EB Music Man Guitars - Silhouette, Cutlass & The Luke

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KebabkidKebabkid Frets: 1336
edited January 11 in Guitar
I just wondered if we have any current or past owners of these on here, more so for the first two models as the HSS versions seem to posses really strong single coil sounds but then the humbucker works well with them, plus you have the benefit of silent switching, a versatile trem and locking machine heads. They're the sort of appointments I like in Superstrats.

You don't see many up for sale nor are they always in stock to try so just interested to see what people have to say about them, especially the MM oiled necks and how comfortable they are. My only experience of MMs is with The Lukes I've tried in shops. However, each time I've tried one, I've found them too powerful and couldn't get used to the diminutive neck. 

Cheers

 www.cairoeast.co.uk - Madness Tribute band (Bass Player) and guitarist elsewhere
Feedback - http://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/57885/
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  • MtBMtB Frets: 389
    @bazxkr may well be yer man to answer this - currently having 5 musicman guitars
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  • LewisWLewisW Frets: 14
    I have had two silhouettes, its not got the V profile (specific to the luke), and the key word I would use is 'compact'. The oil finish as mentioned is just the best feel to a neck (I currently have one of the all rosewood ones) which are very cool.

    I believe the cutlass is satin, not gunstock wax so that will feel slightly different, but ive heard lots of good things... the turquoise HSS looks really nice!

    I also own an axis, and its got more body to it than the silhouette and personally I Think its even better, still compact but more of a handfull at the back (the albert lee has the same neck carve). Old axis' come in HSS if you can find them.. could be another option for you.
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  • bazxkrbazxkr Frets: 385
    MtB said:
    @bazxkr may well be yer man to answer this - currently having 5 musicman guitars

    Never touched any of those three EBMMs. the OP mentionos.... generally the MM necks are small and will cramp people up if they have big hands or prefer chunkier bats to the point they can have difficulty playing them. If the necks fit you then they are some of the best about. Def horses for courses.
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  • KebabkidKebabkid Frets: 1336
    Thanks guys.

    @bazxkr - what models did you have? Axis? Petruccis?
     www.cairoeast.co.uk - Madness Tribute band (Bass Player) and guitarist elsewhere
    Feedback - http://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/57885/
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  • bazxkrbazxkr Frets: 385
    Kebabkid said:
    Thanks guys.

    @bazxkr - what models did you have? Axis? Petruccis?

    Still have Morse Y2D & also an original Morse blueburst, JP6 BFR & JP6 & a 25th anniversary (like the Reflex)

    Long gone are an Axis Super Sport & Albert Lee


    From memory I'd have said the ASS had the biggest neck of the EBMMs I've had but not big by chunky Gibson standards


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  • I've got an '89 Silhouette I've owned from new - it's SSS not HSS and they hadn't added silent switching then. It's also got the old-style 6 bolt neck plate instead of the (nicer, I think) 5 bolt version they have now. At the time, you could chose between a 10in radius neck and a 12in. I've got the 12in, with a rosewood fretboard. Scale length is 25.5in. The neck is not oiled, it's a satin finish that feels fantastic under the hand. It's small, light and very resonant - plugged in or not. 

    It's my 'go to' guitar and gets played 95% of the time I play electric. I totally love it and cannot ever see me selling it. And that, I suspect, is what we're all looking for in a guitar.
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  • KebabkidKebabkid Frets: 1336
    I'm looking at Superstrats and have had various ones in the past (Tom Anderson, Suhr, Schecter) and I'm just looking at other brands and the EBMMs caught my eye, as have the new Ibanez AZs.

    I need to see if I can try some of the different EBMM models as I like the sounds I've heard but seems the necks divide opinion.

    Cheers
     www.cairoeast.co.uk - Madness Tribute band (Bass Player) and guitarist elsewhere
    Feedback - http://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/57885/
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  • KebabkidKebabkid Frets: 1336
    I've got an '89 Silhouette I've owned from new - it's SSS not HSS and they hadn't added silent switching then. It's also got the old-style 6 bolt neck plate instead of the (nicer, I think) 5 bolt version they have now. At the time, you could chose between a 10in radius neck and a 12in. I've got the 12in, with a rosewood fretboard. Scale length is 25.5in. The neck is not oiled, it's a satin finish that feels fantastic under the hand. It's small, light and very resonant - plugged in or not. 

    It's my 'go to' guitar and gets played 95% of the time I play electric. I totally love it and cannot ever see me selling it. And that, I suspect, is what we're all looking for in a guitar.
    Nice and absolutely to your last paragraph!
     www.cairoeast.co.uk - Madness Tribute band (Bass Player) and guitarist elsewhere
    Feedback - http://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/57885/
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  • Winny_PoohWinny_Pooh Frets: 2580
    edited January 11
    The Axis may have a more regular neck but been a while since I played one. For fast playing I love the narrower string spacing. I don't really have a problem switching between necks, takes about a few mins but fine. 

    I think they are the ultimate "upgraded" Fenders in the same way Suhrs can be. 
    There is a MM dealer in Merstham just off the M25 worth going past (edit: not much stock ATM) plus Regent Sounds of course. 
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  • Philly_QPhilly_Q Frets: 4227

    I had an Axis Sport, quite a few years ago.  The necks feel great with the oil/wax finish and they do really fantastic work with the fretting and rounded fingerboard edges, it's immaculate.  However, although I don't mind a neck which is narrow in width, including at the nut, I ultimately sold the guitar because the neck was just too skinny for my liking - and I gather it may be one of the bigger EB/MM neck profiles!

    I wish they had a custom shop and would let you specify neck profiles, because they're among the nicest guitars I've ever played and they're not even especially pricey.  I really like the Albert Lee design, I'd buy one tomorrow - but only if it had a huge neck!

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  • The Luke has significantly thinner neck than most silhouettes so don’t judge the brand by them, likewise the axis neck is very close to the Van Helen neck as it was the same guitar so again different. Apart from them never played one with a neck I don’t like, but I don’t like the axis shape. Silhouette special feels different to the Silhouette then it is 22 fret as opposed to 24. My own Silhouette is fixed bridge from early 90,s and used to be owned by Joe Brown love it to bits but sound wise it is sss have however swapped the rear single for Seymour Hot rail humbucker for more clout
    www.maltingsaudio.co.uk
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  • DavusPGDavusPG Frets: 75
    edited January 11
    I've had a Silhouette Special, Luke 2, Axis (x2), JPM and currently a Luke III (HH)- there's something about Musicman guitars that keeps me coming back and the primary reason are the necks. 

    As @LewisW said the necks are "compact" but they're also incredibly comfortable to play. 

    Everyone's different of course, but amongst a collection that currently includes Gibson, Fender, Ibanez and Suhr guitars the Luke III is the most comfortable for me. When I got it though I had been about 18 months without a MM guitar and was used to my Les Paul and Suhr Modern necks, so initially the neck felt too small and cramped, to the point I even considered moving it on. 

    Am glad I didn't though as after a while I got used to it and now it's not an issue - had I tried it in a shop I might have been the same as you @Kebabkid as it did take a few days. I think when you measure them compared to others they are only marginally smaller. 

    The build quality of every MM guitar I've owned had been top notch - never had any issues with fit or finish and the electrics have always been clear as a bell. They have also all been very loud and resonant unplugged.

    With my Silhouette Special I had 2 pickguards, a SSS and a HSS and the HSS was a proper do it all guitar. I much prefer the passive pickups in the LIII compared to the EMGs in the Luke 2 I had (which were the only thing I didn't like about it) but it's still the hottest guitar I own and as they're direct mounted lowering them isn't an option.

    I'd like an Axis Supersport at some point as I think they're also incredibly versatile without the aggro of the locking trem

    All in all, excellent guitars, my only gripe would be that the smaller headstock can make them look a bit tiny, but the sounds and playability far outweigh that. The thick poly finishes are a bit plasticy for such a high end instrument too, but in the plus column they're tough as nails.

    I think they're an excellent used buy, defo try one for a decent amount of time if you can.
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  • KebabkidKebabkid Frets: 1336
    Thanks for all your suggestions and a bit of a hard one as I can't find the Silhouette (it's looking like my preferred model) in a shop close to me. There aren't any at the Merstham shop, Regent Sounds, Guitar Guitar, Andertons or Guitar Village or even further afield at Peach. Also, when it's not likely to be an instant thing because of the neck, that worries me.

     There are more Cutlass models about so I might give those a try for starters but the Silhouette is the one that I prefer
     www.cairoeast.co.uk - Madness Tribute band (Bass Player) and guitarist elsewhere
    Feedback - http://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/57885/
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  • VaiaiVaiai Frets: 389
    edited January 11
    Axis is fantastic - small body tho and narrow neck but thick - was my go to Rock axe :) Axis Super Sport gives you a few more options.
     Also had a JP13 but it was to Ibanezy (wizard neck style) and altho fantastic quality and great sound, just could not live with the neck. Mate has 2 Luke's lovely versatile and plenty tonal options - great neck too.
    Not played a bad Silo - they are really good guitars and again HSH makes it very versatile.
    I was really keen on a Cutlass when going thu a single coil phase but played one and was not enamoured - Suhr Classic Pro was way ahead.

    A wee curveball is the Valentine signature guitar - it's really nice - classic EBMM neck and great pickups. Lovely looker too!
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  • Musicman20Musicman20 Frets: 376
    Musicman guitars and basses are extremely well built and finished. I have a lot of their bass range an an Albert Lee HH which is stunning. 
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  • CountryDaveCountryDave Frets: 108

    Owned a couple of Silhouettes, a Luke II, Axis SS and currently have an original SUB.  

    The silhouettes are some of the best superstrats around, the Luke had a slimmer neck with a slight V, the Axis SS was my favourite of all.  At some point I plan on getting an Albert Lee HH with full RW neck.

    The build quality is as good as anything out there, but try before you buy because the slightly narrower necks aren't for all. 

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  • dindudedindude Frets: 5172
    I really like the Cutlass, it seems to have a more standard, less compact, geometry than other MM’s. The neck shape has quite chunky dimensions too with stainless steel frets. Only issue is the 41.3 nut width, that is very narrow.
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  • KebabkidKebabkid Frets: 1336
    The Cutlass does, indeed, sound very strong on Strat sounds but can bark with HB in the bridge on the HSS version.

    I've also seen a couple of slightly older live clips of Rob Harris (Jamiroquai) with a Silhouette going through a  Divided by 13 (my amp) and it covered a lot ground and sounds I like and use.

    Cheers everyone for your input and just got to find and try the buggers. A lot said about the neck but nice to see consistent and positive comments about the sounds and build quality. Even though I'm a massive Lukather fan, the Luke is the one to avoid for me.
     www.cairoeast.co.uk - Madness Tribute band (Bass Player) and guitarist elsewhere
    Feedback - http://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/57885/
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  • DrBobDrBob Frets: 1581
    Philly_Q said:

    I had an Axis Sport, quite a few years ago.  The necks feel great with the oil/wax finish and they do really fantastic work with the fretting and rounded fingerboard edges, it's immaculate.  However, although I don't mind a neck which is narrow in width, including at the nut, I ultimately sold the guitar because the neck was just too skinny for my liking - and I gather it may be one of the bigger EB/MM neck profiles!

    I wish they had a custom shop and would let you specify neck profiles, because they're among the nicest guitars I've ever played and they're not even especially pricey.  I really like the Albert Lee design, I'd buy one tomorrow - but only if it had a huge neck!

    Exactly this,

    Over the years I’ve had an Axis, Axis Sport, Axis Supersport, Silhouette Special, Albert Lee, Albert Lee trem, all phenomenal quality, and 12-15 years ago when I was buying them they were well under the radar so could be picked up daft cheap, I think I paid sub £400 for the Silhouette Special and sub £300 for the Sport !
    Anyway killer guitars but I’ve got fingers like bananas on shovel hands so they all went except for the original Axis which was a gift from my wife.

    If they’d offer a wider nut option I’d probably never have gone anywhere else 
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  • CarpeDiemCarpeDiem Frets: 103
    @kekabid Project Music, Exeter, have some Silhouettes listed on their web site.
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  • KebabkidKebabkid Frets: 1336
    Cheers @CarpeDiem but still a trek but we do get down that way on the way to Cornwall at least once a year - ta :)
     www.cairoeast.co.uk - Madness Tribute band (Bass Player) and guitarist elsewhere
    Feedback - http://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/57885/
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  • Might be worth giving the UK distributor a shout to see if they have any stock of your preferred model? http://www.stringsandthings.co.uk/  ...Or get your local MM dealer to speak to them. 

    When i bought my Axis from Project Music, I bought a guitar from UK stock that had never adorned a guitar shop's wall. 
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  • KebabkidKebabkid Frets: 1336
    Cheers @paulphoenix and good shout - I just spoke to Chris at S&T and they'd be willing to ship a model to a local dealer at no expense to me and with no committment to buy.

    I think I'll get my mitts on a few of the models available to me at Surrey Music shops and Regent Sounds to get a feel for EBMMs and their sounds and quality and then take S&T up on their kind offer.
     www.cairoeast.co.uk - Madness Tribute band (Bass Player) and guitarist elsewhere
    Feedback - http://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/57885/
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  • CountryDaveCountryDave Frets: 108
    I know they had quite a few at last year' guitar show in Brum. 
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  • KebabkidKebabkid Frets: 1336
    Not much in terms of Silo stock around at the moment

    I also have the Ibanez AS Series on my radar - they're a lot of guitar for the money.
     www.cairoeast.co.uk - Madness Tribute band (Bass Player) and guitarist elsewhere
    Feedback - http://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/57885/
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