just another model to compliment their existing range – I think there is an element that certain signature models are very archetypal – If I walked into a bar and saw a band just about to start their set and the guitarist had say a S Vai JEM then I pretty much know what genre of music they will be playing before they have played one note – The same can be said for quite a few signature models – The PRS DGT is certainly a guitar that in my opinion does not come across that way – It can be played by anyone in many different musical genres – I think the Music Man Valentine fits that a similar bill to the DGT – Anyone can play it, for many styles and few, if any, will ever think you are a Maroon 5 – They’ll just think you own/play a very nice guitar
Before I go any further then click here to read a very good review of the Valentine, courtesy of Guitarist Magazine – Then click here for a Youtube clip of the Valentine in action – Again courtesy of Guitarist Magazine and N Marten
Additional comments/product info etc : – A used model from 2016, that is just about in that as new condition – Even the shell pick guard barely shows any signs of any pick marks on it – This Valentine is just about as clean as any 5 years old guitar, can ever be – Complete with the deluxe Music Man case and various tags Weight watchers will be glad to read that it only comes in at 7lbs and 3oz Select ash body with a ‘translucent buttermilk’ finish – Off white Music Man are very much an under-rated guitar in my opinion – Certainly with regards to playability and build quality – Check the guitar over from tip to toe and you’ll see what I mean – Then look inside the control cavity and find a very neat wiring loom Figured roasted maple neck + fingerboard inc matching headstock facia – Silky smooth satin finish – Blend of wax and gun stock oil for that played in from day one character 22 medium jumbo stainless steel frets Neck measures .815″ around the top nut end and .895″ around the 12th fret – That makes it more on the medium to slim side of life, yet it doesn’t come across as slimmish – With just enough girth to it, to stop it feeling skinny Sculptured heel for smooth/comfortable access to the higher frets Custom spec’d electronic package – Custom wound neck humbucker + custom wound bridge single coil pick-up that effectively sits in a ‘humbucker’ case – More on this below – Simple 3 way selector switch, as per a Tele, with a master volume + tone pot – Push/pull option on the tone pot to give you the choice of neck humbucker or single coil – Push/pull option on the vol pot to give you an additional 20db boost – Pre-set boost + active circuit
Playing experience :- As with just about all Music Man Guitars I’ve played in the last 15/20 years, the neck just feels so comfortable and easy to play with an slick action that responds to a light touch – Re-strung with a set of 10-46 gauge strings – You can dig in and attack those big blues bends as required, but if you want to sit in the fast lane, to show of your party tricks and cascading licks, then a Music Man neck is as fast as they come – Tone wise and in many ways the reference point is more that of a good Tele – The single coil bridge pick-up is almost like a black guard 50’s Tele on steroids – Crunch, balls, twang and attack and certainly not thin or spiky – Some Tele’s can have to much of a clang and not enough twang – The Valentine delivers a big single coil tone – Sure you can tame the beast with a slight roll off on the vol pot, but with the pot on 10 it just kicks dirt – Many times, where you have a mix of single coil + humbucker on the same guitar, you’ll often find the single coil pick-up gets over powered by the output of the humbucker – Not this time, as the custom wound pick-up retains its single coil character, with enough guts to match the neck humbucker – The neck humbucker is rich and clear – Smooth highs that are always crisp and clear – Transparent mids plus clear lows – Both pick ups together and maybe the voice of a Tele Custom is a good reference point – Select single coil mode on the neck humbucker for more of a funky crisp voice for additional variation – The 20db boost option, found on the vol pot, in my opinion works better on crunch overdriven amp settings – Moving from power chords and riffs to allow you to rip it up for solos, as the boost instantly gives you all the extra gain + energy that you may require – Whilst the boost is preset so no variation available to you, the master volume pot itself still allows you to have the full on approach, or roll if off, as required, for a ‘more in control’ option that is less in your face, regarding screamin’ gain – As I mentioned earlier, this is a very versatile guitar that can operate very well in so many different genres, be it the hot country of The Eagles, raw Green Day, big Who power chords, Brit Pop of Blur/Oasis, melodic licks and chords of The Beatles etc etc
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