…and Save a Bundle
This cool post was submitted by WoodyTone reader and avid EVH tone-chaser Trev Morson. More about him and his band is at wolfscrossing.net.
How many of you want to own a new EVH Wolfgang but can’t afford the $3K asking price?
I saw a guitar in Guitar Center a few weeks ago that in looks, and for all intent and purposes, was an EVH Wolfgang – but the asking price brand new was only $540. It was the Music Man Sterling AX40. These are low-priced guitars made in Indonesia, and I knew instantly that it had potential.
By default, the Sterling AX40 does have some issues, but to be fair, you would expect that for such a low asking price. But still….
You may remember the debacle with Fender Stratocasters made in Japan in the early ’80s: Fender’s concern was that they were actually manufactured with a higher quality in Japan than they were in USA at the time. (I happen to know because I own a 1983 ’62 Strat reissue made in Japan.) You’ll find a somewhat similar situation with the Sterling AX40 in that the basswood body [it only has a maple veneer top] and maple neck are very well made in Indonesia. But there are some issues:
> The wiring is sub-standard and should be replaced. When I got mine, I found the toggle switch loose, and upon tightening it, it snapped off the neck pickup wire from the switch pot.
> The frets are medium-jumbo, but are not sanded very well. The high E can get stuck under the frets at the side of the neck.
> The Floyd Rose licensed trem is not set up correctly (even though these are quality-checked in the U.S.). The strings by default are tuned concert pitched with Ernie Ball 10-gauge strings, and I was not convinced the intonation was set exactly as it should.
It does not by default have a D-Tuna installed on the low E, but I have heard that for gigging musicians, the D-Tuna may not be a good idea: I heard that once these are installed, you can no longer fine-tune the low E string on the Floyd Rose.
One other thing I noticed is that the default pickups are not only screwed directly to the body, but are glued as well. By default they are hot and kind of okay, but a replacement bridge pickup is a good idea. However, replacing the pickups is tricky: I found that the routing was not as deep as it should be for a replacement.
Don’t let all of the negatives put you off, though. Again, the asking price is $540, so you would expect some issues. The key is recognizing this guitar’s potential. I have noticed that many reviews on the web are given by bedroom guitarists, and I find myself always asking the same question: Is the gear being reviewed ‘gig tested?’
I decided to upgrade my Sterling AX40 so I can use it with my band for gigs. Having the $3K Fender EVH Wolfgang in mind, I made the following upgrades and I was astonished on how much money I saved.
Custom work I had done:
> Completely rewired.
> New pickup toggle switch.
> New pickup selector, added tone pot.
> New linear 500K volume pot.
> Replaced volume knob with MXR volume knob, added MXR tone knob.
> Installed Seymour Duncan SH12 Screamin’ Demon bridge pickup, pole pieces adjusted.
> OEM neck pickup and pole pieces adjusted.
> All frets filed and sanded, top and sides.
> Floyd Rose trem-stopper installed, another spring added, Floyd set flat and level.
> Floyd Rose sustain block installed.
> EVH Wolfgang decals applied (original 5150 decal coming soon).
> Intonation set for Elixir NanoWeb 9- to 42-gauge strings tuned to Eb.
> Swapped out strap nuts for EVH loop types.
> String/fret, nut and bridge oil applied.
The cost of the new AX40 was $540. The cost for upgrades was $250. Total = $790, still a bargain at today’s prices, and it plays, sounds and feels like a real $3,000 new EVH Wolfgang. Total Savings = a whopping $2,200.
Note the ENORMOUS cost-savings. I just knew this guitar had a lot of potential.
Sites That Link to this Post
- Guitar.M106.COM | March 9, 2010