Sterling JP157 Review & Prices

Sterling JP157 Review
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  • From Sterling's 2019 John Petrucci series
  • John Petrucci Signature
  • Made in Indonesia
  • 7 strings
  • 25.5"'' scale
  • 16" Fretboard Radius
  • Figured Maple top
  • Mahogany body
  • Roasted Maple neck
  • Roasted Maple fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Sterling Humbucker (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: Sterling Humbucker (Humbucker/Passive)
  • 1 volume and 1 tone Dome knobs
  • 3-way Switch
  • Modern Tremolo bridge
  • John Petrucci Bolt-On neck
  • 24 Medium Jumbo frets
  • Locking tuners
  • Compare Specs >

Our Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 70
Sound 69
Build quality 63
Value for money 72
Overall Score 67
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
Sterling JP157
  • Locking Tuners
  • Expensive Wood
  • Compensated Nut
  • Boost Pickups
  • Tremolo
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • Made in Indonesia
  • No Top Brand Pickups
  • 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 $1150, which means that the Sterling JP157 is around 19% cheaper than the competition. This takes into account all instruments of the same category in our database with 7 strings and Tremolo bridge that are made in Indonesia.

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Videos

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Your 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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Is it Easy to Play?

The Sterling JP157 meets 5 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

Sterling JP157
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Locking tuners
  • Tall frets
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Narrow nut
  • Short scale

Hand Size Comfortability

After taking into account the neck profile, scale size, fretboard radius, and nut width, we can conclude that the Sterling JP157's construction is balanced for most hand sizes.

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 Sterling JP157's 25.5" scale length compared to other common sizes:

Sterling JP157 Scale Length Comparison
Sterling JP157'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

Sterling JP157 Neck Profile
Sterling JP157'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 D type neck. It's similar to a C shape, and it's one of the most common shapes right now. It's a bit flatter and thinner, even though sometimes it has a bit more shoulders. It's a fast type of neck that is comfortable, and shredders love it.

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 Sterling JP157 has a 16" fingerboard radius.

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

Sterling JP157 Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
Sterling JP157's fretboard radius compared to others

This fretboard radius is really different than Stratocasters, but it's also a lot flatter than Les Paul fingerboards. It'll heavily favor soloing over playing chords. This doesn't mean you can't use it for chords, but it will be more comfortable to play chords without muting strings in a more curved fretboard. Bending and sliding without losing sustain will also be more likely in a flat fretboard like this one.

Compound radius fingerboards give the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, the Sterling JP157 has the same radius across the board.

More with the same fretboard radius:

Playability compared to main competitors

Sterling JP157
This model
25.5'' Scale Length
D Neck Profile
1.95'' Nut Width
16'' Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.85'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
27'' Scale Length
U Neck Profile
1.89'' Nut Width
Compound Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.89'' Nut Width
14'' Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
D Neck Profile
1.89'' Nut Width
15.75'' Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

Sterling JP157 Nut Width
Sterling JP157 Nut Width

The Sterling JP157 has a nut width of 49.5mm (1.95''). This is considered a wide width for a 7-string guitar. It gives your fingers the extra space you need to play without muting accidentally, but this also makes bar chords harder to perform, especially if you have small hands.

Frets

The Sterling JP157 has 24 frets. A lot of people mistakenly believe that having more frets will always be better because it gives you a higher octave. This is certainly an advantage, but there's also a disadvantage to this.

Since the fretboard will be longer, the neck pickup will need to be placed closer to the bridge. And as you may know, the further away the neck pickup is from the bridge, the warmer it sounds. This means you'll have a brighter-sounding neck pickup when using a 24-fret guitar, even if you use the same pickup on a 22-fret guitar.

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

Sterling JP157 Fret Size Comparison
Sterling JP157'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 Sterling JP157's frets are Medium Jumbo size. These sit somewhere between a Jumbo and a Medium fret. They're not quite as tall as a full Jumbo, so you'll still feel the fretboard, but you won't feel it as much as with medium frets. This is a good size if you want to make it easy to press the strings but would also like a little bit of ''feedback'' to know when to stop pressing so the notes don't go out of pitch.

More with the same type of frets:

Playability Score

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

Tone Analysis

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

Mahogany wood pattern used for guitar building
Mahogany Body
Roasted Maple wood pattern used for guitar building
Roasted Maple Neck, Fretboard

Mahogany Body: This is the type of wood found in many top-of-the-line guitars, so that's a positive point for the build quality. This red-looking wood Mahogany is found in Africa and Central America and has great sustain and a warm tone due to its high density. The downside about this type of wood is that it's relatively heavy.

Roasted Maple Neck and Fretboard: Similar to simple Maple, but even stronger, darker, and more stable to temperature changes. This is thanks to the treatment process that consists in using high temperatures to drain the water, sugar, and resins from the wood.

More made with the same wood:

Pickups

Unfortunately, it doesn't come with pickups from one of the top brands. This doesn't mean you will get bad pickups, but you might want to consider a pickup upgrade after some time.

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

The Sterling JP157's configuration is HH. With this pickup combination, you'll get warmer tones and more output than using single coils. Humbucker pickups cancel the noise that single-coil suffer from, which also results in a warmer tone. This pickup combination isn't only for high-gain music like Hard Rock or Heavy Metal. Their warmness is also popular for Jazz, Indie, R&B, Blues and more.

More with the same pickups

Sterling JP157
This model
24 Frets
Tremolo Bridge
Sterling Humbucker Bridge Pickup
Sterling Humbucker Neck Pickup
24 Frets
Tremolo Bridge
Sterling Humbucker Bridge Pickup
Sterling Humbucker Neck Pickup
24 Frets
Tremolo Bridge
Sterling Humbucker Bridge Pickup
Sterling Humbucker Neck Pickup
24 Frets
Tremolo Bridge
Sterling Humbucker Bridge Pickup
Sterling Humbucker Neck Pickup
22 Frets
Tremolo Bridge
Sterling Single Coil Bridge Pickup
Sterling Humbucker Neck Pickup

Versatility

It comes with the popular 3-way switch that is present in most guitars. For more versatility, players tend to prefer a 5-way switch, although it all depends on what you want to use your guitar for.

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

Sterling JP157 pickups switch and push knobs diagram
Sterling JP157's switch options

What music genre is it good for?

As a 7 strings, Solid Body guitar with HH configuration and Passive pickups, we'd recommend it for genres like Heavy Metal 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 55
Sustain 65
Versatility 79
Tuning Stability 75
Sound 69

Build Quality Analysis

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 Sterling JP157 is made in Indonesia. Many people prefer the quality of an Indonesian guitar over a Chinese. Respectable brands like Epiphone, Ibanez and Schecter are building in this country because of the great quality and lower price. Some people like to compare them to the ones built in Japan during the 80s, when Japanese guitar makers made a name for themselves.

Bridge

Modern 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 Sterling JP157 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 Sterling JP157 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 50
Features 70
Quality Control 70
Build Quality 63

All Specs

Sterling JP157
General
Brand: Sterling
Year: 2019
Configuration: HH
Strings: 7
Made in: Indonesia
Series: John Petrucci
Colors: Blue, Green, Black Satin
Left-Handed Version: No
Body
Top: Figured Maple
Type: Solid Body
Body Material: Mahogany
Bridge: Modern Tremolo
Neck
Neck Joint: Bolt-On
Tuners: Locking
Fretboard: Roasted Maple
Neck Material: Roasted Maple
Decoration: Custom Jp Inlays
Scale Size: 25.5"
Shape: John Petrucci
Frets: 24 Medium Jumbo
Fretboard Radius: 16"
Nut: Compensated
Nut Width: 49.5mm (1.95'')
Electronics
Switch: 3 Way
Knobs: Dome
Pickup Mods: Boost
Volume Controls: 1
Tone Controls: 1
Bridge Pickup: Sterling Humbucker (Humbucker / Passive)
Neck Pickup: Sterling Humbucker (Humbucker / Passive)

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