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Classic Ray34 vs Classic Stingray

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by zackthompson, Jan 11, 2012.

  1. zackthompson

    zackthompson Endorsing Artist: MJC Ironworks Strings

    Jul 18, 2011
    Virginia Beach
    Just out of curiosity, what makes a Classic Sterling Ray34 have that "cheaper" sound that a full out Classic MM doesn't? Are the electronics/pickup that much different? Or is it something subtle like body wood or nut material?
  2. zackthompson

    zackthompson Endorsing Artist: MJC Ironworks Strings

    Jul 18, 2011
    Virginia Beach
    Or not... hahaha
  3. The Impostor

    The Impostor

    Jul 8, 2011
    I own a Ray34. It's a great bass, I can't find anything wrong with it. Sterling by Music Man basses are made in countries where it's cheaper to make them, but my bass is very high quality. IMO it sounds just like the "real" Stingray (tried 2).
  4. Yes it does use different electronics. It also has different hardware as well. Not sure on the wood. They are not like a Lakland Skyline or G&L Tribute. They never go to the US Musicman factory or use any of the same components. They are built outside the US then setup by a US company that is licensed to be able to make the copies but is not Ernie Ball.
  5. DanHibiki


    Apr 16, 2008
    I'm pretty sure that they are made to the same specs as the EBMM... It's not exactly the same electronics or pickups like G&L and (some) Lakland like you said, but it should be close.
  6. Bobster


    Mar 27, 2006
    Austin, TX
    The woods on the Rays are the same, Ash bodies w/Maple necks. The electronics and hardware are similar and are EBMM approved. The biggest difference I've seen is the use of Basswood in the SB-14 instead of Ash like the Sterling. EBMM does use Basswood in the Bongo however.

    To me, the fairest comparison is a Lakland 01 series bass. Those also use the same woods as the US basses, but non-US electronics.

    Also remember, that comparing new EBMM to new SBMM and used EBMM to used SBMM, the SBMMs are approximately 1/2 the price of the US versions.

    BTW, the SBMMS are made in Indonesia, just like the Skylines.

    Zack, the best recommendation you will get here is to play both the EBMM and SBMM side-by-side and see if there's $700~$800 (for new instruments) worth of difference to your ears.

    If there is, definitely buy EBMM. If not, you have a decision to make...

    >>> Added: The nut is different. The EBMMs have a compensated nut and the SBMM's have a plain old plastic nut.

    Best of luck,

  7. Still a different situation because the Skylines are spec'd by Lakland and are checked and setup at the US factory.

    In the case of the Sterlings they are licensed copies but that is it. Ernie Ball has little to do with them and it never goes to the US Musicman factory.
  8. Bobster


    Mar 27, 2006
    Austin, TX

    I've owned a few Laklands and I've owned EBMM and SBMM basses as well. In fact, of the three brands, I currently only own a Ray35 that I bought in Feb 2010.

    I thing we'd all be forced to agree that a bass or two has slipped out of Chicago that shouldn't have. So of itself that's not a promise of perfection.

    I can also say the SBMMs are checked at the Praxis facility in Orange CA when they arrive in the US prior to being shipped out.

    That said, you are fully entitled to your opinion.

    Thanks and have a wonderful day!

  9. bovinehost

    bovinehost Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: Ernie Ball Music Man/Sterling By Music Man
    The guys at Praxis actually do a pretty wonderful job at the setup and final check. These are not little non-playing women or men, trained to measure to spec and off it goes - they are musicians, some damned fine ones as well, and they simply do good work.

    As to the original question, I find my Ray34ca sounds like a very capable 2 band Stingray. This makes sense, as that is basically what it is. I've had a boatload of Stingray 4s and the Ray34ca measures up nicely. It's also mint green, which ups the cool factor considerably.

    Of course there are differences, as there should be given the price difference, but I don't think (IMO only) that you give up much if anything in tone.
  10. Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't the Classic Ray34s 1.5" at the nut? Pretty sure the Stingray Classic has a thicker neck.
  11. Marihino


    Mar 25, 2010
    After trying the Sterling Ray34 Classic Active, Ed Friedland said on is facebook that it's so close to the real thing that it's not even funny.
    selowitch likes this.
  12. I never once said that one meant better quality. I am saying that the sterling line is not connected to Ernie Ball other than a licensing deal. So they do not use the same electronics nor do they carry any warranty or anything with Ernie Ball. It is a licensing deal allowing a separate company to copy the design. I was pointing out the difference between the two.

    To further note...I am nto a huge fan of the newer Skylines in comparison to the first Korean runs. I also agree that (especially at a point in time) many Skylines left Chicago less than desirable. I am not a huge fan of the Indo Skylines. I am also not a huge fan of the Sterling line. Especially when the US line is a relative steal on the used market.
  13. Looked back over my comments....and nope...no mention of Praxis or that they did bad setups. Again I was mentioning that the US Musicman company does not have anything to do with the actual manufacture, inspection or warranty of Sterling instruments. Never said that was bad.
  14. Tupac


    May 5, 2011
    I've had the pleasure of playing both a Ray 34 and some actual Stingrays at GC. Granted it was GC, but setup aside... there really was a difference. I don't know why, but there was something about the Ray34's neck that felt really cheap to me. It felt just like the neck of my squier, I can't quite put me finger on it. The way they sanded the wood maybe?
  15. Bobster


    Mar 27, 2006
    Austin, TX

    The difference is that EBMM just shapes, sands, and oils the neck. SBMM uses a flat poly finish after shaping and sanding like a lot of other manufacturers. EBMMs require tru-oil treatments occasionally to keep the wood sealed.

    I don't think one is better than the other, but that's what the difference in feel is.

    Johnny, as to EBMM involvement in the instruments, both the preamp and pickup are "Music Man designed". So there is involvement by EBMM. You can see that on the Welcome to the All New Sterling by Music Man Website | New for 2011 | Sterling By Music Man | Official Website website.

    Anyway have a great day!

  16. Tupac


    May 5, 2011
    Ahah, I knew something felt different! Thanks.
  17. Craig_S

    Craig_S Banned

    Oct 15, 2008
    Metro Detroit
    I think I want a Ray34CA. I wish they offered more colors, though. It looks like they can only be had in 3TS and mint green.
  18. Seeing this topic is about the classic lines by EBMM and SBMM, it should be pointed out that the EBMM Classics have a gloss neck, not the raw neck line on a standard ray.

    The SBMM classics also don't have the original bridge with the foam mutes, and as stated before have a thinner neck than the EBMM.
  19. 88persuader


    Aug 5, 2007
    This is a quote from the Sterling Ray43 page.

    Using the same materials & components as the original, the Ray34 pays respect to the StingRay legacy. Lightweight ash bodies, Music ManĀ® designed active 3-band preamp, Alnico magnet humbucking pickups, hard maple necks, heavy duty Music ManĀ® designed bridges and saddles.

    I've also read someplace that Sterling is NOT simply licensed by Musicman but is actually one of their companies. They are Musicman basses made overseas. I couldn't find anything about the affiliation on the Sterling site so i don't know how much of this is accurate however the above quote in regard to the "same materials" has to be correct because of not they would be opening themselves up to a law suit.
  20. king_biscuit

    king_biscuit Supporting Member

    May 21, 2006
    This link may explain a bit more:

    Question re Sterling By Music Man

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