Sterling by Music Man S.U.B. Ray4 4-String Bass Guitar (Discontinued)
"Sterling by Music Man" is a sub-brand of Ernie Ball Music Man, tasked to manufacture affordable instruments that can compete in the entry level market. The SUB Ray4 is one of their standout instruments, a more affordable version of the original Music Man Stingray bass, the popular bass that pioneered the use of built-in active EQ controls on production line bass guitars.
The SUB Ray4 has one Sterling High-output Humbucker on the bridge position, which is wired to an active preamp with 2-band EQ, which allows for tone shaping via the treble and bass knobs. It has a slightly narrower nut width for easier playability while retaining the long 34" scale length and flat 12" fingerboard radius.
- Body: Basswood
- Neck: Maple (Bolt-on)
- Neck Profile:
- Fingerboard: Rosewood
- Scale Length: 34"
- Nut Width: 1.496"
- Fingerboard Radius: 12"
- Frets: 21 Medium Jumbo
- Bridge Pickup: Sterling High-output Humbucker
- Controls: Volume, Treble, and Bass knobs
- Bridge: Heavy-duty fixed bridge
- Tuners: Open Gear
- Weight: 10 lbs.
Good tone and good feel are descriptions that came up a number of times among reviewers. Even those who own actual Music Man Stringray bass guitars were impressed at how close this one is in terms of sound and playing feel. Many were also happy with the built-in active EQ, with some of them using the EQ to get two distinct sounds from its basic one pickup configuration.
There are a few who commented on minor imperfections to the finish, but they still rated the bass highly. There was one who reported that the paint on the back of his bass suddenly fell off, but he still mentioned that he genuinely liked the bass, and rated it highly at that.
If you're favorite bassist plays a Music Man StingRay (like Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Cliff Williams (AC/DC), John Deacon (Queen), Simon Gallup (The Cure) and more), then the Sterling by Music Man SUB Ray4 should be an automatic pick.
Unfortunately it's no longer available new from most retailers, so if you can't find a second hand one then take a look at the alternatives we recommend in our guide to The Best Cheap Bass Guitars.