NGD: Ernie Ball Music Man HSS Cutlass Powder Blue

DanglingNutslots

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Jan 5, 2022
Posts
208
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Canada
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.
View attachment 964913 View attachment 964910 View attachment 964911 View attachment 964912 View attachment 964914 View attachment 964915 View attachment 964916 View attachment 964917 View attachment 964918 View attachment 964919
Super nice! I’ve the same neck finish on my EB Music Man St. Vincent and it’s the smoothest playing neck I’ve ever had.
 

KC

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Mar 16, 2003
Posts
4,911
Location
Missoula, Montana
Current MAP on EBMM Cutlass models is $2,599
Yeah, that's a lot -- but you don't have to pay it unless you need a brand-new guitar in a particular color. When these were introduced in 2016, the sticker price was a lot less, like $1000 less. You can probably find a second-hand one in the $1000-1200 range if you're patient. These first versions had a light poly finish on the neck and not the sultry gun oil / wax of later versions but still a lovely neck and as stunningly well-made guitar. I got mine for under a grand (OK, like a dollar under a grand) as a new b-stock and it's been my #1 since.
 

John C

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Joined
Sep 20, 2005
Posts
4,779
Location
Kansas City
Yeah, that's a lot -- but you don't have to pay it unless you need a brand-new guitar in a particular color. When these were introduced in 2016, the sticker price was a lot less, like $1000 less. You can probably find a second-hand one in the $1000-1200 range if you're patient. These first versions had a light poly finish on the neck and not the sultry gun oil / wax of later versions but still a lovely neck and as stunningly well-made guitar. I got mine for under a grand (OK, like a dollar under a grand) as a new b-stock and it's been my #1 since.

Yes; EBMM was really trying to price the original Cutlass and Stingray versions to be above an American Standard price but to undercut the American Elite models that were also released at the January 2016 NAMM show.

Then in 2018 they went to the roasted maple neck/oil & wax finish and upped the price about $500. They've steadily increased the price since then to the point where they are in-between Fender top-of-the-line and entry-level Suhrs.
 

DanglingNutslots

Tele-Meister
Joined
Jan 5, 2022
Posts
208
Location
Canada
Yes; EBMM was really trying to price the original Cutlass and Stingray versions to be above an American Standard price but to undercut the American Elite models that were also released at the January 2016 NAMM show.

Then in 2018 they went to the roasted maple neck/oil & wax finish and upped the price about $500. They've steadily increased the price since then to the point where they are in-between Fender top-of-the-line and entry-level Suhrs.
They are pricey. I traded an Gibson Les Paul HP II for mine. I like the EB more.
 

red57strat

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Silver Supporter
Joined
Oct 4, 2003
Posts
2,452
Location
Massachusetts
I have the same guitar in Firemist with a maple fretboard. I love the feel of the neck and stainless frets. The neck is a little thinner than I like, but I find myself playing things that I didn't even know I could play on this guitar.
 

Double Stop

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Jul 18, 2020
Posts
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Location
Third Stone
I have the same guitar in Firemist with a maple fretboard. I love the feel of the neck and stainless frets. The neck is a little thinner than I like, but I find myself playing things that I didn't even know I could play on this guitar.
Yeah, I usually play thicker '50s Tele U necks or slightly thinner '60s Oval C necks, too. Like you said, the neck is on the thinner spectrum but inspires me to play differently. Really fast-playing neck.
 

markal

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Joined
Mar 24, 2016
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47
Location
Colorado
That’s a beauty. Love the neck.
Congrats!

19 guitars! How do you *****? That would drive me crazy. But I be it’s fun.
 

Boxla

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Jahmerica
Congrats! I'll be interested on your feelings towards your other necks after playing this one for a bit. I have a couple of Axis Sports and because of their necks, I no longer care to play any other necks/guitars. The weird thing is that I have never played another MM guitar. I assume all their necks are outstanding and similar but I do know they all have their own profiles. Although, besides the JP's, I believe they all have the 41.3 mm nut. I've been told that the Steve Morse has the closest neck to the Axis necks. Of course, the Axis, Axis Sport and Axis Super Sport all have the necks that EVH wanted. His was just a tad narrower if you can believe that. When I got my first Sport, the high E used to slip off the fretboard due to my style. That no longer happens. Congrats again and welcome to the world of the greatest guitars.
 

red57strat

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Posts
2,452
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Massachusetts
I have the same guitar in silvermist (a very light metallic blue) with a roasted maple fretboard. I wasn't sure how I felt about it at first due to it having a very small neck, but I really like it. The neck finish and stainless steel frets are incredible and the neck size is perfect as I move up it- it makes me think that sometimes I might like necks that are a little too large. I can express myself better on this guitar than on others.
The bridge humbucker doesn't split and it doesn't need to. It's just right. Not too hot. The guitar can seem a little bright then I realize how great the tone control works and I turn it down.
 

Double Stop

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Jul 18, 2020
Posts
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Third Stone
I have the same guitar in silvermist (a very light metallic blue) with a roasted maple fretboard. I wasn't sure how I felt about it at first due to it having a very small neck, but I really like it. The neck finish and stainless steel frets are incredible and the neck size is perfect as I move up it- it makes me think that sometimes I might like necks that are a little too large. I can express myself better on this guitar than on others.
The bridge humbucker doesn't split and it doesn't need to. It's just right. Not too hot. The guitar can seem a little bright then I realize how great the tone control works and I turn it down.

Yeah, not doubt about the wonderfull smooth feeling neck and slick SS frets. It took a while to get used to at first because it was almost "too effortless" to play compared to having that slight bit of fight with nickel frets. You expressed the same sentiments I have about the bridge pickup. It has just the right amount of mid-range, compressed thickness but still retains the sparkly highs, and the tone control on this is one of the most responsive of any of my guitars. If I roll it back to about "7" it gets a honky, creamy 70's rock tone.

The neck is probably the thinnest I've got. Like you, I find myself playing differently and it inspired me to venture into uncharted waters. I'm really impressed with these Music Man guitars. Everything just works great. The trem stays in tune and is very fluid with just the right amount of resistance, and when you roll back the volume, it loses zero highs which makes it perfect for running an amp really hot and then just using the volume knob to get those crystals-clear cleans.
 
Last edited:

red57strat

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Yeah, not doubt about the wonderfull smooth feeling neck and slick SS frets. It took a while to get used to at first because it was almost "too effortless" to play compared to having that slight bit of fight with nickel frets. You expressed the same sentiments I have about the bridge pickup. It has just the right amount of mid-range, compressed thickness but still retains the sparkly highs, and the tone control on this is one of the most responsive of any of my guitars. If I roll it back to about "7" it gets a honky, creamy 70's rock tone.

The neck is probably the thinnest I've got. Like you, I find myself playing differently and it inspired me to venture into uncharted waters. I'm really impressed with these Music Man guitars. Everything just works great. The trem stays in tune and is very fluid with just the right amount of resistance, and when you roll back the volume, it loses zero highs which makes it perfect for running an amp really hot and then just using the volume knob to get those crystals-clear cleans.

I've had Carvins with stainless steel frets (still have one) and knew what to expect.

The trem stays in tune very well! I've got a lot of nice guitars, but this is my most "pro-grade", no excuses guitar. It just works.

One issue- it sounds really harsh with a germanium Fuzz Face.
 

John C

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Joined
Sep 20, 2005
Posts
4,779
Location
Kansas City
One issue- it sounds really harsh with a germanium Fuzz Face.

That's been discussed over on the EBMM forums before - mostly back when the Cutlass was first released in 2016. Owners were finding that the buffered output part of the current active circuit doesn't work well with a Fuzz Face or any other germanium fuzz. "Sounding harsh" is about as good as it gets with a germanium fuzz.
 

jamar56

TDPRI Member
Gold Supporter
Joined
Mar 18, 2011
Posts
7
Location
The Netherlands
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.
View attachment 964913 View attachment 964910 View attachment 964911 View attachment 964912 View attachment 964914 View attachment 964915 View attachment 964916 View attachment 964917 View attachment 964918 View attachment 964919
She’s gorgious. Once owned a Silhouet. Still regret selling it. Build quality of MM is impecable.
 

Stratocast

Tele-Meister
Joined
Jan 23, 2022
Posts
456
Age
66
Location
Papillion ne
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.
View attachment 964913 View attachment 964910 View attachment 964911 View attachment 964912 View attachment 964914 View attachment 964915 View attachment 964916 View attachment 964917 View attachment 964918 View attachment 964919
Nice looking guitar. I stopped at guitar number 60. I figured that s a nice round number. Only about 40 of my guitars are strats and teles. Though. The rest are Ibanez’s Gibsons. Epiphones. Etc.
 




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