EBMM Stingray bass green
Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: Music Man vs Sterling guitars/upgrades

  1. #1

    Music Man vs Sterling guitars/upgrades

    So I played some real ernie balls and some sterlings yesterday and I was just blown away! I gotta have one- probably the cutlass, albert lee, st vincent, or stingray. I like all those models

    First question- are the trem's always decked against the top? None of the guitars I played had the trem floating and it kind of seemed like it was made to be decked rather than made to float like a strat. Any insights here? I can get my american strat to stay in tune fantastically while floating- so I'm okay with either route (i like the ability to lower my tunings on the fly)

    So of course I'd love a real deal music man- but lets face it, i'm not rich. I teach guitar and work at a music shop. So I'm poor, basically. Some of the Sterlings I played had locking tuners, which was pretty cool for a guitar under $500.

    My main reason for posting- is that I have many questions surrounding parts upgrades for music man guitars. (sterlings) I dont see where you can buy parts for these guitars like you can buy fender bridges, tremolos, pickups, switches, pots, knobs- and then theres like dozens of other boutique and budget manufacturers of all those parts.

    Like if I get a Sterling Stingray- is there anyway I can put the same tremolo and bridge as the new model Ernie Ball Music Man Stingray? It seems like pickups are just dimarzios or whatever. So thats easy. I guess My main concern is pickguards and the bridges and trems. Maybe pickup upgrades for the St Vincent.

    And of course Id like to upgrade the nut- does graph tec make one pre slotted for any of these guitars or will I have to get one custom made?

    Thanks a bunch! I cant wait to join the ernie ball players!!! Such killer guitars!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    607
    The Petrucci models have floating trems, and I think the Lukes do, as well, though I've never played one so I'm not 100 percent sure. I think the majority of EBMM trems sit against the body, though.

    You can certainly upgrade the parts on the Sterlings, but in most cases, you won't be able to upgrade them to the same parts that are on an EBMM. Music Man doesn't sell parts. Many of the pickups in EBMMs are custom-wound, so you can get a similar sound from another pickup, but not quite the same. You may occasionally find parts on the used market, but the price will reflect their rarity.

    To be honest, for the models that you're looking at, by the time you spent the money for the upgrades to the Sterling, you'd already be in the range of at least a solid used EBMM. That's the route I'd go. That said, the Sterlings in general are very good guitars for the money as is, without a lot of upgrades.
    Last edited by spychocyco; 04-30-2018 at 07:54 AM.
    My stuff:
    2007 Axis Pacific Blue Burst (9/25/07)
    2016 Axis Super Sport Starry Night PDN (11/23/16)
    2010 JP6 Mystic Dream (6/22/10)
    1989 Fender HM Strat HSS Blackstone
    2016 Gibson Les Paul Studio Deluxe Caribbean Night
    1995 Washburn N2 Padauk Stain
    2017 Taylor 224ce-K DLX Koa
    SBMM JP70 Trans Purpleburst
    SBMM S.U.B. SB4 Black
    A half-dozen pawn shop beaters no one cares about

    http://mountainkingmusic.com
    http://spychocyco.blogspot.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Central Ohio
    Posts
    2,361
    The bridges on any of those models you mentioned could be set to float - mine are all floating.
    EBMM Axis Super Sport (Pacific Blue Burst)
    EBMM L3 HH (Olive Gold)
    EBMM L3 HSS Roasted (Bodhi Blue)
    EBMM Silo Special (Blue Dawn)
    EBMM Albert Lee SSS (Sky Blue)
    EBMM Majesty (Iced Crimson)
    EBMM Cutlass (Vintage Turquoise)
    EBMM L3 BFR (Blueberry Burst)
    EBMM Cutlass HSS (Firemist Silver)

    www.TheseGuysLive.com
    Facebook

  4. #4
    It looks like they are pretty much made to be decked on the cutlass and stingray's I played. And I dont know about the cost of upgrading... a new sterling is $400... I wonder what I could get a used sterling albert lee for... $300?... Hipshot locking tuners are like $50 and come with mounting plates. a tusq nut is $10. I can get dimarzios for about $50 each and even less on single coils.

    what can you upgrade the sterling tremolo's with though? As I guess one of my real interests is in the tremolo.

    Btw- if anyone is ever interested in putting the old Sabre guitar or Stingray Bass preamp/active eq system in their modern passive Music Man I would recommend it! I have the schematic and have built perf board circuits of these for 2 customers over the years (one had both guitar and bass, one just a P-bass) and the results were fantastic! I can do it at the shop I work at if anyone is interested! The guitar preamp I installed I also installed a bypass switch that allowed the player to bypass the active electronics and run the passive pickups through a passive concentric (2 pots stacked on top of one another so as to take up less room on guitars control panel) tone and volume control. this allows the guitarist to use germanium fuzz effects with a high impedance pickup signal. **you can use germanium fuzz pedals with teh active systems, they just sound different than the passive system- there is something to be said of running a passive guitar pickup straight into an amp with a short cable too. But who does that in today's world of billions of effects in 32 bit digital or pure throw back to the 60's analog? For big pedal boards and long cable runs the active preamp with eq is definitely an advantage IMO- and the volume and tone controls work so purely at any setting with the active system.

    Sorry for the long post- the active systems are about the only music man things I have much experience with and its been very positive so i thought I'd share!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Central Connecticut (Manchester) USA
    Posts
    9,350
    From the SBMM factory:

    JP models are all floating (only)
    The Luke model is set up floating but can be made dive-only.
    Silhouette, Cutlass, Axis, Albert Lee, St Vincent, are all set up as dive-only, but can be set up to float like the Luke
    Have you got G.A.S. for another EBMM???
    Visit the all new
    https://www.DUBALDOMUSIC.com! <--- My Store --->DuBaldo Music on Facebook & on twitter
    Do you want to TRADE your used EBMM in for a NEW one? -- Email me for details!
    pete@dubaldomusic.com <--- My email
    www.YELLOW9.com <--- My band

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Nashville, TN
    Posts
    1,537
    Quote Originally Posted by claytushaywood View Post
    It looks like they are pretty much made to be decked on the cutlass and stingray's I played. And I dont know about the cost of upgrading... a new sterling is $400... I wonder what I could get a used sterling albert lee for... $300?... Hipshot locking tuners are like $50 and come with mounting plates. a tusq nut is $10. I can get dimarzios for about $50 each and even less on single coils.

    what can you upgrade the sterling tremolo's with though? As I guess one of my real interests is in the tremolo.

    Btw- if anyone is ever interested in putting the old Sabre guitar or Stingray Bass preamp/active eq system in their modern passive Music Man I would recommend it! I have the schematic and have built perf board circuits of these for 2 customers over the years (one had both guitar and bass, one just a P-bass) and the results were fantastic! I can do it at the shop I work at if anyone is interested! The guitar preamp I installed I also installed a bypass switch that allowed the player to bypass the active electronics and run the passive pickups through a passive concentric (2 pots stacked on top of one another so as to take up less room on guitars control panel) tone and volume control. this allows the guitarist to use germanium fuzz effects with a high impedance pickup signal. **you can use germanium fuzz pedals with teh active systems, they just sound different than the passive system- there is something to be said of running a passive guitar pickup straight into an amp with a short cable too. But who does that in today's world of billions of effects in 32 bit digital or pure throw back to the 60's analog? For big pedal boards and long cable runs the active preamp with eq is definitely an advantage IMO- and the volume and tone controls work so purely at any setting with the active system.

    Sorry for the long post- the active systems are about the only music man things I have much experience with and its been very positive so i thought I'd share!
    I don't know if EBMM will sell the tremolo system by itself. I've not tried to replace one personally. I've found with a good setup, they can handle either being decked or floating.

    Because of the 4+2 headstock, bet on the Hipshots costing more. For a custom set in an EB config (4 bass side, 2 treble side, 21mm post height), bet on more like $80-90. Less than the cost of a new set of Schallers, but more than a stock set of 6 inline Hipshots.

    My Sterling AL so far has me at $400, but I was lucky. I had a forum member give me a set of Schallers off his EBMM that he recently swapped. So the cost of the guitar (new, plus a discount from the store sale) and approx $50 for my tech to install a new nut. I've been ok with the stock pickups right now. Price wise, I'm nowhere near a USA AL. But if I go down the modification rabbit hole, I could get close.

    The pickup mod to my SBMM JV added $200 to the price, but I'm still nowhere near the cost of a US model. New or used.

    I got my SBMM Cutlass on sale/clearance. So I haven't even hit list price on that one.

    For the models that already have locking tuners, I think those tuners work well. I can't tell that upgrading them is going to change anything much. For a guitar like the AL, swapping for locking tuners is totally worth it. all that guitar really needs is a new nut and lockers.
    SBMM Cutlass Seafoam Green
    SBMM Albert Lee - Daphne Blue
    EBMM Silo Special

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    607
    Clarification on my comment -- I was talking about buying the actual EBMM parts on the second-hand market to make the upgrade. They're generally pretty expensive when you can find them. You can definitely do cheaper upgrades, but I thought the original question had to do with replacing the SBMM parts with EBMM parts, basically trying to get as close to the EBMM version as you can.

    Just put the Hipshots on a guitar that I'm building, and I like them a lot, but the 4+2 set will be a bit of a pain to put together.
    My stuff:
    2007 Axis Pacific Blue Burst (9/25/07)
    2016 Axis Super Sport Starry Night PDN (11/23/16)
    2010 JP6 Mystic Dream (6/22/10)
    1989 Fender HM Strat HSS Blackstone
    2016 Gibson Les Paul Studio Deluxe Caribbean Night
    1995 Washburn N2 Padauk Stain
    2017 Taylor 224ce-K DLX Koa
    SBMM JP70 Trans Purpleburst
    SBMM S.U.B. SB4 Black
    A half-dozen pawn shop beaters no one cares about

    http://mountainkingmusic.com
    http://spychocyco.blogspot.com

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
EBMM Stingray bass blue