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Lucien2

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Nov 13, 2021
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Greetings!

I’ve been playing nothing but strats for ages until this year when my better half pushed me to get outside my comfort zone. This was during lockdown so I was relegated to internet shopping and settled on- don’t laugh- a Schecter PT SLS. It is definitely different! Thin neck, active pups, compound radius, 24 stainless frets…and I love it. It’s made me better as a player and a writer. The only thing I changed was the pups from Fishman Moderns to PAF style Open Core Classics.

So now that I’ve had a taste of what modernity is like 🤣 I want MOAR! I’m still not sure I love active pups. It feels like there’s a thin layer of disconnect between me and the instrument. A buddy of mine swears by EBMM (although he just plumped for an Anderson) so now I’m down the rabbit hole. The big problem is there aren’t any here. I can drive an hour and a half to check out a Valentine, a model I’m very curious about. But there are no Luke 3’s within 3 hours, which is the other one I’m obsessing over.

I play alternative indie rock, shoegaze, a little punk, and a little bit of ambient stuff too.

The Valentine- SS frets, versatile, has tele sounds.

The Luke- flatter radius (the biggest thing I love about the Schecter over the strats), floating bridge, but will I miss bigger, SS frets? Is it also a versatile instrument?

Sorry to be long winded but the closest Valentine is pretty far and there’s no chance of trying a Luke at all. I’d be buying it online.

Thanks for any advice!!
 

beej

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Man, that's hard to say. I love the Luke III- it's quite versatile, has great pickups, and the onboard boost is really handy. The necks aren't small but the frets are- so that may well be an issue. I've got larger frets on both of mine and I think it makes a huge difference.

As with most things ... you won't know until you try one. If you find one used, you can always flip it if it's not for you.
 

Lucien2

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thanks, beej.

The biggest obstacle here is that I'm in Baltimore and the closest Luke is in the NYC area, or Northern PA which is about the same distance. There's a supply chain issue and everyone says they won't be seeing any locally until April or May.

I don't think I'm as concerned about fret size as material, if that makes sense. SS really feels....better. OTOH EBMM necks have such a great reputation maybe I wouldn't care if the overall experience was so elevated compared to what I have. It comes down to whether a flatter fingerboard or SS frets is the more important criterion and I don't really have an answer for that. All I know is going from the Schecter's 12-16" compound radius SS fret neck to Fender 9.5" neck is a letdown and I go right back to the Schecter. (fun fact- $1200 from Schecter South Korea buys a TON of guitar compared to FMIC USA)

Man, I have a bad case of GAS :)
 

racerx

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Mar 10, 2021
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Hey Lucien - I hate to start a reply about your thread and making it about me, but I figure the context might be useful for you (since I think describing a guitar is definitely a more show than tell kinda thing- and thats what we're limited to).

I'm a stout guy with large hands so I've naturally gravitated towards the "50s Style" baseball bat necks. On top of that, if I thought about Strat vs. LP specs, I preferred the LP scale length and radius. As for configuration, I always lived between 9s/10s with very little relief and light action. I live with fret buzz unplugged so long as it doesn't come through the amp. I like that smooth and easy feel.

I lived with that style for a long time and really never questioned it much. By chance I got a Stingray RS in a trade and it really turned my thinking upside down. Long story short I very quickly became a fan of Music Man and was curious about what else was out there.

I bought my first Luke 3 online and was nervous but optimistic. There were a lot of hits and threads about "EB necks are pencil thin" and "the Luke especially is narrow and the frets are too small". So I really expected to try the Luke and move it along. Surprisingly, I bonded with it well and I'm not sure how to totally capture it in a post. Yes - the neck feels smaller than most things you're probably used too but it isn't small in a "shredder" sense. The profile is very comfortable for chording and digging into single notes higher up the register. It plays very fast and if you like to do a lot of runs, hammer-ons, or pull-offs, then this will serve those really well. On the other side, it is extremely comfortable to play any type of chords on without the hand cramping up (cowboy, thumb-over, barre, pinky embellishments, you name it). I also follow the factory recommendation to allow the bridge to float and go both ways. I avoided trems historically but its really cool to have those Floyd-Rose tricks now without the overhead of a Floyd-trem.

As for sound, I'm really satisfied with the pickups. They are certainly more aggressive and high-end focused than my Stingray and Cutlass are, but its not a bad thing. I feel the Stingray/Cutlass are perfect for the vintage vibe while retaining some more clarity. The Luke 3, on the other hand, seems to straddle that line with more of a tilt to modern styles. The Luke 3 pups are very articulate and cut through without a problem - they are excellent for cleans and can handle any type of gain you want to through at it. I mostly live on the bridge or neck pickups exclusively but the middle positions well for those quacky sounds if you're after them (anecdotally seems popular in the style of music you're after too). As a primarily lead player, the volume boost on the push-push knob is killer and a life saver on cramped stages or those with minimalist rigs.

I hope that gives you some useful bits to chomp on. At the end of the day your preferences are yours and you might have different priorities, but I don't think you can really go wrong with any EBMM guitar. The quality is second to none and they truly are built with the player and performance at front of mind. I'm probably a classic example of someone that should hate the Luke but its now my main player.

My 2 Lukes:

IMG_0715 (1).jpg
 
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Lucien2

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That’s actually very useful insight, RacerX. It’s funny, I ping pong between the Valentine and the Luke seemingly daily but at the end of the day it’s bench racing due to the lack of local inventory. Your input is really well done there and helps me.

I don’t know if it matters but maybe Amps should be mentioned- a Fender Twin reissue and an Orange rocker terror
 

racerx

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I had a Valentine but let it go recently for no fault of its own. That guitar is excellent as well and if you do like that "T-Style" single-coil bridge/humbucker neck combo, then you 'd be pretty happy. That guitar also has the boost on hand as well! The neck profile on the Valentine is certainly more traditional and would feel more like things you're probably already used to. I had no complaints about that one either.

I typically play Princetons or a mini Mark V - I pull back Treble/Presence a bit when I play my Luke 3s (since Fenders are bright on their own). The Luke 3 would probably help the Orange cut through more if that's a preference of yours. It will sound great on either though :)
 

Lucien2

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Nov 13, 2021
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I have played a Cutlass neck which is allegedly the same as the Valentine and liked it a lot. I do like the thin C Schecter neck too though. It isn’t Wizard thin but way thinner than anything in my previous experience.

Is the Luke thinner than the Valentine? Just curious.

Yea…doing tele things…I don’t have that right now really. That is attractive. Man I wish there was a Luke to try. Just a Sterling version is all there is here.
 
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DrKev

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I don't think I'm as concerned about fret size as material, if that makes sense. SS really feels....better.

I switch constantly between my Silo Special with regular frets and the Cutlass with stainless and while yes, they stainless frets do feel smoother, I don't notice the difference when I'm playing real music and I don't favor one guitar over the other because of fret differences.
 

jones4tone

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My Luke3 experience is limited to one from a run which had stainless frets. If you’re open to used guitars, you might find one from such a run. Starry Night PDN run is one such offering, but there are a few others, I believe. I think DuBaldo’s Diablo Blue L3s from a couple years ago had SS frets, as well.
 

JasonT

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Lucien - I currently have two LIIIs for sale in the For Sale thread and a Luke II BFR. I live in Northern Virginia. If you want to try them out, message me.
 

beej

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I've also never had an issue with fret material. SS is a bit smother and has more longevity but, honestly, there's not much of a difference from a playing perspective.
 

tbonesullivan

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I have one, and it is a great guitar. I will say that the fret height and the neck shape are probably the one thing that really sets the "feel" apart from other guitars. If it doesn't feel right in your hand, it may not work out in the long run.

You also do not have to keep the bridge floating at all if you do not want to.
 

racerx

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I have played a Cutlass neck which is allegedly the same as the Valentine and liked it a lot. I do like the thin C Schecter neck too though. It isn’t Wizard thin but way thinner than anything in my previous experience.

Is the Luke thinner than the Valentine? Just curious.

.

Saw you edited your posted so wanted to reply to these -- I'd say the Luke is closer to the Cutlass profile than the Valentine was. So if you liked the Cutlass then I'd say the Luke is in that neighborhood (in a sense of the V-ish profile) than the Valentine (which I'd say is more C-ish).

I don't have the Valentine anymore to give an exact measurement but (in my recollection) the Luke shoulders felt smaller than the Valentine but the depth didn't feel significantly thinner, if that makes sense.
 

Lucien2

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Nov 13, 2021
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makes sense. Both guitars have tons of appeal. Valentine for the Tele things it can do and the modern frets, LIII for its full-throated voice, floating bridge, and flatter radius. Time to play Lotto and get both hahaha
 

Lucien2

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So my local guitar shop just got in a couple of Lukes and even a JP6. That JP is pretty sweet!

Anyways, it meant I finally got a chance to put my hands on some guitars and I came away really impressed with the Luke and found that I did prefer that flatter radius. They had a new grapes of wrath HH which was just so great to play but not my taste visually (or $$ lol). The JP was possibly the quickest neck I’ve ever played.

But a used Luke 2…I expected to hate the EMGs but I didn’t. They are modern and airy but not sterile and gave the guitar a unique voice. This one wasn’t as flash to play but frankly it needs a fret dressing which impacted the demo experience. I can see past that and for the money, it’s a LOT of guitar. So although I went into this thinking HH, that used emg luke is on my brain. And it has piezo saddles although I doubt I’d get into that.
 
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