This 2018 version of the St. Vincent Is decked out in a high-gloss Charcoal sparkle finish, and new color options for this model also include Blue Dawn, Stealth Black, and Seabreeze. The hourglass-shaped body is contoured in all the right places, and the cutaway and rounded heel area offer good access to the high frets. The bolt-on neck, which is cut from highly figured roasted maple and coated with a thin oil/wax finish, features a 25 ½”-scale (10” radius) ebony fretboard carrying 22 glistening, high-profile, medium frets. The neck is super comfortable, and the factory setup provided low action with only slight string buzzing above the 14th fret. The intonation was sweet sounding in all positions, too. The butter-smooth Music Man Modern tremolo and locking Schaller tuners are a proven combination, and the straight string pull afforded by the 4 + 2 arrangement over a black synthetic nut kept the tuning satisfyingly stable when bending strings or even brutalizing the bar to its limits—there’s enough downward range to slacken the strings. If things did go a little out of tune, a tap of the bar was usually all it took to remedy it. The only initial frustration was getting the strings fully stretched out.
The use of dual custom-made Music Man humbuckers on the HH further differentiates it from the previous St. Vincent with its trio of mini humbuckers. The 5-way switching provides the usual bridge/both/neck selections, as well as the outside coils and inside coils of the two pickups. This system delivers a great range of sounds, and played straight into a Sound City SC30 combo, the SVT HH produced massive distortion from all of the humbucker settings, with crisper split-’bucker tones just a couple of switch clicks away on positions 2 and 4 (nice to not have to pull on any control knobs to get those sounds). Hard rock and metal are obvious zones for this guitar—although it also sounded cool played through a Fender Deluxe Reverb set clean—and, when fueled up via grind and fuzz pedals, the SVT HH maintained its dynamic punch and presence when pushing into a ton of distortion. Music Man definitely has it down when it comes to getting lots of sounds from two humbuckers, and that’s part what makes the St. Vincent HH a great guitar for all kinds of applications. A unique axe boasting top-notch quality, hip features, and fine playability, the SVT HH is one beauty of a beast.
MODEL St. Vincent STV HH
PRICE $2,299 street (base price)
NUT WIDTH 1 5/8”
NECK Roasted maple, bolt on (ebony optional)
FRETBOARD Maple, 25 ½” scale, 10”
TUNERS Schaller M6 locking
BODY African mahogany
BRIDGE Music Man Modern tremolo with bent-steel saddles
PICKUPS Ernie Ball Music Man custom humbuckers.
CONTROLS Volume, Tone, 5-way selector
FACTORY STRINGS Ernie Ball Slinky .010-.046
WEIGHT 7.8 lbs (measured)
KUDOS Great look. Plays well. Sounds terrific.
CONCERNS Nut corners are a tad sharp.