NGD: Ernie Ball Music Man HSS Cutlass Powder Blue

Double Stop

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Well, here’s guitar #19 for me! My first Ernie Ball Music Man. Powder Blue HSS Cutlass.

Wow, this is just a super fun guitar to play! The neck is about as thin as I can go for my tastes (0.825” 1st fret / 0.925” 12th fret) but man, I can fly all over the board effortlessly. It’s got a hand-rubbed oil & wax finish on the roasted maple neck that’s the smoothest I’ve ever felt. Much smoother than any other satin neck I’ve played. There is zero stickiness. Some very nice figuring on the neck with some birdseye here and there. Nice, moody, dark rosewood board.

The stainless steel frets are flawless and impeccably crowned; a joy to play. So silky smooth and tough as heck. Ernie Ball describes the fret size as “High Profile Medium Width”, but the actual measurements are a hybrid of a Fender “Medium Jumbo” (6150) and “Narrow Tall” (6105). The height is 0.047” (like Medium Jumbo) and width is 0.095” (like Narrow Tall).

I’m coaxing all manner of tones from the 5-way. Everything from Knopfler/Gilmore stratty to Roy B. stinging Tele bite to Ballsy mid-heavy hard rock from the humbucker. It’s extremely versatile. One of the standouts is the buffered output which is basically a treble bleed that actually WORKS! There is zero treble loss no matter how low you turn down the volume knob.

The compensated nut really does make an audible difference to my ear, as well. Thirds, Fourths, Fifths, and Sixths double stops and chord shapes high up the neck sound “correct”, especially with the pesky G and B strings.

I’m really digging the bridge/trem on this and the half-covered butt-end of the bridge allows for greater comfort while resting the side of your hand over it, yet still enables you to palm mute individual strings. The trem is extremely fluid and returns to pitch accurately.

The contoured neck heel joint is sculpted nice and curvy and makes it very comfortable to access the higher frets with ease.

Although, it’s 25.5” scale, it’s a slightly smaller body than a Fender Strat. It looks familiar to us all, but once you start digging into all the unique specs and overall design attributes it definitely has its own mojo goin’. I’m very happy!





  • Model Cutlass HSS RS
  • Size 12-7/8" wide, 1-5/8" thick, 38-1/8" long
  • Body Wood Alder
  • Body Finish High Gloss Polyester
  • Bridge Music Man® Modern tremolo with vintage bent steel saddles
  • Pickguard Tortoise
  • Scale Length 25-1/2"
  • Neck Radius 10"
  • Frets 22: Stainless Steel, high profile medium width (.047” H, .095” W)
  • Neck Width 1-5/8" at nut, 2-1/4" at last fret
  • Neck Wood: Select Roasted figured maple
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Fret Markers: 1/4" White Face dots
  • Neck Finish: Hand rubbed oil & wax
  • Tuning Machines Schaller M6-IND locking
  • Truss Rod Adjustable: no component or string removal
  • Neck Attachment: 5 bolts - Sculpted neck joint
  • Electronic Shielding Graphite acrylic resin coated body cavity and aluminum lined pickguard
  • Controls: Passive 500kohm volume and tone (250kohm load on lever switch positions 2,3,4, & 5) - .022µF tone capacitor; with transparent buffered output for complete tonal consistency at all volume levels
  • Switching: 5-way lever pickup selector
  • Pickups HSS: 1 Music Man® custom humbucking bridge pickup, 2 Music Man® custom wound single coils featuring the new wide spectrum Music Man® "Silent Circuit", which reduces hum and retains true single coil sound
  • 6 Lbs 14 oz.
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John C

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That's a nice one; congrats!!!

The body shape goes back to Music Man's Leo Fender era - it's pretty much the body of Leo's Sabre guitar but it might be a little more contoured than the Leo model (and EBMM's current Sabre just shares the body outline with the original Sabre and the Cutlass models).
 

Double Stop

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That's a nice one; congrats!!!

The body shape goes back to Music Man's Leo Fender era - it's pretty much the body of Leo's Sabre guitar but it might be a little more contoured than the Leo model (and EBMM's current Sabre just shares the body outline with the original Sabre and the Cutlass models).
Thank you. Yeah, very interesting indeed. When I was doing the research on this model pre-purchase I read up a bit on the history of Ernie Ball and I had no prior knowledge of the association with Leo. It definitely has some Fender DNA, but different enough not to be just another clone. More modern.
 

KC

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welcome to the club -- nice-looking Cutlass. If it plays as well as mine (and it sounds like it does) you're good to go. The EBMM with the closest link to the Fender era is the StingRay, which is an updated version of an original Leo design, another fine guitar. These guys fly under the radar for a lot of people which is too bad -- they make a really good instrument.
 

Double Stop

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whoa nice! Not usually a fan of the Easter egg colors, but the tort pickguard MAKES that one
Thanks! Funny you mentioned “Easter Egg” color because that’s exactly what I said when I was showing my daughter it for the first time!

I literally said, “Hey, check out my new guitar. It reminds me of an Easter Egg!” The color scheme also reminds me of those old “Brach’s Royal” candy wrappers, too.😊
 
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John C

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Thank you. Yeah, very interesting indeed. When I was doing the research on this model pre-purchase I read up a bit on the history of Ernie Ball and I had no prior knowledge of the association with Leo. It definitely has some Fender DNA, but different enough not to be just another clone. More modern.

Yes the history of Leo, Music Man and G&L is a pretty deep rabbit hole, but it's definitely an interesting story - with a bit of "Hollywood divorce" thrown in for good measure.
 

Double Stop

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welcome to the club -- nice-looking Cutlass. If it plays as well as mine (and it sounds like it does) you're good to go. The EBMM with the closest link to the Fender era is the StingRay, which is an updated version of an original Leo design, another fine guitar. These guys fly under the radar for a lot of people which is too bad -- they make a really good instrument.

Thank you very much! Yeah, the fit and finish is top notch. Sounds great, plays great, nice hardshell case, fabulous frets. It's a really great guitar and yes, they do fly under the radar for most folks, sadly. I've already got my eye on a particular Albert Lee model that I just might snatch up soon!
 

tintag27

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That's a beauty!
Fascinating for me to read your comments on this model. I had to sell my EBMM Axis Sport HSS in the wake of the financial crash around 2009, so I know first hand about the quality of craftsmanship that goes into the California products.
No way I could afford to buy another, sadly...
However I recently bought a mint 2015 Sterling Cutlass CT50, which you might know is the MM budget line, and it's fun to see the similarites and of course the big differences between the two...
 

John C

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Beautiful guitar! So how much??? (I may be having another GAS attack).

Current MAP on EBMM Cutlass models is $2,599; they do come in SSS as well as HSS, but only 2 color schemes - the light blue/rosewood board/shell pickguard and tobacco burst/maple board/mint pickguard (they call it mint but most photos I've seen of these it looks more like parchment).
 

Happy Enchilada

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Current MAP on EBMM Cutlass models is $2,599; they do come in SSS as well as HSS, but only 2 color schemes - the light blue/rosewood board/shell pickguard and tobacco burst/maple board/mint pickguard (they call it mint but most photos I've seen of these it looks more like parchment).
OK that's enough $$$ to squelch any additional GAS on my part.
 




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