REVIEW: Mayones Regius 8

regiusthumbMayones is a Polish company who have been around for quite a while, but recently they’ve really launched onto the world stage with a daring attitude, a knack for choosing ridiculously beautiful woods, and a willingness to work with a variety of pickup companies in order to effectively operate like a custom shop in terms of letting players choose the voicing of their guitar.  The Regius 8 is an 8-string guitar (standard 8-string tuning is F#-B-E-A-D-G-B-E, but you are of course welcome to tune it however you like) made with neck-thru construction – that is to say, the neck continues all the way through to the rear strap-pin end of the body. The review model features a plain black Maple top, profiled Swamp Ash chambered body (a Mahogany body is optional), an 11-ply Maple-Mahogany-Amazakoe-Wenge neck, 3-ply acrylic pearl binding, an Ebony fingerboard with a 16” (406mm) radius, and a lengthy 27” baritone scale. There are 24 Medium-Jumbo Ferd Wagner 9665 frets, no position markers on the fretboard face (but quite shiny metallic dots on the side of the neck to help you to find your way around on a dark stage), an ABM fixe bridge with through-body stringing, and Sperzel Trim-Lok locking tuners. Mayones offers the Regius 8 with various pickup upgrades by brands including DiMarzio, Bare Knuckle, EMG and Seymour Duncan for additional cost, but the standard variant includes either EMG 808 or Seymour Duncan Blackouts active humbuckers. The control layout is simple: master volume and tone controls and a three-way pickup selector switch.

For comparison, I played the Regius 8 against my basswood Ibanez Iron Label 8-string, which is now fitted with Seymour Duncan Pegasus and Sentient passives (but which ships with EMG 808s, and don’t worry, I’ve recorded plenty of reference clips of the 808s for future reference for stuff like this). The Regius 8 feels like much more of a ‘serious, big-time guitar’ compared to the Iron Label. The neck is beefier too, and although both are 27”-scale instruments the Mayones feels just generally ‘bigger’ than the Ibanez.

The active Blackouts are quite high in output and while there’s still plenty of the high-end sizzle we expect of actives, they’re voiced a little more warmly than EMG 808s, cutting through a little more powerfully for single note lines and with a bit more punch for ‘djent’ riffage, which often requires a hard attack and healthy midrange. The bridge pickup provides a lot of detail in the attack, followed up by a thick and fat ‘body’ to the note, while the neck pickup has a sort of flute-like sustaining quality which compresses somewhat under heavy picking, giving you a nicely even feel when blasting out high-speed arpeggios. They’re also nice pickups for clean playing, with a little more richness and directness than EMGs. If you go for the EMG option, expect more less mids, more bass and treble, and a more even note envelope.

The Regius 8 is an extremely high-quality guitar which is more than worthy of its price tag. It might take a little getting used to if you’re more accustomed to bolt-ons, because the neck-through design makes the whole thing feel more alive, resonating more and maybe fighting you back a little more compared to a bolt-on, but it’s worth the work. And Mayones offers enough options in terms of the choice between Ash and Mahogany and your preferred pickup models that there’s pretty much a Regius for anyone whether they want the punch and warmth of the Blackouts, the depth and chunk of EMGs or something different entirely.

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