The Silo3 is based on the Ernie Ball Music Man Silhouette, a workhorse guitar that has proved itself popular in hard rock and fusion circles for decades. It offers much of the tonal muscle of a really nice Strat but with certain ergonomic tweaks. The Sterling by Music Man S.U.B. Silo3 is a budget priced version of the Silhouette.
I AM THE MUSIC MAN
The Silo3 has a solid hardwood body - they don't specify what hardwood, but it's nice to know that it's not plywood, which has a bad reputation in solidbody electrics - and a solid maple neck with a maple fretboard. The body features the characteristic beveling of the Silhouette, with all sharp edges eliminated, and the neck has the same 4/2-split tuner design. From a distance you'd be hard pressed to differentiate it from the USA-made, far costlier version.
The body and neck are joined via the popular Music Man designed five-bolt neck joint, and the neck heel is contoured and rounded over for easy and comfortable access to the higher frets. The back of the neck is asymmetrical: it's slimmer on the treble side and thicker on the bass side, for effortless movement as you zip around the neck. It's surprisingly thick if you're used to thin Dean, Jackson or Ibanez necks, but the asymmetrical carve keeps it from feeling like a huge club. The frets are medium, and the finishing is okay but not spectacular; they could do with a little rounding. The fretboard width feels pretty narrow, so it's especially good for small hands.
The pickguard features two high output single coils and one overwound humbucker, connected to a five-way pickup selector switch, master volume and tone pots. The bridge is a vintage style (ie: non locking) unit with two-point fulcrum operation.
The bridge humbucker claims to be overwound on the spec sheet but it feels more like the lower end of 'medium' to me. There's plenty of articulation and detail, and a nice rounding off of the high end, which makes it very nice for soloing and for clean tones, but it's not a very distinctive pickup. The neck pickup is a little flat-sounding too - not bad, but not spectacular. The middle single coil has a nice scooped quality which pairs nicely with either the neck or bridge pickup, and it's great for really digging in on blues solos or for playing jangly indie riffs.
The narrow fretboard width may make certain shredding styles feel a little cramped, but otherwise this is a very ergonomically considerate guitar. Tuning stability is okay, the controls are easy to reach and the weight feels nice - the neck is a little heavier than the body, but not distractingly so.
PUT YOUR MONEY ON THIS WORKHORSE
Overall this is a pretty fine take on the Silhouette. It recreates many of its charms - the beveling, the pickup combination, the general neck feel - and does so in a very affordable price bracket. With a pickup swap it'd be a very respectable backup for a more advanced player, but for a beginner or intermediate player it's pretty much spot on.
Hits and Misses
The Neck Feel
The Price Point
Pickups are a bit non-descript