A signature model for a globe-trotting superstar…
There appears to be, for the standard musician, a huge amount of physical and existential distance between uploading a mobile phone/webcam video of said musician covering a song on a beat up acoustic to headlining a world tour on the back of three studio albums. Except, if you are Michael Clifford.
The next generation…
The Sydney born Rock star presently trembling the excited vocal cords of a generation of teenage girls and deafening stadium security throughout our dear blue sphere, with his band 5 Seconds of Summer, has very precisely filled a pop rock hole left vacated by older more seasoned bands. Along with the world tours, deaf security staff and trembling teens Michaels popularity has bagged him a signature deal with Gibson. The Michael Clifford Signature Melody Maker is an homage to a previous pop rock icon, Joan Jett.
Gibson Melody Maker
The Melody Maker has been through a number of changes since its 1955 inception. It has been discontinued a number of times and revived even more. The Melody Maker shape has undergone a few changes from the single cutaway reminiscent of the Les Paul to the double cutaway we know now. The Melody Maker sits somewhere between a Les Paul and an SG in design and has a very telling charm of its own. In the last fifteen years it has something of a revival and then 2019 saw its profile blown through the roof with the Michael Clifford Signature.
Signature Melody Maker
Based around the Joan Jett Signature and with a touch of the 2004 Gibson Voodoo Range the Clifford varies in some small details but holds true to the basic ethos of a one pickup, growling tone machine. The major difference between the older Melody Makers and the Michael Clifford Melody Maker is in the choice of tonewoods. Original MMs had a Mahogany body and neck with single coil pickups while the new Michael Clifford Signature Melody Maker utilises Swamp ash for the body and maple for the neck. Swamp Ash is a lighter tonewood than Mahogany and thus produce slightly brighter tones.
Modern fingerboard material
The fingerboard has changed with medium Jumbo frets par for the course for most Gibson guitars. The fingerboard material is also made of the man-made material called Richlite. Richlite shares similar properties to Ebony but is a mixture of condensed papers whose properties result in a tight, fast playing fretboard, while reducing the impact on popular tonewood ecosystems. The fretboard radius is 12″ which is ideal for both lead and rhythm. The flatter radius reduces string choke in larger step bends and makes barre chords a little less stressful to play. Michael Clifford’s brand of pop rock and punk is perfect for this flatter radius and it isn’t surprising that while making his choice at the Gibson offices he was drawn to the immensely playable Melody Maker.
The very unique growl from the Burstbucker 3 Humbucker is similar to a PAF pro. The lighter Swamp Ash body helps balance the lower register of the Humbucker creating a brasher, punkier tone. There is a coil tap built into the volume knob as a push-pull mechanism. The single coil tone is very brash and harsh with a real set of teeth tonally. All the electronics are mounted to the underside of the pickguard meaning there is minimal routing within the actual body giving the guitar a very clean unfussy overall look. The volume and tone knobs are global due to the single pickup nature of the machine. There is a kill switch so you can literally kill the sound at the flick of a switch or use it to get that staccato interrupted sustain sound form the guitar.
Although the sounds are controls are quite limited the range of tonal possibilities are there with the coil-tap, the tone knob and rolling off the volume between clean and dirty. The components are a mixture of standard to high end. The strap buttons are simple screw driven support for a regular strap. The body finish is exquisite with a brooding cherry hue over the dark Ash stained body. The Mini Grover’s are excellent for staying in tune and providing tuning stability, finished in black chrome they fit seamlessly into the overall look of the guitar.
The Michael Clifford Signature Melody Maker is a surprising and refreshing update to a pop punk classic. This guitar is aimed at a mixture of players from beginners looking for their first ever real guitar to the more advanced player looking for a guitar that not only sounds great but has a tremendous aesthetic. As 5 Seconds of Summer mature and subsequently their music matures the appreciation of this instrument may mature as well. If like me you anything of a computer gaming fan you might want to consider the red Acrylic X inlays are a nod to Final Fantasy X, Michaels favourite game, this is the only disappointing element of the guitar as we all know final fantasy VII is the best.
Get yours now
Head to the Dawsons website now and get your order in for your very own Michael Clifford Signature Melody Maker.
Always hungry and tired, likes guitars, cameras and dogs.