Sterling Luke – Review – 24/01/2019

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.

 

Initial Evaluation

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 Lukather Prefers).

Specifications.

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 Music Man.

Sounds

Please see our Sound Demo Video Below

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.

Summary

A great guitar suitable for all levels of guitar players.

By Ernest H Slade
www.gear-review.co.uk