Music Man SUB vs Sterling Ray 34

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by rnilson, Dec 14, 2010.


  1. rnilson

    rnilson

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Location:
    Kansas City, MO
    So I am thinking of getting a "cheap" Stingray.
    My choices are either a used MM Sub or a used SBMM Ray 34; they run around the same price used. ($500ish) Where they are made doesn't really matter to me. Although I do think the subs are ugly as hell while the ray 34s look nice. (Especially in natural.) What I care about is comfort (ergonomics) and tone. Has any one done a head to head comparison of these basses?
  2. TonyP-

    TonyP- Excuse me but you have your I-IV-V in my II-V-I Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2003
    Media:
    1
    Location:
    Boston Mass
    Disclosures:
    Endorsments listed in profile
    Plain and simple
    I owned a SUB and currently own Ray34.
    My preference is the Ray34
  3. j_micho

    j_micho

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2007
    Location:
    Montréal, Québec, Canada
    Why?
  4. FromTheBassMent

    FromTheBassMent When in doubt, let your horse do the thinkin'. Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2010
    Location:
    Warren, RI
    Interesting, I was at a big ol' jam party last weekend and there was one of each of these (plus my EBMM Sterling 5). I played each of them for one or two songs. Impressions:

    SUB - Light for a Music Man-related product! Had a tough time dialing in a tone that I thought was useful... it was boomy. The neck was not comfortable, but it seemed to be in pretty serious need of an adjustment (so take that with a grain of salt).

    SBMM Ray - Superior in every way except weight. The finish on this bass (honeyburst) was, under normal lighting, as beautiful as the finish on my honeyburst EBMM Stingray 5. The tone controls were infinitely more responsive and usable than the SUB, and I got a nice balanced tone with plenty of grunt, some power in the mids and a bit of top-end zing. The neck was more comfortable and the action was very even overall.

    Of course, when I went back to my Sterling... well, let's just say I wouldn't trade the Sterling!
  5. Register to disable this ad
  6. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2008
    Location:
    Just south of Atlanta!
    Go for the Ray34. I owned one and it played and sounded just like my US StingRay. I only sold it because it was too much like my Ray and was redundant to keep lol.

    I played a SUB and didn't care for it that much. It never felt or sounded quite right to me.
  7. TonyP-

    TonyP- Excuse me but you have your I-IV-V in my II-V-I Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2003
    Media:
    1
    Location:
    Boston Mass
    Disclosures:
    Endorsments listed in profile
    First and foremost (it been said in this thread already) playability and tone. I have a Ray34 and Ray35

    Its sounds to me just like a EBMM Ray and I actually prefer the playability of SBMM Ray35 to a EBMM Stingray 5. :bag: might sound odd but true.

    After this comes fit and finish which is just as good as anything else on the market.

    NOTE: To be honest they do vary a little and I played a good amount of them, but with that being said the worse of the bunch still was not that bad and on par with what I felt about the SUB. The 2 that I have I love.

    Hope this helps.
  8. Jim C

    Jim C Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    If the Ray34 only came with a 2-band EQ....
  9. Darko9989

    Darko9989

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2010
    I have a Sterling SB14. It is in the same class as the Ray 34 but has more options. The neck is more of a jazz style neck so imo it is more comfortable than the Ray. Also, the SB14 has more tone options. The Ray has that classic tone but the SB14 has a range for any style. They are equal in quality and tone. Its just your personal preference. The Ray is around $650 new and the SB14 is around $600.

    http://www.guitarcenter.com/Sterling-by-Music-Man-SB14-Bass-105326144-i1441959.gc
  10. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2008
    Location:
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    Disclosures:
    John K Custom Basses
    i prefer the SUB over a ray34.
    it's toss up for comfort, since the ray34 has a contoured body and the sub is a slab, but the sub weighs less.
    the ray34 is better looking, but IMO, the sub has a better sounding (2 band) preamp.
    i'm not wild about the ray34's long posted tuners either.
  11. tastybasslines

    tastybasslines Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    I have a ray 34 in silverburst and love it - a great buy, and by the way, there is nothing "cheap" about it, it screams quality. The only thing I regretted that I got over was the neck was not exactly the same shape, and I sort of liked the US oily finish and the little rounder shape, but you just cannot go wrong with this..
  12. pnut166

    pnut166

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Location:
    alabama
    I played a Ray 34 for the first time the other day, and have had serious GAS since. I absolutely loved it; the neck was one of the nicest ever. Lots of tonal variety, comfortable, etc. I was very tempted to get it, but knew I`d get murdered when I brought it home lol !
  13. ARMANii

    ARMANii

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    Ray 34's are really nice for the price!
  14. Shawn Luckman

    Shawn Luckman

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2008
    Location:
    Bolton,Lancs UK
    SUB as it was made at the same factory,using most of the same parts as the EBMM Stingray.
  15. TonyP-

    TonyP- Excuse me but you have your I-IV-V in my II-V-I Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2003
    Media:
    1
    Location:
    Boston Mass
    Disclosures:
    Endorsments listed in profile
    I seen in this post twice now the desire for the 2 band with the Ray 34.

    Just curious why (asking in a real way, not flippant).
  16. SJan3

    SJan3

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2010
    The 2 band EQ is generally considered to be less edgy and a little warmer and deeper in the low end. I've had both. I kept my 3EQ Stingray and Sterling maybe a year before I tired of them.
    MY 2 Band EQ, I had for 22 YEARS.
  17. TonyP-

    TonyP- Excuse me but you have your I-IV-V in my II-V-I Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2003
    Media:
    1
    Location:
    Boston Mass
    Disclosures:
    Endorsments listed in profile
    Aghh ok...gotcha

    I tend to never touch my highs or mids (rare occessions highs just a touch) and leave it flat but I usually turn up the bass a bit all the time.
  18. FromTheBassMent

    FromTheBassMent When in doubt, let your horse do the thinkin'. Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2010
    Location:
    Warren, RI
    Interesting. I LOVE the three-band EBMM pre. I've played the new two-band Classic series and am unimpressed.

    I keep my lows bumped just barely above center, and usually keep highs there too (although I may dial them out fairly heavily if I need a more retro sound). The mid knob is my best friend... I use it as a "snarl" control, rolling it back for mellower tunes, goosing it for rockers.
  19. tastybasslines

    tastybasslines Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    I like this setup too. The other configuration I find myself using ALOT is the bass slightly above center, the mids(where this bass excels) higher - then I mostly change the highs...roll it back for my mellow sound and up higher for snappier, agressive play
  20. SJan3

    SJan3

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2010
    All so subjective but I liken it to buying a pair of good home stereo speakers. At 1st, the ones that have an excessive amount of highs and lows seem more impressive. But, in time they grow fatiguing to our ears and we scream for a more natural reproduction. There is a place for MM bases in my heart but they are anything but "natural" sounding, however the 2 EQ seems easier on my ears.
    Again, this is my humble opinion after living with Stingrays for 20+ years.
  21. DwaynieAD

    DwaynieAD

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2010
    Location:
    Mechanicsburg, PA
    own The SUB but have played both. I think you'd be happy with either, they're both great basses.

Share This Page