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Thread: Strat style

  1. #1

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    Strat style

    Let me first get a few assumptions out of the way...
    -I know this is the Ernie Ball forum, but I trust the players on here for, among other things, your experience, honesty, and expertise.
    -I know "just go to a shop and try them both out" would be preferable. Problem is used market for these two axes is pretty slim right now in my area...especially at the same store at the same time...so I've resorted to online.

    So. I play a '98 Axis MM90 as my main guitar. I swapped out the bridge pup for a Super Distortion.
    I am looking to add a strat style guitar to my arsenal, and am pretty sure I'm between a Cutlass and a PRS Silver Sky. Any guys played both? Any guys OWN both??

    Looking mostly for feedback on neck and pickups. I like my guitars to be very responsive to strum/picking dynamics. Most of my strat work would be with U2-esque, ambient/delay heavy tones.
    EBMM 1998 Axis Sport
    EBMM 2016 Cutlass

    "The road to hell is paved with adverbs." Stephen King

  2. #2

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    imho...
    1] Axis MM90 = WIN!
    2] There's a long list of things I don't like about the silver sky myself. Be sure to read the specs carefully... not to mention the reverse headstock just looks goofy.
    3] The Cutlass looks to be a fabulous guitar, though I haven't got to try one yet. If they ever offer the HSS model in 'Dropped Copper', that may change..
    4] Also consider an Albert Lee SSS... it's the only 'S' type I've ever heard described as "out strats a strat.."
    Balls are Best!!

  3. #3

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    I've been playing the Cutlass SSS for about a year now & it's the best Strat I've ever touched. Lately my main stage guitar. Sounds great plays great stays in tune in extreme conditions etc.

    Played a Silver Sky for a while in a shop and my impressions were really positive -- it just sounds like a really good Strat, plays easy. I don't think you could go wrong with either. I would take the Cutlass every time, though. The two-knob controls are intuitive and out of the way. The maple neck / SS frets are nice and bright and seem to agree with my hands. The locking tuners are a plus, and the onboard preamp actually works -- the thing is ungodly quiet, and long cable runs don't bother it. Also, no stupid birds.

    If a Silver Sky turned up on Craigslist for cheap I would probably buy it because I'm curious & have no self-control but if I was picking I would take the Music Man.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by xjbebop View Post
    imho...
    1] Axis MM90 = WIN!
    2] There's a long list of things I don't like about the silver sky myself. Be sure to read the specs carefully... not to mention the reverse headstock just looks goofy.
    3] The Cutlass looks to be a fabulous guitar, though I haven't got to try one yet. If they ever offer the HSS model in 'Dropped Copper', that may change..
    4] Also consider an Albert Lee SSS... it's the only 'S' type I've ever heard described as "out strats a strat.."
    That dropped copper is now available in HSS I believe...
    Albert Lee HH - White
    Cutlass RS SSS - Ivory White
    Cutlass RS HSS - Firemist Silver
    Cutlass Hunter Hayes - Lake Tahoe Blue
    St Vincent - BFR Trans Gold
    American Vintage 59 Strat - Sherwood Green

  5. #5

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    I own both. Love both. If I could only have one, it would be a Cutlass. Why? Honestly, the biggest reason might be the SS frets. They're just so glassy on bends. The Silver Sky and the GameChanger are the only electrics I have left with nickel, as I so prefer SS now.

    Reason number two would be the neck finish. Oil and wax over gloss any day for me. The PRS' neck profile is nice, and I enjoy playing it, but it will never match the EBMM finish for me.

    Finally, I just don't care for the knobs on the Silver Sky much. They're unique to PRS, but I never feel confident I'm going to get a good grip with my pinky to adjust while playing. Just feels more slippery than the usual S-style knob.

    One thing I would experiment with on the Cutlass, if you really love Mayerish tones, is pickup height adjustments. The Silver Sky's pickups are positioned significantly closer to the strings than those on the Cutlass from the factory, and that's a big factor in the sound of the Silver Sky. I actually raised the pickups on my Hunter Hayes Cutlass after getting the Silver Sky, and plan to leave it that way. There's more fullness/warmth in the tone now. (The Hayes has its own sound, distinct from a regular Cutlass, but they're very similar in how they're set up from the factory.)

    They're both fantastic guitars, comparable in many regards. You can't make a wrong choice, but I'm going Cutlass if I'm buying one or the other. Good luck!
    ---------------
    Hunter Hayes Cutlass in Lake Tahoe Blue
    Valentine BFR in Three-tone Burst
    Luke 3 HH in Starry Night
    Valentine in Trans Maroon
    Reflex Game Changer HSH with Piezo

  6. #6

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    So the neck is what I keep coming back to...especially unplayed...I have never met a Music Man neck that I did not love.
    I found a Cutlass SSS in white (which looks sexy) and maple board (which is a huge plus to me over the PRS) for $1200. Is that a decent snag?
    EBMM 1998 Axis Sport
    EBMM 2016 Cutlass

    "The road to hell is paved with adverbs." Stephen King

  7. #7

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    One thing to note is if it is not a roasted maple neck, it will have a thin matte finish on the neck rather than the oil and wax you see on so many EBMM necks. If it is a Cutlass RS (I *think* that's 2018 and newer?) and not a bound neck, it will be oil and wax. Otherwise, if it's not roasted maple, almost certainly has the matte finish.

    That said, the matte finish is not prone to becoming sticky as so many gloss finishes are to me. (My son has a Cutlass with this finish on the neck, so I've played one quite a bit.)
    ---------------
    Hunter Hayes Cutlass in Lake Tahoe Blue
    Valentine BFR in Three-tone Burst
    Luke 3 HH in Starry Night
    Valentine in Trans Maroon
    Reflex Game Changer HSH with Piezo

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by jones4tone View Post
    One thing to note is if it is not a roasted maple neck, it will have a thin matte finish on the neck rather than the oil and wax you see on so many EBMM necks. If it is a Cutlass RS (I *think* that's 2018 and newer?) and not a bound neck, it will be oil and wax. Otherwise, if it's not roasted maple, almost certainly has the matte finish.

    That said, the matte finish is not prone to becoming sticky as so many gloss finishes are to me. (My son has a Cutlass with this finish on the neck, so I've played one quite a bit.)
    I believe it is a 2016 model.
    EBMM 1998 Axis Sport
    EBMM 2016 Cutlass

    "The road to hell is paved with adverbs." Stephen King

  9. #9

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    Get the Cutlass. If your main guitar is an Axis, I believe you will feel at home with the Cutlass neck. BTW, the Cutlass neck is my favorite neck shape of all I’ve played.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by jones4tone View Post
    One thing to note is if it is not a roasted maple neck, it will have a thin matte finish on the neck rather than the oil and wax you see on so many EBMM necks. If it is a Cutlass RS (I *think* that's 2018 and newer?) and not a bound neck, it will be oil and wax. Otherwise, if it's not roasted maple, almost certainly has the matte finish.

    That said, the matte finish is not prone to becoming sticky as so many gloss finishes are to me. (My son has a Cutlass with this finish on the neck, so I've played one quite a bit.)
    The OP could just do a little light sanding and apply wax themselves, right? I mean, you'll have to sand down the poly coat, but after that, it should be like other ebmm necks. Or am I missing something?

    I'm thinking of doing the same myself, if I get a Cutlass or Stingray guitar. The prices on these 2016-ish models are tough to beat.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by TrapperJ View Post
    That dropped copper is now available in HSS I believe...
    Yep, Musicians Friend has a Dropped Copper HSS right now. xjbebop is now out $2,099.00 + tax. But up one Cutlass.

  12. #12

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    The satin finish on the 2016's is very thin - you barely notice its there.
    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)

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  13. #13

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    You can’t go wrong with either. High quality all around. I’m a Music Man guy though so it’s Cutlass for me.

  14. #14

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    Can’t compare to the silver sky, but I bought a cutlass because I felt a need to have a strat style guitar in my stable. Fast forward 2 months and that cutlass was my primary guitar. The stainless frets feel SO good, and the whole instrument is just perfect. I have had a few strats come through the last few months, and they don’t compare to my cutlass. I’d say the only negative is that the battery is required to pass signal, but in a year and a half of owning it, I haven’t had to change the battery.
    JP6 Pearl White born 1/11/11
    Majesty Monarchy Imperial Blue born 1/23/18
    Cutlass Starry Night born 2/6/17
    Stingray RS Vintage Turquoise born 11/14/18
    Steve Morse Blue Burst born 3/15/01
    Some other guitars
    Mesa Boogie amps

  15. #15

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    I think the Cutlass is a superior instrument in many ways - stainless steel frets, roasted maple, oil and wax finish neck, two point trem, better upper fret access, silent circuit and buffer circuit. Hands down, it's the bang-for-your-buck winner, at least on paper. As far as neck profile goes, I've grown to love the soft V at the Cutlass lower frets over the classic C of my Silhouette Special or my old strat. Personally, I think the cutlass pickups are a slightly warmer and slightly more mid-range focused but it's not a huge amount. If I want sparkly vintage clean tones, I reach for my Silhouette Special that I have DiMarzio Area single coils in. If I want a little more output and cut, or a more versatile tone overall, it's the Cutlass.
    Silhouette Special (2005 Buttercream Limited Edition)
    Cutlass HSS (2018 Roasted Special, Ivory White)

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