Price paid: $ 800
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Features — 8
This guitar was made in Indonesia. It's based loosely off of the MusicMan JP6. It's a 24 fret guitar with medium jumbo nickel frets rathr than stainless steel like it's older borther. The Sterling JP100D is available in basswood or mahogany with a Koa top. I purchased the mahogany/Koa version. The neck consists of a rosewood freboard with JP Shield inlays and a maple neck. The neck has a satin finish on it rather than a gloss finish. As far as controls, it has a 3-way selector and a volume and tone knob. These are hooked up to Liquifire and Crunchlab pickups. To top it off, locking tuners are included.
(Last minute edit: I wish it had piezo saddles and coil tapping like it's older brother.)
Sound — 10
Now for the important question: how does it sound? If I had to pick a word to describe this guitar, that word would be "versatile." I tested this guitar through 3 different amplifiers and against 2 different guitars prior to purchasing it. The guitars were an Agile 828 with EMGs (which wasn't too bad, but I don't wanna open myself to 8 strings yet) and the ESP LTD BS7 (which was pretty bad and also had JP pickups). The amplifiers I used for tone testing purposes were the Vypyr (because cheap), the 6505 (because muh tubes), and the Vox AC10 (which I'm going to go back and buy in the spring). On each amp, I dialed in a high mids distortion tone with each guitar. The MusicMan responded well on each amp, with the Agile in close second. I was able to keep a tight growling distortion on the Crunchlab pickup, while singing on the Liquifire. Harmonic overtones were very present and loud without being overly obtrusive. The cleans are well balanced. Honestly, tonally this guitar reminds me of the PRS S2 Vela. Very sweet sounding with little extra noise. This is honestly one of my favorite guitars, compared against a Jackson DK2M w/ JB and '59 pickups, an Ibanez S5EX1, and a stock Agile 2500.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The set-up was very low, right off the bat. The strings are maybe just a tad less tense than I like, but the lowness of the action was a big plus. All of the mechanics are solid. There's no scratchy pots or random clicking. The tone knob is very expressive, which allows more range of tones. There was a single fret that wasn't filed too well, so I got the tech at guitar center to file it for me. She plays like butter. Something to note: bigger hands don't work well with this guitar right away. My hands are pretty big, and I'd gotten used to playing on my Jackson which has a more widely spaced fretboard. It's a bit like switching from a 7 string back to a six string after a year of exclusively playing seven strings. Just something to remember when considering this guitar for your collection.
Reliability & Durability — 7
The hardware seems pretty solid. The bridge is a stainless steel alloy as are the tuners. I could imagine gigging with this guitar, though I haven't gigged in about 2 years. I would swap the strap buttons for cliplocks if you plan on gigging. That's all I can say about that. They're making me say more. I don't gig often. I'm a bedroom guitarist. So my opinion on durability is not going to be as informed as someone who gigs heavily. For what I'm using it for, it seems like it'll be just fine. Maybe I'll stress test it? Hang it off of the side of my balcony by its strap? Drop it on concrete without a case?
Overall Impression — 9
I jump between many different styles of rock, but one thing is consistent: I love singable tracks with great guitar playing. This guitar has a great sound that I can use for any of the styles I like if I'm willing to tweak it a bit. I've been playing for 9 years and I've accumulated a few good instruments. I'm running my guitars through a Line 6 Flextone 2 XL (great amp, pretty versatile with the floorboard). I mentioned my main three, but I also have a cheap Ibanez RG120 that I kept from when I started playing and a ESP LTD H-207. The Sterling stands above all but the Jackson (at least, until my Carvin arrives). I wish I'd known sooner about how well this thing plays. I'd have had it a year ago. I'd replace it if it were taken from me, just like I would for the Jackson. I just wish it had a slightly fatter neck like the Jackson. Buy it. You'll like it.