Finally, Maxxas MX3
I saw another thread talking about the Magma color Maxxas MX3 previously owned by Frank Gambale. Well, that was me who snatched it off xBay. I have wanted a Maxxas since 1988 and never thought I ended up with this one - totally beyond my expectations.
First thing I noticed, besides Frank's signature on the back of the headstock, was the Ibby custom shop serial number. All other Maxxas in the market I have seen got the silver sticker with F serial numbers. This one is a white sticker with the number starting with "LA".
I guess Frank did not play this guitar much. It was MINT, no dings and not even a scratch! This could have been the batch Ibby first gave to their big time endorsees. Nevertheless, Frank did write on the back of a pictured card "I love this guitar...". Oh well Frank, love it or not, it is mine now!
Before I plugged it into my amp for the first time, I strum the guitar and it is incredibly loud for such a light weight body. Even my Les Paul doesn't get that loud unplugged. I have a Marshall Class 5 Combo and plugged it straight in w/o any effects. The MX3 has two IBZ/USA humbuckers so it certainly sounds more like a LP than a strat. Clean tone is very warm, and sustain is excellent - comparable to a hard tail (I read about the same in other review and now I can vouch for that). This is my first guitar with Mahogany body but according to Ibby specs, the MX3 is chambered, which explained the loudness even unplugged.
Then I tried playing some dirty sound through my old POD and a few other stomp boxes. Those of you who have IBZ/USA know they are Dimarizos which are decent pickups. Interestingly, even my 540R has the same bridge pickup, the tone is totally different. It's like everything gets magnified through the MX3 body - Harmonics are rich. Lows are fat, but not as tight as an LP, but the mids are wonderfully warm which makes up for the lows. I don't think this is a guitar you want to tune down, although I've seen someone doing that with a MX-2 (which is a solid mahogany body).
The guitar was set up perfectly. Low action and no fret wear. I went on u-tube and jammed with a few different backing tracks. I can get a lot of "soul" out of the MX3 - the combination of a warm tone and great sustain makes this a equal opponent to my LP 1960 reissue, but the MX3 is easier to play, weight so much less, and very comfortable around your body. I don't mind the HQ tremolo one bit because it's incredibly smooth. It's not an Edge, but for a non-floating term it's nicely designed.
At the time this thing was listed, there was a nice looking blue FGM listed by the same guy. I had a 1988 FGM-100 DY as my first Ibanez but finally sold it. I am glad I got this instead of the FGM. This is such a unique guitar, extremely well built, and so far ahead of it time.
Pictures coming up...