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This article was originally published in issue #63
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In terms of playability, the Sterling St Vincent is wonderfully ergonomic, with a slim and comfortable neck and great balance both sitting and standing. It’s a little awkward if (like me) you tend to sit in the classical position with the guitar on your left leg, but for the majority of players, this won’t be an issue.
Runway model good looks.
Very comfortable body shape.
Unique tonal options.
Pickups are a little lacking compared with the original.
African Mahogany Body
Featuring a perfectly balanced African mahogany body, a rock-maple neck, as well as many of the features of the Ernie Ball Music Man model. The Sterling by Music Man St. Vincent STV60 could very well be the perfect combination of style, balance, versatility and playability but at a much more affordable price point. Nick Jennison tells us more.
Designing a new guitar shape is fraught with danger. Stray too far from the status quo, and fledgeling instruments can go the way of the Gibson Moderne. Yet somehow, Music Man is seen to keep coming up with shapes that are original and eye-catching, but also deeply desirable. Not least of which is the impossibly chic St Vincent.
Designed in close collaboration with Annie Clark, (the guitar’s namesake) the St Vincent is a light-weight, sleek and elegant instrument that straddles a line between 80s futurism and haute couture. But like so many of Music Man’s more unconventional designs (like the Albert Lee, Majesty and Armada), it’s also remarkably comfortable and balanced.
The introduction of the St Vincent into the affordable Sterling line puts this unique instrument within reach of most players, while still retaining the majority of what makes it’s more expensive sibling so great. The maple neck isn’t roasted like the EBMM model, but this guitar still retains the mahogany body and rosewood fretboard of the original. It also retains the custom pickup selections of bridge, middle, neck, all pickups in parallel and bridge and neck in parallel. This takes some getting used to, as I'd have expected to have seen the two combined voices in positions 2 and 4. That said, part of me is glad that Sterling is giving us a signature guitar of the same spec as the artists' own instrument.
Speaking of pickups, the three mini humbuckers are pretty ferocious in terms of output. There’s a very forward midrange character present in every position, but I can’t help feeling they lack a little sparkle and articulation, especially when compared to the DiMarzio models found in the EBMM version. There’s punch aplenty though, with enough authority to penetrate dense mixes and long effects chains.
In terms of playability, the Sterling St Vincent is wonderfully ergonomic, with a slim and comfortable neck and great balance both sitting and standing. It’s a little awkward if (like me) you tend to sit in the classical position with the guitar on your left leg, but for the majority of players, this won’t be an issue. The action out of the box was a little stiff for my liking, but it does allow for a more aggressive right-hand style like Annie Clark’s without any buzzing or rattling. Interestingly, while this guitar is clearly made for players of a somewhat smaller stature, it didn’t feel fiddly or uncomfortable for a large chap like myself.
Available in Vincent Blue or Stealth Black, the Sterling St Vincent is a very attractive, functional and uniquely toneful guitar from an innovative company and an innovative artist. If you’re cool enough to carry it off, check it out. If you don’t, don’t sweat it - check it out anyway!