NGD: Sterling Petrucci JP157 Island Burst (Meh..possibly going back)

Discussion in 'Sevenstring Guitars' started by Exit Existence, Apr 18, 2018.

  1. Exit Existence

    Exit Existence SS.org Regular

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    Overview:
    So I was in the market for a new budget 7 string, and I decided to give the Sterling version of the John Petrucci models a shot. This guitar particularly caught my eye because of how aesthetic it looks. The Island Burst finish combined with the baked maple neck looks quite attractive, and I do have to say they delivered on looks. Quality on the other hand is somewhat disappointing, and leaves a lot to be desired.

    Lets go over my initial impressions...

    Aesthetics and finish:
    The flamed maple veneer is very nice on the guitar, it has a lot of detail and depth to it. The veneer and grain on the mahogany body looks very nice with the Island Burst finish. I can't find any weird looking issues with the body wood itself. There are a few finish flaws near the control cavities but very minor.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The baked maple neck has a pretty good satin finish, not the smoothest but overall pretty good. I was hoping that the neck profile would be the exact same as my Music Man Petrucci, but it feels a bit chunkier with bigger shoulders on the neck profile.

    [​IMG]

    There is some ugly (In my opinion, purely subjective) figuring on the fretboard. I know this is purely cosmetic but it bothers me. Some may find this cool, but to me it looks more like a stain than cool figuring.

    [​IMG]

    Fretwork:
    Here is the most disappointing part of the guitar. The frets are very poor quality and will require serious polishing. You can literally hear and feel the scratchyness while performing bends or vibrato. This is really disappointing especially considering the price point of $729. There are also many rough fret ends. Rough fret ends happen on imports sometimes but isn't the "baking" process of the neck supposed to suck out all the moisture to prevent shrinkage / warping / fret sprout? Hmm.....

    Hardware / electronics:
    More of a let down here. I knew the pickups aren't great on these guitars, but It's not only the pickups. The potentiometers feel very cheap, the volume and push / push gain boost potentiometer has almost no resistance to it, it spins very freely. You'd easily knock your volume down by just brushing against it. The gain boost works fine but again feels very flimsy. Other components like the pickup selector and saddles feel very cheap, and have that "chromed" cheap plating on them.

    The nut seems fine, it's cut pretty clean. The locking tuners seem okay as well, they turn smoothly and have a decent ratio.

    The string access holes on the back plate look like they were cut with a dremel lol

    [​IMG]


    Very cheap pot metal trem block. It's very thin. I think these bridges are proprietary so I don't think this could be upgraded unless something custom was made. The routing on the back also does not allow even spring spacing, You can see here that a spring would not even fit on the bass side of the tremolo if you wanted to add a 4th. Also the claw is clamped down all the way (Even with stock strings, 9's I'm assuming)

    [​IMG]

    Factory Setup:
    These guitars, all though Indonesian made are supposedly set up in California by Sterling. While the out of the box action was decent..check out the bridge setup..

    [​IMG]

    So as you've probably guessed by my initial thoughts, I think I'm going to be returning this one. I think it could make a good modding platform and with a lot of extra work it could be fairly nice, but for $730 I expected much better quality in terms of fretwork and hardware. Was I expecting a perfect guitar? No, but this guitar feels very similar to a $400-$500 Indonesian Ibanez, probably made in the same factory. By the time you upgraded pickups, hardware, cleaned up the fretwork etc you'd probably be close to the price of a used Music Man or something comparable.

    Just my 2 cents. Allthough I'm most likely returning it I figure I would post up my experience in case others were wondering about it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2018
    Kyle Jordan, Ammusa, Edika and 6 others like this.
  2. Wolfos

    Wolfos Guitarded

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    None of your pics work for me but that's crummy about the guitar. You might have been better off going for a schecter km7 or jackson pro ht7 unless you were dying for a trem.
     
  3. AC.Lin

    AC.Lin Poopy-di scoop & Scoop-diddy-whoop

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    Same, none of the pics are working !
    Also, i second Wolfos.
     
  4. JEngelking

    JEngelking Gravity is Shifting!

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    Gotta say, disappointing to hear that the QC wasn't there. I've had my eyes on these as this has the best aesthetics of any of the Sterling JP models IMO. Hope you wind up with something more ready to play!
     
  5. Exit Existence

    Exit Existence SS.org Regular

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    Fixed the images for now (Damn IMGUR!) It's funny they displayed for me but I seem to remember having issues in the past with ss.org and imugur.

    Yea, I think I'm definitely biased because I own a music man JP and other nice guitars but I've also played a bunch of imports at this price point that were much better value. Took a gamble on this one I guess
     
  6. movingpictures

    movingpictures SS.org Regular

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    Too bad... Mine was set-up better than that, and doesnt have the huge string holes on the back plate. No sharp fret ends either...

    I always take the strings off a new guitar, polish frets, and do a set up. My Neptune Blue 157 plays great and i swapped the pups for Illuminators and a Dimarzio EP1111 3 way.
     
  7. Zado

    Zado SS.org Regular

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    I hope not, cause that's the factory that will be used by many brands in the near future in place of MIK WMI.
     
  8. SDMFVan

    SDMFVan SS.org Regular

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    Thanks for the review, I was actually just looking at getting one of these and couldn't find any honest reviews.
     
  9. Lasik124

    Lasik124 SS.org Regular

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    I owned a sterling and got rid of it after a week due to the quality of it. They really ask for to much money for what they give you.

    Cool looking guitar though
     
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  10. Exit Existence

    Exit Existence SS.org Regular

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    Sounds like these might be hit or miss then, glad you got a good one!

    Is World Musical Instruments planning on scaling back in the future? I think they do a fairly good job, most of the brands that come out of there are pretty decent.
     
  11. Zado

    Zado SS.org Regular

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    No idea, I hope so
     
  12. Randy

    Randy Sous Chef Super Moderator

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    Eh, so-so. $699 brand new for a trans-burst, flamed maple top with a proprietary bridge setup, the shield inlays, and a "roasted maple neck" (look more like stain than roasting to me anyway) is actually kind of a bargain. The problem is that the QC, setup, hardware and some of the finish is considerably below the pricepoint and even further below what you'd expect when you see the features on it.

    That's kinda the rub, if you're going to get THOSE features you're going to either pay more or they're going to makeup for the price elsewhere. That's the classic "you can have it fast, reliable and cheap, but you're only allowed to choose two" conundrum.
     
  13. Zender

    Zender Tinkering, please hold.

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    So.... you buy a guitar only to find out after the fact that it has a "stain" on the fretboard, and a crummy fretjob? How does that work. You order guitars online or something? (Why would you _ever_ buy a guitar unseen.... )

    I'd send it back, for that price I'd expect more.
     
  14. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician SS.org Regular

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    Is this for real? I think most of us here buy guitars online regularly. Especially from large online dealers.
     
  15. Albake21

    Albake21 "Just get a used Ibanez Prestige."

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    This is too bad to hear. Although personally I never liked the Sterling line. They always felt cheap to me. The only one that I thought was alright was the Majesty. I will say though you are completely right about the neck. The 7 strings, at least, feel NOTHING like the normal Music Man shape. It has super chunky shoulders and is definitely thicker all around. Very uncomfortable IMO.

    As for the issues, man what the hell is with the black plate? You're right, it seriously looks like someone made those holes themselves. Also that setup... yikes! Not sure if you want to mention them, but who did you buy this guitar from? Personally for that money, I think you are better off finding a good deal on a used Ibanez Prestige 7.

    Because it's 2018 and not everyone has access to unlimited guitars in stores. How else are you going to try guitars?
     
  16. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    How does the quality compare to the "Officially Licensed Product" brand of these? I rememebr those guitars sold for dirt cheap and looked just like real JP's and real Axis guitars, but when you picked them up to play them, they were very obviously cheap.
     
  17. Randy

    Randy Sous Chef Super Moderator

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    I think the experience varies a lot depending on what model you play. My brother in law has an OLP Petrucci in Red Pearl Burst and it's definitely on par with a MIM Fender as far as fit, finish, hardware and wood quality. He also had sculpted flame top (literally flames) McSwain that felt like a prize at Six Flags. The Axis' that I've played felt more like the McSwain than the Petrucci.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2018
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  18. Exit Existence

    Exit Existence SS.org Regular

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    Yea I agree with you for sure. I think the features are definitely there, and like I mentioned it looks killer and the design of the guitar is very comfortable aside from the sharp fret ends. I think the JP body designs are very ergonomic and comfortable so I think there's value there in purely the design factor of it. I'm just not the kind of person that wants to spend the extra time and money to make a guitar a "player" out of the box. I think this guitar would be great for someone who wants the look of a MM JP and doesn't mind doing some work and upgrades on it.
     
    Randy likes this.
  19. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    I only ever played a three of them: two at guitar center, right after they first started stocking them and one my band mate bought second hand. My friend's was borderline playable, and the floor models were horrendous. Still, 3 out of tens or hundreds of thousands of pieces made is not a good sampling.
     
  20. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    Those trem springs...
     

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