Schecter nick johnston traditional vs Sterling Cutlass (both Indonesian made)

Junta

Member
Messages
1,693
I have been looking for a Strat style guitar for a long time now. Due to other priorities, this is going to be a under $1,000 purchase (I do not need a hard case).

I am looking for:

  1. Vintage sound 50s to 60s
  2. Locking tuners
  3. 10 or larger radius fretboard
  4. AND absolute must: volume knob AWAY from the strings...
My 4th MUST requirement might have given you the clue: I am Fender Strat challenged.... I just cannot do down strumming without hitting that volume knob and turning volume down.... trust me on this one - so let me know what you think about these two alternatives:

1. schecter nick johnston diamond series:

http://www.schecterguitars.com/guitars/nick-johnston-trad-detail

Or

2. Sterling Music Man Cutlass

https://www.sterlingbymusicman.com/cutlass

If you have any experience/info about these which can help me choose one over the other, I would appreciate that.

I could not find other alternatives which meet the volume knob placement requirement. Maybe others are out there?

Thanks

Cheers!
 

egregion

Member
Messages
578
I would go Nick Johnston. Seems to have better specs and Schecter consistently makes great guitars. Plus it seems more unique and rare than the Sterling.
 

panther_king

Member
Messages
1,789
Well, between the two, I might be inclined to go with the Nick Johnston too, despite my appreciation for EBMM. That said, the Sterling is a good $200 less expensive, and I don't really feel like you're getting all that much more out of the Nick Johnston from that extra $200 bucks, aside from a more traditional look. Especially when I can find some used USA strats in the $700 range (and push come to shove, I could spring $30 for a new pickguard with 2 holes, and rewire the knobs).

It's easy to say the Nick Johnston model when it's not my money though.
 

Junta

Member
Messages
1,693
You might want to check a regular Traditional standard to save some $$?
That series does not seem to be available (new) at Canada’s largest music store. I think I remember seeing a thread about those being discontinued.
 

Zado

Member
Messages
1,925
That series does not seem to be available (new) at Canada’s largest music store. I think I remember seeing a thread about those being discontinued.
They discontinued the previous VS1 and Vs2 series, the TraditionalStandard is quite new
 

danhops

Member
Messages
300
I'd second finding a old stock traditional or traditional custom. Those are cheaper and MIK at WMC. They are pretty darn nice right out of the box.
 

olgluefoot

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,236
So, just a thought. Your alternatives are great guitars but if you have found a strat you really, really love... just get a custom pickguard and omit the first knob position. You'll lose a tone control, but you won't smack the knob. I have this issue too.
 

pipedwho

Member
Messages
1,687
Or even better, order a custom pickguard from Warmoth without pre-drilled tone/volume holes (make sure everything else is done as accurate positioned slots/routes are hard and screw hole positions need to be exact), then drill a volume and tole in the place you want them (which is really easy with even the cheapest hand drill). You can even use your old guard as a template to mark the hole positions, and adjust from there.

That being said, the import Schecter's are excellent guitars. I have a USA Schecter custom shop in that format that I love.
 

sedawkgrep

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,132
Option 1 - either get a new pickguard, or pull the volume pot and put it in the first tone pot hole, and remove the tone pot.

Option 2 - SBMM! While I haven't played the Cutlass, I have played SBMM JP100, LK100, and AX30. And each of those guitars absolutely smokes for the price! I've said it before - I liked my JP100D so much I sold my EBMM JP6 because it didn't seem like it was worth $1k more than the SBMM...and the JP6 was awesome.

IMNSHO you can't go wrong with Sterling.
 

pipedwho

Member
Messages
1,687
pics plz?
The original pickguard looked about the same, but didn't have the little toggle switch between the tone/volume knobs, and had chrome knobs. The original also has the Schecter F500T tapped single coil pickups - and I must say they are awesome sounding single coils with big pole pieces. (I changed over to the Zexcoils as the main venue I play at has a hearing aid induction loop that makes true single coil pickups feed back and squeal even with fairly clean tone into FOH, and even just bumping the selector off the 2/4 humcancelling positions caused nasty loud surprises. The Zexcoils are quiet in all positions and sound great.)

When I took that photo, I also had a SuperVee Bladerunner 'trem' installed, but I've since put the original vintage style Gotoh 510 back in the guitar. The Bladerunner is excellent, but now lives in a friend's guitar, as he wanted something he could abuse with dive bombs and minor third pullups. I just use my 'trem' for actual vibrato shimmers, and a properly setup 6 screw vintage style like the original Gotoh is more than stable enough for that.

View media item 67572
 

Zado

Member
Messages
1,925
The original pickguard looked about the same, but didn't have the little toggle switch between the tone/volume knobs, and had chrome knobs. The original also has the Schecter F500T tapped single coil pickups - and I must say they are awesome sounding single coils with big pole pieces. (I changed over to the Zexcoils as the main venue I play at has a hearing aid induction loop that makes true single coil pickups feed back and squeal even with fairly clean tone into FOH, and even just bumping the selector off the 2/4 humcancelling positions caused nasty loud surprises. The Zexcoils are quiet in all positions and sound great.)

When I took that photo, I also had a SuperVee Bladerunner 'trem' installed, but I've since put the original vintage style Gotoh 510 back in the guitar. The Bladerunner is excellent, but now lives in a friend's guitar, as he wanted something he could abuse with dive bombs and minor third pullups. I just use my 'trem' for actual vibrato shimmers, and a properly setup 6 screw vintage style like the original Gotoh is more than stable enough for that.

View media item 67572
It looks fantastic! Love the finish and that pickguard fits great man! Never played the zexcoils but they sure look cool, as the SuperVee, did you like it when you had?
 

pipedwho

Member
Messages
1,687
It looks fantastic! Love the finish and that pickguard fits great man! Never played the zexcoils but they sure look cool, as the SuperVee, did you like it when you had?
Thanks. Yes the Bladerunner was great while it was in there. Really well made. A bit stiffer than a regular trem - felt like having an extra two springs on the claw. But it was very stable and and always came back to tune - unless I hadn’t lubed the nut.
 

Mangy71

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
4,265
Bumping this thread because I am interested in the Nick Johnston model. Has anyone gotten their hands on one of these?

The specs look perfect, but nobody near me carries them.
 

tonydetiger

Member
Messages
1,882
I just bought a SBMM Cutlass. My local GC had one on clearance for $250. At that price, I couldn’t turn it down.

What I like:

- I’m not a single coil fan, but I like these pickups. Lots of useable tones on this guitar.
- The neck is comfortable. Still slightly skinny, but the soft V profile works well. The 9.5” neck radius is a dream to play on.

The only negatives, and I blame GC for it, not SBMM:

- It needs a setup. The trem wasn’t set to match the neck profile, and the nut could use a better trim.

I don’t have any experience with the Nick Johnston. I do own a Diamond series PT Special. It’s a good guitar overall. My only gripe with it is that the neck is reported as a 12” radius, but feels much flatter than that.
 

WhiskeyTango

Member
Messages
684
I’ve had a surf green Cutlass for a few years now and still like it. The soft-V neck profile was new to me, but I like that it encourages me to play with better form (thumb on back of neck). The neck and fretboard both feel almost like bare wood, which I really like the feel of. The stock pickups are nice; low output and articulate. They’re very similar to the Rose Mariposas that I have in there now tbh. I have a more traditional SSS strat (USA Peavey), but the Cutlass is the one I grab when I want a strat tone.

This was my 3rd SBMM after a JP100d and Ray4. Guess I’m a bit of a fan.
 




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