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Thread: AL or STV?

  1. #1

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    AL or STV?

    I have a bizarre hankering for a quirky, offset guitar with an unconventional pickup configuration. I'm gravitating toward a couple of options, one being a SBMM AL40 which I'd gut and put in a trio of P90s and a Free-Way 10-way toggle, something like this:

    AL or STV?-al40_flipped_h-jpg

    I've also been watching some demo videos of the Sterling St. Vincent model, and I'm really intrigued.

    The problem is, there don't seem to be any of either in the sales channel here in Canada, so I have zero opportunity to try either. How do they compare in terms of feel and sound?

    My main EBMM experience was with a Petrucci 7 I owned about 10 years ago.

    (And to any EBMM folks… any chance of a triple-P90 AL model? An AL90 perhaps?)

  2. #2

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    Both very comfy but sound a very different
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  3. #3

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    L&M in Scarborough has a SBMM AL in that colour

    Sterling By Music Man Albert Lee HH Signature Electric Guitar - Daphne Blue | Long & McQuade

    There's also the Mariposa, thought that would be more difficult to route for a third pickup.

    Sterling By Music Man Mariposa, Roasted Maple Neck - Dorado Green | Long & McQuade

    Btw the AL was available with 3 x MM90s (MM's P90 equivalent) for many years, so you might be able to find one second hand.
    Last edited by beej; 03-20-2021 at 07:53 AM.

  4. #4

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    Oh, wow… as of last week, they had none anywhere in the country. Thanks, beej. I may have to go check it out.

    I know the USA AL was available for a time with the MM90 configuration, but one of those is waaaay out of my budget.

    Another question: Does the Sterling version of the STV have the same switching scheme as the USA version? I've watched a bazillion reviews, and nobody seems to really touch on the switching in any detail.

  5. #5

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    From a purely practical view, I suggest the AL. You can get an aftermarket P90/P90/P90 pickguard for a few US dollars if you decide on the Sterling line. Otherwise, as beej pointed out there are 3 P90 ALs floating around. One happens to be in the eBay/Craigslist thread.

    Fly in the ointment is that sellers are listing the EBMM guitars for big $ when you factor in our CDN $ and the cost of shipping/Customs.
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  6. #6

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    Yeah, the AL is really hitting the sweet spot for me, with a set of P90s (full electronics gut, as I'd also be replacing the switch and putting in a passive treble/bass control), but the STV60 is also cool, and I'd probably leave that stock. Both would likely end up around the same money.

    I'm not recording or gigging as much any more, and can't really justify the outlay for a USA guitar.

  7. #7

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    Subjectively, I like the AL a lot better.

    That being said, since you mentioned you want a quirky offset, the AL doesn't real feel like an offset even though it has a quirky shape. It feels more like a telecaster to me. The St Vincent feel like a big offset. Especially when you are sitting down.

    For reference, here is a picture of a tele, an AL and a St Vincent all in a row.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails AL or STV?-20210320_110046-crop-jpg  

  8. #8

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    fwiw... I'm a big fan of the AL model. I own a few
    I got a deal on a SBMM AL a couple of years ago, but was very disappointed with the 'quality' and the neck shape, which is noticeably different from the MM model. I have & had a number of other SBMM instruments which are / were of good quality, but when you go with the entry level (sub $400), well...I won't make that mistake again.
    I tried a MM St. V once, but the balance felt wrong to me. However, they seem to selling like hotcakes the last few years, so there's that.
    Lastly, if you want to load an HH AL with 3 P90's, you will have to route out for the middle pup and have a custom pickguard made. Remember that proper P90's mount to the body, but there are plenty of humbucker sized P90's that mount to the P/G....
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  9. #9

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    A swimming pool rout is quick and easy on the AL and allows for all pickup combinations. I'd definitely go with the AL, it just feels right...and it's mahogany!
    AL or STV?-al40-rout-jpg
    2005 EBMM Axis Super Sport Rosewood Top/Rosewood Neck - Hardtail
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