Guitar Review : Music Man John Petrucci BFR Dargie Delight 2

This one is long overdue, but finally I am going to review my (take a deep breath!) MusicMan John Petrucci 6 BFR Dargie Delight 2 left handed guitar.  That’s a whole lot of name right?  Well luckily it’s also a whole lot of guitar!

The name can be shortened to MM JP6 BFR DD2, but i’m guessing that probably won’t help you a whole lot will it?

You may be wondering what the words in the guitar’s name denote, well let me explain.  BFR stands for ‘Ball Family Reserve’ and basically means that it is the cream of the crop if you like.  The JP 6-string model comes in two flavors – the super-douper standard models, and the uber-super-douper BFR models.

The Dargie Delight BFRs are just a very limited edition run of BFRs named after the owner of Ernie Ball’s son.  My particular model was produced in 2009 and there was only a short one month order window to buy one.  As a result they are very rare, with the lefty model being exceptionally rare.  I haven’t seen another around so please let me know if you have one!

Music Man John Petrucci BFR Dargie Delight 2 Lefty Guitar

For those of you who are unaware of who John Petrucci is – get out of my site…now! Come back when you’ve listened to Dream Theater’s entire discography.  If you really want back in my good books you should probably listen to his solo work as well.

I have been fortunate enough to own both a standard model JP and this BFR JP so I’ve tried my best to compare the two throughout the review.  Hopefully I can help you to make your mind up if you are deliberating over the two.

So you want to know my thoughts right? Let’s do this thing…

The Finish

The finish on the Dargie (Caramel Apple Delight) is by far and away the most impressive I have seen on any guitar.  In daylight, when standing in front of the guitar it appears as a caramel green, almost golden color.  In the same conditions when standing to the side of the guitar it takes on a deep luxurious green finish.  However, it is later on in the evening under indoor lighting that this guitar’s finish really manages to impress.  Look at the guitar from the right angle in low-light conditions and the entire guitar turns RED! Don’t believe me?  Check out the image below!  It’s truly some sort of magic voodoo paint that MusicMan threw on this guitar.

Music Man Dargie Delight Color Changes Red

Because it is a BFR model the neck is also finished in the same Caramel Apple Delight color.  The finished neck seems to be splitting the MM community down the middle on whether or not they like it.  Apparently after a rigorous, sweaty guitar session the finished neck can become a little ‘sticky’.  Living in a colder country I don’t tend to sweat too much when playing so it isn’t an issue for me however.

The Body

The body on the BFR is the same as the standard model with a few exceptions.  First of all the lower horn is a lot more refined to give improved access to the upper frets.  I do have to admit I love the looks of the more streamlined horn over the older more chunky shape.

Secondly the standard model has the JP ‘scoop’ at the rear of the body which is a feature missing from the BFR.  I’m not 100% sure on whether or not I miss this.  I certainly feel that the scoop added a really nice aesthetic on the standard model and it really stood out from the crowd thanks to its unique look.  The BFR with the scoop missing tends to look a little more like your generic shredder guitar – a little less unique.  But hey, if John got rid of it there must be a good reason right?

The body on the BFR also utilises higher quality tone woods than the standard model.  Where the standard model has a basswood body, the BFR is alder with a maple top and also has a mahogany tone block.  To my ears the BFR has a much beefier, chunky, bassy tone to it.

The Neck

Thin and fast baby!  Access to the upper frets is excellent, in fact they could have added several more frets and still have had superb access!  Standard and BFR JPs will come with optional John Petrucci shield inlays, but the Dargie comes with some very sexy paua abalone inlays.

Music Man Truss RodThe action can be set very low on the JP, far lower than on any other guitar I’ve owned.  I could not believe how low I was able to get the strings without causing any major buzz.  In fact I had to raise the action because the strings were so low that performing bends was near impossible!  That’s a first for me.

All JP models come with a really innovative truss rod design which makes adjusting the neck relief incredibly easy.  An adjustable wheel is located between the base of the neck and the neck pickup which can be tweaked without removing any plates or strings.  Simply insert a screwdriver into one of the holes and rotate the wheel to taste.  What a great idea!

The Schaller locking tuners are as elegant as they are effective.  No complaints here.

Musicman JP BFR Dargie Guitar Headstock Review

The Pickups

The BFR comes with a DiMarzio Crunch Lab in the bridge and LiquiFire in the neck position.  The sound from the Dargie is definitely a lot beefier than that of the standard model, but this could be down to the different tonewoods used rather than the pickups.  Regardless, the sound produced is incredibly rich with plenty of low-end.  The Crunch Lab can be turned around so that the bar is at the bridge side to alter the sound to your preference.

The Trem

The Tremolo system on this guitar is absolutely fantastic, it really is.  I usually loathe guitars with floating trems because of all the extra hassle that comes along with them.  However, these issues are non-existent with the JP.  It does not have a double locking system or fiddly fine tuners and it works flawlessly!

You can really go to town with the trem bar because the JP has incredible tuning stability.  It definitely puts Floyd Rose style systems to shame.

The Controls

You’ve got your 3-way pickup selector, 3-way piezo selector, piezo volume and of course your standard volume and tone pots.  To give even more tonal options the tone pot is push/pull.

The piezo selector switch allows for the piezo to be turned on or off, with the middle position having a blend of piezo and normal sounds.  This really is a guitar that can give you almost any sound you could ask for.  The fine tuners for the piezo are located on the rear of the body where you can adjust bass, treble and the mix via the use of a screwdriver.

Ernie Ball JP6 BFR Dargie Delight 2 Left Handed Guitar

Everything here just feels well built – it really is one smooth operating son of a bitch.

Bad Points

There aren’t any, honestly.  I adore this guitar and I hope never to be in a position where I need to sell it.

If there was something I had to lament about it would be the price.  Left handed MusicMan guitars are next to impossible to find in the UK and so it cost me a small fortune to import this bad boy.  I almost had a heart attack when the Duty bill showed up!  However, in saying that it would have cost me even more if I’d bought it in the UK.  MusicMan produced these for one month in 2009 and god knows how many lefties there are… 1 or 2?  I feel a lot of pressure to keep it in mint condition!

Conclusions

Buy one!  If you want a high-end guitar that is super versatile look no further my friend.

Unless you offer me an obscene sum of money you’re probably never going to own a lefty BFR Dargie Delight 2.  Unless of course MusicMan do another run, in which case I will be the first to let you know!  Luckily there are plenty of good lefty BFRs to be had and if you can’t afford one of those, the standard models are a decent alternative.

As a side note the MusicMan Community is one of the best around to become a part of.  The forums at the MM website are full of some of the friendliest people you will ever meet, all of whom are completely fanatical about their guitars.  What sets the MusicMan forum apart from any other brand is that Sterling Ball himself regularly posts!  In fact the JP model is available left handed as a result of a forum user bugging Mr Ball to make them until he eventually gave in!

If you have any questions, leave a comment!

12 replies
  1. Aiden
    Aiden says:

    Wow, you have good taste in guitars!!! The paint is amazing! I see why they call it caramel apple.

    I only just started playing 6 months ago and i'm still in high school so I think I'm quite a few years away from owning something like this. But hopefully one day!!! Btw, what is a piezo?

    Reply
    • LeftyFretz
      LeftyFretz says:

      Thanks Aiden. A piezo is a pickup that uses crystals to generate a signal when you pick the strings. They create an acoustic tone by picking up on the vibration from the wood. In the case of the dargie the pickups are built into each saddle, discrete and out of the way! So yeah, basically just let's you create acoustic style tones for some extra versatility.

      The piezo is an optional extra, but definitely worth getting. You can get away with one guitar at a gig rather than taking your acoustic along as well. Very handy.

      Reply
  2. wayne
    wayne says:

    Quote "the Dargie comes with some very sexy paua abalone inlays." I like your use of the Kiwi word Paua for Abalone.
    The paua is a very tasty morsel just like your Dargie.

    Reply
    • LeftyFretz
      LeftyFretz says:

      Sounds like I've missed out on a good thing Wayne! I did a year in Australia after uni but I never came across paua, if only I'd had enough money to hit NZ as well. I did try kangaroo though, very tasty! 🙂

      Reply
  3. Joseph
    Joseph says:

    how can you tell if it is a BFR model by looking at it if it does not have the BFR logo on the 12th fret? If it has the Deep thin profile lower horn does that automatically mean it is a BFR version or does it usually need the BFR inlay on the 12th or is there something on the back of the headstock etc to say it is a BFR if it does not have the inlay? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Neal
      Neal says:

      As far as I'm aware, with the exception of this one, all BFRs have the BFR inlay at the 12th fret. They will also have the thinner, sharper lower horn. Also the BFRs have a finished glossy neck whereas the standard models are just plain wood. The BFRs will always come with the piezo, on the standard it is an extra option. The standard model also has the old forearm 'scoop' carved into the rear of the body whereas the BFR has a smooth strat like curve.

      Reply
  4. Mike
    Mike says:

    Hi Neal,

    I have a lefty JP7 in this finish and will never sell it. Probably even more rare than your BFR version? Great write up and pictures.

    Reply
    • Neal
      Neal says:

      Very possibly dude, I always use DrumCityGuitarLand.com as a gauge. They have one 6 and one 7-string lefty BFR Dargie for sale currently. I actually get right handed players complaining to me because they so badly want a Dargie, but every single one for sale seems to be a lefty… :p

      You should throw up a photo of yours on our Facebook page if you get a chance, i'm sure the guys would love to see it! 🙂

      Reply
      • Mike
        Mike says:

        Sorry, didn't check back for a while. Wow, DCGL has a ton of DD2 lefties! Five combinations available, it appears. Glad to see them support the lefty market.

        Reply

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