Juan1

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I'm looking to pick up a guitar that can cover surf to rock, and was thinking about taking a Sterling Mariposa and installing Filtertrons. Is the trem good for that surf shimmy? Can anyone think of reasons my plan might not work? I love the look and neck on the Mariposa, and was wondering what people who've actually played a Mariposa think.

TLDR
I have a guitar I have never completely bonded with. It has JM pickups, a JM trem, is great for surf, and has beautiful cleans. Unfortunately the distorted sound is not to my liking, the neck just doesn't do it for me, and the JM trem design can struggle to maintain intonation even if the strings maintain intonation with each other. This sent me down the rabbit hole of looking at possible replacement guitars, and the Reverend Jetstream RB (with their version of Filtertrons) fit the bill. Why Filtertrons? They sound great when AC/DC uses them. They sound great when country guys get clean twang out of them. They are the pickup of choice for rockabilly, and have the chime needed for surf too. A trip to Guitar Center demonstrated the Reverend neck is nice, but what was that sitting next to the Reverend? Why a Sterling Valentine.

The first not-shit guitar I purchased after high school was an Ernie Ball EVH in blue back in the early 90's. I loved that guitar. Every person I ever let play it, most of whom disliked the EVH guitar sound, commented on how great the guitar felt and played. Needless to say I had to check out that Valentine even if the shape wasn't for me. What do you know, the Valentine, which specs suggest has the same neck as the as the Mariposa, has an amazing neck and feel! As a bonus, I love the craftsmanship of the Yamaha Revstar guitars, and the Sterlings are also made in Indonesia. So now I'm in between getting a Reverend and a Mariposa for $500 less. If the Mariposa tremolo is up for it, I might DIY a pickup swap and save myself some cash. Hell, I might add a Jazzmaster-esque bass and treble cut switch if I feel ambitious. What do y'all think?
 

Pink

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Look up. Waaaaay up.
Surf is all about the spring reverb. Whammy bar is a main tool, but the sound is clean with that dripping reverb. Songs like Pipeline, Misirlou, Wipeout don't use a whammy at all.
 

Juan1

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Spring reverb is very important, but treble bite paired with that reverb gets that "splash" sound right when you hit the treble strings hard. My old Revstar with humbuckers couldn't surf. Dick Dale may have had a bassier sound than what came later, but on my rock guitar the tele bridge pickup sounds more Dale-ish than the neck mini-hum.
 

DrKev

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My two cents...

Surf rock really existed before amplifiers had reverb built-in. And the earliest outboard reverb units were bright and brash sounding and went in front of the amplifier, which by virtue of being loud was frequently not very clean. (Dick Dale CRANKED his amps and clean was NOT his thing). So the reverb is compressed and distorted by the amp and a lot of the brightness in the sound came from the reverb.

Personally, I like my bridge humbuckers for surf. I think the neck-bridge sound is the next most important sound. The whammy bar on the SBMM will be easily up to the task. The mariposa would be a cool choice and with some new pickups, it could be fantastic. Ditto for the Valentine, which with the coil split on the neck humbucker could be great rigt out of the box.
 

jayjayjay

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OK, unrelated to your question, but I just have to ask - did you keep that EVH? Because that's worth some bucks at this point in time, especially if it's in great condition.
 

Juan1

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Like an idiot, I sold the EVH 4 years later. Loved the playability but not the tone. Back then I thought the sound came more from the body wood, bridge, fingerboard and stuff that wasn't easy to swap - thanks for the misinformation early 90s Guitar magazine. Today I would have dropped in different pickups (and kept the originals of course) and been happy.
 

Juan1

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Well, I made the mistake of playing a Sterling Mariposa in the wrong color, and my Dorado Green Mariposa should be here in a couple weeks. I'm not much of a humbucker guy as they often are midrangey and lack treble, but thought the pickups sounded great!
 
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