Sterling’s take on a classic that was famed for gracing the hands of Eddie Van Halen in the ‘90s, which was then known as the Music Man EVH Signature and is now known as the Axis, the Sterling by Music Man SUB AX3 Electric Guitar takes inspiration from this design but packages it up into a more affordable instrument.
The AX3 is a joy to play, and we'd heartily recommend it for a beginner who wants to hone their chops on an quality value axe with an 80s vibe.- Andrew Gregory (musicradar.com)
A Classic Design Made Affordable
The Sterling by Music Man SUB AX3 Electric Guitar offers one of those body shapes that are instantly-recognisable, with its design that has been lifted from the classic single cutaway model, the Axis. Of course, as well as looking good, this cutaway gives you access all the way up to the upper registers.
The solid body design in the case of this model has been constructed with the hardwood, Jabon. A little heavier than the usual hardwood of choice, basswood, which some find to be too lightweight, Jabon gives the instrument a robust and sturdy feel, and it resonates wonderfully.
This is joined by a bound quilt maple image top. Although this is not a real piece of maple, which would send the cost of the guitar spiralling upwards, it still looks amazing and, just as the rest of the guitar, has been made to last.
Asymmetrical Neck, Contoured Heel
The neck of the Sterling by Music Man S.U.B. AX3 is fixed seamlessly into the body via a 5-bolt neck joint, as is found on the brand’s Silo3 models. The neck heel here has been contoured to provide absolute comfort when playing in the upper register.
The neck itself is carved from maple, to an asymmetrical shape. If you’re not familiar with this design, it offers a slightly rounder feel at the headstock end, making chord work a breeze with plenty of girth to get your hands around, and then flattens out as you get closer to the bridge, for playing faster, detailed passages with ease. The neck is also satin-finished for a luxurious and grippy playing feel.
Also making up the Sterling by Music Man SUB AX3’s 25.5-inch scale length is a 22-medium fret, maple fingerboard with a radial measurement of 12-inches. This leads to a dive-bomb-friendly, vintage-style tremolo and the guitar also offers easy access to the truss rod and saddles, for hassle-free adjustments.
When it comes to electronics, the Sterling by Music Man SUB AX3 Electric Guitar has even more to shout about, with four conductor Zebra pickups wired to a 5-way selector. What this means for you is that the 2 high output “Zebra” coil humbucking pickups, which are directly mounted into the body, are set up for coil-tapping through the 5-way pickup selector, so you are not restricted to just humbucker tones, as you have access to single-coil sounds from both pickups.
The single-coil tones are no afterthought either, with crisp, cutting tones that are perfect for blues and classic rock, while giving a great country tone in the middle position. Go back to humbuckers, and you’ll get the thicker tone you’d expect, with a boost to the mid-range and overall volume.
Manufacturer Sterling Model S.U.B. AX3 Model Number AX3TB Top Material Photo Quilt Maple Body Material Jabon Neck Material Maple Neck Profile Asymmetrical Fingerboard Material Maple No. of Frets 22 Fret Size Medium Position Inlays Black Dot Fingerboard Radius 12” Scale Length 25.5” Pickups High output “Zebra” coil humbucker (Bridge)
High output “Zebra” coil humbucker (Neck)
Pickup Config. HH Active/Passive Passive Controls 5-Way Pickup Selector
Bridge Vintage Tremolo Hardware Finish Chrome Tuners Sealed Finish Translucent Blue
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