Up for sale, a circa 1990s Valley Arts M Series Custom Pro in excellent condition and in perfect working order. While the M Series Valley Arts guitars were distributed within Japan, this example features USA-made componentry including a heavily figured birdseye maple neck crafted by Warmoth, and a modern trio of active EMG pickups.
A Super Strat in every sense of the word, the body is constructed from white ash topped with a heavily figured bookmatched quilted maple veneer. The maple neck is capped with a 22 fret slab ebony fingerboard, and the natural acoustic response pairs the midrange and note attack of ash with the glassy immediacy and articulation of ebony and maple. The HSS trio of active EMG pickups include an EMG 81 humbucker in the bridge position and two EMG SAs in the neck and middle positions; the 81 humbucker uses powerful ceramic magnets and close aperture coils, offering detailed intensity, incredible amounts of high end cut, and fluid sustain. The two SA Alnico V single coil pickups have a classic Strat-style sound that’s bright and airy while also being hum-cancelling, offering more midrange presence and low end punch than a traditional single coil. This Custom Pro weighs 8lbs 1oz, professionally setup here at Mike & Mike’s Guitar Bar with 10-46 strings, slinky action, and spot-on intonation.
The birdseye maple neck has a slightly asymmetrical slender C-shaped profile carve with more shoulder on the bass side and a more slender carve on the treble side, measuring .795” deep at the 1st fret and .920” at the 12th. The thick slab ebony fretboard has a compound 12-16” radius, and the stock medium jumbo fretwire is pristine. This guitar plays cleanly up the 25 1/2“ scale with a straight neck and a responsive, optimally-adjusted truss rod, and the locking nut measures 1 5/8“ in width. The headstock features the Custom Pro silkscreen script and Valley Arts graphic, along with the Warmoth logo and stamped serial on the back. The modern set of Gotoh locking tuning machines turn smoothly and hold pitch well. The neck heel is sculpted for optimal access to the upper frets, and the four-bolt neck plate is embossed with the Valley Arts logo and “M Series” text.
All of the electronics function as intended, with the trio of modern EMG active pickups governed by a five-way pickup selector switch and Master Volume and Tone controls. A second output jack has been added to the top, complete with Strat-style jack cup, and the original flush-mounted side jack is no longer wired up. The pickups are powered by a 9V battery, accessed beneath the pickguard, and as EMG pickups were standard fare on the M series, the pickup cavity routes are unaltered from their factory configuration. The gold-plated hardware has plenty of shine, including the jack cup, dome-topped knurled knobs, and Floyd Rose-style Gotoh locking tremolo, which actuates quickly for everything from snappy trills to deep dives.
The gloss Transparent Blue finish highlights the dynamic, dimensional figuring in the quilted maple top and the broad grain of the ash body. Cosmetic wear is limited to a handful of minor dings, largely on the lower bout on top and on the body perimeter, as well as some light buckle worming and some scratches on the back. The smooth gloss on the neck profile is practically perfect and accentuates the birdseye figuring in the neck, with a scant few microscopic marks along the profile length that are imperceptible to the palm.