Luna NEO

Monday, June 30, 2008| by Will Chen


Yvonne de Villiers, founder of Luna guitars, initially set out to create a line of guitars with women in mind, employing design elements that female players have wanted for years. While many of Luna’s design themes emphasize a feminine quality, they rarely venture into the gaudiness of overtly marketed “girly” conventions, which results in unique gender crossing cosmetics.

Immediately, I was struck by the black, oversized curved pick guard which set against the white body, definitely hints at the Chinese Yin-Yang symbol. Way cool. Cosmetically, I couldn’t find a flaw. The single cutaway Neo definitely pays homage to the Les Paul from a general design perspective. However, the upper bout is significantly smaller and the “waist” a bit narrower, giving the guitar a slightly curvier appearance. Also, the basswood body is fairly thin, making the Neo a very lightweight guitar which will certainly appeal to those tired of shouldering a ten pounder. All the hardware has a modern brushed nickel appearance, which I don’t particularly care for, but that’s a personal taste thing. I’m sure some will love the look.

The Neo sports a thin bolt on maple neck with excellent fretwork and an unfinished back. A note on attention to detail here: the line separating the painted headstock and the unfinished back of the headstock is super crisp. I typically find super thin necks uncomfortable, as my hand seems to tire after extended periods of playing and my form suffers as my hand collapses against the neck. Not the case here as it’s thin but not too thin, nice job. The rosewood fretboard features mother of pearl moon phase fret markers, a very tasteful alternative to the traditional dot markers on most guitars in this price range (though there is a fair amount of filler on the thinnest markers). Time to plug this baby up.

I auditioned the guitar using a GNX3000, Peavey Revalver MKIII, and Tech 21 Trademark 60. The Neo’s medium hot pickups are definitely voiced for rock and exhibit decent low-end response with compressed highs (perhaps a little too much so). It handled distorted settings nicely and had no sustain issues. The neck pickup could stand to be a touch hotter to match the bridge better, but overall, they’re fairly complementary. Unfortunately, this guitar suffers from the same disease we’ve been experiencing on a lot of affordable imported instruments. The volume and tone control sweep is about the worst I’ve experienced to date, with absolutely no effect until the maximum extreme settings. Turning the volume knob from full to none basically sounds like a toggle switch. Too bad.

The Neo is offered in a variety of color options including the “Your Space” model with a transparent pickguard, allowing the owner to create a custom collage displaying their own style.

Luna guitars are definitely on to something. Wiring issue aside, their unique designs and attention to detail are bound to find an audience with those looking for something a little more original.

Price: ~$270 USD
Pros: Lightweight, solid construction, decent tones
Cons: Poor volume/tone control wiring

Filed Under: Luna, Reviews