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Review: Ernie Ball Music Man St. Vincent Stealth Black

Review: Ernie Ball Music Man St. Vincent Stealth Black

PLATINUM AWARD

Sharp-eyed readers may recall that we reviewed the Ernie Ball Music Man St. Vincent just a little over a year ago. So why are we reviewing it again, especially since the only newly announced additions to the model were just four new finishes?

Well, one of those St. Vincent models with a new finish also differs rather significantly from all of the others in ways that might not be obvious to casual observers. So with that, we’re digging into the finer “top secret” details of the new Ernie Ball Music Man St. Vincent with the appropriately named Stealth Black finish.

FEATURES
The most obvious feature of the St. Vincent Stealth Black is its “none more black” appearance, with almost everything but the 22 high-profile medium width frets, custom St. Vincent fretboard inlays, headstock logos, and saddle adjustment screws cloaked in a matte black finish. The major differences between the Stealth Black version and the other finish models is not as immediately obvious upon first glance.

The Stealth Black fittingly comes with an ebony fretboard instead of rosewood, and the neck is crafted from maple instead of the rosewood necks featured on the other St. Vincent variants. The back of the neck is also finished with an ultra-light satin polyurethane finish instead of the gunstock oil and hand-rubbed special wax blend used on the other versions. While the three custom DiMarzio mini humbuckers have black covers instead of chrome, the pickups, wiring, and master volume/tone control configuration are the same as the other St. Vincent models.

You still get a blend of series configurations for each pickup individually as well as parallel configurations for the neck/bridge and all three pickup settings. The guitar with its slim African mahogany body still weighs just a little over seven pounds, and the neck specs are still a 25 1/2–inch scale, 10-inch radius, and rounded C profile.

PERFORMANCE
While the appearance of the St. Vincent Stealth Black may be darker than a black rainbow, the tone is noticeably brighter than its rosewood-necked counterparts. The attack is also more percussive, snappy, and instantaneous, which allows players to give the guitar’s tone a harder edge when playing forcefully while still enjoying a warm, softer voice when caressing the strings.

The Stealth Black model has a little more overall dynamic edge, which, along with its too cool for words appearance, makes the additional cost worth the investment.

STREET PRICE: $2,099
MANUFACTURER: Ernie Ball Music Man, music-man.com

• The neck is made of maple and features an ebony fretboard instead of the all-rosewood construction of the other St. Vincent variants.

• Three custom DiMarzio mini humbuckers and versatile series/parallel wiring provide a useful variety of dazzling tones.

THE BOTTOM LINE
In addition to be the coolest looking version of the already cool St. Vincent model guitars, the Stealth Black slyly offers a more dynamic, brighter, and punchy tone than its stablemates thanks to its different neck materials.

Double Strummed Octaves, and My Solo in “The Price Is Wrong”