FAQ

Pre-Ernie Ball Music Man Amps

It is an early version. It has a completely solid state pre amp and a Tube power amp design which has one 12AX7A used as a phase inverter / driver tube for the output section of four EL34 output tubes.
The bias is adjustable on early versions only. You can not adjust the bias on later versions.

When Ernie Ball acquired the Music Man Company in 1984, the decision was made at the time not to manufacture the amplifiers.
We did get a limited number of parts, (which we have since sold to Mojo Musical Supply, (800) 927-6656) and most of the circuit schematics for them, many of which are available on our web site: http://www.music-man.com/techinfo_old/ .

There are no authorized service centers. For repair purposes, it would be best to find a qualified amp repair technician, preferably one familiar with these amplifiers.

The foot switch is a simple circuit similar to a 60's Fender amp circuit - but uses two independent shielded cables for the vibrato and the reverb circuits and SPST Push button switches to "open" or "short" each cable.

This transistor cross-references to a 2N 6488 transistor, commonly found at electronics stores.

Try adjusting the internal trim pot to adjust the intensity of the tremolo circuit. It is possible there is a defective Op Amp. (LM307H)

Music Man Basses

First check relief in the neck by holding the lowest string down on the 2nd fret with your fretting (left) hand. Then, hold the same string down on the 12th fret with your plucking thumb and tap on the string in the middle to see how straight the neck is. There should be no more than the thickness of a business card between the string and the frets. If there is no relief in the neck, a little pressure in the middle of the neck (after adjusting the trussrod wheel) should help.

The standard string gauge is .45-.100 with a .130 on the low "B" for the 5 string at 440 tuning. If you decide to tune down, typically you would increase the gauge for every 1/2 step downward that you tune. This will keep most of the measurements close by having more tension on the neck.

Factory String heights for a 4 string bass are: Bass side 3/32" to 7/64" Treble side: 5/64" to 7/64" from the top of the 12th fret to the bottom of the string. The rest of the strings should have the radius of the fretboard when looking at the top of the string, (with the A string hidden from view by the E string, etc.), rotating the bass at the same time. The "right" string height is, of course, ultimately determined by your playing style.

The same holds true for 5 string basses except the low B is set to 7/64".

For the Bongo 6 set the C string to 2/32".

If you have a single pickup bass set the pickup height to 6/32" from the plastic pickup cover to the bottom of the G string. Adjust the bass side of the pickup to be level with the pickguard.

If you have a dual pickup bass set the bridge pickup to the specs above. Follow the same procedure for the neck pickup except set that to 8/32".

For triple pickup basses you'll set the bridge and neck pickups to the specs above. The middle pickup is set to 7/32".

If fret buzz occurs from the open to the fifth fret, the neck needs more relief. If it buzzes between the 5th fret and the 12th fret, the neck needs to be straighter (turn the wheel slightly clockwise). If it occurs all over the neck, the string height need to increase (by turning the trussrod wheel slightly counter-clockwise).

For intonation: Compare the harmonic to the fretted note at the twelfth fret. If the fretted note is sharp, you need to make the string longer by turning the saddle screw clockwise, and vice versa. Make sure that the strings are coming off of the saddle straight and not in an arch. All measurements must be rechecked after each adjustment.

The StingRay is more of a traditional bass with active electronics that gives players a great all-around feel and sound. It is great for any style of music.
The Sterling is a sleeker, lighter bass than the StingRay. It has a thinner neck and smaller body. The 3-way switch offers more tonal varieties, and the phantom coil offers a single-coil sound without noise.

Now both are available in dual-pickup versions. On those models, the 5-way switch functions are the same, but the main properties of each bass, including the electronics, remain different from each other.

Some of our instruments have necks that are finished with a glossy or matte polyester finish. These necks can be cleaned and maintained with a polish cloth similar to the body of the instrument.

However, many of our necks are not finished that way. They are finished with tru-oil and gunstock wax for a smooth natural feel.

For routine conditioning and cleaning of these necks we recommend Ernie Ball Wonder Wipes Fretboard Conditioner.

If the Wonder Wipes are not available try using a high grade of lemon oil. It will work both on maple, rosewood and ebony. If the neck is very dirty, you can use a small amount of Murphy's Oil Soap, diluted 3:1 with water, to clean it. Keep in mind that if the dirt has gotten into the wood, it cannot be removed except by sanding it down, which we do not recommend a lot of. It is better to keep it clean in the first place. Washing your hands first helps!

On an maple neck, some discoloration after many hours of playing is normal.

An annual (or so) dose of tru oil and gunstockwax will help to keep the neck maintained; we use and recommend Birchwood-Casey Tru-oil, but any good quality gunstock oil will work.

Click here to watch a how-to video

Birchwood-Casey products are available at most sporting goods or gun stores, or now you can order them direct. Their web address is http://www.birchwoodcasey.com.

Be sure to follow all of the manufacturers recommended safety precautions when using any oils or waxes.

The 4-string basses are all equipped with Ernie Ball Super Slinky Bass strings (item # 2834) when they leave the factory. The gauges are 45w-65w-80w-100w.
The 5-string basses use the same with an added 130. This set is our Regular Slinky Bass 5's (item # 2836).

The 6-string Bongo is equipped with our Slinky 6 String Bass set (item # 2838). The gauges are 32w-45w-65w-100w-130w.

Sterling by Music Man is a separate line of instruments licensed by Ernie Ball Music Man and built overseas by Praxis Musical. You can learn more about Sterling by Music Man at their official website: http://www.sterlingbymusicman.com

This line of instruments is not to be confused with the Sterling or Sterling 5 models that we produce in San Luis Obispo, CA.

All distances are measured from string center to the next string center.
Stingray 4, Bongo 4, Sterling 4, Big Al 4, Reflex 4, Classic Sabre - 3/4"

StingRay 5, Sterling 5, Bongo 5, Big Al 5, Reflex 5 - 11/16"

The truss rod wheel design was designed so any musician can easily make minor adjustments to the neck. Any tool such as an allen wrench, nail, small screw driver, etc. that will fit into the wheel hole will work. Turn the wheel a quarter turn at a time then check by playing your bass. Clockwise will raise the fingerboard.

You should make all adjustments with the strings where you would normally play them. Do not loosen the strings to adjust the truss rod.

Average alkaline battery life is 6 months. We recommend Duracell batteries as replacements mostly due to size inconsistencies between battery manufacturers. Do not leave your bass plugged in when you have finished playing, as this will drain your battery faster. Battery life of course depends on how often and how long you play. When the sound of your bass becomes distorted, it's ready for a new battery.


We do not recommend rechargeable batteries for replacement in Music Man instruments for 2 reasons:
1. They do not put out enough voltage (at least 8.4 volts) to properly run the instruments. NiCad and NiMh "9-volt" batteries, even when fully charged, put out a maximum of 7.2 volts.

2. Even if they did work, rechargeable batteries only hold a charge for 1-3 months. Alkaline batteries, when fresh, can go 6 months or longer. We recommend Duracell for a good fit.


We do not recommend lithium batteries for the opposite reason, they tend to have a slightly higher voltage.

Our 3 band basses use a standard baxandall circuit centered appx. 500hz. Frequency slope is 6 db per octave. With bass control in max position, max output will occur at 40hz and drop at 6db per octave above 40hz. Maximum treble response drops at 6 db per octave at frequencies below appx.12 khz. Mid range is centered appx.500 hz. Control settings are interactive, therefore 6 db per octave slope only occurs when one control is in maximum position and the two remaining controls are set to minimum.

The Silhouette bass is probably best described as a hybrid bass and guitar.
It has a 29 5/8" scale which is almost halfway between a guitar and bass scale length. It is tuned E-E a full octave lower than a guitar and uses all wound strings from .20 to .90 gauge. In some applications, it could not be used the same way as a long scale 6-string bass, but with the 10 different switching configurations it does have a very wide range of tonal characteristics from a nice bass tone to a great higher-pitched tone such as lower notes on a guitar. It is even suitable for playing some chords. It is tuned like a guitar, only an octave lower. It is also available strung as a baritone guitar, tuned from A-A.

Although it is not common, we do see cases where some players' sweat will cause the nickel content on the pole pieces to rust. To get rid of the rust already on the pole piece, try using a scrub pad. Do not scrub more than necessary to remove the rust. To keep it from coming back, use (believe it or not) nail polish clearcoat. It will not affect the tone of the bass.

The new nut is called a Compensated Nut. We have a patent on this design.
The purpose of this new nut design is to improve note accuracy all over the fretboard. This is most apparent at the lower frets.

There is no special tuner, setup, or intonation required.

This nut is standard on all Music Man guitars and basses - even SUBs.

The Compensated Nut has been engineered to improve your Music Man instrument's potential to play perfectly in tune up an down the fretboard. Each string has an individual intonation pocket that slightly changes the effective string length, causing notes that traditionally play sharp to be more in tune.

The design has been optimized for standard string gauges and tunings, but will be of benefit when used with alternate tunings, string gauges, and playing styles.

For over 15 years we've used ash exclusively (unless the bass was part of a limited edition run). In the past we have used ash, poplar and alder.

You may use any kind you like. Flatwound strings are more forgiving in terms of wear on the fretboard than roundwounds. Roundwounds tend to be brighter and are preferred by many players though.

For a happy medium try Ernie Ball Slinky Flatwound.

On a Music Man unlined fretless neck, there are dots on the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 12th, 15th, 17th, 19th, 21st frets. The dots are located where the fret wire would be on a normal fretted instrument.

It's not a good idea to subject your instrument to extreme or sudden changes in temperature or humidity for many reasons. It can cause structural and cosmetic problems, so take every precaution to avoid it. We go to great lengths to build a very SOLID instrument, but wood is wood, it warps under sudden heating/cooling and tension, and heat is very bad for glue joints. The hotter it gets, and the longer it stays that way, the more likely you will have problems.

If you do happen to leave the instrument in a very hot, cold, dry or humid environment you'll want to allow it to acclimate to a normal temperature/humidity slowly. Leave the instrument in its case while it acclimates. Don't put it in front of an air conditioner or heater, etc. Do not make any radical adjustments to the instrument until it cools down. Once it has normalized, check it over. If there are no signs of apparent damage you are probably fine and there is no need to worry. If there are problems please contact customer service.

Music Man Guitars

Floating Locking Tremolo (Morse Y2D)

1. String the guitar
a. Cut the ball end off each string, insert the cut end into its respective saddle, and clamp the string in place with the lock screw.
b. Remove the clamping blocks/screws from the nut and set aside.
c. String the guitar normally.
2. Adjust the fine tuners on the bridge to sit in the center of their overall travel.
a. Completely loosen one tuner, and completely tighten the next. Set a third tuner in the center of these two, and adjust the others to match the centered one.
3. Set the bridge plate height
a. Tune up the inner 4 (or 5) strings until some amount of tension is placed on the trem system.
i. This will help keep the bridge from “jumping” on the pivot screws and in its natural resting place while performing the setup.
ii. Full string tension, tuned to exact pitch, is not necessary.
iii. Tension is only placed on the inner 4 (or 5) strings as to not permanently nick the outer strings while adjusting the pivot screws.
b. Raise or lower the bridge using the pivot screws until plate is level and flush with the top of the pickguard.
i. This is only a starting point; the final height will be determined by the action as measured off the 12th fret.
c. Move the trem through its full range of motion. If the front edge of the plate contacts the recess (usually at the end of the dive bomb motion), raise the bridge until it moves unimpeded.
4. Block the tremolo
a. Place an object to block the bridge between the bridge plate and body.
i. You can use anything that will support the bridge under tension and not mar the finish. A folded piece of cardboard wrapped in masking tape works well.
b. Maneuver the bridge and block to where the bridge plate sits level with the body/pickguard, supported by the block and held in place by the tension on the springs.
c. Tune to pitch. If the bridge plate begins to lift out of the recess, more spring tension is needed. An extra spring (up to five) can be added to the rear trem cavity if necessary.
i. Check that the trem springs are engaged through the entire range of motion. If they disengage from the claw when the bridge is pulled back, remove a spring and readjust the claw.
ii. Generally, 9-42 string sets will use two springs. 10-46, 11-48, and 10-52 will use three. Heavier gauges in standard tuning can use four or even five springs, but drop tuning will usually lessen the tension to only require three or four.
5. Adjust truss rod – This step is critical; all other adjustments will be affected to some extent when the amount of neck relief is altered.
a. Hold down the low “E” string at the first and last frets. You will effectively be using the string as a straight edge to see the amount of relief in the neck.
b. Visually gauge the space between the bottom of the string and top of the 7th fret wire, if there is any. If there is no gap, loosen the truss rod adjustment wheel until one appears.
c. Tighten the truss rod until the neck is flat, then loosen slightly so there is a small amount of space between the string and 7th fret. You can check the amount of relief by tapping on the string while fretting, and viewing its movement in relation to the frets.
d. Perform the same visual check and adjustment on the high “e” string to ensure there is some amount of bow on both sides of the neck.
6. Set the string height/action. The action is set at 4/64” (1.6mm) across all open strings.
a. Using a 6” ruler, measure from the top of the 12th fret wire to the bottom of each string. Adjust the bridge pivot screws using a 4mm hex wrench until all strings sit just above the 4/64” line of the ruler.
b. There is no individual saddle height adjustment on the locking bridge.
c. There is no exact specification on the bridge height in relation to the body or pickguard; the setting is based solely on the string height measured from the neck.
d. The bridge may not be perfectly level from the bass to treble side.
7. Float the bridge
a. With the tremolo still blocked, check that the plate is still level with the body. Readjust if necessary.
b. Tune to pitch.
c. Stretch the strings and re-tune.
d. Loosen the trem claw screws until the bridge block pulls out easily.
e. Remove the block.
f. Pluck the G string, and observe its pitch on a tuner. It will likely be out of tune.
g. Adjust the trem claw to bring the open G back in tune. When the string reaches the correct pitch, the bridge should return to where it was originally set when blocked.
i. If the bridge is not floating correctly, tighten the trem claw/springs, re-block the bridge, and repeat steps a-d.
8. Set the intonation.
a. Tune any string to pitch using the 12th fret harmonic.
b. Check the pitch of the same note at the 12th fret, but fretted.
c. If the fretted note is sharper than the harmonic, the string length is too short and the saddle needs to be moved back in the direction of the endpin. If the fretted note is flat, move the saddle forward in the direction of the neck.
i. The locking tremolo's saddles are held in place by 2.5mm hex drive screws at the front of the saddle. To adjust a saddle's location, loosen the screw, and the saddle will move freely. Move the saddle to the desired location and re-tighten the screw.
d. Check the note again and re-adjust saddles as necessary.
e. If adjusting the intonation, it's recommended to use full-size hex drivers, preferably with a T-handle. It's easiest to set the intonation using one 2.5mm driver to loosen/tighten the intonation screw, while simultaneously using a second driver to move the saddle with some amount of string tension still on the saddle.
9. Stretch the strings.
10. Install the clamping blocks/screws onto the nut and tighten fully.
11. Move the tremolo through it's range of motion and adjust the tuning with the fine tuners on the bridge. If necessary, unlock the nut, re-tune with the standard tuners, and repeat.
12. Double-check the setup and enjoy!!
a. If experiencing fret buzz on the first few frets (1~4), the truss rod needs to be loosened. If experiencing buzz in the middle of the neck (frets 6~10) the truss rod needs to be tightened.
b. If experiencing fret buzz across the entire neck, the bridge saddles need to be raised.
c. If making adjustments to the setup after the bridge has been floated, it may be necessary to re-block and re-float the bridge.

Music Man Vintage Style Tremolo

1. String the guitar
2. Set the bridge plate
a. Tune up the inner 4 strings (A,D,G,B) until some amount of string tension is placed on the trem system.
i. Having both spring and string tension will help keep the bridge from “jumping” on the pivot screws and closer to its natural resting place while performing the setup.
ii. Full string tension, tuned to exact pitch, is not necessary.
iii. Tension is only placed on the inner 4 strings as to not permanently nick the outer strings while adjusting the pivot screws.
b. Adjust the bass side of the bridge plate using the bass side pivot screw (4mm hex drive) until there is a small gap between the bridge plate and body at the front of the plate (front is nearest the pivot screw).
i. You should be able to slide a Post-It note between the plate (near the pivot screw) and body without it pinching.
c. Repeat step b on the treble side.
d. Adjust the pivot screws to allow both back corners (nearest the intonation screws) of the bridge plate to rest on the body.
i. Continue adjusting the treble side pivot screw and observe the corners of the plate.
ii. When the treble side screw is tightened into the body, it will reach a point where it levers the bass side corner upward. When the screw is raised out of the body, it will lift the treble side corner.
iii. Adjust the treble screw to where both corners of the plate rest firmly on the body.
iv. Re-check the bass side screw to ensure there is still a gap between the plate and body, and re-adjust if necessary.
e. Move the trem through its full range of motion. If the front edge of the plate contacts the face of the body near the pivot screws, raise the bridge slightly until it moves unimpeded.
3. Ensure the tremolo springs have enough tension so that when tuned to pitch, the bridge plate doesn't lift off the body.
a. If the plate lifts, tighten the tremolo claw screws too add appropriate spring tension.
4. Follow the instructions for a hardtail guitar setup.
5. Set the tremolo spring claw
a. From the factory, the tremolo is set to remain flat on the body if a note is bent a full step or less.
b. Bend the G note at the 12th fret to an A, and check if the bridge is lifting.
c. Adjust the spring claw so the bridge begins to lift when this note is bent beyond an A.
6. Double check the setup and enjoy!!
a. If experiencing fret buzz on the first few frets (1~4), the truss rod needs to be loosened. If experiencing buzz in the middle of the neck (frets 6~10) the truss rod needs to be tightened.
b. If experiencing fret buzz across the entire neck, the bridge saddles need to be raised.

Floating Petrucci Tremolo (including Majesty)

1. String the guitar
2. Set the bridge plate height
a. Tune up the inner 4 (or 5) strings until some amount of tension is placed on the trem system.
i. This will help keep the bridge from “jumping” on the pivot screws and in its natural resting place while performing the setup.
ii. Full string tension, tuned to exact pitch, is not necessary.
iii. Tension is only placed on the inner 4 (or 5) strings as to not permanently nick the outer strings while adjusting the pivot screws.
b. Raise or lower the bridge using the pivot screws until the plate is level and flush with the top of the body.
i. Ensure the bass and treble sides are even by sighting from the back of the bridge.
c. Move the trem through its full range of motion. If the front edge of the plate contacts the recess (usually at the end of the dive bomb motion), raise the bridge until it moves unimpeded.
3. Block the tremolo
a. Place an object to block the bridge between the bridge plate and body.
i. You can use anything that will support the bridge under tension and not mar the finish. A folded piece of cardboard wrapped in masking tape works well.
b. Maneuver the bridge and block to where the bridge plate sits level with the body, supported by the block and held in place by the tension on the springs.
c. Tune to pitch. If the bridge plate begins to lift out of the recess, more spring tension is needed. An extra spring (up to five) can be added to the rear trem cavity if necessary.
i. Check that the trem springs are engaged through the entire range of motion. If they disengage from the claw when the bridge is pulled back, remove a spring and readjust the claw.
ii. Generally, 9-42 string sets will use two springs. 10-46, 11-48, and 10-52 will use three. Heavier gauges in standard tuning can use four or even five springs, but drop tuning will usually lessen the tension to only require three or four.
4. Follow setup instructions for a hardtail guitar.
5. Float the bridge
a. With the tremolo still blocked, tune to pitch.
b. Stretch the strings and re-tune.
c. Loosen the trem claw screws until the bridge block pulls out easily.
d. Remove the block.
e. Pluck the G string, and observe its pitch on a tuner. It will likely be out of tune.
f. Adjust the trem claw to bring the open G back in tune. When the string reaches the correct pitch, the bridge should return to where it was originally set when blocked.
i. If the bridge is not floating correctly, tighten the trem claw/springs, re-block the bridge, and repeat steps a-d.
6. Double-check the setup and enjoy!!
a. If experiencing fret buzz on the first few frets (1~4), the truss rod needs to be loosened. If experiencing buzz in the middle of the neck (frets 6~10) the truss rod needs to be tightened.
b. If experiencing fret buzz across the entire neck, the bridge saddles need to be raised.
c. If making adjustments to the setup after the bridge has been floated, it may be necessary to re-block and re-float the bridge.

Some of our instruments have necks that are finished with a glossy or matte polyester finish. These necks can be cleaned and maintained with a polish cloth similar to the body of the instrument.

However, many of our necks are not finished that way. They are finished with tru-oil and gunstock wax for a smooth natural feel.

For routine conditioning and cleaning of these necks we recommend Ernie Ball Wonder Wipes Fretboard Conditioner.

If the Wonder Wipes are not available try using a high grade of lemon oil. It will work both on maple, rosewood and ebony. If the neck is very dirty, you can use a small amount of Murphy's Oil Soap, diluted 3:1 with water, to clean it. Keep in mind that if the dirt has gotten into the wood, it cannot be removed except by sanding it down, which we do not recommend a lot of. It is better to keep it clean in the first place. Washing your hands first helps!

On an maple neck, some discoloration after many hours of playing is normal.

An annual (or so) dose of tru oil and gunstockwax will help to keep the neck maintained; we use and recommend Birchwood-Casey Tru-oil, but any good quality gunstock oil will work.

Click here to watch a how-to video

Birchwood-Casey products are available at most sporting goods or gun stores, or now you can order them direct. Their web address is http://www.birchwoodcasey.com.

Be sure to follow all of the manufacturers recommended safety precautions when using any oils or waxes.

Piezo pickups use crystals that generate a signal when you pick the string. Our piezo pickups are built into each saddle. The piezo transducers create an acoustic tone by picking up on the vibration of the string on the saddle.

The nut is called a Compensated Nut. We have a patent on this design.
The purpose of this new nut design is to improve note accuracy all over the fretboard. This is most apparent at the lower frets.

There is no special tuner, setup, or intonation required.

This nut is standard on all Music Man guitars and basses (of course except guitars equipped with Floyd Rose tremolo systems).

The Compensated Nut has been engineered to improve your Music Man instrument's potential to play perfectly in tune up an down the fretboard. Each string has an individual intonation pocket that slightly changes the effective string length, causing notes that traditionally play sharp to be more in tune.

The design has been optimized for standard string gauges and tunings, but will be of benefit when used with alternate tunings, string gauges, and playing styles.

FOR SCHALLER LOCKING TUNERS:

After removing the old string, loosen the thumbwheel screw in the back of the tuner of the string you are going to change. Run the string through the bridge and all the way up to the correct tuner. Re-tighten the thumbwheel screw to secure the string in the tuner post. With a good pair of wire cutters, cut the excess string. Tune the string to pitch. It is ideal to have less than one full wrap of the string around the tuner post when tuned to pitch.

FOR DOUBLE LOCKING TREMOLOS:

When replacing a string on a guitar with a double locking tremolo, it is very important that the bridge should sit parallel to the body so as not to damage the finish. It is recommended to change strings one or two at a time; certainly leave tension on one string while changing the rest. Place a soft towel or cloth under the back of the bridge to protect the finish.

Care must be taken not to over-tighten the saddle clamps. Push new strings through the saddle first with the ball end toward the nut so that you may fish the ball end under the string retainer to avoid damaging the finish. Strings should come off of the retainer toward the nut to assure that the string is touching the entire surface of the nut in order to keep the string from changing pitch when installing the nut clamp. You are now ready to tighten the strings at each end.

The Ernie Ball strings we use on all of our guitars is as follows:
Silhouette, Silhouette Special, and Silhouette Gold Roller: RPS-9 Slinkys (9-42) catalog #2239

Silhouette Double Neck: 6 string uses RPS-9 Slinkys (9-42) catalog #2239; 12 string uses EB Nickel Wound 12-String Light catalog #2233

Axis: RPS-9 Slinkys (9-42) catalog #2239

Axis SuperSport with DiMarzio humbuckers: RPS-9 Slinkys (9-42) catalog #2239

Axis SuperSport with MM-90 pickups: RPS-10 Slinky (10-46) catalog #2240

Steve Morse and Steve Morse Y2D: 10-13-16 (all RPS)-26-32-42, available in single strings only

Albert Lee: 10-13-16 (all RPS)-26-36-46 available in single strings only

Luke, Luke 3, BFR Luke, BFR Luke 3: RPS-9 Slinkys (9-42) catalog #2239

John Petrucci 6 (Including BFR, JPX, JPXI, JP12, JP13, JP15 and Majesty): RPS-10 Slinkys (10-46) catalog #2240

The John Petrucci 7-string guitar (including BFR 7, JPX 7, JPXI 7, JP12 7, JP13 7, JP15 7 and Majesty 7) RPS-10 Slinkys (10-46) with an added .56 nickelwound for the low B string. To build this set, use catalog #2240 with an added catalog #1156.

The John Petrucci Baritone: 12(RPS)-16(RPS)-22p- 34-46-62 available in single strings only.

Reflex and Reflex Game Changer: RPS-10 Slinky (10-46) Catalog #2240

Benji Madden: 12-16-(RPS) - 24w-32-42-52 available in single strings only

SUB-1 guitar: RPS-9 Slinkys (9-42) catalog #2239

Nitrocellulose finishes are really the rare breed today. Because of the environmental hazards of spraying this material it is becoming regulated or outlawed in more and more areas, beginning with California. We all like the way it looks on vintage instruments, but it does shrink, crack and scratch much worse than either polyester or polyurethane finishes. These are qualities that many people used to live with, but now feel are unacceptable. Most guitar companies now use either polyester or polyurethane finishes, as do cars. They are tougher, and do not shrink, chip, crack or scratch nearly as easy as nitrocellulose. They are also much more expensive than nitrocellulose. There is really not that much difference between guitar and auto finishes, except that the products made for autos must withstand cold temperatures, not fade with constant exposure to sunlight, rain, etc.- things you would never want to expose a guitar to. Polyester is the hardest of all the topcoat materials. It is quite resistant to yellowing and cracking. It will protect your guitar better than anything else.

Axis/Non-Floating Locking Tremolo

Notes:
The Axis guitar is designed for the tremolo to sit flat on the body, and only allow movement in the dive-bomb direction.
Because the bridge is limited in its adjustability via the pivot screws, the string height is primarily adjusted by adding or removing shims from the neck pocket. If you are not comfortable with removing the neck from your guitar, do not attempt to re-shim the neck. Instead, take your guitar to a qualified tech or contact Music Man Customer Service to arrange for your guitar to be sent to the factory for a setup.
If adjusting the intonation, it's recommended to use full-size hex drivers, preferably with a T-handle. It's easiest to set the intonation using one 2.5mm driver to loosen/tighten the intonation screw, while simultaneously using a second driver to move the saddle with some amount of string tension still on the saddle.
Keep in mind that the entire Axis setup mainly amounts to the truss rod adjustment and the shim in the neck pocket. This guide may seem overly extensive, but it is intended to explicitly describe the processes needed to take the neck on and off, work with the mechanics of a locking tremolo, etc. The bulk of this guide is intended to check all the metaphorical boxes of settings that should already be correct on most guitars and not require any adjustment.

1. String the guitar
a. Cut the ball end off each string, insert the cut end into its respective saddle, and clamp the string in place with the lock screw.
b. Remove the clamping blocks/screws from the nut and set aside.
c. String the guitar normally.
2. Adjust the fine tuners on the bridge to sit in the center of their overall travel.
a. Completely loosen one tuner, and completely tighten the next. Set a third tuner in the center of these two, and adjust the others to match the centered one.
3. Set the bridge plate
a. Tune up the inner 4 strings (A,D,G,B) until some amount of string tension is placed on the trem system.
i. Having both spring and string tension will help keep the bridge from “jumping” on the pivot screws and closer to its natural resting place while performing the setup.
ii. Full string tension, tuned to exact pitch, is not necessary.
iii. Tension is only placed on the inner 4 strings as to not permanently nick the outer strings while adjusting the pivot screws.
b. Adjust the pivot screws until the bridge sits flat and level on the face of the body.
i. There is a small retainer plate on the underside of the main bridge plate. This plate is what contacts the face of the body. The bridge should sit flat across the back edge of this plate.
ii. By raising and lowering the pivot screws, the back corners of the plate will either:
1. lift straight off the body by raising the pivot screw on the same side
2. lift by being levered off the body by raising the opposite pivot screw
iii. The only points the bridge should contact are the two pivot screws, and the back edge of the small retainer plate.
c. Move the trem through its full range of motion and check that it moves smoothly and unimpeded.
4. Tune to pitch.
5. Ensure the tremolo springs have enough tension so at full tension, the bridge plate doesn't lift off the body.
a. If the plate lifts, tighten the tremolo claw screws to add appropriate spring tension.
6. Adjust truss rod – This step is critical; all other adjustments will be affected to some extent when the amount of neck relief is altered.
a. Hold down the low “E” string at the first and last frets. You will effectively be using the string as a straight edge to see the amount of relief in the neck.
b. Visually gauge the space between the bottom of the string and top of the 7th fret wire, if there is any. If there is no gap, loosen the truss rod adjustment wheel until one appears.
c. Tighten the truss rod until the neck is flat, then loosen slightly so there is a small amount of space between the string and 7th fret. You can check the amount of relief by tapping on the string while fretting, and viewing its movement in relation to the frets.
d. Perform the same visual check and adjustment on the high “e” string to ensure there is some amount of bow on both sides of the neck.
7. Check the string height at the nut.
a. The locking nut height is set using metal shims under the nut. It's unlikely the height will need to be adjusted, but it's not unwise to confirm the height is correct.
b. Press down any string between the 2nd and 3rd frets to effectively fret the string at the 2nd fret from the nut side.
c. Tap on the same string over the 1st fret wire and observe the gap between the string and fret.
d. This gap should be as small as possible without the string actually touching the 1st fret, while the 2nd fret is being held down.
i. The nut can be set higher to prevent open string buzz, especially on the bass side.
e. If necessary, un-screw the nut from the neck and add or remove shims from underneath the nut to achieve the correct height.
i. The factory shims are either brass (Used with 1st and 2nd generation Axis/EVH models with Gotoh tremolos), or stainless steel (current generation, used with OEM Music Man tremolos). The thicknesses used are .1mm and .3mm (.004” and .012”, respectively). While factory shims are recommended, any material of the same shape and thickness can work.
8. Set the string height/action.
a. The action is set at 4/64” (1.6mm) across all open strings, measured at the 12th fret.
b. Using a 6” (150mm) ruler, measure from the top of the 12th fret wire to the bottom of each string. The 4/64” line should be just visible under each string.
c. If the action is high, a thicker shim is needed in the neck pocket. If low, a thinner shim is needed. Minor height adjustments (less than 1/64”/.4mm) can be made using the bridge pivot screws.
i. The bridge can be raised slightly off-level to tilt back toward the end pin, but it cannot be lowered to tilt toward the pickups. (When the bridge is set too low, it can wedge between the pivot screws and body. This can cause the bridge to bind and not return to the correct pitch after using the tremolo.)
ii. The factory shims are plastic strips placed between the neck screws closest to the pickups, color coded to the following thicknesses:
1. Brown - .010”
2. Pink - .015”
3. Yellow - .020”
4. Black - .030”
iii. Moving one size up or down will generally adjust the action slightly more than 1/64”, and slightly less than 2/64”.
1. e.g., If the action is measured to be 5/64” with a pink shim, a yellow shim will usually put the action slightly under 4/64”. Install the yellow shim and adjust the bridge pivot screws slightly higher to get to 4/64”.
iv. While it's recommended to use factory shims, any material of the same shape and thickness can be used to shim the neck.
d. To remove the neck:
1. Place a folded piece of cardboard between the bridge's string lock screws and body. The cardboard should fit snugly; it's purpose is to keep the bridge from popping off the saddles when the string tension is removed.
2. De-tune all strings. Optionally, a small amount of tension can be left on the strings to hold the neck and body in place when the neck screws are removed.
3. Remove all five neck screws and the neck plate.
4. Lay the guitar down flat, facing up.
5. Gently lift the neck out of the pocket, taking care to not delaminate or chip the finish off the body around the pocket.
6. Remove the installed shim and replace with one of an adequate thickness.
e. To replace the neck:
1. Gently lower the neck back into the pocket (with the correct size shim installed)
2. Holding the entire neck joint firmly together, flip the guitar over onto its face. The neck should be placed onto an elevated surface or neck rest/caul. Elevating the neck causes the heel to lever into the body pocket, especially with some amount of tension left on the strings.
3. Replace the neck plate and insert the neck screws back into the body.
4. Grasp the neck, body and plate firmly in one hand and hold the guitar on end, balanced on the end pin.
5. Fully drive the neck screws back in.
1. Start with the center screw on the flat side of the neck plate, followed by the opposite screw on the contoured edge, and finish with the outside three. (This order minimizes the risk of cracking the finish at the corners of the plate.)
ii. Ensure the neck screws do not thread in the body. This can prevent the neck from seating properly. i.e., When removing the screws with a powered screwdriver or drill, the screws should thread out of the neck, but spin in the body. If the screws are threading, the holes through the body can be reamed out to a #19 wire gauge drill size diameter (.166” or 4.25mm).
9. Set the tremolo spring claw
a. From the factory, the tremolo is set to remain flat on the body if a note is bent a full step or less.
b. Bend the G note at the 12th fret to an A, and check if the bridge is lifting.
c. Adjust the spring claw so the bridge begins to lift when this note is bent beyond an A.
10. Set the intonation.
a. Tune string to pitch using the 12th fret harmonic.
b. Check the pitch of the same note at the 12th fret, but fretted.
c. If the fretted note is sharper than the harmonic, the string length is too short and the saddle needs to be moved back in the direction of the endpin. If the fretted note is flat, move the saddle forward in the direction of the neck.
i. The locking tremolo's saddles are held in place by 2.5mm hex drive screws at the front of the saddle. To adjust a saddle's location, loosen the screw, and the saddle will move freely. Move the saddle to the desired location and re-tighten the screw.
d. Check the note again and re-adjust saddles as necessary.
11. Stretch the strings.
12. Install the clamping blocks/screws onto the nut and tighten fully.
13. Move the tremolo through it's range of motion and adjust the tuning with the fine tuners on the bridge. If necessary, unlock the nut, re-tune with the standard tuners, and repeat.
14. Double check the setup and enjoy!!
a. If experiencing fret buzz on the first few frets (1~4), the truss rod needs to be loosened. If experiencing buzz in the middle of the neck (frets 6~10) the truss rod needs to be tightened.
b. If experiencing fret buzz across the entire neck, the overall string height needs to be raised.

Sterling by Music Man is a separate line of instruments licensed by Ernie Ball Music Man and built overseas by Praxis Musical. You can learn more about Sterling by Music Man at their official website: http://www.sterlingbymusicman.com

This line of instruments is not to be confused with the Sterling or Sterling 5 models that we produce in San Luis Obispo, CA.

Luke Tremolo Setup

NOTES:
The Luke tremolo is set floating at an angle off the body. This angle is set to bend the open G string exactly 1.5 steps to an A# note when the bridge is pulled back.
This tremolo does not necessarily have to be set floating. If you do not require the bridge to float, follow instructions for the Music Man vintage style tremolo.
If setting the bridge flat on the body per the vintage style instructions, the shim in the neck pocket of your Luke may need to be removed or changed to a different thickness.
This setup only works with 9-42 gauge strings. Using a different string gauge can cause the bridge to sit too high or too low to perform well at this specification.
If a floating bridge is desired using a different string gauge, you can still follow the instructions for setting a rough angle and floating the bridge (through step 6-e), but it will not be set up to bend to a specific interval. It will also require more than the two springs described below.

1. String the guitar
2. Install 2 springs in the back cavity, arranged in a “V” shape.
a. On the springs, the bridge side hooks will use the outer two mounting holes on the bridge block, and the claw side loops will use tabs 2 and 4 on the spring claw.
3. Set the bridge plate
a. Tune up the inner 4 strings (A,D,G,B) until some amount of tension is placed on the trem system.
i. Having both spring and string tension will help keep the bridge from “jumping” on the pivot screws and closer to its natural resting place while performing the setup.
ii. Full string tension is not necessary.
iii. Tension is only placed on the inner 4 strings as to not permanently nick the outer strings while adjusting the pivot screws.
b. Raise or lower the bass side of the bridge plate using the bass pivot screw (4mm hex drive) until there is a small gap between the bridge plate and body at the front of the plate (front is nearest the pivot screw).
i. You should be able to slide a Post-It note between the plate (near the pivot screw) and body without it pinching.
c. Repeat step b on the treble side.
d. Adjust the pivot screws to allow both back corners (nearest the intonation screws) of the bridge plate to rest on the body.
i. Continue adjusting the treble side pivot screw and observe the corners of the plate.
ii. When the treble side screw is tightened into the body, it will reach a point where it levers the bass side corner upward. When the screw is raised out of the body, it will begin to lift the treble side corner.
iii. Adjust the treble screw to where both corners of the plate rest firmly on the body.
iv. Re-check the bass side screw to ensure there is still a gap between the plate and body, and re-adjust if necessary.
e. Move the trem through its full range of motion. If the front edge of the plate contacts the face of the body near the pivot screws, raise the bridge slightly until it moves unimpeded.
4. Block the bridge.
a. Dive the tremolo forward and wedge an object under the back of the bridge plate so the bridge is angled upward.
i. The bridge will be resting on this object throughout the setup, held in place by the spring tension.
b. Use something that won't damage the finish (a folded piece of cardboard wrapped in masking tape works well).
c. The bottom of the bridge plate should sit ~4/32” (3.18mm) off the body, measured at the 90 degree bend near the intonation screws.
d. This measurement is not an exact specification, just a starting point. The final angle will vary based on the results of the setup on your particular guitar.
e. When tuned to pitch, the bridge should be resting on the block. If the block falls out or is easily removed, tighten the spring claw to provide sufficient tension to keep the block in place.
5. Follow the instructions for a hardtail guitar setup
6. Float the bridge
a. With the tremolo still blocked, tune to pitch.
b. Stretch the strings and retune.
c. Loosen the trem claw screws until the bridge block pulls out easily.
d. Pluck the G string, and observe its pitch on a tuner. It will likely be out of tune.
e. Adjust the trem claw to bring the G note back to the correct pitch. When the G is back in tune, the bridge should be back to where it was originally set when blocked.
f. Again, pluck the open G string and pull the trem all the way back until it meets the body.
g. Observe the pitch of the G string with the trem pulled back. It should be near an A#.
h. Adjust the spring/string tension until the open G yields a perfect A# with the bridge pulled back.
i. Make sure all the strings are at the correct pitch before observing the G-to-A# bend.
ii. If the A# note is flat, the bridge plate needs to be higher/more angled off the body. Loosen the spring claw slightly and re-tune.
iii. If the A# note is sharp, the bridge plate needs to be lower/less angled off the body. Tighten the spring claw slightly and re-tune.
iv. It will likely take several attempts to get the bridge at the correct angle to achieve a perfect 1.5 step bend. It is a fine balance between the string and spring tension, and adjusting either one will cause the other to go out of adjustment. Moving the bridge in small, methodical, observable increments is easier in the long run than attempting to make large adjustments.
v. If the adjustment seems to be getting too far off one way or another, tighten the spring claw, re-block the bridge, and reset the angle from the initial base measurement of 4/32” off the body.Factory string setting for standard tuning starts at the bass side 2/32" (1.59 mm) to 5/64" (1.98 mm) and the treble side is 3/64" (1.19 mm) to 2/32" (1.59 mm) measured from the 12th fret to the bottom of the strings. The top of the strings should have the radius of the fretboard when you are looking at the strings in the playing position and by rotating the instrument while at the same time bringing strings into view one at a time. String height is determined by your preference and playing style.

If a string buzzes on the open note to the 5th fret and no higher, more relief is needed in the neck. If there is more buzz from the 5th fret to the 12th fret, the neck needs to be straighter (less relief). Check the string height at every adjustment. If buzzing is present throughout the neck, the string height needs to increase. After every adjustment it is necessary to re-tune the guitar.

The standard float height is measured at 1 1/2 steps on the G-string. If you set this first at 440 tuning, it may make it easier to keep the bridge close to the same angle while making all of the other adjustments. You may want a different amount of float - many players prefer 1/2 or only 1 step of float.

After each adjustment, return to step one, and start again.

First, check relief in the neck by holding the lowest (bass) string down on the second fret with your fretting hand, then hold it down on the 12th fret with your right thumb and tap on the string in the middle to show how straight the string is. It should be no more than the thickness of a thick business card. If there is no relief in the neck, applying a little pressure in the middle of the neck (downward) after adjusting the trussrod wheel should take care of it. If not, please contact us as it may be necessary to send the instrument in to the factory.
Factory string setting for standard tuning starts at the bass side 2/32" (1.59 mm) to 5/64" (1.98 mm) and the treble side is 3/64" (1.19 mm) to 2/32" (1.59 mm) measured from the 12th fret to the bottom of the strings. The top of the strings should have the radius of the fretboard when you are looking at the strings in the playing position and by rotating the instrument while at the same time bringing strings into view one at a time. Remember, string height is ultimately determined by your preference and playing style.

Now, you are ready to play your guitar. If a string buzzes on an open string to the 5th fret and no higher, more relief is needed. If there is more buzz from the 5th to the 12th fret, the neck needs to be straighter. You should check the string height after every adjustment. If the buzzing happens throughout the neck, the string height needs to be increased.

Experiment a little to get the exact action you want.

The Silent Circuit ™ is a Music Man exclusive system allowing great sound through single-coil pickups while virtually eliminating the 60 cycle noise normally associated with single coils.

The John Petrucci with Piezo and Axis Super Sport HH Trem.

Depress the tremolo arm like you are dive bombing. Looking up from the lower strap button, inside on the trem block on the right, you will find a 1.5mm hex key adjustment screw. You can adjust the arm's swing there.

No, we are not able to add a piezo sytem to an existing Music Man instrument.

Many of our guitars come with a battery, but not all are necessarily "active".

The only guitars we make with active pickups are the Luke and BFR Luke, which are made to Steve Lukather's exact specifications including the EMG pickups.

The Luke 3, JP13, JP15 and Majesty all have active preamps with gain boosts that are powered by a battery.

Game Changers all have circuits that are powered by a battery.

The Albert Lee and Silhouette Special are equipped with the Silent Circuit™, which will allow single-coil pickups to be heard without the 60 cycle hum. The batteries in those guitars power that silent circuit but the guitars will function without a battery.

Petrucci guitars with the piezo option require a battery to power the piezo.

Piezo transducers rely on the pressure of the strings pressing against the transducers inside the saddles to get the vibration necessary for the piezos to pick up signal. When the vibrato is used, the pressure is released, so the piezos, at least temporarily, have nothing to give them any signal.

Have a qualified technician make the nut slots slightly wider. Not doing this will cause extra pressure on the nut, which can cause the nut to crack, particularly on the lower strings. If you plan on attempting this yourself be sure to use the proper files. Also be sure not to widen the slots too much or make them any deeper.

If your guitar is equipped with a tremolo you may need to add tension to the tremolo springs by tightening the trem claw and/or adding an additional spring.
You should also check the intonation, which will probably need to be adjusted. That is covered in another FAQ.

Push the grip down towards the body carefully as to not scratch the finish. Use caution to not tear the grip. The set screw for the knob (5/64") will be exposed. Loosen the set screw, remove the knob, then remove the grip from the knob.

The Music Man models with piezo are designed to run out to two separate systems. That's what we consider the best option - the magnetic pickups are routed to a dedicated electric guitar rig and the piezo output is routed to a dedicated acoustic rig or perhaps the pa. To do this, you can either use both outputs at once with mono cables or you can run a single stereo cable out of the "magnetic/stereo" output and use a stereo-to-mono splitter box. Then, you take each respective lead where it is to go. Or, instead of running the piezo signal through the house mains, you could use an acoustic amplifier first and then run it to the house mains - or not.
Of course, you can always utilze the "piezo/mono" output jack with a mono cable out to your normal guitar amp by itself - but to get the full potential of the piezo bridge, we recommend running it through separate systems as described above.


For the Majesty:

To select mono or stereo output on the Majesty, press and hold the Piezo volume knob, the signal will mute and return, and the output will alternate between mono and stereo. When the signal returns, the LED on the battery box will pulse blue once for Mono or twice blue for Stereo. (This "pulsing" also happens every time the instrument is plugged in, so the user knows the output setting upon startup, first amber then blue).

The trick here is to keep holding the knob. The length time from initial press, to mute, to signal again is about 7-10 seconds, and is this long to ensure during live play, the function is not accidentally activated.

If at any time the knob is released before the signal returns, the instrument will exit the function with no changes made to the output.

In Mono mode you are able to access both the piezo and magnetic cables through one mono cable to one amp.

Once in stereo mode you are able to use a TRS or stereo cable from the Majesty to another device that will allow you to split the signal to two mono cables, one for piezo and one for magnetic.

The bridge humbuckers in all Music Man guitars are F-Spaced except the Steve Morse and Armada.

The neck humbuckers in all Music Man guitars are standard spaced.

It doesn't have to be any particular tool - in fact we purposefully made it to where you can use almost anything to adjust it, such as a small screwdriver, hex wrench, or even a nail. At the factory, we typically use 3mm size hex wrenches.