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Thread: Silhouette special - SSS or HSS ?

  1. #1
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    Silhouette special - SSS or HSS ?

    Hi

    I have just been lucky enough to test both a SSS and an HSS Silhouette special.

    For some reason the SSS model is 300(about $400) cheaper than HSS.

    I am a beginner and I struggled to tell the difference when playing basic chords, even when twiggling the lever all five ways.

    Could anyone tell me why I should pay so much more for the HSS?

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Welcome to the forum!

    Painted headstock and/or sunburst finish are the extra charges. Otherwise I thought they’d be the same price. (Somebody please correct me if I’m wrong).

    If money is no object, buy the one you liked most.
    An Irishman in Paris...
    Silhouette Special (2005 Buttercream Limited Edition)
    Cutlass HSS (2018 Roasted Special, Ivory White)

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  3. #3
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    Thanks for the reply - money is an unfortunate object, so I am minded to go for the SSS, I just have the worry that if and when I get more accomplished I'll regret not going for the more expensive model.

  4. #4
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    You won’t. The SSS is not inferior in any way. Just slightly different sounding in certain switch positions thanks to one different pickup. As you progress as a player and you become more aware of the sonic differences, you may decide that this was the perfect guitar for you all along or you may decide you want something completely different, maybe in addition to this rather than a replacement. Who knows! The important thing is that you start the journey.

    The Silhouette Special is a top quality instrument. You will start the journey with a fantastic instrument that can literally last you a lifetime.
    An Irishman in Paris...
    Silhouette Special (2005 Buttercream Limited Edition)
    Cutlass HSS (2018 Roasted Special, Ivory White)

    Forum Rules and Useful MM Guitar Info

    Required reading - Forum Decorum

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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by tj1 View Post
    Hi

    I have just been lucky enough to test both a SSS and an HSS Silhouette special.

    For some reason the SSS model is 300(about $400) cheaper than HSS.

    I am a beginner and I struggled to tell the difference when playing basic chords, even when twiggling the lever all five ways.

    Could anyone tell me why I should pay so much more for the HSS?

    Thanks
    There are a couple of reasons why there could be a price difference. You don't say if these are used or new guitars, but as DrKev says EBMM has had a lot of finish options over the years that can drive the price of one guitar up over another; besides things he mentioned (painted headstock, some colors) the tremolo used to be an upcharge as well.. For Silhouette Specials I believe DrKev is correct - the HSS and SSS were the same base price.

    However, EBMM hasn't made the SSS Silhouette Special for 3 1/2 years now; they were last available to order in the fall of 2015 (the SSS version was discontinued as they released the Cutlass guitar). The Silhouette Special (and the Silhouette) have had a significant price increase since the SSS Silo Special was discontinued so you may just be seeing the difference in the cost of a more recent HSS model (say comparing a 2018 HSS to a 2015 SSS - the 2018 price is at least $400 more than they were in 2015).

    I've never owned the HSS, but I've had 3 of the SSS over the years, and they are great guitars; you can't go wrong with either. The SSS is going to be a more classic sound (like Jimi Hendrix, David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, blues players like Stevie Ray Vaughan) while the HSS is more of a modern rock sound. Both are great.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by John C View Post

    However, EBMM hasn't made the SSS Silhouette Special for 3 1/2 years now; they were last available to order in the fall of 2015 (the SSS version was discontinued as they released the Cutlass guitar). The Silhouette Special (and the Silhouette) have had a significant price increase since the SSS Silo Special was discontinued so you may just be seeing the difference in the cost of a more recent HSS model (say comparing a 2018 HSS to a 2015 SSS - the 2018 price is at least $400 more than they were in 2015).
    Many thanks for the background, that is very helpful. They are both(the HSS and SSS) being sold as new guitars. But can I take it from your post that the SSS has basically been sitting in storage for the last two years?. The other difference was that SSS seemed to have a darker fretboard moulded to a much lighter neck, the HSS fretboard was the same light material as the neck. In terms of sound - yes they the both sounded great - although the HSS seemed slightly fuller, and the workmanship on both was very, very good.

  7. #7
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    Thumbs up

    I've got both and my first was the SSS, I later got the HSS. Both are great guitars and among my favorites. If you starting out you can't got wrong with either. My first EBMM was the Silo Special SSS hard tail and it will always be one of my favorites. John_C and DrKev, nailed it as far as I'm concerned and DrKev is an instructor and a Mod here, and a Silo Special owner as well. Good for you seeking out advice!!!

    Whatever, your decision, both are smart moves and the used prices are insane in my opinion.

    Good luck, Glenn |B)
    Silhouette Special SSS in Fuschia Sparkle (Hardtail) [1/01/2002] [1 of a kind from CLB]
    Silhouette Special HSS in Gold Sparkle (Hardtail) [7/12/2002] [Made for Matchbox 20]
    Albert Lee 3 MM90's in White Sparkle (Hardtail) [8/14/2001] [Just pure awesomeness]
    Albert Lee HH in Black Sugar (Hartail) [1/06/2011] [BFR]


    Like BP said in the Chapman video "You've got a room full of guitars, and no money!!"

  8. #8
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    You know, these are questions you really should be asking the store where you tried the guitars out. I wouldn't make any assumptions about the age of the instruments, or other reasons for the difference in price. If the SSS is "old stock", it may be discounted as they are trying to move it out.

    And, as others have said, different colors and specific packages cost more.
    2007 Stingray 5 HS Cherry Burst / Maple fretboard / 3 Band EQ / Ceramic Pickups
    2012 Stingray 5 H Pearl Blue / Rosewood Fretboard/ 3 Band EQ/ AlNiCo Pickup
    2012 Steve Morse Signature Morse Blueburst / Rosewood FB
    2012 Luke III SSH Vintage Sunburst / Rosewood Neck

  9. #9
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    Thanks again for the replies. In the end I decided to press the button on the SSS on the basis that I found the difference in sound between it and the more expensive HSS to be quite marginal. It cost 1500(about $2,000), which whilst a heck of a lot of money for a beginner's guitar, does look like as someone here said, to be built for life.

    Incidentally I also tried out a considerably more expensive PRS CE, whilst the finish on the PRS was glossier and seemed to have more instant showroom appeal, the EBMM sounded better to my ear, and I suspect is, underneath, better constructed. The PRS seemed a bit delicate in comparison.

    ]

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by tj1 View Post
    Many thanks for the background, that is very helpful. They are both(the HSS and SSS) being sold as new guitars. But can I take it from your post that the SSS has basically been sitting in storage for the last two years?. The other difference was that SSS seemed to have a darker fretboard moulded to a much lighter neck, the HSS fretboard was the same light material as the neck. In terms of sound - yes they the both sounded great - although the HSS seemed slightly fuller, and the workmanship on both was very, very good.
    Yes - I don't remember the exact specifics, but there was a specific deadline in 2015 before they stopped accepting orders for the SSS Silhouette Special, and it was fairly late in the year. So I would imagine the last of them were finished and shipped out in early 2016 as EBMM is several months backordered. So the SSS model would be no newer than early 2016, but the HSS could be brand new. However, after that "order deadline" in late 2015 the HSS would only be available in black or white; all other colors it had been available in were discontinued at that time.

    The HSS would sound fuller in the bridge position - the "H" stands for "humbucker", and a humbucker pickup is going to sound louder and fuller than a single coil, which is in the bridge position of the SSS. The switches have 5 positions - naming convention is to call "Position 1" the bridge pickup by itself, then you work through the other settings and position 5 is the neck pickup by itself. Because of the different pickup Positions 1 and 2 will sound different on the 2 guitars, but positions 4 and 5 will sound the same. Position 3 is completely different on each model (on the SSS it is the middle pickup by itself, on the HSS it is one coil of the bridge pickup combined with the neck pickup).

    It sounds like the SSS model has a rosewood fingerboard, while the HSS model a the maple fingerboard.

  11. #11
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    You know it doesn't exit without pictures man!!!

    Congrats on the Silo Special, hopefully you'll love it for a long time.

    Glenn |B)
    Silhouette Special SSS in Fuschia Sparkle (Hardtail) [1/01/2002] [1 of a kind from CLB]
    Silhouette Special HSS in Gold Sparkle (Hardtail) [7/12/2002] [Made for Matchbox 20]
    Albert Lee 3 MM90's in White Sparkle (Hardtail) [8/14/2001] [Just pure awesomeness]
    Albert Lee HH in Black Sugar (Hartail) [1/06/2011] [BFR]


    Like BP said in the Chapman video "You've got a room full of guitars, and no money!!"

  12. #12
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    Heres a pic
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Silhouette special - SSS or HSS ?-ebmm-silo-sss-jpg  

  13. #13
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    Classy and classic!! Well done!
    An Irishman in Paris...
    Silhouette Special (2005 Buttercream Limited Edition)
    Cutlass HSS (2018 Roasted Special, Ivory White)

    Forum Rules and Useful MM Guitar Info

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  14. #14
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    Thanks. Now I've got to learn to play the damn thing.

  15. #15
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    He he! Welcome to the addiction. And welcome to the forum family. Any questions or help you need, we're all here for you to offer sometimes overcomplicated and conflicting advice.
    An Irishman in Paris...
    Silhouette Special (2005 Buttercream Limited Edition)
    Cutlass HSS (2018 Roasted Special, Ivory White)

    Forum Rules and Useful MM Guitar Info

    Required reading - Forum Decorum

    Ernie Ball Customer Service
    Music Man Customer Service


    I do not work for EBMM. I'm just a moderator.

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