Music Man Luke 3 HSS Overview and Best Prices

Music Man Luke 3 HSS Review
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  • From Music Man's 2013 Steve Lukather series
  • Steve Lukather Signature
  • Made in United States
  • 6 strings
  • 25.5"'' scale
  • 12" Fretboard Radius
  • Alder body
  • Select figured roasted maple neck neck
  • Rosewood fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Music Man Custom Humbucker (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Middle pickup: Music Man Custom Single Coil (Single Coil/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: Music Man Custom Single Coil (Single Coil/Passive)
  • 1 volume and 1 tone Dome knobs
  • 5-way Switch
  • Music Man floating vintage tremolo bridge
  • Steve Lukather Bolt-On neck
  • 22 Medium frets
  • Schaller M6-IND locking tuners
  • See all specs and compare >

Our Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 70
Sound 78
Build quality 75
Value for money 59
Overall Score 74
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
Music Man Luke 3 HSS
  • Locking Tuners
  • Made in United States
  • Expensive Wood
  • Compensated Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Boost Pickups
  • Tremolo
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Weight Relief
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock

Price Overview

Its average competitor's price is $3100, which means that the Music Man Luke 3 HSS is around 3% cheaper than the competition. This takes into account all instruments of the same category in our database with 6 strings and Tremolo bridge that are made in United States.

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User Feedback

Not all instruments are created equally. That's why it's important to have different opinions. Here's what our users who have played this instrument say. If you've played it before, help others by voting below!

Weight

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Tuning stability

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Neck speed (thickness)

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Neck access to high frets

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Neck profile shape

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Fret edges

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Pickups noise

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Pickups power

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Videos

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Music Man Luke III HSS Cherry Burst Flame Figured Roasted Neck
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Playability

The Music Man Luke 3 HSS meets 6 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness, which means that it's a good guitar to start with as a complete beginner. This takes into account the type of frets, scale length, nut width, bridge type, fretboard radius, and neck profile to determine the easiest combination for new players to get used to.

New Player Friendliness

Music Man Luke 3 HSS
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Locking tuners
  • Tall frets
  • Narrow nut
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Short scale

Hand Size Comfortability

After taking into account the neck profile, scale size, fretboard radius, and nut width, we can conclude that the Music Man Luke 3 HSS's construction favors people with relatively small hands.

Nevertheless, this comes down in the end to personal preference. Make sure you test this guitar—or another one with similar characteristics—before buying.

Big Hands
Small Hands

Scale Length

Scale length is the distance the strings will span between the bridge and the nut. It can tell you a lot about the overall playability and tone of the instrument. A longer scale length means longer distance between frets, brighter tone and more string tension—which means lower action, but more difficult bending of the strings.

Here's the Music Man Luke 3 HSS's 25.5" scale length compared to other common sizes:

Music Man Luke 3 HSS Scale Length Comparison
Music Man Luke 3 HSS's scale length (at the top) compared to other popular sizes

This is the same scale length used in Stratocaster guitars, and it's one of the main reasons they have such a bright sound. It's considered a long scale when compared to most non-baritone guitars.

Since the distance between bridge and nut is relatively long, you'll need to give the strings more tension to get them in tune. This higher tension will allow for a couple of things. First, you can get a lower action (get the strings closer to the fretboard) because the strings won't 'wiggle' too much when pluck and won't cause fret buzz. This can allow you to use lower tunings without increasing your string gauge, and it will make it easier to press down the strings fast.

However, the frets will also have a wider separation between each other, which can make it harder to play, especially if you got small hands. The higher tension will also make the strings feel stiffer, so bending will require more strength.

More with the same scale length:

Neck Profile

Music Man Luke 3 HSS Neck Profile
Music Man Luke 3 HSS's neck profile

The neck profile tells you the thickness (neck depth) and shape in cross section. Every difference will completely change the feeling and comfortability of the neck. This is a highly subjective thing, but most players indeed prefer certain types of necks (like Cs and Ds) because they feel nice in most hands.

It has a V type neck. This is a vintage type of neck that is not so common nowadays. Some people like it because they can rest their hand easily while letting their thumb hang over the edge of the fretboard. It's thicker than most modern necks, so it's great for playing chords but not so much for shredding.

More for different hand sizes

Fretboard Radius

When it comes to fingerboard radius, personal preference will dictate which one is better for you. However, most people seem to agree that a more curved (lower) radius will make it easier to play chords while a less curved (higher) radius is better for soloing and bending.

The Music Man Luke 3 HSS has a 12" fingerboard radius.

Here's an image comparing this fretboard radius to other popular choices:

Music Man Luke 3 HSS Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
Music Man Luke 3 HSS's fretboard radius compared to others

This is the same radius that Gibson uses in most of their guitars. When compare to the other popular radius of Fender Stratocasters, you can see that it's a lot flatter. Guitars with this radius are usually made to bring a good balance between single-note and chord playing.

Compound radius fingerboards give the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, the Music Man Luke 3 HSS has the same radius across the board.

More with the same fretboard radius:

Playability compared to main competitors

25.5'' Scale Length
V Neck Profile
1.625'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
D Neck Profile
1.688'' Nut Width
Compound Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
D Neck Profile
1.688'' Nut Width
Compound Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
D Neck Profile
1.688'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.688'' Nut Width
Compound Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

Music Man Luke 3 HSS Nut Width
Music Man Luke 3 HSS Nut Width

The Music Man Luke 3 HSS has a nut width of 41.3mm (1.625''). This is considered a narrow width for a 6-string guitar. This means that this guitar will have a narrower string separation at the nut, which will affect your fretting hand.

If you are a player with big hands, you might find it difficult to play chords without muting strings. However, this is good for players who have smaller hands, as it will allow them to reach each string more easily at the nut.

Frets

The Music Man Luke 3 HSS has 22 frets. Even though 24 frets has become really popular, there's still a good reason to get fewer frets; the pickup at the neck position will be further away from the bridge. This makes the neck pickup achieve a warmer tone. You might want this if you're playing Jazz or similar genres.

However, if you don't care about the warmer neck pickup, more frets will always be better. It's always nice to have the option to play higher notes if you want to.

It comes with nickel silver frets, so they won't last as long as stainless steel frets. If you use your instrument a lot, you might need to replace the frets after a few years. But this is unlikely as most people change instruments before this happens.

More with the same amount of frets:

Fret Size

Music Man Luke 3 HSS Fret Size Comparison
Music Man Luke 3 HSS's fret size (in orange) compared to other popular sizes

Finally, let's talk about fret size. Some people prefer tall frets because it's easier to press the strings and perform bends since there's less friction against the fretboard. On the other hand, some people like shorter frets because they like to touch the fretboard when playing, or because they got heavy hands and tend to press too much on the string and alter the of the note pitch accidently.

The Music Man Luke 3 HSS's frets are Medium size. With medium frets, you can feel the fretboard more than with jumbo frets, but it's still easier to press the strings cleanly than with small frets; notes might change their pitch just slightly if you press hard on the fret. Also, if you need to do some fret leveling after years of playing, you'll have some room to sand them down without having to replace them.

More with the same type of frets:

Playability Score

Bending & Vibrato Ease 70
Chord Playability 80
Solo Playability 60
Playability 70

Tone

Wood will have little influence in the final tone of an electric guitar or bass. Instead, the hardware, especially the pickups, will be the most important thing to look at. Bur first, let's see the quality of the wood.

Wood

Alder wood pattern used for guitar building
Alder Body
Figured Maple wood pattern used for guitar building
Figured Maple Neck
Rosewood wood pattern used for guitar building
Rosewood Fretboard

Alder Body: This is a lightweight type of wood that was popularized by Fender. According to them, it's a wood that offers a balanced tone but that favors the upper midrange slightly.

Figured Maple Neck: This wood has beautiful patterns only found in specific types of maple.

Rosewood Fretboard: Since the ban of Brazillian Rosewood, this has become a rare and expensive wood. It's not usually used for guitar bodies because of this, and also because it's heavy. Instead, it's used mainly for fretboards. Sometimes it's also used for necks because it's an extremely hard wood (even harder than maple). Its tonality tends to favor warm tones.

More made with the same wood:

Pickups

This guitar comes with pickups from one of the top brands: Music Man. So you can expect well built pickups with great sound that shouldn't need an upgrade anytime soon.

These are passive pickups, so you can expect a rounder sound and a moderade level of output.

The Music Man Luke 3 HSS's configuration is HSS. If you play a lot with humbuckers in the bridge position, but would also love to have pristine cleans, this is a great configuration to have. The bridge humbucker will give you tons of output for playing distorted rhythm parts, while the single coils will give you a lot of tone options.

More with the same pickups

22 Frets
Tremolo Bridge
Music Man Custom Humbucker Bridge Pickup
Music Man Custom Single Coil Middle Pickup
Music Man Custom Single Coil Neck Pickup
24 Frets
Tremolo Bridge
Music Man Custom Humbucker Bridge Pickup
Middle Pickup
Music Man Custom Humbucker Neck Pickup
24 Frets
Tremolo Bridge
Music Man Custom Humbucker Bridge Pickup
Middle Pickup
Music Man Custom Humbucker Neck Pickup
22 Frets
Tremolo Bridge
Music Man Custom Single Coil Bridge Pickup
Music Man Custom Single Coil Middle Pickup
Music Man Custom Single Coil Neck Pickup
22 Frets
Tremolo Bridge
Music Man Custom Humbucker Bridge Pickup
Middle Pickup
Music Man Custom Humbucker Neck Pickup

Versatility

It gives you a good amount of tone options with its 5-way switch. You can use it to choose at least 5 different pickup combinations.

It has a Boost option. It'll increase the output of the pickups when activated. You'll be able to increase the output for heavy genres while still being able to use a cleaner voice when you need it.

Diagram

Music Man Luke 3 HSS pickups switch selector and push knobs diagram
Music Man Luke 3 HSS's switch options

What music genre is it good for?

As a 6 strings, Solid Body guitar with HSS configuration and Passive pickups, we'd recommend it for genres like Hard Rock or similar. However, you can use almost any guitar for any genre. This is just the typical type of music for this particular one.

Sound Score

Pickups 90
Sustain 65
Versatility 80
Tuning Stability 75
Sound 78

Build Quality

Country of Origin

Knowing where the instrument is produced is a good way to know how well it's built. Some manufacturing countries are known for having higher quality standards. For example, most expensive instruments are made in the US or Japan, but there are some exceptionally great countries—like South Korea—that are building a good reputation.

The Music Man Luke 3 HSS is made in United States. Guitars made in the USA have the reputation of being the best instruments you can get. This statement isn't as accurate as a few years ago, but you should still expect top-quality from a guitar made in this country.

Bridge

Music Man floating vintage tremolo: This type of bridge allows you to change the pitch of the notes by pulling the bridge with the attached bar, which gives you better versatility. Also, since the bridge is not fixed to the guitar body, the bridge will move as you bend the strings. So you'll have to increase the distance of your bends to reach the same tension (note) compared to a fixed bridge. This allows you to perform smoother bends but will also make you slower. Finally, remember that this type of bridge requires a bit more maintenance than fixed ones, especially when changing strings.

More with the same type of bridge:

Tuners

The Music Man Luke 3 HSS comes with locking tuners, which helps with tuning stability and makes changing strings a lot faster and easier. As long as they're high quality, these are the best tuning machines you can have. The only disadvantage is that they are a bit heavier than normal tuners.

Nut Material

Another important thing to analyze is the nut material, as it's one of the most important aspects that can affect the sound and playability of your guitar. A well-cut nut will make sure it stays in tune and will make it more comfortable to play.

In this case, the Music Man Luke 3 HSS has a Compensated nut. It's cut in a way that makes each string have the correct length for perfect intonation across the fretboard. It provides excellent tuning stability.

More with the same nut material:

Neck Joint

The neck joint is the part where the neck of the guitar meets the body. There are three main techniques to attach both parts together: Set-In, Bolt-On and Neck-Through. The latter two provide different advantages, although neck-throughs are the most expensive.

This guitar has a Bolt-On neck joint. Even though this type of neck was looked down upon for a long time, nowadays bolt-on necks are well built and provide just as much sustain as any other join method. First of all, it's cheap to make because it consists of simply 4 bolts that attach the neck to the body. And you can travel with the guitar more easily, swap out the neck if you damage it, or upgrade to a more comfortable neck later on.

More with the same build:

Build Quality Score

Quality of materials 56
Features 70
Quality Control 100
Build Quality 75

All Specs

Music Man Luke 3 HSS
General
Brand: Music Man
Year: 2013
Configuration: HSS
Strings: 6
Made in: United States
Series: Steve Lukather
Colors: Blue, Green, Pink
Left-Handed Version: No
Body
Type: Solid Body
Body Material: Alder
Bridge: Music Man floating vintage tremolo
Neck
Neck Joint: Bolt-On
Tuners: Schaller M6-IND locking
Fretboard: Rosewood
Neck Material: Select figured roasted maple neck
Decoration: Dot Inlay
Scale Size: 25.5"
Shape: Steve Lukather
Frets: 22 Medium
Fretboard Radius: 12"
Nut: Compensated
Nut Width: 41.3mm (1.625'')
Electronics
Switch: 5 Way
Knobs: Dome
Pickup Mods: Boost
Volume Controls: 1
Tone Controls: 1
Bridge Pickup: Music Man Custom Humbucker (Humbucker / Passive)
Middle Pickup: Music Man Custom Single Coil (Single Coil / Passive)
Neck Pickup: Music Man Custom Single Coil (Single Coil / Passive)