Omar Rodríguez-López's signature Mariposa is the star of the show in Sterling by Music Man's sweet 2021 lineup

Sterling by Music Man 2021 lineup
(Image credit: Sterling by Music Man)

GEAR 2021: Sterling By Music Man has unveiled the first of its 2021 models, with updated John Petrucci signature models, a new and improved Cutlass, a six-string version of the Jason Richardson Cutlass, and the long-awaited arrival of Omar Rodríguez-López's Mariposa to Ernie Ball Music Man's more affordable line of electric guitars.

The Mariposa is of the most talked about signature guitars in recent years. Its angular offset body shape gave it a Jetsons vibe, retro-modernism in electric guitar design, and its build and spec offered a dynamic performance that could be used for playing rock at all stages of its evolution. The only problem was the price tag; at around £3,249 it was beyond most of us.

Until now, that is, with the SbMM Mariposa available now in the States for $549. But then, when you look across the board, these 2021 Sterling By Music Man electrics look like they'll do a more than decent job of presenting the vibe and feel of their high-end, Californian-built EBMM counterparts for the player with a more modest budget.

Let's take a look at some of the spec...

  • NAMM 2021 is cancelled, but we'll be covering all the big January gear announcements right here on MusicRadar.

Sterling By Music Man Mariposa

Available in Dorado Green or Imperial White, the SbMM Mariposa has a Nyatoh body, a bolt-on maple neck with a 22-fret rosewood fingerboard and a 25.5" scale. 

There are two humbucking pickups, with individual volume controls for each, and a three-way pickup selector. Locking tuners, a vintage tremolo and a plain white pickguard complete the look.

Sterling By Music Man 2021 Cutlass CT50

We have the choice of six finishes with the 2021 Cutlass CT50: Toluca Lake Blue, Vintage Sunburst, Vintage Cream, Dropped Copper, Rose Gold, and Firemist Silver. 

For under $500 you'll get a caramelised maple neck, locking tuners, a vintage-style tremolo, plus an oversized 4+2 headstock that offers a straight though angle for the strings. You can even choose between a triple single-coil version or HSS configuration – they'll all come with 5-way switching and volume and tone controls.

The Cutlass CT50 is available to preorder now, priced $499.

Sterling By Music Man Jason Richardson Signature 6-String Cutlass

Jason Richardson's Signature Cutlass is now available in six-strings. So if you liked the cut of its poplar burl jib, the custom-contoured body shape with a lower horn that stays well out your way when you're up the top end of the fingerboard, yet balked at the seven-string format... Well, this is good news indeed. A more conventional shred format for a less-than-conventional player.

As with the seven-string model, you'll have the alder body and poplar veneer top, roasted maple neck and rosewood fretboard, plus a well-engineered six-saddle tremolo, high-output Sterling By Music Man humbuckers and a "push-push" coil-tap.

The Richardson 6 is available now priced £1,069 / $849.

Sterling By Music Man 2021 John Petrucci Models

Sterling by Music Man Petrucci models

The Sterling by Music Man 2021 Majesty MAJ200XQM [left] and JP150DSM  (Image credit: Sterling by Music Man)

John Petrucci, what can we say? The Dream Theater guitarist is one of the most candent stars in the galaxy of shred, and befitting a man of such status he has signature models coming out of his ears. Almost literally, if you consider his Captain Fawcett beard oil...

Anyway, 2021 sees the 2021 Majesty MAJ200XQM and JP150DSM join the Sterling by Music Man lineup. Let's look at the Majesty first. After all, it is to electric guitars what the Starship Enterprise is to space travel.

The 2021 SbMM Majesty arrives resplendent in Cerulean Paradise – a colourway that looks as thought it were sourced from the outer reaches of Neptune. Bear in mind this is going to be an affordable guitar – just look at that quilted maple veneer. Immaculate. 

And then you have an ebony fretboard, stainless steel frets (!), and Dimarzio LiquiFire Crunch Lab humbuckers. Not bad at all. With a 16" fretboard radius, it is wide-open for pyrotechnic stunt guitar playing.

The JP150DSM is a looker, too. It arrives fresh as a daisy with a Blood Orange Burst finish, its spalted maple top is a first for the series. In terms of hardware and pickups, it has the same spec as the Majesty, locking tuners et al – with an active push-push pot for adding 12dB of boost whenever your solo needs to cut through the mix. 

Very smart indeed. The 2021 Majesty is available to order now, priced £1,749 / $1,399, as is the JP150DSM, priced £1,499 / $1,199.

See Sterling By Music Man for more details.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.