What's Hot With Jazz Guitar: Peerless Imperial

by Doc Dosco

This week I continue with my series on affordable jazz guitars with an evaluation of the Peerless Imperial. This is at the high-end of the affordable spectrum, however the cost of the guitar is remarkable given the carved top and ebony woods used in it's manufacture.

I have recently been gigging with the Peerless Imperial. I like the scale and feel of the neck. It is essentially an upgraded Monarch, same dimensions, only with different woods. The carved top and carved maple sides and back make for an exceptional sound. Acoustically, this is the nicest guitar I have owned (and I have owned a lot of guitars). Being partial to spruce tops, I especially like the tone of this instrument.

This guitar is very reasonably priced at under $2000. Most every other carved top jazz guitar by other makers costs substantially more money.

Some tech info and specifications:

Jazz Full Hollow Body Series


Shape : Peerless "Crown" Style
Inlay : "Imperial" Mother of Pearl
Truss Rod Cover : Maple Yellow
Machine Heads : Grover GH102 with Ebony Knobs


Shape : Arch Top Cutaway
Top : Carved Solid Spruce
Back : Carved Solid Maple
Sides : Solid Maple
Body Depth : 75 mm (2.96")
Body Width : 435 mm (17.13")
Top Binding : White/Black Triple
Bridge : Ebony
Pickguard : Ebony
Tailpiece : Ebony


Wood : Maple
Fingerboard : Ebony
Scale : 625 mm (24.6")
Width at Nut : 43 mm (1.69")
Width at the end fret : 57 mm (2.25")
Neck Joint : 14 F
Number of Frets : 22 F
Fingerboard Inlays : Mother of Pearl
Nut : Bone


Pickups : 1 Innovated Floating Mini-Humbucker (Increases output to 90% of Epiphone' 57 Full Size Humbucker)
Controls : 1 Volume

Hardware : Gold
Strings : Daddario ECG25
Finiss : Natural High Gloss

The Peerless Imperial is a gorgeous creamy blonde. I have a few shots I took of my Peerless Imperial. The ebony pick guard, tail piece, bridge and volume control really add to the look of this guitar, as do the Grover ebony tuners.

The Peerless Imperial is a 17" x 3" archtop body with carved spruce top, carved maple sides and back, 3 piece maple neck, an ebony fret board, bridge, pick guard and tail piece. The nut is 1 11/16 and the neck, and like the Monarch, roomy for a short scale of 24.6" and 22 frets. The floating PU is loud compared to some other 'floaters' I have owned while the sound of this guitar is crystal clear.

Acoustically, the Peerless Imperial is quite charming. Carved tops are naturally brighter than solid tops and laminates. Some people find them 'too bright' however, this guitar has a 'pure' resonant quality with a thick honey-like sound. Not at all thin or trebly. The tone is simply exquisite.

Amplified it does not disappoint either. The Imperial cuts through well in my trio work, and sounds sweet on solo pieces. The Peerless Imperial has a lush quality to the amplified tone that I have really taken a liking to.

The Imperial finish is natural blonde, quite striking in appearance. The ebony fingerboard has mother of pearl inlay while the PU is black in color to match the ebony look of the instrument. I have always liked the Peerless Monarch, so this Monarch II (as the Imperial was originally called) is the perfect upgrade guitar for me.

A great deal of care is taken in building the Imperial. As I said about Peerless last week: 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 ANY Peerless guitar.

Peerless Guitars jazz line is a cut above the rest in the affordable price range, I feel. To get an excellent sounding carved top jazz guitar with ebony for under $2K is a very attractive proposition.

To end, I will mention again that Peerless puts a tremendous amount of love and care into the crafting of all their guitars, and the Imperial is no exception.

Of note, there is a brand new 16" carved spruce top model from Peerless called the Contessa that I have yet to play, but I suspect it will have the same great tone too. The Peerless Cremona is the carved maple top sister to the Imperial. The scale, feel and tone is different, however the rich quality of the sound is still first rate. I will cover the Cremona in the next piece.

Doc's Peerless Guitar:

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!)

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Peerless Imperial

I recently bought an Imperial which according to the serial number 0909.... is about 9 years old.It obviously had never been played more than a few hours.It and the case are in new condition.
I'm quite impressed by the quality of workmanship and the overall sound of the guitar.It has a good acoustic sound and great through my amp.It's a keeper.

Peerless Imperial

At under 2000, the Peerless Imperial has no match. Plays and sounds like guitars that a lot more expensive. After testing so many for 2 years this guitar blew me away and I had to get it. Mine even came with a Kent Armstrong pickup, what else could I ask for? Great deal!

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