The ongoing evolution that Steve Lukather"s signature electric matches effortless playability v incredible tones

ByChris Gill13 October 2020


Steve Lukather’s years of guitar wisdom are obvious in Music Man’s recent Luke III model, i beg your pardon boasts a distinctive midrange voice perfect for soloists and a wide selection of tonal possibilities for any musical application.

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ForIncredible playability.A top-drawer build.Onboard an increase function.Both HSS and also HH options.Cool finishes.

Steve Lukather’s years of etc wisdom are evident in Music Man’s latest Luke III model, which boasts a distinctive midrange voice perfect because that soloists and also a wide range of tonal possibilities for any kind of musical application.

Pros+ remarkable playability.+ A top-drawer build.+ Onboard rise function.+ Both HSS and HH options.+ Cool finishes.

As one of the most recorded guitarists of all time with a few thousand sessions on his résumé, Steve Lukather absolutely knows good guitar tone. Because 1994 he’s put that know-how to an excellent use in collaboration with Ernie round Music man on his signature Luke solidbody electrical model.

The latest version –the Luke III – was introduced back in 2012, but, like most Music man models, changes, tweaks and also upgrades are often made follow me the way after the early release.

For 2020, Music Man has actually made several significant changes come the Luke III, many notably new pickups and a an ext powerful built-in preamp/boost. If you’ve organized the heat on to buy a Luke, this version is one friend don’t desire to miss out on – she’s a beauty.

A new active preamp circuit provides up come 20dB of an increase activated through the push/push volume knob, put boost/overdrive functions at the player’s fingertips. (Image credit: Ernie round Music Man)


The 2020 variation of the Music man Luke III come in 2 configurations – a dual-humbucker model and a humbucker/single/single.

We looked in ~ the latter. If the Luke III still has actually passive pickups, this version functions a freshly designed Ernie sphere Music male high-output extended humbucker and also a pair the Ernie round Music man Sixties-style Cutlass single-coils through staggered polepieces.

The boosted output of the active preamp, activated through a push/push move on the grasp volume knob, is factory set at 12dB, but can be changed by the user to at least 20db. Users can also decrease the maximum quantity of boost and adjust/match the calculation levels that the pickups via trim pots inside the regulate cavity.

(Image credit: Ernie round Music Man)

Also brand-new for the design are 3 distinctive high-gloss polyester finishes: the vivid ocean Sparkle and Fuschia Sparkle with chrome hardware and the much more understated Olive Pearl v black hardware (a current Bohdi Blue end up is tho available).

Additionally, the Luke III is available in a maple top and also Okume body in Luscious Green and also Cherry to explode finishes. Our ocean Sparkle test instance has black color knobs with chrome tremolo and also tuners, but catalog photos show chrome knobs for this reason YMMV.

The Luke III is built with a lightweight, extremely resonant alder body with deep belly and forearm contours and also a bolt-on figured roasted maple neck that’s attached to the body v Music Man’s signature five-bolt attachment and sculpted neck heel that offers full, comfortable accessibility to the highest frets.

The pickups are all voiced v a distinctive midrange the is a soloists dream, with fat body and also expressive dynamics that plainly articulate every attack and also picking detail

Neck specs room a 25 ½-inch scale, rosewood fingerboard, 12-inch radius, 22 low-profile vast frets, 1 5/8-inch seed width, shallow C-shaped profile and gunstock oil and hand-rubbed special wax blend finish.

The headstock is Music Man’s classic short version measure 5 7/8 inches lone through their signature 4x2 tuner arrangement. The tuners are Schaller M6-IND locking, which helps store the floating vintage-style tremolo do of hardened steel and also bent stole saddles perfect in tune while the tremolo’s hefty brass block provides bold, full-bodied tone.

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In enhancement to the grasp volume knob v push/push manage for the active boost function, various other controls covers a master 500k ohm passive tone control with .022 uF ton capacitor and five-position blade pickup selector switch. Pickup setups are: bridge humbucker series, bridge/middle parallel, middle, neck/middle parallel and neck.

The manage cavity is coated through graphite acrylic resin and also enclosed v an aluminum inside wall cover to carry out noise-free performance. One easy-access battery compartment for the 9-volt battery that powers the an increase circuit is located on the back.


The recent Music guy Luke III is a beast through a bold, assertive voice. The pickups space all voiced with a distinctive midrange the is a soloists dream, with fat body and also expressive dynamics that clearly articulate every attack and also picking detail.

This is a guitar that cuts ideal to the former of the mix there is no excess knob twiddling on one amp or mix board. Chords room rich and voluptuous, with each note ringing the end loud and also clear even when playing through an amp or pedals with incredibly high gain.

Our example was perfectly dialed in at the manufacturing facility for constant volume levels across all 5 pickup settings. Music guy guitars are revered for their extraordinary craftsmanship and playability, and the Luke III is no exception.

The low-profile frets provide a quick “fretless wonder” feel however with sufficient meat on the metal to keep body as soon as bending notes. The floating vintage tremolo has actually a slinky however firm action, and also all notes have the right to be traction up a totality step except the high E, i beg your pardon goes up a fifty percent step.

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With tone and playability this stellar, the Luke III brings the ideal out that a player and might even encourage you come push beyond your usual comfort zones.

The Luke III is accessible in HSS styles as reviews and as a dual-humbucker version as pictured above. (Image credit: Ernie sphere Music Man)


PRICE: from $2,549 / £2,349ORIGIN: USATYPE: Double-cutaway solidbody electric guitarBODY: AlderNECK: Roasted figured maple with gunstock oil and hand-rubbed wax finishSCALE LENGTH: 648mm (25.5”)NUT WIDTH: 41.3mmFINGERBOARD: Rosewood, 12” radiusFRETS: 22, low-profile wideHARDWARE: Chrome Music guy floating 6-saddle vintage vibrato, Schaller locking tunersELECTRICS: Music male high-output humbucker (bridge), 2x Music male Cutlass single-coils (neck and also middle), master volume through push-push +20dB boost, tone, five-way pickup selector bar switchRANGE OPTIONS: Maple-capped okoume Luke III native £3,199. HH dual-humbucker Luke III (same price)LEFT-HANDERS: NoFINISHES: Ocean Sparkle (as reviewed), Budhia Blue, Olive Pearl, Fuschia Sparkle,
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