The HSS concept was born from the DIY boom of the late-70s, and the screwdriver skills of stars like Eddie Van Halen, who mixed-and-matched bodies, necks and electronics to create the guitars that mainstream manufacturers didn't sell.
These days, you don't even need to pop the toolbox, with most firms offering an HSS model off-the-shelf. The Sub Silo3 is Sterling By Music Man's take on a souped-up S-style.
"The neck is asymmetrically cut, which sounds weird, but feels really natural in this reviewer's hands"
It hurt when Music Man canned the OLP range, but the Sterling By Music Man range is proving a viable alternative for the credit-crunched masses. It's not usually a good sign when a luthier refers to its own product as a "workhorse", but you get Sterling's point: the Silo3 offers flashes of flair, looks and performance, making that £229 price very competitive.
Sterling states that "all sharp edges have been eliminated", and while the 3's stubby headstock and rounded doublecut may look too cutesy for metal, there's nothing twee about the physical experience.
That hardwood body is light without being slight, and it meets the body at a svelte heel, letting you cruise on a neck that's asymmetrically cut (it's slightly slimmer underneath the higher strings). It sounds weird, but feels really natural in this reviewer's hands, fitting the palm and giving great control for fiddly runs.
They're 'only' own-brand pickups, but there's real light and shade between the sounds. The single coils have a tight tone that's great for indie jangle and weeping blues notes, but they're also pretty hot and punchy under gain.
The humbucker, meanwhile, is a blast, with a warm, chiming afterglow that's wasted on over-filthy riffs.