My new Sterling Albert Lee AL40 strat arrived yesterday and I found that the compartment where the bridge pickup sits is broken. The wood in this area is pretty flimsy as well and is cracked as the attached picture shows. enter image description here

The guitar is made in Indonesia and is a cheaper version of the signature Music Man Albert Lee HH strat.

I'm new to electric guitars and I'm wondering what effect this will have on the sound. I like this guitar besides these defects and would rather keep it if this isn't a problem.

Should I return the guitar or is it a non issue? It looks like this now after I set it up myself: https://i.stack.imgur.com/2NTav.jpg

Thanks in advance for your input!

  • 1
    Simple question - what made you strip the guitar after one day?
    – Tim
    Apr 12, 2020 at 9:58
  • The guitar came in without being setup, which surprised me, so I stretched the strings, tuned them, removed tension on the truss rod to raise the action, and also the humbucker pickups were wobbly so I had to get inside the hull(?) to understand how they were seated and use the screws to tighten them in place. It's good now to my ears at least.
    – curiousbee
    Apr 12, 2020 at 10:07
  • 2
    You may be stuck between a rock & a hard place. I'd immediately return it as 'damaged on arrival', however, unless you can see that damage from the outside, you may have invalidated your claim by taking it apart.
    – Tetsujin
    Apr 12, 2020 at 10:27
  • Thanks Tetsujin for your suggestion. Is it based on how it would affect the sound or is it concerning the longevity of the body of the guitar itself?
    – curiousbee
    Apr 12, 2020 at 10:37
  • 2
    Thanks Tim and Tetsujin. Yes I don't have a reference to compare it with so I can't know how the sound might have been affected. Also generally the guitar doesn't feel solid and the broken internals suggest either poor manufacturing quality or little oversight neither of which is good. So I have made my decision to return the guitar.
    – curiousbee
    Apr 12, 2020 at 13:57

1 Answer 1


Personally, I would contact the shipping company responsible for transporting the guitar, they should have insurance to cover such damage and you certainly deserve an undamaged instrument for yourself. If you should ever choose to sell your instrument, that damage will make it difficult to get a fair price. From what I can see, I wouldn't expect the damage to affect the sound or playability of the guitar, but you'll have to decide for yourself.

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