S.U.B.-SUB or SUB BASS...on the headstock

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Ploonter, Jul 27, 2012.


  1. Ploonter

    Ploonter Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2009
    Location:
    Holly Springs, GA
    I have searched through these forums for this answer, but could not find a "complete" answer.
    What is the difference between S.U.B- SUB and SUB BASS?
    I have seen it these 3 ways on the headstocks of MM "sub" basses.
    The one I am considering is S.U.B.

    Thanks,
    Tim
  2. Bobster

    Bobster

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2006
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Hi Ploonter,

    There are several threads about this right now. First, a couple of acronyms to start us off.

    1. Ernie Ball Music Man (EBMM) U.S. made Ernie Ball instruments.

    2. Sterling by Music Man (SBMM) Indonesian company licensed (actually Praxis) to make import versions of EBMM Stingrays, Stingray 5s, Sterlings and several models of guitar. These guys have been around since 2010.

    3. S.U.B. - EBMM low cost Stingray or Sterling or Stingray 5 with matte finish, first EBMM attempt to make a low-cost instrument. Haven't made these in several years.

    4. SUBx - SBMM low-cost instrument lines. These have a little lower quality hardware than the regular SBMMs. These are a new item and aren't available in the US yet.

    So, think of it like this. EBMM - American Fender, SBMM - Mexican Fender, SUBx - Squier

    I've owned an SBMM Ray35 and I can tell you it's a very good instrument. I've also owned a few EBMM basses and it's pretty darned close to them.

    The current hubbub on TB is the fact that the SUBx basses are about to come out and a lot of folks see this as an opportunity to get a moddable, MusicMan type of instrument pretty inexpensively.

    Hope that helps,

    Bob
  3. Ploonter

    Ploonter Supporting Member

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    Bobster-Thanks, I appriciate it! But I am specifically trying to find out the difference in the actual "printed on the headstock" identifiers: S.U.B.-SUB and SUB BASS.
  4. georgestrings

    georgestrings Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2005
    If I'm understanding you correctly, I don't think there really is any difference - I think it's just what Music Man did from year to year with those basses... I just looked, and I have a:

    S.U.B. 5

    ...and a:

    SUB Sterling Bass


    FWIW, the Sterling has a compensated nut, and AFAIK is an '06 - which is the last year of the SUBs... It's probable that the S.U.B. basses are the early models, and that's just how they labeled the headstock...



    - georgestrings
  5. Ploonter

    Ploonter Supporting Member

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    Thanks George-
    That's more than I had!
    I feel there could be more......
  6. georgestrings

    georgestrings Supporting Member

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    Nov 5, 2005
    You're welcome - I really don't think there's any real difference between them, honestly... AFAIK, when they 1st came out, Music Man said that S.U.B. stood for "Sports Utility Bass" - and I'm guessing that afterwards, they just dropped the periods in the labeling... I know they also made SUB guitars - so *maybe* they dropped the periods on the headstock label since a guitar really couldn't be called a "Sports Utility Bass", now could it???

    I haven't seen any SUBs that were any better or worse than one another, FWIW - they are very consistant, like any other Music Man product...


    - georgestrings
  7. Ploonter

    Ploonter Supporting Member

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    Thanks again George-
  8. Mtnman

    Mtnman

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    I never really gave the dots vs. no dots thing any thoughts. My SUB has the dots. It is a passive 4. Maybe that has something to do with it. It is definately one of the early U.S. made models.

    [​IMG]
  9. georgestrings

    georgestrings Supporting Member

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    Nov 5, 2005

    I don't think active or passive had anything to do with it - for example, my SUB5 has the "dots" like yours, but is active... I really think it's an earlier vs later thing...

    [​IMG]
  10. Ploonter

    Ploonter Supporting Member

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    OK, so the headstock on the one I am considering looks just like mtnman's, yet it is active. So it would seem "you guys" are right-The headstock markings really have no specific significance.
    Thanks all!

    Tim
  11. Kitsapbass

    Kitsapbass A.K.A. Pimp Lucius Supporting Member

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    The S.U.B. basses were made in the US. The others weren't.
  12. Ploonter

    Ploonter Supporting Member

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    Interesting. I was under the impression that they were all made at the same factory as the "regular" EBMM products.

    It would seem more investigation is warrented.

    Thanks Kitsapbass-
  13. georgestrings

    georgestrings Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2005

    False - I assure you, this bass was made in SLO, CA:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  14. georgestrings

    georgestrings Supporting Member

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    Nov 5, 2005

    He is mistaken...


    - georgestrings
  15. Ploonter

    Ploonter Supporting Member

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    Thanks yet again George!
  16. Bobster

    Bobster

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  17. georgestrings

    georgestrings Supporting Member

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  18. Kitsapbass

    Kitsapbass A.K.A. Pimp Lucius Supporting Member

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    Wow. My bad - that was the information I got from Guitar Center, the person had removed the paint off of the neck, including the serial number, which is why I didn't buy that specific one. Crap, that one played better too LOL!
  19. mdogs

    mdogs Supporting Member

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    Cary, Il
    My understanding is the the ones without the word "bass" on them were the first year's production and after that, they added the word "bass." As far as GC goes, I am not one to bash them, but very few of the stores have REAL bass guys...
  20. eyeballkid

    eyeballkid Supporting Member

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    Records of Existence/PyrE owner
    All were made in America. They were first S.U.B. as it stood for "sport utility bass", but if im correct they were just always referred to as SUBs so they just started labeling them as such as dropped the dots that made the reference to the acronym. Some have SUB BASS on them and I believe these are from the last year or two of being made and I think they usually have the intonated nut.
    so... S.U.B. is the earlier models, SUBs and SUB BASS's are later. the last ones have an intonated nut. Ive had at least one of each I think and they are all the same quality.

    dont confuse ANY of the US made SUBs for the SBMM SUBs that are now available, they are from indonesia or something.

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