Sterling by Music Man St. Vincent Goldie | Review

Published 1 month ago on June 12, 2024

By Guitar Interactive Magazine

Sterling by Music Man St. Vincent Goldie | Review

MSRP: (UK) £990  / (US) $829

The Sterling by Music Man St. Vincent Goldie is a striking blend of innovative design and exceptional performance. This guitar features an okoume body, providing a lightweight feel and a balanced tone. The roasted maple neck with a rosewood fingerboard ensures smooth playability and durability, offering 22 medium jumbo frets and a 25.5-inch scale length. Equipped with three Music Man-designed gold foil mini-humbuckers, the Goldie delivers a versatile range of tones from warm and smooth to bright and articulate. With its distinctive angular body shape and eye-catching gold finish, the St. Vincent Goldie stands out as a modern masterpiece for discerning guitarists. Nick Jennison reviews.

Unless you've been living under a (dad) rock, you'll no doubt be familiar with Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent. A trailblazing guitar player and songwriter, Clark has a keen eye for striking visuals, evident in the elegant and angular lines of her signature Music Man guitar. It's a very beautiful design that wouldn't look out of place in a modern art exhibition and a unique and idiosyncratic instrument. It's also expensive and difficult to get your hands on.

Thankfully, we have a new Sterling version of the St. Vincent Goldie—the newer iteration of the St. Vincent, complete with three "gold foil" mini humbuckers and a more conventional control layout. It has the same beautiful looks, the same "Cashmere" and "Velveteen" finishes, and the same visual appointments like the pyramid knobs and custom inlays, but at almost a third of the price of its Californian-made sibling.

Unlike the original St. Vincent, the Goldie features a much more standard "strat-style" 5-way pickup switching layout. But if you're expecting S-style tones, you'd be mistaken, and despite their "Gold Foil" visuals, the pickups on the Goldie are very much traditional mini humbuckers. If you're unfamiliar with these hugely underrated pickups, they're somewhere between a brighter, leaner PAF and a Tele pickup on steroids—and naturally, they're hum-free. There's more low-end extension than you'd expect from a single coil, a smoother and more even midrange than a P90, and more high-end extension than a full-size humbucker. The result is a super versatile tone with a very unique character that works with a huge variety of signal chains. They sound balanced and detailed with clean tones, raunchy and assertive with distortion, and they're more than articulate enough to retain their character with heavy processing.

As you'd expect from a Music Man design, the Goldie's playability is superb. Annie Clark is a very skilled player, so it's no surprise that this guitar absolutely rips if you want it to. The neck is slim and fast, with a smooth satin finish and frets that are narrow but tall enough for easy bends and vibrato. Players with smaller hands will find it a perfect fit, but if you're a large human like I am, don't be put off—I took to this neck right away and found it very difficult to put down.

One of the more significant differences between the Music Man and Sterling versions of the Goldie is the tremolo, with a two-point "vintage tremolo" in place of the custom St. Vincent tremolo. It's still a very solid unit, with excellent return to pitch thanks to the straight string pull of the 2+4 reverse headstock and locking tuners, and while it might not be quite as smooth or sensitive as the custom unit, it more than holds its own for chord shimmers, bar vibrato, and the occasional dive bomb.

The Sterling St. Vincent Goldie offers the same killer looks and tones as the USA-made model of the same name but at a much more accessible price point. It's made to a very high standard, plays great, and definitely looks the part too.

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