Sometimes we’re so carried away with the future and everything that’s connected to it, that we only look at the guitars that offer innovation or newer approaches. We chase modern instruments, yet we forget that what we lack is something classic and traditional. Who said that our guitars should be distinctive and extraordinary? – no one. We should own the models that are great for us and our music. That could be anything, including a mainstream piece. Sometimes we stop caring about bells and whistles and attractive designs and start paying attention to the sound, and sound only. In those cases, we discover guitars, such as Sterling by Music Man Axis AX3S. It’s an affordable piece that has a classic appearance. At first glance, it doesn’t have anything that would entice you, but as you explore more, you start to unravel everything that’s hidden beneath the surface. Let’s cut to the chase and begin reviewing this wonderful piece!
Sterling by Music Man Axis is a rather interesting piece, especially for the price range it belongs to. Though it’s affordable, we can easily say that it packs a lot of punch. That approach is noticeable in every detail of it, including the construction.
AX3S has a basswood body that is really lightweight. It won’t be of any trouble to stand up and play it that way. The design is traditional – black or white bodies feature the shape that we’ve seen so many times. Its single-cutaway makes all the frets accessible to your fingers, which is always a nice thing to have on hand. The neck is made from hard maple and features a jatoba fretboard with 22 narrow frets. It’s quite easy to move along the neck and fingerboard, as they seem to be quite comfortable to play. The scale length is 25.5 inches, which, once again is a typical deal. As you can see, Ernie Ball Music Man went for a simple model with their Sterling Axis. Who needs confusing traits when we have something so affordable?
Even though the construction was simple, the rest of the features are not. What I mean is that Axis attempted to give us some versatility by incorporating certain details that turn it into a diverse piece. This bad boy has a Fulcrum tremolo bridge with a tremolo arm. Even though these two are decent, you should still be careful with the arm unless you want to break it. I really wish it had better quality, but I guess that wasn’t possible at this price range. Die-cast tuning machines are capable of holding the tune quite well, but you might still have some tuning stability issues. We have a single-action truss rod, which means the neck can only be adjusted in one direction. But that’s something we encounter frequently.
The electronics is the part where Axis offers better performance than we expected. Though it still acts as a budget-friendly piece, the pickups aren’t half bad. We have two humbuckers on the neck and bridge positions. They are paired with Volume and Tone controls. There’s also a five-way selector, which enables you to experiment with various combinations and access the versatility we talked about.
Sterling Axis Sound
Sterling by Music Man Axis proves its worth in terms of sound. Though it had many features that were unexpected, the sound is probably the one that will surprise you the most. This bad boy has a nice amount of diversity in its tone: you can hear low, mid and high ranges equally. You can distort the hell out of it and it won’t lose its definition. Go easy, play clean and you’ll hear the richness of individual notes. Experimenting with a five-way selector will leave you with some interesting results – Axis offers some unconventional options that will set your sound apart from anything else. The tremolo bridge is another feature that you should experiment with. Even though the arm won’t let you do some sophisticated tricks, you can use it occasionally for some tremolo.
Sterling by Music Man Axis is definitely an affordable guitar and you do get what you paid for. But that doesn’t mean you don’t get a decent punch. This bad boy is quite amazing, and even though it might need some adjustments to be an absolute beast, it’s still badass as is. Good luck!
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