Sterling AX4 project guitar and first time playing around with a MM style guitar
Been playing off and on for a number of years now. I like to hit up pawn shops and find fixer upper deals. I recently found this guy.
It’s a Sterling Ax4. As it hung on the pawn shop wall it had no strings on it, the bridge was literally saran wrapped to the body since the trem claw springs were rattling around in the cavity and curiously one of the five neck joint screws had a snapped off head. Apparently someone was trying to do something with this instrument, gave up and dumped it at the pawn shop. They had it tagged 100 bucks “As Is” but being the cheap skate that I am and pointing out the few flaws I found I got it for a paltry 80 dollars. I saw the potential and it just felt wrong to leave it in an unplayable state there. Plus I’ve never owned any Music Man style guitars before so why not. I’ve fixed up many beater guitars before and then sold them off rather cheap to another budding guitarist so this one will be no different. All though this time my nephew is now old enough and has expressed interest in learning so this might wind up being his. So in addition to the neck joint screw I already mentioned here was the other obvious flaw I saw.
The low E fine tuner head has been snapped off. Since the bridge wasn’t attached by strings or the trem claw springs I’m assuming it fell at some point and landed at just the right angle to break it off. Nothing else seems bent or off with the rest of the bridge but I already placed an order for a Gotoh Floyd replacement. I’ve swapped out several “licensed” Floyds in the past with the Gotoh unit and this will be no exception. Even if the fine tuner knob wasn’t missing I would have probably done this swap anyway. The brass block, better material and finally a better trem arm attachement than most Floyds makes the Gotoh a no brainer. The only thing I’m riding the fence on is if I’m going to utilize the locking studs that come with the Gotoh. I think for now I’ll just use the existing posts and then later I might drill for the slightly larger Gotoh ones. Also speaking of drilling, for now I’ll just get another neck screw but I might consider doing threaded inserts and machine screws for neck attachment at some point down the road.
In the mean time I’ve thrown strings on it, tuned it up and tweaked it a bit to get it playable while I’m waiting on the Gotoh to arrive. All the electronics work, the pickups are actually not too bad sounding but knowing me I’ll eventually pull out that soldering iron at some point lol. 🙂
All in all I’m quite impressed with with over quality of the instrument being made in Indonesia. There are some great guitars coming out of that part of the world from several companies these days. It’s been a while since I took on a project guitar but I’m really happy with this one so far. Other than having to setup the new bridge everything else seems good to go so I’ll have a decent new toy to play with for a while. Forgot to mention there’s virtually any fret wear on the board, no major dents of dings, just minor stuff. It’s in great condition other than the issues I’ve mentioned. I’m looking forward to hot rodding this thing later on with some different pickups.
Thanks for reading and letting me share with you guys. This might be the start of a bad trend of looking out for other great deals Music Man guitars in the future lol. Finally, I’ll be just under 200 dollars into this thing and have a great playing instrument. Even swapping pickups later on I’ll still be in the ball park of what one of these probably went for new and have a much better instrument. Can’t argue with that.
Take care all.
Jeremy in Texas