Sterling by Music Man SUB AX3 Axis Electric Guitar Transparent Black
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- Solid hardwood body
- Quilt maple image top w/ binding
- 5 bolt neck joint
- 25.5? scale
- Asymmetrical cut maple neck & maple fingerboard
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SUB AX3 Axis Electric Guitar Transparent Black. AX3 borrows the classic single cutaway body style of Music Man's Axis guitars. An original, classic design that is familiar to all fans of great guitars. The S.U.B. Series version uses a solid hardwood body topped with a bound quilt maple image top. The neck and body are mated with the same 5 bolt neck joint found on the Silo3. Sculpted and contoured for a super comfortable joint that allows easy access to the upper register. The Asymmetrical neck carve on AX3 is sublime and has enough girth for grip and thin enough for easy playability. The 25.5? scale maple neck & fingerboard has 22 medium sized frets and is super easy to play. The neck is seamlessly integrated to the body. 2 high output "Zebra" coil humbucking pickups are direct mounted to the body. The special wiring of these pickups offer 5 distinct, versatile tones via the 5 way selector switch. Different combinations yield chicken pickin single coil tones to throaty, huge humbucking rock tones. Single volume and tone controls. It's all there in one guitar. Vintage style tremolo bridge has a small area to rest your palm while picking. Individual saddles offer height and intonation adjustments for dialing in the perfect set up. Case sold separately.
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Pros: The neck has the assymetric carve that I knew and loved. The tuners work. The neck to body balance is a little better than the US models. The pickups are passable. It doesn't have any active electronics (I hate changing batteries).
Cons: The tremolo is a far cry from the US models (I miss that trem). It has a poly finished neck instead of the oil and wax finish of the US. The pots are not the greatest (probably cheap alpha pots).
Overall, I'm quite pleased. This is a sweet little guitar for a 10th the price of the US models. You lose some in quality of materials, but the craftsmanship is excellent. I've never heard of this Jabon wood that it's made of, but it's quite resonant (and lets face it... anything is better than basswood).
If you're just starting out, you can't beat this quality and for a hundred dollars less than the quality beginners stuff from the largest competitor. Meet the new Squire. If Sterling will keep putting this quality out at this price, I could see them taking a huge chunk out of the beginner market with this.
Update: It's been a few years. I've played the frets off of it, changed the pickups, and I'm still happy with it. Coming from a pro who puts mileage on a guitar that's an impressive record.