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Thread: Your opinion on the Sterling Cutlass?

  1. #1
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    Your opinion on the Sterling Cutlass?

    Hi guys,

    Love all my EBMM guitars! Like many around here I've become really addicted to the feel of those guitars, the neck, the build quality, tuning stability... and of course the tones.

    The thing is, I have a SSS shaped hole in my collection, and when recording I sometimes find myself wanting, well, that classic Strat sound.

    So I've actually been considering going non-MM for the first time in almost 20 years and just get myself a good US Strat. The problem with that idea is that I will have to go pretty damn high up in their model range to get the quality I've come to expect. I especially are concerned about whammy bar tuning stability. Specifically I've been looking a bit at the Jeff Beck model with a roller nut.

    But then I had another think about the Cutlass...

    Currently I don't have the money for the real deal though (EBMM are expensive to get hold of here in Europe ). But the SBMM Cutlass is extremely reasonably priced!

    So yeah, what's your opinion of the Sterling Cutlass? I've seen it compared to a high-quality Mexico Strat. But I think it actually seems to go a bit further than that, with the locking tuners and what looks like a good stable MM vintage trem system.

    What do you guys think of the neck? And the pickups?

    Cheers,
    Kasper
    1997 - Luke I - Pearl Blue
    2011 - Reflex - Hardtail - White
    2016 - LIII BFR - HSS - Blueberry Burst Quilt
    2017 - Cutlass - SSS - Vintage Turquoise

  2. #2
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    Hi Kasper,

    difficult question(s).... I only once played the real deal EBMM Cutlass in a shop in June last year and then purchased a used SBMM Cutlass in September. So itīs hard to tell.... I can remember the EBMM version feeling very classy and of course looking great. It has those tinted necks that make them look worn in whereas the SBMMs are a bit pale, especially with the maple fretboards.

    Played the EBMM Cutlass through an Engl RockMaster and had a very good impression. Then again the SBMM at first didnīt sound that great to my ears. I didnīt like the pickups as they were pretty thin sounding. Donīt get me wrong, I like pickups with low output like the AL has them....50s style. But those SBMM-Cutlass pickups just sounded thin. I read they probably are manufactured by Artec which corresponds with the stickers on them (numbers...). I changed them for a set of LeoSounds (german handmade pickups) RedHouse-Set - a Jimi Hendrix style pickup set... more like a late 60s pickup with a little more output. It is another direction but now it sounds really great!

    The look of the SBMM is not bad - but-the paint job could have been done better. The paint isnīt flawless, there are some minor issues. It bought it used and it was a real good deal for me, so I wonīt bitch about it. But - if I would have bought it new for the price it sells in Germany I might have sent it back. Of course I think you will have a perfectly done guitar when buying an EBMM. The SBMM isnīt.

    The feel of the SBMM Cutlass is great. It has a light body, a satin finished neck, a nice soft V-profile. The locking tuners look exactly like the Schallers but feel and behave slightly different, but they are absolutely okay and of course way better than normal tuners. What I really like is the solid steel block on the tremolo. I donīt think Fenders have that.

    I didnīt have the money for a EBMM Cutlass and didnīt really needed it. I already have an AL and a SSS modded SUB1. So I took the chance to get this bargain. Itīs the closest to a Strat of my Singlecoil guitars now. If it would be my only SSS I think Iīd rather take the EBMM but if money matters and you get a good deal on one the SBMM is worth thinking about it.

    I have to say I donīt know the prices in Danmark (I have been there and EVERYTHING was way expensive), but the price difference between US and Germany for the SBMM are huge and make the a little less attractive. I think the comparison with a Mexican strat is not that wrong. I honestly see it in that area. Good guitar but not a high end one.

    cheers Steffen
    blueburst Steve Morse Standard, Jan 03, 2005 pix
    pinkburst Albert Lee, Jul 13, 1994 pix
    cinnamon SUB1, Mar 08, 2004 pix
    vintage gold reflex, June 22, 2011 pix

    My Bands: DREiNS, Shelter50, The BlueScream

  3. #3
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    Thank, that's exactly the kind of detailed and honest feedback I was hoping for!

    The EBMM Cutlass appears to be x3 the price of a SBMM.. so of course there is going to be differences. I could live with a slightly worse paint job, as long as the neck still feels OK. And I take from your post that feel and overall playability of the SBMM Cutlass still is great.

    Your thoughts on the pickups is what is causing me the greatest worry. Although, as you've done, it is of course possible to swap them out for something better. I guess the guitar could, in theory, even take pickups from a higher range strat - if I would actually want that, haven't done any kind of research and is not generally a pickup nerd Is it hard to swap out a set of passive single coils?

    I don't know, will have to think about it. The GAS attack seems to have abated somewhat

    But I can't shake the feeling that perhaps we, on this forum (generally speaking of course and myself included), have indeed become a little bit "guitar snobs". I think most of us here will look at a guitar like the SBMMs as decidedly budget range - where many, many other players would think they are mighty fine instruments

    Thanks again!
    1997 - Luke I - Pearl Blue
    2011 - Reflex - Hardtail - White
    2016 - LIII BFR - HSS - Blueberry Burst Quilt
    2017 - Cutlass - SSS - Vintage Turquoise

  4. #4
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    Feeling and playability is fine

    pickup swap is not an issue, just simple soldering, 2 wires each pickup
    but you might have to add the cost of a set of pickups if you donīt have them already, so youīre probably near the half of the price of an EBMM Cutlass.

    There are some great reviews on youtube you might know, but just in case....

    sterling by music man ct50 cutlass - YouTube
    blueburst Steve Morse Standard, Jan 03, 2005 pix
    pinkburst Albert Lee, Jul 13, 1994 pix
    cinnamon SUB1, Mar 08, 2004 pix
    vintage gold reflex, June 22, 2011 pix

    My Bands: DREiNS, Shelter50, The BlueScream

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by KasperFauerby View Post
    So I've actually been considering going non-MM for the first time in almost 20 years and just get myself a good US Strat. The problem with that idea is that I will have to go pretty damn high up in their model range to get the quality I've come to expect. I especially are concerned about whammy bar tuning stability. Specifically I've been looking a bit at the Jeff Beck model with a roller nut.
    Kasper
    Personally I'd wait for a used ebmm cutlass to come along if price is a consideration. I have an Albert SSS which I love, but it doesn't sound like my strat when I want that sound. I guess the cutlass is more strattish.
    Last edited by Rialas; 02-26-2017 at 10:54 AM.

  6. #6
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    From my experience, SBMM is incredible value and consistently punches well above it's weight. The quality and feel and finish are impressive, regardless of the price. Pickups are subjective, dependent on your own rig and easily changeable.
    _____________________________

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  7. #7
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    Cool thread... And the Seafoam Green one is calling me... You can't get a MM Cutlass in that color yet.

    I understand that PUs are a real "personal" choice. And your amp and speakers can make a huge difference in the end.

  8. #8
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    "Resistance is futile" and the Seafoam Green is calling me!!! How good is the whammy bar on these cheap Cutlass??? I own 2 EBMM JP6 that are incredibly awesome, I don't expect the Sterling to be an equivalent but are they OK??? Let me know so I can cure my GAS.

  9. #9
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    Long time EBMM player as are most of yous... thought not a Cutlass I've picked up a LK100D and a StingRay...

    I won't focus on the LK100D as thats just in a whole different class of build quality... or at least mine is.

    The StringRay was a rare "right after namm" arrival at my local shop and picked it up unopened. Great one piece body... finish was mint - couldn't (and still can't find a flaw) the thing played and sounded amazing. It was a few months ago i decided to do a pickup swap and put in some PAF's it's now one of my go-to guitars outside of the Lk100D and my EBMM guitars.

    With anything "import" there will be those gems that just stick out above the rest... quality at SBMM has been getting better and better as production continues. So i'd say they are probably better now than when they were first released.
    Enjoy the Journey - Enjoy the Process
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  10. #10
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    @rialas: Yeah, I would probably do that - but used EBMM guitars are VERY far between here in Denmark. Was super lucky to pick up my Reflex used at my local store for a reasonable price... so it does happen.

    @benoa: Heh heh, yeah it's also the Seafoam Green that initially caught my eye. Like the white one as well. Not a big fan of sunburst guitars though, but that's just me..

    @peter: Good story, and sounds like a lucky find with the Stingray. You're not helping my GAS though
    1997 - Luke I - Pearl Blue
    2011 - Reflex - Hardtail - White
    2016 - LIII BFR - HSS - Blueberry Burst Quilt
    2017 - Cutlass - SSS - Vintage Turquoise

  11. #11
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    A fellow dane! Hej med dig

    They are indeed hard to find in Europe (I don't think anybody in Scandinavia stocks them) but i tried both the Stingray and Cutlass in London six months ago, where i A/B tested them against their EBMM counterparts, and i ended up buying the Sterling Stingray because:

    1. I didn't have the cash then and there to buy "the real deal"
    2. The Sterling stuff is REALLY good for the price.

    Of course the EBMM guitars, are "better" guitars. Better wood selection, better hardware, better pickups. But for almost a quarter of price, the Sterlings are great.

    It was never gonna be my main guitar, i just wanted something with passive humbuckers, to have a different voice in the arsenal, compared to my Luke II with EMGs. For those bluesy moments, you know...

    And i ended up playing it a lot more than i thought i would. Once i'd balanced the the vibrato system and the pickup hight to my liking, it really played great!

    Now, i know you're inquiring about the Cutlass, but i would say that everything stated above, about the Stingray, would hold true for the Cutlass as well . But i already had a Stratocaster, so i didn't need the single coil option, and thats why i went with the Stingray.

    I'd buy one from Andertons or Thomann, and swap the pickups if you don't like them, or just send it back

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by benoa View Post
    "Resistance is futile" and the Seafoam Green is calling me!!! How good is the whammy bar on these cheap Cutlass??? I own 2 EBMM JP6 that are incredibly awesome, I don't expect the Sterling to be an equivalent but are they OK??? Let me know so I can cure my GAS.
    Benoa, the tremolo on the SBMM CT50 Cutlass is the same unit that we've used on the AX30 Axis, Silo30D Silhouette, LK100D Luke III, and the new STV60 St.Vincent. It's a fantastic two point tremolo, with bent steel saddles, heavy duty/weight steel trem block, as well as tremolo bar tension adjustment (1.5mm hex in the back of the block), and tremolo bar height adjustment (1.5mm hex on the bottom of the block next to the springs).
    Brian Martin
    Vice President
    Product Specialist
    Praxis Musical Instruments
    Home of Sterling By Music Man

    888-989-7266
    Brian@PraxisMusical.com

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magnus View Post
    A fellow dane! Hej med dig

    It was never gonna be my main guitar, i just wanted something with passive humbuckers, to have a different voice in the arsenal, compared to my Luke II with EMGs.

    And i ended up playing it a lot more than i thought i would. Once i'd balanced the the vibrato system and the pickup hight to my liking, it really played great!

    I'd buy one from Andertons or Thomann, and swap the pickups if you don't like them, or just send it back
    Hejsa!

    Yeah, that's pretty much what I'm thinking now. It seems pretty risk free to give it a shot from Thomann, could always send it back. Although, after having checked reviews online I'm pretty sure I would end up liking it a lot!

    As you say, it's mostly to have a few more voices available..
    1997 - Luke I - Pearl Blue
    2011 - Reflex - Hardtail - White
    2016 - LIII BFR - HSS - Blueberry Burst Quilt
    2017 - Cutlass - SSS - Vintage Turquoise

  14. #14
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    Thanks everyone and Bryan from SBMM! Pretty cool to have you here on the forum with all of us.

    I'll keep you posted. I'm driving to NYC in a couple of weeks and may come back with one SBMM Cutlass (you know the color it will be!). I'm thinking ordering it before I leave and picking it up at the store during my stay. So I will buy without trying it but I'm trusting my fellow EBMM/SBMM forumites.

    Rock on!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by benoa View Post
    Thanks everyone and Bryan from SBMM! Pretty cool to have you here on the forum with all of us.

    I'll keep you posted. I'm driving to NYC in a couple of weeks and may come back with one SBMM Cutlass (you know the color it will be!). I'm thinking ordering it before I leave and picking it up at the store during my stay. So I will buy without trying it but I'm trusting my fellow EBMM/SBMM forumites.

    Rock on!
    Looking forward to hearing how the trip goes and what you bring home
    Safe travels, and keep us posted!
    Brian Martin
    Vice President
    Product Specialist
    Praxis Musical Instruments
    Home of Sterling By Music Man

    888-989-7266
    Brian@PraxisMusical.com

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