Sterling Cutlass - what did I do?

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by AndyPanda, Nov 21, 2019.

  1. AndyPanda

    AndyPanda Tele-Meister

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    258
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2019
    Location:
    Bay Area, California
    I've been wanting to get a strat type guitar and missed out on a stupid deal of the day for a G&L Tribute Legacy the other day. There is a Classic Vibe on CL that I've been looking at. Then I just came across an open box Scratch/Dent Cutlass SSS for a price I couldn't pass up. Though it has me very curious just how scratched and dented it might be.

    Anyway I pulled the trigger and I guess I'll find out in about a week just what I bought. From reading a few reviews, I'm hearing it's a V shaped neck profile with a pretty flat fingerboard radius -- both things I like quite a bit.

    I'm not sure what the Sterling strat type pickups will be like - I guess I'll find out.

    Anyone here have any experience with one of these?
     
  2. KC

    KC Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,921
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2003
    Location:
    Missoula, Montana
    I have the Music Man version, made in California, current #1, fantastic guitar. But I don't know how the Sterling measures up. Will await your report.
     
    AndyPanda likes this.
  3. AndyPanda

    AndyPanda Tele-Meister

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    258
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2019
    Location:
    Bay Area, California
    Looks like it will be delivered next Friday. It's Daphne Blue with maple fingerboard. The YouTube reviews I've seen have been glowing for the Sterling version so I'm pretty optimistic.
     
    Skydog1010 likes this.
  4. 985plowboy

    985plowboy Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,092
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2012
    Location:
    South Louisiana
    It's going to be fun.
     
    AndyPanda likes this.
  5. CK Dexter Haven

    CK Dexter Haven Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    57
    Posts:
    3,309
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2017
    Location:
    GCDB
    I had whatever was before
    “ Sterling” ( OLP?)nice guitar.. zero resale value
     
  6. mikestearns

    mikestearns Tele-Meister

    Age:
    35
    Posts:
    141
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2019
    Location:
    Hanover, PA
    Not sure about the Cutlass' but on the Andertons show when they were reviewing the Music Man and Sterling versions of the Valentine guitar the implication was that the Sterling was nice enough it almost didn't make sense to buy the Music Man.
     
    AndyPanda likes this.
  7. AndyPanda

    AndyPanda Tele-Meister

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    258
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2019
    Location:
    Bay Area, California
    There is an Anderton's show where Chapman reviewed the exact model (Cutlass SSS) that I ordered and said he started out biased against it (saw that it was made in China) and expected to hate it until he picked it up and really liked it.

    The one I ordered was stupid cheap price (full warranty, brand new but open box and scratch/dent) so I'm not at all sure what to expect cosmetics - but it should be here Friday next. I am not one who cares about cosmetics so as long as the neck is straight and truss rod works.
     
  8. aging_rocker

    aging_rocker Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    278
    Joined:
    May 8, 2019
    Location:
    The upsidedown
    I've tried a few Sterlings before, including a cutlass and a silo3.

    Nothing wrong with them at all, well made and nicely finished for the price, but they just didn't feel right in my hands, if you know what I mean.
     
    AndyPanda likes this.
  9. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,871
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2003
    Location:
    Santa Barbara, California
    I bought a new Ibanez AS153 that was about $300 cheaper due to a minor blemish. But I got to see the blemish in photos--
    a very, very minor finish blem on the side of this ES-335 style guitar-- where I can see it while playing but no one else can see it.
    No big deal at all-- I've made much worse blemishes on guitars myself, sometimes in the first few days of owning them!

    So in your case I'm hoping that you are pleasantly surprised at what turns out to be very minor, almost unnoticeable imperfections.

    I imagine that if a shop has a new guitar that has some scratches or blemishes on it they have two choices-- sell it as a "second", or
    sell it as "used". Depending on the make and model they might make more money selling it as a used guitar instead of selling
    it as a "second". Either way these are great deals for the consumer, IMO. You get a perfectly good guitar at a much lower
    price and you don't feel as bad when you put your own first scratch or dent on it.

    Given that the Chinese are able to make things like iPhones and laptops I don't think it is reasonable in this day and age to assume
    that QA/QC on a Chinese built guitar is going to be poor. Of course at a lower price point, no matter where a guitar is manufactured or
    assembled, they are not going to give it quite as much TLC when it comes to things like setup because they can't spend as much time on it and
    still manage to make a profit. I think that setup is often the key difference that makes a lower price point guitar seem inferior to a higher price point guitar...
    i.e., there's nothing much different that a good setup can't fix. Sometimes they use inferior components, too, but not always. And some supposedly inferior
    components, like smaller diameter potentiometers, work just fine, anyway.
     
    AndyPanda likes this.
  10. AndyPanda

    AndyPanda Tele-Meister

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    258
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2019
    Location:
    Bay Area, California
    UPS is showing "Severe Weather Delay" and apparently the guitar is stuck in Salt Lake City since Sunday - but they haven't changed the delivery date yet, it's still showing Friday delivery.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2019
  11. AndyPanda

    AndyPanda Tele-Meister

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    258
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2019
    Location:
    Bay Area, California
    UPS finally delivered the Cutlass today.
    It still has the plastic film on the pickguard and seems like new. But it is not at all the Sterling Cutlass I thought I was ordering. It still says "Sterling Cutlass" but it is nothing like the Sterling Cutlass in all the reviews. Apparently they discontinued that one and slapped the same name on a lesser instrument built to a much lower price point. So the "too good to be true" price was really just an OK price.

    Nowhere in the description does it give any indication that it isn't the same instrument (unless you notice that this one has the words "SUB Series" on the headstock and the previous model didn't.

    The neck feels really good profile. But none of the hardware is the quality I thought I was getting. I'll have to give it a few days. I had thought this was the MusicMan equivalent of G&L's tribute series (like the previous model was that I thought I was ordering) but this is more in the Squier Affinity range.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 1, 2019
    Skydog1010 likes this.
  12. John C

    John C Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,252
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2005
    Location:
    Kansas City
    Damn - I didn't know that EBMM had re-worked the Sterling Cutlass to take it downscale.

    It's not just the Cutlass; it looks like the Axis, StingRay and Albert Lee (they are only doing the HH version) have been downscaled to the "SUB Series" as well. The Valentines, Luke, St. Vincents and all their JP models do not have the "SUB Series" on the headstock so I'm assuming they have not been downscaled. I am surprised that they downscaled the Albert Lee was downscaled while the other Signature models were not.
     
  13. AndyPanda

    AndyPanda Tele-Meister

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    258
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2019
    Location:
    Bay Area, California
    I'm really surprised too. The paint on the body is very nice and the shape of the neck is very nice --- but the overall look of the thing (pale white wood with no tint, cheesy headstock decal and really crappy hardware) puts it in league with the entry level Squier. The main detractor is the pot metal tremolo. The previous version had a very good tremolo system with steel saddles but this one is the low mass block, pot metal with saddle screws that strip if you try to adjust them.

    I looked at Musician's Friend webpage again and they are showing incorrect specs that make it sound like the old version... and nowhere on their page does it list the actual different model number. So they really are playing on selling this as the same instrument that got all the great reviews without giving the new model number. It is now a CT30 and the previous (good) one was a CT50. And even if you go to Sterling's webpage ---- the text on the page is all correct specs and model name (CT30) but the header that shows in the WebBrowser title bar still says CT50. SO even Sterling can't keep it straight --- pretty misleading and "bait and switch" I'd say.
     
  14. John C

    John C Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,252
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2005
    Location:
    Kansas City
    That is pretty poor on their part - both Sterling/EBMM and MF. They used to have SUB series Silhouettes/Silhouette Specials so I suppose they've decided to move the Cutlass and StingRay down to that level (the Axis has been at that level for a few years). As I mentioned I was surprised to see the Albert Lee was also downgraded while all the other Signature models seem to be at the previous level.
     
    AndyPanda likes this.
  15. harold h

    harold h Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,327
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2004
    They basically have three levels-

    Real Music Man
    Sterling
    Sub series

    So they have evidently moved the Cutlass from the middle line to the
    bottom.
     
    AndyPanda likes this.
  16. Bob Womack

    Bob Womack Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    957
    Joined:
    May 28, 2016
    Location:
    Between Clever and Stupid
    The Sterling Luke LK100 underwent a small downgrade. It was originally designated the LK100D with the "D" representing the fact that it was loaded with Lukather's Signature DiMarzio "Transition" pickups. Sometime last year they began loading it with their own pickups and labeled it the LK100HH and then hyphened one of three suffixes that are finish designators such as "LK100HH-HZB" for Hazelburst. I understand the pickups are the only difference. However, they did lower the price by enough that it isn't a big hike to add on the DiMarzios. I get the feeling they were attempting to make the guitar fit into a more active price range.

    Bob
     
    AndyPanda likes this.
  17. AndyPanda

    AndyPanda Tele-Meister

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    258
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2019
    Location:
    Bay Area, California
    But they didn't change the name to "SUB series Cutlass". They still call it the "Sterling Cutlass" but added a smaller line "SUB Series" to the headstock. The words "Sub Series" is only on the headstock and is not mentioned in any product description and in fact the product description is still specifying, incorrectly, that it comes with features that the better series had.
     
  18. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,871
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2003
    Location:
    Santa Barbara, California
    If you’re going to go with a different guitar company I’d recommend Yamaha and Ibanez. Everything they make is highly competitive at every price point.
     
    AndyPanda likes this.
  19. Skydog1010

    Skydog1010 Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Age:
    66
    Posts:
    1,201
    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2019
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I believe you dodged a bullet when you missed out on the G&L. I bought three Tributes, thought they were great when I got them, then I played them quite a bit, and thought they needed for this or that, the more I tinkered (actually my tech) with them the worse they proved to be. Everything on them is proprietary in some way or another, customer service is ZIP. So IMHO you got lucky. I don't bash vendors as a rule, but I'm not happy with G&L and I'm certain they don't care, suits the heck out of me. One less brand on my walls.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.