Music Man vs. Sterling vs. OLP - What's the difference? - Jemsite
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-19-2015, 03:26 PM Thread Starter
 
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Music Man vs. Sterling vs. OLP - What's the difference?

I don't know Music Man gear that well and was wondering between these different levels.

I know our very own John Petrucci went from Ibby to these guys and formed a very well received signature model.

My best guess for purposes of comparison is like Prestige vs. Indo vs. Chinese Ibanezes.

Additionally, I think Ibanez is the smartest out there when it comes to branding. Sure there's the word Prestige or J Custom on some of the higher end models, Premium or Iron Label on some of the mid levels, and either nothing or GIO on entry level guitars but the main logo is Ibanez. Why Epiphone for entry and mid-level Gibson guitars, and Squier for entry level Fender guitars?

Last edited by 63Blazer; 05-19-2015 at 03:44 PM.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-19-2015, 05:59 PM
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Re: Music Man vs. Sterling vs. OLP - What's the difference?

You're right in that there's the definite stepped quality levels although some people will tell you that EBMM's US built guitars are more on the level of Suhr and Anderson than Ibanez's Prestige line.

The marketing thing is just that, someone somewhere made the decision to keep different levels within the same brand at Ibanez and someone else, somewhere else, made the decision to use Epiphone as a sub brand to sell budget Gibsons. Just different strategies I guess!
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-20-2015, 09:03 AM
 
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Re: Music Man vs. Sterling vs. OLP - What's the difference?

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Originally Posted by jono View Post
You're right in that there's the definite stepped quality levels although some people will tell you that EBMM's US built guitars are more on the level of Suhr and Anderson than Ibanez's Prestige line.

The marketing thing is just that, someone somewhere made the decision to keep different levels within the same brand at Ibanez and someone else, somewhere else, made the decision to use Epiphone as a sub brand to sell budget Gibsons. Just different strategies I guess!
Agreed on all counts. I'll say that my EBMM JP13 with an all Rosewood neck is hands down the best neck I've ever played on. The rest of the build quality is all superb as well. Never played any of the Sterling or OLP variants, but I've heard that they're very nice guitars for the money.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-20-2015, 09:16 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Music Man vs. Sterling vs. OLP - What's the difference?

Thanks for the replies. I would say one of the best necks I have played on is of course the MIJ Wizard but others are in that same ballpark (Music Man Petrucci, Vigier, and ESP Carpenter). I am glad to hear the budget versions are nice, too.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-20-2015, 10:29 AM
 
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Re: Music Man vs. Sterling vs. OLP - What's the difference?

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Additionally, I think Ibanez is the smartest out there when it comes to branding. Sure there's the word Prestige or J Custom on some of the higher end models, Premium or Iron Label on some of the mid levels, and either nothing or GIO on entry level guitars but the main logo is Ibanez. Why Epiphone for entry and mid-level Gibson guitars, and Squier for entry level Fender guitars?
Actually i think the opposite, take the regular guy who isn't well versed in Ibanez branding, he goes to the store grabs a terribly set up Indo guitar (as they usually are) and for him Ibanez is crap, the brand suffers when you put the logo on lesser quality instruments, and not to mentioning the fact that just the name Ibanez doesn't mean anything anymore, it has to say Prestige, or J custom or whatever, i think thats a shame.

Now take Gibson for example, you want to buy a LP but don't have the money so you buy an Epiphone, if the guitar has some issues is the Epi brand that suffers not Gibson, because the Gibson logo is only for their top of the line instruments, you can give someone a great sounding Epi and they still be longing for that damned Gibson logo on the headstock because for them it actually means something.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-20-2015, 10:51 AM
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Re: Music Man vs. Sterling vs. OLP - What's the difference?

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Actually i think the opposite, take the regular guy who isn't well versed in Ibanez branding, he goes to the store grabs a terribly set up Indo guitar (as they usually are) and for him Ibanez is crap, the brand suffers when you put the logo on lesser quality instruments, and not to mentioning the fact that just the name Ibanez doesn't mean anything anymore, it has to say Prestige, or J custom or whatever, i think thats a shame.

Now take Gibson for example, you want to buy a LP but don't have the money so you buy an Epiphone, if the guitar has some issues is the Epi brand that suffers not Gibson, because the Gibson logo is only for their top of the line instruments, you can give someone a great sounding Epi and they still be longing for that damned Gibson logo on the headstock because for them it actually means something.
I agree. The ibanez branding and number system is confusing at best.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-20-2015, 10:58 AM
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Re: Music Man vs. Sterling vs. OLP - What's the difference?

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Originally Posted by Rafafas View Post
Actually i think the opposite, take the regular guy who isn't well versed in Ibanez branding, he goes to the store grabs a terribly set up Indo guitar (as they usually are) and for him Ibanez is crap, the brand suffers when you put the logo on lesser quality instruments, and not to mentioning the fact that just the name Ibanez doesn't mean anything anymore, it has to say Prestige, or J custom or whatever, i think thats a shame.

Now take Gibson for example, you want to buy a LP but don't have the money so you buy an Epiphone, if the guitar has some issues is the Epi brand that suffers not Gibson, because the Gibson logo is only for their top of the line instruments, you can give someone a great sounding Epi and they still be longing for that damned Gibson logo on the headstock because for them it actually means something.
I think both are equally valid strategies, you've got brand association either way simply by the use of the Les Paul/Stratocaster/RG model name. One garners brand association (I play what my hero plays) the other reinforces tiers in the price hierarchy (Gibson > Epiphone, so keep saving for that Gibson). If only one worked we wouldn't see the situation in the market place that we see.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-20-2015, 12:11 PM
 
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Re: Music Man vs. Sterling vs. OLP - What's the difference?

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I think both are equally valid strategies, you've got brand association either way simply by the use of the Les Paul/Stratocaster/RG model name. One garners brand association (I play what my hero plays) the other reinforces tiers in the price hierarchy (Gibson > Epiphone, so keep saving for that Gibson). If only one worked we wouldn't see the situation in the market place that we see.
Well yeah i guess they're both valid strategies and i do agree that the Ibanez way gets more Ibanez branded guitars in to the hands of customers but what i mean is the RG is easily the most iconic super strat ever and i guess im just sad that you can't say that an Ibanez RG is an incredible guitar anymore, you have to specify if its MIJ, Prestige, J custom or whatever.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-20-2015, 12:16 PM
 
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Re: Music Man vs. Sterling vs. OLP - What's the difference?

Oh and regarding EBMM i think the quality and craftsmanship of their guitars is superb, i just don't understand why they have to make their guitars so ugly.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-20-2015, 01:38 PM
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Re: Music Man vs. Sterling vs. OLP - What's the difference?

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Originally Posted by 63Blazer View Post
I don't know Music Man gear that well and was wondering between these different levels.
OLP is (was?) a Chinese company, and the letters stand for "Officially Licensed Product". They licensed the Music man shapes and styles and built the guitars and basses in china. A lot of the basses were very well received.

Music Man eventually ended the arrangement and decided to bring the lower line more in house, and called it Sterling after the founder. It is still a licensed thing, with the company making the guitars called Praxis, but EBMM has much more control of what gets created and how, etc. You'll see EBMM endorsers all over the Sterling site, for example.

Sterling is placed as above OLP, so in order of best or least expensive it would be EBMM > Sterling > OLP
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