AX20 review by Sterling by Music Man

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 7
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.2 Superb
  • Users' score: 5.3 (9 votes)
Sterling by Music Man: AX20

Price paid: $ 710

Purchased from:

Sound — 8
The AX-20 is designed practically to play any style of music. Its rosewood fret board adds body, rather than Darkness, to the overall tone. And the hard tail bridge sounds classically loud and sweet. The strings run through the body and are securely fastened by the locking tuners to the other end of the instrument. The Standard pairing of volume and tone controls is useful for exploring the wide range of tones. Although the AX-20 was designed to cover most genres, it is most at home in a country, rock, or blues song.

Overall Impression — 8
Sterling ball's AX series sets a high Standard for performance and tone from a budget instrument. The AX-20 is a geniune joy to play, hear, and show off. It will make a lot of Strat and Telecaster players feel much at home. I've been playing for about, 2-3 years now, and feel I am a decent player. I woud not buy this guitar if you are a metal junky like me. This guitar excels at blues, country, and light rock.

Reliability & Durability — 9
Seems like a very well Built guitar. Everything seems solid, and correctly placed. Even though I only played this at a music store, it seemed like it would last a long time before anything would give. This also goes for the Finnish, which doesn't seem like it will wear down anytime soon.

Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Well, The Company set up the guitar pretty well. I just had to raise the action a little bit, so I could play more Pinch harmonics easier. There were no obvious flaws in the guitar. Except I think this one was dropped or handled roughly in handling. A few scratch marks on the bottom, but nothing really noticeable.

Features — 9
The AX-20 has a body shape that is practically identical to the high end Axis guitar. It is made of light weight and warm sounding basswood, Capped with a quilted maple veneer top and wrapped with cream binding. Sterling zebra hum buckers are mounted directly to the body for excellent transference of Acoustic energy. As impressive as this budget guitar looks and sounds, it's the feel of the neck that just sets them apart from other instruments in this range. It's not very wide and carved asymmetrically, so that the left hand is positioned more properly and comfortably. It's the kind of ergonomically feel that you expect on a guitar that has been worn in through decades of constant use. The truss rod is accessed in front of the neck pickup, and the headstocks are cut in the traditional Music Man shape, with tuners split 2 on one side and 4 on the other. Incidentally, this configuration results in Strat-like jangly mids courtesy of the long G string, and punchy highs from the shorter top strings. The fretwork on this guitar was fantastic, and the medium jumbo frets were crowned superbly.

Body - Basswood
Neck - Maple bolt on, asymmetrical carve
Fingerboard - Rosewood
Scale - 25, 1/2
Hardware - Music Man designed hard tail, locking chrome tuners
Controls - Master volume and tone, 3 way blade pickup selector.

11 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I don't mind the look of it really. I know a guy who uses one of these and it sounds really good as well.
    700 dollars is a budget guitar? Man for 700 dollors all you get is a bolt on neck and basswood body, there's much better than this for the price.
    Ummmm just for the record, these are not made by MusicMan/Ernie Ball. It is a licensing agreement that allows a third party company to produce and market the guitars.
    I think its an attempt at a tele style guitar. Doesnt look too bad.. maybe a different paint job. Like sea blue.. o.e but yeah, $700 is like, 420.. or there abouts. could get a decent guitar for that, mexican tele or a cheap PRS.
    hate to break it to ya, you got ripped the hell off. im gonna get one for like 420$ new
    I personally love music man, but the sterling AX20 is one that i will never like. I've only played one good Axis MM in my life that i LIKE, and it was a full Music Man, not Sterling. For those of you who don't know, Sterling is low end music man at a lower budget. do not judge the company by one of their Sterling guitars, because they are the equivalent to a Fender Squire. If you want a really good guitar that looks better, has a better action and plays like AWESOME, try a REAL Music Man Axis or Music Man John Petrucci model
    Try the ax30 or 40.. These are actually awesome guitars.. Sterling by musicman are licensed by EBMM to praxis out of OC.. But I own a ax30,silo30 and a jp100 and I have guitars sitting in my studio triple even quadruple the price that does even add up to these! Bolt of necks EBMM and SBMM are the best in my opinion.. U want a good neck through for a badass price? Try michael Kelly guitars and their patriot series! U can't go wrong!