Music Man Sterling AX3 Black RW
Manufacturer's ID: AX3SBK
What we say:
This hard-rocking machine is the AX3, part of the Axis range from Sterling by Music Man. The Axis began life back in the 90s as the Music Man Eddie Van Halen signature model and signs of this provenance are still relatively clear to see in the design and shape of the AX3. Even at this modest price, this is a guitar for playing wildly on!
The double cutaway body of the AX3 has a flat top with binding around the edges. This body, made from Basswood, is relatively small and feels nicely ergonomic. The bolted on Maple neck features Music Man’s distinctive ‘4+2’ tuning key configuration on a headstock that promotes straight string pull.
The neck specification is actually something of a surprise: given the original inspiration, we were expecting a wafer thin neck with a flatter-than-flat fingerboard. Instead, we found a supremely comfortable neck profile with narrow fret wire over a pretty mainstream 9.5” radius! It’s an unexpected yet impressive surface to play on, we’re happy to say!
All genres seem to be welcome on the Sterling by Music Man AX3: Hard Rock is a cinch; Blues flows easily; jazz is a breeze and other in-between styles fit in without incident! This is backed up by the two humbucking pickups selected for this guitar: they prove themselves to be very versatile indeed, bringing out a very useful low gain voice to add range to the expected high gain crunch capability. A 5-way pickup switch allows extra tonal potential.
The tremolo on here is a non-locking type designed by Music Man and based on classic ‘vintage’ trems. The straight string pull of the headstock comes into play here, helping to reduce unwanted tuning issues that sometimes occur when going ‘spare’ on the whammy bar!
The AX3 is available in two finishes currently, this being the Black option. The headstock is painted to match the body, a classy move. The guitar feels compact and well balanced, with an instantly familiar vibe. This is a fun and satisfying guitar to play, regardless of what you’re playing!
As an affordable workhorse, this AX3 is second to none.
|Scale Length||25-1/2" (64.8cm)|
|Neck Radius||12" (30.5cm)|
|Frets||22 Frets, Narrow|
|Neck Width||1.65"(42mm) at Nut|
|Neck Wood||Hard Maple|
|Fret Markers||White Dot Markers|
|Truss Rod||Single Action|
|Neck Attachment||5 Bolt Pattern|
|Controls||1 Volume, 1 Tone|
|Switching||5-way Toggle Pickup Selector|
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