Sterling Guitars (named after Music Man’s CEO Sterling
Ball) is the import division of Music Man Guitars
which sells its own mid-level versions of the models Music
Man produces in the USA.
I personally have a Music
Man Luke PDN (Premier Dealer Network) which we have
reviewed on the site previously. The “Problem” though is that
it’s such a nice guitar that my teenage daughter has taken
a quite a liking to it, with this in mind we decided she would
have her own Luke for her shows, school events etc… as my
model is a PDN model (Only produced in 2014) and signed by
Steve Lukather of
Toto, it is a bit too valuable to carry around lessons,
school and so on.
Markets will vary but as a rough guide the Sterling Luke costs
about a third of the value of its regular Music Man counterpart
(The PDN is more expensive). Not to say that it isn’t a great
guitar because it is.
First impressions are good, as
we could not find the guitar in any stores on a recent trip
through Florida and the Deep South, so the guitar was purchased
online. We purchased a Gator hardcase for it to provide extra
protection on the journey home, but on receipt of the package
we has the added bonus that the guitar was supplied with a
very good Sterling branded padded gigbag.
For its price point the guitar is very well executed, with its
Hazelburst finish coming through
clear and with rich tones. To be honest this colour makes
the guitar look more expensive that its modest price tag.
The neck heel contour (See Photo)
is not exactly lined up with the body, but truth be told I
have seen this on Music Man models as well (Mine is perfect.)
The neck is very well finished and unlike its preceding model
(LK100D) is now offered in roasted maple with a good quality
rosewood fingerboard (quite surprising seeing all the recent
restrictions on Rosewood but very welcome). I also noted the
Sterling version is strung with 10 gauge strings whilst the Music Man has 9 gauge (which Steve
The body is made from basswood
and finished in a hard-wearing polyurethane finish. All hardware
is finished in chrome, with locking tuners, dual covered humbuckers,
and Sterling’s version of the Music Man vintage style bridge.
A 5 bolt plate holds the 25 ½ inch
scale roasted maple neck which, sports a rosewood fingerboard.
Pickups are passive and control by a single volume and tone
for both pickups. Like the Music Man model, the Sterling Luke
also has an activate circuit with gives one a 12db boost which
can be activated by pushing in the volume knob. The nut is
the standard type as opposed to the compensated one on the
Please see our Sound Demo
Comparison with the Music Man Model.
Obviously when a guitar is made to price point and
also copies a more expensive model something will need
to give. In this case basswood has been used instead of African
Mahogany for the body, the maple in the neck is visually of
a lower grade, the pickups are Sterling’s own instead of Dimarzios,
the tuners are generic instead of Schaller, the nut is not
compensated and so on. I would think that a lot of the hand
finishing that refines the Music Man model has not been applied
to this import version.
However as mentioned before, the guitar plays, looks and feels
great. When played side by side with the Music Man version
there are very obvious differences.
It will still be a good instrument for someone on a budget
or perhaps looking for backup guitar to his/her Luke.
A great guitar suitable for all levels of guitar players.