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acoustic guitars
Review for: Legend MJV 602
Made in 2001
Purchase price of 2400 USD in 10/2002
Rating: 5.0
Comments:Made in late 2001, this is #278 in what I hope to be a long line of fine acoustic guitars. It has a darker and richer than normal spruce top (no white Englemann here), beautiful rosewood solid back and sides with a Fishman Matrix pickup built in. The finish on this mini jumbo cutaway is deep with great dimensionality and features gorgeous tortoise binding on body and neck. Grover tuners with a 1 3/4 inch neck. Came with a nice case, 14 frets to body, 20 frets overall. Rosette is spectacular with very attractive but plain shell dots on the neck (I prefer simplicity). The instrument has a rich and even sound, very liquid and very resonant as would be expected from guitars in much higher price ranges. I was initially disappointed that it came with the Fishman Matrix as I am a B-Band addict but the Matrix does surprisingly well, no doubt due to the superior construction design, balance, and materials used in this truly handmade guitar. Will try a B-Band just the same and see. The grover tuners are tight and accurate with plenty of gearing to fine tune. Perfect for finger picking, bending, and hammering leads. Glistening highs with a stable bottom end and truly bell-like resonance. Hell it even sounds good through a Blues Junior and that is rare for a piezo quitar. Acoustically it is breathtaking and through my Artist 2120, the sound is orgasmic. This particular model was made for the NAMM show and was set up perfectly. The Elixir strings (Nanoweb) were another minor concern but actually sound very nice and add to the incredible speed of the neck. The action is extremely low and fast for an acoustic with this kind of robust sound. The high E string is a little tenuous on hard picking but easily overcome by moving back slightly toward the saddle. No other buzzes even on firm attack. This thing is primo in every way. Legend should do well and being the first to review one of their pieces here tells me a lot of you need to hear their line. I haven't played out with it and it will no doubt be my studio preference, but it seems quite hearty for an instrument of this playability and sensuality and with the steel truss rod (it has a dovetail fit hand carved neck)adjustments for environmental changes should be easy. I would never use any guitar without a back up but the feel is so uniquely cooperative that it is now my favorite and, considering what I have in the closet, that is saying quite a lot. Legend is a relatively new company and I am told they left Larivee to start their own works. Three luthiers who really know their art. It has a lifetime warranty but I would never send it back. Have a great guitar tech. I would be willing to bet that if I needed them, they would be responsive and their distributor Robbie Brown, (www.theguitarcompany.com) is one of the most respected guitar handlers in the business. However lets be clear here, an instrument of this caliber is always a find. I always look at as many guitars as possible from the same stable before I buy, as each one has its own unique characteristics even among the same model lines. But this thing literally hypnotized me. And what truly surprised me even more was the consistency of playability, tone and quality throughout the entire Legend line (www.legendguitar.com) I have been playing since I was 6 (that's 49 short years). It is absolutely the finest, most symbiotic instrument I have EVER touched. It is neither too light and flimsy for practical real-world use nor too heavy for rich, projectile tone. Now I was NOT looking to buy yet another guitar. I have too many already (according to some, at least). Cripple Creek Music here in Ashland, Oregon, (www.cripplecreekmusic.com), sells a product of mine called Googalies, which is a high-end guitar cloth (www.googalies.com/guitars), and each time I go there to take them more cloths I play the best, brightest and newest of their outstanding selection. This thing jumped into my hands and really took me by surprise. I have never felt or heard such liquidity in any guitar and I own a number of incredible ones (Great Taylors, Les Pauls, Martins, Takamine LTD98 - My favorite Tak of all time, etc) which my tech, Steve Spaulding, always makes better each time he does his magic on them. I really don't think he will find anything to do on this beauty other than the B-Band UST & AST combo and minor adjusments necessary to this conversion. This is a special guitar no doubt set up for the NAMM show to impress but I think the guys at Legend have a solid and remarkable game plan as well as a profound talent that will bring ultra high-end instruments within the fiscal reach of a lot more people. As far as value, I realize that 2400 bucks is not cheap but certain instruments are worth that kind of price and frankly I would have paid considerably more for this particular instrument. I am really picky about minor flaws and have driven music stores crazy for years trying and not buying until I found just the right instrument. Glowing reviews are always suspect and too often sound like hype. So, if you are in the price range, go to a good shop that has one of these treasures and see for yourself. Compare Legend sound and playability with anything on the market at any price. You won't be disappointed. You just might be amazed. Doug Kennedy
Reviewer: Doug Kennedy
doug@ryomagazine.com
Post Date:12/18/2002


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