The Ernie Ball Cutlass has diverse range in tone, a simple set up, cool modern “buzz killer” and multiple color section.
When you pick up the Ernie Ball Cutlass RS HSS it looks like a Strat with two single coils, a humbucker pickup, whammy bar, and two knobs (volume and tone). And to be honest—that was the extent of my knowledge. But when I played it, I enjoyed going through the 5 pickup settings, exploring the diversity within the tone knob and getting the most out of each “tone zone”. I noticed a battery input on the back of the guitar and wondered, why the heck is that there? Then I did some research to find out what’s happening in the world of Ernie Ball guitars.
First thing I learned about was the Schaller M6-IND Locking Tuners Pegs. These things are truly great. All you have to do is pull the string tight through the hole, twist the locking device, give the tuning peg a half turn, cut the string and you are ready to shred. Incredibly easy to use and cuts changing string time in half!
AT A GLANCE
- Roasted figured maple neck with rosewood or maple fingerboard (depending on color selection)
- Seven colors to choose from; Vintage Sunburst, Firemist Silver, Charcoal Frost, Stealth Black, Ivory White, Coral Red, and Vintage Turquoise
- Three pickups, two classic single coils and a custom wound ceramic humbucker.
- “Tremolo” whammy bar bridge. Incorrectly named since it creates vibrato (pitch bend), not tremolo (volume bend)
- 22 stainless steel frets, for high fret shredding
- 10” radius neck, for a slight curve of the neck, making the strings easy to bend.
- Weight of 7lbs. 7 oz, nice and light
- Comes with a solid hard case
- Priced at $2,149.00
On the Cutlass, without any pedal effects, the “Tremolo” whammy bar feature can create a warble with slow vibrato, bending the pitch to sound like your favorite super worn out tape cassette, or a vacillated finish to a riff like an old school surf rock jam.
Silent Circuit with Transparent Buffered Output
This feature is really the coolest thing about this guitar, and what separates it from an ordinary Strat. There is a 9-volt battery built in to the back of the Cutlass, powering a Silence Circuit. The Silent Circuit creates and infuses opposite frequencies generated by the single coil pickup to neutralize the sound of the hum. Similar to the humbucker pickup, but the Silence Circuit is made to hold the brightness and tone of the single coils while cancelling the buzz. It makes a huge difference in comparison. The Transparent Buffer Output is used to hold these frequencies to be tonally consistence at all volume levels. Two different components modernizing the old school sound of the bright Strat tone to be clear even on the dirty channel.
With 5 different pickup settings and one rangy tone knob, you can make 15 different tones on a clean or dirty channel. From bright and crisp for leads, to muffled and low for rhythm, it gives you a wide variety of sound for a Cutlass. Even with the range of tones being so diverse, they all make sense coming from this guitar. The humbucker bridge pickup fills and warms up the tones, while the mid and neck gives it high clear-cut sounds.
TO WRAP IT UP
What I enjoy about the Music Man Cutlass is its range in tone, simple set up, cool modern “buzz killer” and multiple color section. After researching this new technology, I’ve been thinking differently about my own guitar design and set up. The Silence Circuit can be installed on any single coil guitar, as long there is room for the 9-volt battery. I might try installing one on my Strat and see how it works for me!