What's Hot With Jazz Guitar: Peerless Monarch Evaluation

by Doc Dosco

This week we feature a long promised evaluation on the Peerless Monarch. I am now well acquainted with the Peerless line of jazz boxes, having been an endorsee for nearly 2 years. I have played the Monarch a lot, on live gigs and on numerous recordings. It is a workhorse guitar for me, one that sounds great in any jazz situation. It is well constructed, plays like dream... and yet it is surprisingly affordable.

I have a medium jazz blues that is called Thelonius that captures what I believe is the sweet, balanced quality of the tone with no effects. Also, I have a rather oversized picture that shows the Peerless Monarch in vivid detail.

This guitar is reasonably priced at about $1200 and stacks up well against guitars priced twice as much.

Some tech info and specifications:

Model : MONARCH
Jazz Full Hollow Body Series

Body Style : ARCHTOP CUTAWAY
Top : SOLID SPRUCE
Back and Sides : SOLID MAPLE
Neck : MAPLE
Neck Scale : 24.6" (625mm)
Body Depth : 2.96" (75mm)
Body Width : 17.13" (435mm)
Fingerboard : ROSEWOOD
Fingerboard Inlay : MOTHER OF PEARL
Machine Heads : GROVER
Nut : BONE
Pickups : 1 FLOATING
Controls : 1 VOLUME
Finish : ANTIQUE SUNBURST

First of all, this guitar is a real beauty to behold. I have done a bit of photography on the Peerless Monarch and I have a few shots that I call the Monarch Twins. Lovely guitars. I also have another batch of shots of my personal Peerless Monarch.

The Peerless Monarch is a 17" x 3" archtop body with solid spruce top, maple sides and back that really sings. Most every guitar in this price range from other makers is a laminate, however Peerless has managed to do a solid spruce top on this instrument and it makes for a world of difference. The Monarch has a mini floating pick-up, and one that outputs 90% of a full humbucker. The guitar has great definition and sustain. The neck and fingerboard on the Monarch are comfortable, very roomy for the scale length and the standard 1 11/16 nut.

Unamplified, the Monarch has really nice tone. This is a very resonant and pleasing sounding instrument. It has a good balanced acoustic sound, which translates into a sweet, warm, clear tone that speaks well when amplified. It is not at all dull or muddy like some other instruments in this price range. This guitar handles feedback very well too, which is another big plus. The Monarch has a tight comping chord tone, and single lines project well without the shrill highs and thuddy low-end on some other instruments in this class.

One feature I love about the Monarch is that it has a fast neck. I like my action really low, with medium flat wound strings and the Peerless Monarch plays incredibly well - like greased lightning - without any buzzing and choked notes found on some of the less expensive guitars. (and even on some expensive ones!)

The appearance of the Peerless Monarch is stunning with a very attractive tobacco sunburst. It is based on the timeless Jimmy D'Aquisto design which has become a classic look for jazz guitars over the years. It has Grover Imperial tuners, rosewood bridge and tailpiece, mother of pearl inlays and a striking finish that adds to overall attractiveness of the guitar.

I play both finger style and with a pick and this guitar handles both styles beautifully. There is no tone control on the Monarch and I find that I don't need one. I run my Peerless Monarch flat through a tube amp and get that clear and warm jazz tone I like.

I fell in love with the Peerless Monarch when I first got it, and even though I play other guitars by Peerless, the Monarch is still close to my heart. Peerless takes a lot of care and attention with each and every instrument. Their craftsmanship is first rate, their necks always dead straight, the selected woods aged properly and the detail and finish excellent. The playability factor is certainly high with the Peerless Monarch. You just can't beat it for the price, that is for sure.

In conclusion, I must say that Peerless guitars are a cut above the rest in the affordable price range. To get an instrument of this quality, at this price is an exceptionally good value. It is a guitar you can feel comfortable with in any jazz setting. As has been noted before, Peerless puts a tremendous amount of love and care into the crafting of their guitars, and the Monarch is no exception.

See and hear more Peerless clips on my website:
http://www.docdosco.com

And see my Peerless Guitar page at:
http://www.jazzguitarzone.com

Doc Dosco is a jazz guitarist, composer and audio consultant living in Los Angeles, CA. His website is located at http://www.docdosco.com, where you can find more information on the 'What's Hot with Jazz Guitar' columns, audio clips of Doc's playing, and many additional features. Doc now endorses Peerless Guitars and has the website Jazz Guitar Zone to help promote Peerless jazz guitars in the US. He also endorses the new Pignose Valve Tube Amps -- great for jazz (and anything else!)

See where Pignose came in our Portable Bass Amp Roundup

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Are Peerless guitars available in the USA?

Peerless

Yes Peerless Monarch is most excellent for jazz. Previous comments are true

Peerless Monarch

I wish to concur with Doc Dosco. I have owned a Monarch for a few years and love it to bits. I am no great shakes as a player but I appreciate a good jazz tone, and this instrument delivers. I do find, however, that the addition of a tone control gives me more of the sound I am looking for. I have replaced the stand-up volume knob with a dual Schatten thumbwheel for volume and tone which sits under the edge of the lower f hole, hardly visible. I have removed the pick-guard as I found it gets in the way. The guitar now has a minimalist look which I prefer and I love the way it plays. I cannot imagine looking to spend a shed-load more money for a more boutique make when this does the job so well. I am constantly surprised Peerless are not better known; their build quality is right up there. I cannot find any fault at all with the fit and finish of mine; it's flawless and has the best playing neck of any guitar I have ever owned. Well done, Peerless!

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