Summer NAMM 2021: Ernie Ball Music Man has unveiled the 2021 edition of its Axis range of electric guitars, offering new finishes and some tweaked specifications. The range has two core models: the Axis and the Axis Super Sport. The body shape may look familiar, too, for good reason: the Axis is the successor to Eddie Van Halen’s signature Music Man from the 1990s, and hence has a similar design to the EVH Wolfgang.
The 2021 Axis now comes with a roasted, figured maple neck, fitted with 22 stainless steel frets. Body construction is basswood with a bookmatched maple top, either quilted or flamed depending on your choice of finish. The neck and body come together at a carved five-bolt joint, balancing stability and upper-fret access.
Hardware includes an Ernie Ball Music Man two-point vibrato, paired with a locking nut for some extreme whammy-bar action. Electronics are somewhat stripped-back – there’s a pair of custom-wound DiMarzio humbuckers, as well as a single volume pot and a three-way toggle switch. Two new finishes are also introduced this year: Yucatan Blue and Roasted Amber. Both are available with a flamed or quilted maple top.
Lists for $3,199 (quilt maple) or $2,999 (flame maple).
2021 Axis Super Sport
This guitar is available in the same two new finishes as the regular Axis, again with a choice of quilted or flamed maple for the top. Again, there’s a basswood body and a roasted, figured maple neck, fitted with 22 stainless steel frets.
The differences come in the form of the hardware and electronics. Instead of the regular Axis’ two-point locking vibrato, there’s a vintage-style vibrato. The pickups are again a pair of DiMarzio humbuckers, but there’s the addition of a tone knob to the control set. A five-way blade switch also allows for two extra positions, with either the inner or outer coils of both humbuckers engaged in parallel.
Lists for $3,149 (quilt maple) or $2,949 (flame maple).
See both models up close with Ernie Ball Music Man’s introductory video below.