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Product H82043

Sterling by Music Man SUB AX3 Axis Electric Guitar   

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AX3 borrows the classic single cutaway body style of Music Man's Axis guitars. An original, classic design that is familiar to all fans of great guit...Read More

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OVERVIEW

Dual humbuckers, a long list of features and one amazing price.

AX3 borrows the classic single cutaway body style of Music Man's Axis guitars. An original, classic design that is familiar to all fans of great guitars. The S.U.B. Series version uses a solid hardwood body topped with a bound quilt maple image top. The neck and body are mated with the same 5 bolt neck joint found on the Silo3. Sculpted and contoured for a super comfortable joint that allows easy access to the upper register.

The Asymmetrical neck carve on AX3 is sublime and has enough girth for grip and thin enough for easy playability. The 25.5″ scale maple neck & fingerboard has 22 medium sized frets and is super easy to play. The neck is seamlessly integrated to the body.

2 high output "Zebra" coil humbucking pickups are direct mounted to the body. The special wiring of these pickups offer 5 distinct, versatile tones via the 5 way selector switch. Different combinations yield chicken pickin single coil tones to throaty, huge humbucking rock tones. Single volume and tone controls. It's all there in one guitar.

Vintage style tremolo bridge has a small area to rest your palm while picking. Individual saddles offer height and intonation adjustments for dialing in the perfect set up.

Case sold separately.

FEATURES
  • Solid hardwood body
  • Quilt maple image top w/ binding
  • 5 bolt neck joint
  • 25.5″ scale
  • Asymmetrical cut maple neck & maple fingerboard
  • Medium frets
  • Smooth satin neck finish
  • Easy access truss rod adjuster
  • 2x high output humbucking pickups
  • 5 way selector switch
  • Tremolo bridge
  • Case sold separately

You'll be a amazed by the sound, comfort and value of the AX3. Order today.

Reviews
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Review Snapshot®

by PowerReviews
Sterling by Music ManSUB AX3 Axis Electric Guitar
 
4.1

(based on 28 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (14)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (6)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (5)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (1)

81%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Fun to play (23)
  • Good feel (23)
  • Good pick up (17)
  • Good tone (17)
  • Solid electronics (17)

Cons

  • Craftsmanship (6)
  • Fret buzz (3)

Best Uses

  • Practicing (22)
  • Jamming (19)
  • Recording (13)
  • Small venues (10)
  • Rock concerts (7)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Experienced (16), Professional musician (9), Novice (3)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Great guitar for the money!

I own a USA Axis and this guitar is very close in feel and tone. The pickups are punchy and surprisingly good for a guitar in this price range. The 5 way switch provides...Read complete review

I own a USA Axis and this guitar is very close in feel and tone. The pickups are punchy and surprisingly good for a guitar in this price range. The 5 way switch provides a surprisingly wide array of tones. The neck feels similar to my USA Axis. There are a few slightly sharp fret ends after the 12 fret but I can work on those. The weight and balance of the guitar is also similar to the USA version. The trem is not a Floyd so it is not really for divebombing but is not bad for a guitar at this price. Nice looking blue quilt top. I put some graphite in the nut slots and changed the strings to 10s and it really improved the tuning stability and tone. Bottom line, for the price this is a great guitar stock or for a modding project.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Sub AX3 AXIS honest review

I'm going to be tough because of all the "fantastic reviews" I read about this guitar prior to purchasing it. Been playing for 47 years. I have lots of guitars,...Read complete review

I'm going to be tough because of all the "fantastic reviews" I read about this guitar prior to purchasing it. Been playing for 47 years. I have lots of guitars, build'em, buy'em, buy cheap ones like these to see what all the rave is and hope that it is good as what I see on youtube and read in the reviews. But even if it is a dog, I can make it right because I have learned how to repair instruments etc. So here goes.

This guitar should have been B-stock (it isn't). Right out of the box (I have only had it for 3 hours as I write this review).... The back of the headstock is dented and scratched in a circular pattern where the assembler dragged the tuner into position it during assembly. Neck bowed, no tension on truss rod. Fret edges SHARP...not dressed, they are not sticking out too long though. Trem studs not adjusted equally (by a bunch) so that the bridge is angled toward the strap button on one side. Intonation off. The neck actually has a small knot hole near the heel. Nut not cut properly... 1st string almost on the edge of the fret board and it isn't the neck angle. The nut is wrong and some of the slots are gripping the strings. Made in Indonisia. I have had some fine instruments made there BTW.

These Sterlings are supposedly INSPECTED AND SET-UP by Musicanman in the USA. No chance of this or their technician is totally incompetent. I doubt they can do a setup and inspection on a cheap money guitar....maybe its only done on the non-SUB version.

I have owned the real Axis (1995). I have owned the real Axis Sport. Albert Lee model (early 1990s). I have owned the OLP Axis from the early 2000 years also. When I read the comments that this Sterling is very much like the real Axis, I just have to buy one right? Hey, I loved my Musicman guitars years ago, I'll buy one of these.

No way does this guitar feel like the real Musicman Axis or play like one. In fact, my old OLP Axis was fairly close to the real thing and was a great guitar but NOT this SUB AX3 Axis.

What's good about it? It is worth the money if you know how to work on your guitars. I adjusted what was necessary to get it to play VERY well. I have not replaced the nut nor have I dressed the frets yet. I am on the fence whether I should return/exchange it for another one. I am flabbergasted at the wonderful reviews I read regarding this guitar. I really want this guitar to work because I miss the small size and neck profile of my previous real Musicman guitars.

Soundwise. I think it sounds pretty good. I am not a fan of high gain. I play southern rock, blues and classic rock.....mostly guitar hero stuff. These pickups are fine for me and my style of music. I wouldn't replace them. Considering the bad nut, it stays in tune (well don't use the trem with a bad nut).

It does some convincing strat sounds whichis a plus for me.

What else? The frets are not jumbo, they are more like the original frets on Fenders from years ago...they have a thinner footprint than medium jumbo. I'm okay with that. The quilted image top is cool and looks nice. Don't expect to see the 3D depth that you see on the real thing but it sure beats a solid color.

So let me make some comparisons. I have had some set neck ESP LTD guitars that were much worse than this guitar. It is better than the cheap0 Squiers BUT the Vibe Squiers and Modern Vintage are way better. I just bought a Modern Vintage Surf Squier Strat with lipstick pickups. I have played over a dozen gigs with it in the past 2 months and it is so nice, I leave all of my real strats at home now and just bring the Squier and a PRS SE. I was hoping that the Sterling was going to blow me away based on the reviews and I was hoping that I would be able to buy a couple more of them and set them up for gigging. I love their small size and neck profile. I am going to take a trip to the 2 GC stores near me and try their stock of the Sterlings. If they play better, then I will exchange this guitar with MF and take a chance at another one. If not, I will do the necessary work to it...new nut, dress the fret edges, put good .10 gauge strings on it and play it for a few months to see if it grows on me. It looks like the real thing but it doesn't play like it and it isn't built with the care of the real thing. It costs a fraction of the real thing. I love to grab a cheap guitar and make it play like a $3000 guitar...it's my hobby. It will take a bit of time to make this one like that.

If you want a guitar that looks like a real Axis, buy it! If you want a guitar that looks like a real Axis, plays like it, sounds like it, dig deep or do the MF credit plan. Get the real one. It's only money.

If you know how to work on guitars like I do, this guitar is worth every penny. But based on MY Sterling SUB AX3 guitar, these reviews I read here are way off base. Laughable or my guitar is the odd junker.

Musicians Friend is great. They treat me great. Their policies are great. I do not like writing a negative review like this.

Reviewed by 28 customers

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Displaying reviews 1-10

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2.0

Im disappointed

By 

from wilkes barre, pa

About Me Novice

Pros

    Cons

    • Fret Buzz
    • Poor Quality Craftsmanship

    Best Uses

    • Practicing

    Comments about Sterling by Music Man SUB AX3 Axis Electric Guitar:

    This guitar has a couple pros that are unfortunately outweighed by the cons. The main pro is the whammy bar stays in tune very well despite not having a locking nut. I've dived it all the way down to the body and it came back up in perfect tune. This is good if you dont want to deal with the annoyances of a floyd rose. But this guitar feels awkward and isnt built properly. It has been to the shop already and im just gonna trade this in for a schecter omen 6 when i get the chance which is way better than this. The frets are weird. When tapping, itll play different notes than what your hitting. It does this for sweeping too. Overall, not worth it

    Comment on this review

     
    3.0

    adjustments and cleaning needed.

    By 

    from Upstate NY

    About Me Experienced

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Fun To Play
    • Good Feel

    Cons

    • Appeared To Be Used

    Best Uses

    • Practicing
    • Recording

    Comments about Sterling by Music Man SUB AX3 Axis Electric Guitar:

    Nice guitar for the price but it needed more work than I expected. Appeared to have come straight from a "previous owner" rather than MF. Ok after cleaning and adjustments

    Comment on this review

    (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    For the money, u HAVE to get this guitar

    By 

    from Montreal Quebec Canada

    About Me Experienced

    Pros

    • Fun To Play
    • Good Feel
    • Good Pick Up
    • Good Tone
    • Solid Electronics

    Cons

    • Ccompletely Unadjusted
    • It Was Comletely Unadjust

    Best Uses

    • Jamming
    • Practicing

    Comments about Sterling by Music Man SUB AX3 Axis Electric Guitar:

    Backround:

    Bought it for my 14yr old son
    I've been playing guitar and bass since 13, now 46.
    Have owned guitars from 300-$3500
    I'm no van Halen, neither is my son...yet(lol)
    Many thanks to a luthier friend of mine who taught me years ago how to adjust everything on a guitar.

    Delivery:

    The guitar arrived promptly and undamaged. Second guitar bought from musiciansfriend.com in the last year, very happy with them.

    The BAD:

    1) It was completely unadjusted, it's as if they just assembled it and shipped it.
    2) The 5 bolts that hold the neck to the body were all loose
    3) The saddle heights were all the way up, not adjusted at all, just installed
    4) Intonation all off
    5) The Tone control was very stiff, plastic knob pushed all the way down and rubbing/touching body, had to raise it and all was good
    6) Bridge pickup way too high, had to lower it
    7) Truss rod totally off, big inward bow, but the easy truss adjustment at the neck/body position made this a joke to do, all guitars should have this type of adjuster
    8) The tremolo was super crazy stiff, after removing the back cover, found the two screws that hold the tremolo claw plate were pushed all the way to the back, brought it out to about 1.5cm, now tremolo feels and works great
    9) The cheapest strings out of the box. Make sure you get a good set.
    10) The quilted maple finish does not look real. It looks really great from a few feet away but you can see it's a bit on the cheap side up close, almost looks like a paper printed on a high end color printer and then veneered, but it's well done considering the price of this guitar, so I'll have to let this one slide

    The GOOD: (after adjustments)

    1) It plays effortlessly
    2) The action is amazing, so low and no fret buzz,
    3) The pickups, while they may not be the best out there, sound pretty amazing in all selector position.
    4) Good weight and balance.
    5) Stays in tune after using tremolo like crazy, but please put a good set of strings, the ones that come with the guitar some of the worst I've seen.
    6) The frets were amazing, no sharp edges as others have commented, maybe they were unlucky
    7) Amazing feel to the neck with the asymmetric curve
    8) Tuners are very good and lock well

    Conclusion:

    For the money, you HAVE to get this guitar.

    This guitar is not just for beginners as others have stated, it plays and feels as good as higher priced guitars, it plays better than a lot of other guitars that are 2-3 times the price, so this guitar allows you to keep your money in your pocket.

    Would definitely recommend to anyone, but be prepared to make adjustments to do this guitar justice. After adjustments you will not regret buying this guitar.

    Comment on this review

    (4 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

     
    2.0

    Follow Up Review

    By 

    from Westport, MA

    About Me Professional Musician

    Pros

    • Fun To Play
    • Good Feel

    Cons

    • Poor Quality Craftsmanship

    Best Uses

    • Gigging
    • Practicing

    Comments about Sterling by Music Man SUB AX3 Axis Electric Guitar:

    This is a follow up review to my previous review as "Temporary Saint". I noticed that there was a reviewer who insisted that the bridge was positioned incorrectly and returned multiple guitars. All my measuring and geometry checking shows that the neck pocket is actually routed slightly off on my guitar. I carefully re-routed the pocket and now the strings set over the neck perfectly. I had to remount the neck pickup slightly toward the upper cutaway and now the strings sit perfectly over the pole pieces. This guitar has been out on many gigs with me. It is a fun guitar. The tuners have proven not to be very good and the tremolo arm is weak and the threads actually tear away as you use it and there becomes more slop or play in the arm. I don't dive bomb or pull hard on the trem either. Just a little wobble on certain chord passages.

    Having had the real Axis and an Axis Sport over the years made me want to have this guitar. Getting this guitar has certainly made me want to plunk down the cash to get a real one again. I sold my real Axis guitars when I started using Parky Fly guitars. I am going to buy the real Axis again.

    I like tinkering but the bottom line is I spent way to much time and money to make this guitar right. I did install a Graphtech Tusq Nut and I have ordered a Wilkinson Tremolo for it. Remember that song...She Ain't Pretty She Just Looks That Way. That sums it up. Buy a Vibe Squier or the Low End Modern Fenders......Or the real Axis for sure.

    Comment on this review

    (5 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

     
    3.0

    Sub AX3 AXIS honest review

    By 

    from Massachusetts

    About Me Professional Musician

    Pros

    • Fun To Play
    • Good Tone

    Cons

    • Fret Buzz
    • Poor Quality Craftsmanship

    Best Uses

    • Jamming
    • Practicing
    • Small Venues
    • Tinkering

    Comments about Sterling by Music Man SUB AX3 Axis Electric Guitar:

    I'm going to be tough because of all the "fantastic reviews" I read about this guitar prior to purchasing it. Been playing for 47 years. I have lots of guitars, build'em, buy'em, buy cheap ones like these to see what all the rave is and hope that it is good as what I see on youtube and read in the reviews. But even if it is a dog, I can make it right because I have learned how to repair instruments etc. So here goes.

    This guitar should have been B-stock (it isn't). Right out of the box (I have only had it for 3 hours as I write this review).... The back of the headstock is dented and scratched in a circular pattern where the assembler dragged the tuner into position it during assembly. Neck bowed, no tension on truss rod. Fret edges SHARP...not dressed, they are not sticking out too long though. Trem studs not adjusted equally (by a bunch) so that the bridge is angled toward the strap button on one side. Intonation off. The neck actually has a small knot hole near the heel. Nut not cut properly... 1st string almost on the edge of the fret board and it isn't the neck angle. The nut is wrong and some of the slots are gripping the strings. Made in Indonisia. I have had some fine instruments made there BTW.

    These Sterlings are supposedly INSPECTED AND SET-UP by Musicanman in the USA. No chance of this or their technician is totally incompetent. I doubt they can do a setup and inspection on a cheap money guitar....maybe its only done on the non-SUB version.

    I have owned the real Axis (1995). I have owned the real Axis Sport. Albert Lee model (early 1990s). I have owned the OLP Axis from the early 2000 years also. When I read the comments that this Sterling is very much like the real Axis, I just have to buy one right? Hey, I loved my Musicman guitars years ago, I'll buy one of these.

    No way does this guitar feel like the real Musicman Axis or play like one. In fact, my old OLP Axis was fairly close to the real thing and was a great guitar but NOT this SUB AX3 Axis.

    What's good about it? It is worth the money if you know how to work on your guitars. I adjusted what was necessary to get it to play VERY well. I have not replaced the nut nor have I dressed the frets yet. I am on the fence whether I should return/exchange it for another one. I am flabbergasted at the wonderful reviews I read regarding this guitar. I really want this guitar to work because I miss the small size and neck profile of my previous real Musicman guitars.

    Soundwise. I think it sounds pretty good. I am not a fan of high gain. I play southern rock, blues and classic rock.....mostly guitar hero stuff. These pickups are fine for me and my style of music. I wouldn't replace them. Considering the bad nut, it stays in tune (well don't use the trem with a bad nut).

    It does some convincing strat sounds whichis a plus for me.

    What else? The frets are not jumbo, they are more like the original frets on Fenders from years ago...they have a thinner footprint than medium jumbo. I'm okay with that. The quilted image top is cool and looks nice. Don't expect to see the 3D depth that you see on the real thing but it sure beats a solid color.

    So let me make some comparisons. I have had some set neck ESP LTD guitars that were much worse than this guitar. It is better than the cheap0 Squiers BUT the Vibe Squiers and Modern Vintage are way better. I just bought a Modern Vintage Surf Squier Strat with lipstick pickups. I have played over a dozen gigs with it in the past 2 months and it is so nice, I leave all of my real strats at home now and just bring the Squier and a PRS SE. I was hoping that the Sterling was going to blow me away based on the reviews and I was hoping that I would be able to buy a couple more of them and set them up for gigging. I love their small size and neck profile. I am going to take a trip to the 2 GC stores near me and try their stock of the Sterlings. If they play better, then I will exchange this guitar with MF and take a chance at another one. If not, I will do the necessary work to it...new nut, dress the fret edges, put good .10 gauge strings on it and play it for a few months to see if it grows on me. It looks like the real thing but it doesn't play like it and it isn't built with the care of the real thing. It costs a fraction of the real thing. I love to grab a cheap guitar and make it play like a $3000 guitar...it's my hobby. It will take a bit of time to make this one like that.

    If you want a guitar that looks like a real Axis, buy it! If you want a guitar that looks like a real Axis, plays like it, sounds like it, dig deep or do the MF credit plan. Get the real one. It's only money.

    If you know how to work on guitars like I do, this guitar is worth every penny. But based on MY Sterling SUB AX3 guitar, these reviews I read here are way off base. Laughable or my guitar is the odd junker.

    Musicians Friend is great. They treat me great. Their policies are great. I do not like writing a negative review like this.

    Comment on this review

    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    3.0

    Not bad after setup

    By 

    from GA

    About Me Experienced

    Pros

    • Fun To Play
    • Good Feel

    Cons

    • Poor Pick Up
    • Poor Quality Craftsmanship

    Best Uses

    • Practicing
    • School Bands

    Comments about Sterling by Music Man SUB AX3 Axis Electric Guitar:

    Setup out of the box was horrible. Sharp fret edges, intonation was way off, bridge springs to tight, input jack installed crooked. Pups are only good for heavy distortion and not great for that. After all those problems were fixed it plays as well as some more expensive guitars. If you can do all the work to it or know a reasonably priced guitar tech you can have a pretty nice guitar for not much money.

    Comment on this review

    (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

     
    4.0

    A great buy !

    By 

    from Columbus,Ohio

    About Me Experienced

    Pros

    • A Good Guitar

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Jamming
      • Practicing
      • Recording
      • Rock Concerts
      • School Bands
      • Small Venues

      Comments about Sterling by Music Man SUB AX3 Axis Electric Guitar:

      This guitar for the money cannot be beat. If you're a beginner? Excellent choice. If you're an experienced player who doesn't have major cash for another guitar like me. This guitar can't be beat. I tried to find flaws, couldn't find them. The neck is amazing. I was concerned about a basswood body guitar. No concerns at all now. Sounds great!! Very happy with the money spent.

      Comment on this review

       
      5.0

      sterling sub ax3 axis

      By 

      from S.E. Ohio

      About Me Professional Musician

      Ask me a question

      Pros

      • Fun To Play
      • Good Feel
      • Good Pick Up
      • Good Tone
      • Lots Of Tone Options Tune
      • No Fret Buzz
      • Solid Electronics
      • Stays In Tune Nice Neck

      Cons

      • I Havent Found Anything

      Best Uses

      • I Play At Church
      • I Record
      • Jamming
      • Practicing
      • Recording
      • Rock Concerts
      • School Bands
      • Small Venues

      Comments about Sterling by Music Man SUB AX3 Axis Electric Guitar:

      i've been playing guitar for around 50 years. and played everything from hard rock to gospel.i've been playing a thinline tele.for years and wanted a change i bought a used epi.les paul jr and after a little work it was great. so i baught new les paul 100 and hated it it had fret buzz and the nech felt like a 2x4 so i sent it back and got this guitar and i could'nt be happier.it played great and sounded great right out of the box i lowered the action a little bit but it really was good the way it came.i record fourtack tapes and leave out the lead guitar and lead vocals and sing and play along wiht them at church.it is great for my purpose and i cant think of any case where it wound'nt work great its a great guitar for the money and m.f. couldnt be nicer to deal with. i highly recomend this to anybody of any skill level P.S. tomorrow i'm going to order a peavey bass as well.

      Comment on this review

       
      5.0

      wow! get this!

      By 

      from el paso , tx

      About Me Professional Musician

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Fun To Play
      • Good Feel
      • Good Pick Up
      • Good Tone
      • Solid Electronics
      • Sturdy Reliable Guitar

      Cons

      • Personal Set Up

      Best Uses

      • Jamming
      • Recording
      • Rock Concerts

      Comments about Sterling by Music Man SUB AX3 Axis Electric Guitar:

      I am the guitarist from rev-22, and all I can honestly tell you its the best neck for all music. I have 6 guitars, and been playing for many years. I always fall back on this one guitar. once you get one, keep it! trust me !
      rev-22

      Comment on this review

       
      5.0

      very impressed

      By 

      from grand junction co

      About Me Professional Musician

      Pros

      • Fun To Play
      • Good Feel
      • Good Pick Up
      • Good Tone
      • Solid Electronics

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Jamming
        • Practicing
        • Recording
        • Rock Concerts
        • School Bands
        • Small Venues

        Comments about Sterling by Music Man SUB AX3 Axis Electric Guitar:

        it has features that I like. the ''vintage' tremolo bar has a nice deep range. I like it better than a double or single locking. I set it up to where I can pull sharp but so the the screws are only about 2-3 inches. I set it back to 'normal' the asymmetrical neck is a pleasant surprise as well. the only thing I may ever mod in the future is to install locking tuners, of which im not familiar with but not at all necessary since I keep friction areas 'maintained'. I like the medium frets. my first electric instruments that I owned as a kid were fender squires w/ similar sized and not jumbo. this is a fine musical instrument and I would buy it again - the others colors. I just don't know why it's SUB.

        Comment on this review

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