Sterling by Music Man Signature Guitars: Steve Lukather vs. John Petrucci

Updated on January 10, 2020
Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw started playing the guitar when he was 12 years old. He loves nothing more than to pick one up and pluck some strings.


Steve Lukather Is One Of The Most Recorded Guitarist In History

Steven Lee Lukather is probably always going to be most well known for his role as guitarist, singer, songwriter, arranger, and record producer in the band Toto. Toto had some of the most memorable tunes from the 1980s. The songs stick in your head, and tend to stay there. It was often extremely catchy stuff.

Steve Lukather, however, is a lot more than the guitarist from the band Toto. He's played guitar on more than fifteen hundred albums. Who even knows how many total songs that translates into. It is an absolutely prolific amount of work. It wouldn't then be too hard to imagine that Steve Lukather is one of the most recorded guitarists in the history of recorded music.

'Luke,' as Lukather is often called, has been nominated for twelve Grammy awards. He won five of those. He's been inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame, and won a Lifetime Achievement Award from Guitar Player Magazine.

Steve started off early in life as a student of music. He'd already been taking lessons on the violin, and then he started teaching the guitar to himself, at the young age of seven. Steve can also play keyboards and drums.

Lukather states plainly it was the music of The Beatles, and the guitar playing of George Harrison that inspired him the most as a young man. It is very fitting and quite nice that, in recent years, Lukather has performed with Ringo Starr. Truly, the list of noteworthy musicians Steve has worked with is too long to list on a short biography, like this one.

What's next for Steve Lukather? He's still pretty young, and he's still in big demand for his large list of skills. Truly, by the time he's done, it'll probably be official that Steve Lukather is the most recorded guitarist in the history of recorded music.

John Petrucci Is The Master Of Progressive Metal Guitar

Almost every person who takes up the electric guitar, at some point or another, will become enamored of very fast playing. It's always cool to see someone just rip up the fingerboard with sensationally blazing speed. Well, when you think of persons who have completely over the top ability to fly across the frets, John Petrucci has got to be near the top of any list.

So prolific is his speed, and so proficient the synchronization between his two hands, John's alternate stroke speed picking has become a source of humorous memes on the web. We should not forget, however, John is also quite a lyricist, a vocalist, and record producer too.

The G3 tour has been going on for years now. This is a tour featuring Joe Satriani, who taught guitar to so very many greats, and Steve Vai, his most famous student. The third slot in the lineup is someone invited, and no one has been invited more often than has John Petrucci.

So Petrucci is considered by two of the best of the best, to be right there with them. When the subject is narrowed to pure heavy metal guitar work, the 2009 book by Joel McIver, concerning the one hundred greatest metal guitarist, it lists John second to Dave Mustaine.

John is an American of Italian extraction who grew up in New York City. He's most often associated with prog metal band, Dream Theater, which he founded with cohorts and friends, but he's also a member of Liquid Tension Experiment. He's been a guest star on many another recording by others as well.

You don't have to look at many pictures to see that Petrucci doesn't just spend all his time on music. He very apparently pumps some iron very often. He seems to have a bright musical future ahead of him for years to come.

Sterling by Music Man Steve Lukather Signature Luke€ LK100D Guitar
Sterling by Music Man Steve Lukather Signature Luke€ LK100D Guitar

The Sterling by Music Man Steve Lukather Signature Luke€ LK100D Guitar

Steve Lukather has been endorsing Music Man guitars for a long time now. He's got a lot of different ones, and this guitar is modeled after one of them. The body is of basswood, and basswood is one of the newer woods used, and increasingly, in the production of solid body electric guitars.

Basswood is abundant. There's no environmental or ecological concerns here. Being abundant means a resource isn't so costly, but basswood is a terrific wood to use for such purposes. Basswood is described as being somewhat neutral in character, and this allows for you to change the tone of the guitar quite a lot using your controls and your amplifier. The wood is lightweight, and if there is a drawback, it is that the wood can get dents more easily than something denser, like mahogany.

It's very traditional for solid body electric guitars with bolt on necks to have maple necks, and that is exactly what you have here. The neck profile is a 'v,' and the fingerboard is rosewood with twenty two frets. I've felt these exact necks, and I've always liked 'v' profile necks for the point of the v letting me know when my hand is in just the right position to do various and sundry sorts of fingerboard maneuvers.

Pickups for both neck and bridge are DiMarzio Transition. DiMarzio has long competed pretty directly with Seymour Duncan in the pickups market. Luke prefers DiMarzio, and the Transition pickups are the Steve Lukather models, and are named Transition as that is the name of a Lukather solo album.

The switching system for the pickups is a five way position switch. With two humbuckers, why would there be a FIVE way switch? It's because the two humbuckers can be split into single coil pickups in the two and four positions. The coil splitting is not the end of the upscale electronics, as there is a pre-amp circuit which provides a boost for additional cut when soloing, or whenever desired, and this is activated by a tap or push on the volume knob.

The coil splits on great DiMarzio humbuckers, and the boost circuit make this guitar something you could use to play, literally, any type of music where an electric guitar is used. The boost and some overdrive, and you're in high gain territory for seriously aggressive metal, the coil splits on basswood, and you can get some very country twang. Then you've got a great floating tremolo for additional stringed hi-jinx.

Sterling By Music Man LK100-LKB Steve Lukather Signature Guitar features:

  • Body type: Solid body
  • Body material: Solid Basswood
  • Neck Shape: V
  • Wood: Maple
  • Joint: Bolt-on
  • Scale length: 25.5"
  • Truss rod: Standard
  • Fretboard Material: Rosewood
  • Radius: 12"
  • Fret size: Medium
  • Number of frets: 22
  • Inlays: Dot
  • Neck Pickup: DiMarzio Transition
  • Bridge Pickup: Dimarzio Transition
  • Active or passive: Passive
  • Series or parallel: Both
  • Preamp: custom SBMM
  • Special electronics: Push/push volume boost
  • Control layout: Master volume, tone
  • Pickup switch: 5-way
  • Coil tap or split: Coil split
  • Bridge type: Tremolo/Vibrato
  • Bridge design: Floating vintage tremolo
  • Chrome Color Tuning machines: Locking

Sterling by Music Man JP100D John Petrucci Signature
Sterling by Music Man JP100D John Petrucci Signature

The Sterling by Music Man JP100D John Petrucci Signature

This Sterling By Music Man John Petrucci guitar looks very similar to the Steve Lukather guitar, but those looks are just looks, for this is a beast of a different nature. This guitar's body is of mahogany, and so, its character is going to be much different. I want everyone to understand that mahogany is becoming increasingly hard to get, and the reality here is that, sooner or later, mahogany will be a restricted material.

What about mahogany as a tonewood? Gibson has been using mahogany on its solid body electric guitars since most of them were initially created. Of course Fender uses mahogany some too, but for the most part, it's something more closely associated with Gibson style guitars. Mahogany's tonal properties in electric guitars are such that the mid range is very favored, higher end frequencies can be more subdued with its use. Dense and heavy, you tend to feel mahogany on your shoulders. Petrucci's shoulders are such to where it isn't a concern.

A lot of people believe mahogany guitars, even solid body electric ones, sound better and better as time goes on. The same is thought of most woods, but maybe the idea is more pervasive with mahogany. This thing doesn't even look like mahogany, what gives? That's a koa wood veneer top. This same guitar is also available with a maple veneer top. Whether you want the koa or the maple, the rest of the guitar is exactly the same.

Again we have a maple bolt on neck and a rosewood fingerboard. This fingerboard, however, has twenty four frets, making it a two octave board. This is an exceptionally flat fingerboard. Aren't they all flat? Nope, in fact none of them are truly flat, but this one is of the 16" radius variety, and this is much flatter than a typical fingerboard for an electric guitar. What's the deal? People who love to do shred style guitar playing, like John Petrucci, they tend to favor the very flat fingerboards.

Both the pickups on this guitar are by DiMarzio, and they are both, specifically, John Petrucci pickups. It's clear he prefers the names these pickups have, as they sound better to him than 'John Petrucci pickups.' These are both the newest Petrucci pickups by DiMarzio.

Sterling By Music Man JP100D John Petrucci Signature Guitar features:

  • Scale: 25.5
  • Nut Width: 1.65"
  • Neck Width, 12th fret: 2"
  • Body Wood: Mahogany
  • Top wood: Koa, also available with maple
  • Neck Wood: Maple
  • Fretboard Wood: Rosewood
  • Tuning Machines: Locking
  • Hardware: Chrome
  • Neck Joint: 5-Bolt
  • Frets: 24
  • Fretboard Radius: 16
  • Pickup Selector: 3 Way
  • Pickups: H/H, DiMarzio Crunch Lab and Liqui-Fire
  • Bridge: Modern Tremolo

How To Choose Between These Two Great Sterling By Music Man Guitars

Ernie Ball, along with Leo Fender, founded Music Man guitars. Ernie's son was named Sterling, and so there is a line of Music Man guitars called, 'Sterling by Music Man.' These guitars are the Asian manufactured instruments which have a much more expensive version of the same thing, which will be USA production, and simply called Music Man.

While these guitars do not look like Fender guitars at all, the great Leo Fender was involved in all aspects of their design. You wouldn't be wrong to think of these as Fender guitars. You can always recognize a Sterling or a Music Man by the distinctive shape of the head-stock.

These are both exceptionally good guitars, and they are pretty affordable for a serious amatuer or working musician. What kind of prices are we talking? The Lukather guitar comes in between nine hundred and a thousand dollars. The Petrucci guitar is under nine hundred.

My thinking is these guitars are very competitive with something like a Gibson SG Standard. They are, of course, of the longer Fender scale length. If you're a pure metal guitar guy, and you really want to be a shred master, the Petrucci guitar has a 16" fingerboard radius, and that's a very very flat board, and meant for the shredder. I myself can adapt to a 16" radius fingerboard, but I prefer the 12" of the Lukather, and 12" is a much more standard fingerboard radius.

It would be easy to see the Petrucci guitar as more visually attractive for its koa or maple veneer top. It's less expensive than the Lukather, and if you know you're going to be playing metal exclusively, then this is the guitar for you.

The Lukather guitar is the one I like the best, because I love how it has coil taps, and also a boost circuit. I played with it, and I really liked how it could go from twangy single coils to crunchy growls on the humbuckers with the boost circuit engaged. Thanks for reading.

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    © 2017 Wesman Todd Shaw


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