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Difference between Sterling Ray5, Ray25 and Ray35?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Pete Langford, Mar 20, 2018.

  1. Can anyone tell what the differences are between these models? They are all made in Asia, I believe. Does any one have experience with all of them? Significant price differences. appreciate your input.
    Jnes likes this.
  2. twc1313

    twc1313 Practice is the cure for GAS...or so I've heard.

    Oct 28, 2013
    Pittsburgh, Pa
    Some basics:

    Ray5 - Basswood body, ceramic pickup, less sturdy bridge, narrower neck, 2band preamp
    Ray25 - Mahogany or ash body, supposedly alnico pickup, MM style bridge, narrow neck also, 2band pre (same as Ray5 I think)
    Ray35 - Mahogany body (older ones ash), alnico EBMM copy pickup, MM style bridge, big azz neck, 3 band pre (also a copy of the EBMM

    Ray35 is higher quality and also much brighter sounding, 25 and 5 are more mellow and vintage sounding.

    IMHO I don't think the Ray25 is worth the $200 up-charge for basically a bridge and maybe a better pickup.

    Get the Ray5 and love the value and quality, or go hog and get the 35 and have a near as you can get EBMM Stingray

    I've had a few Ray4s and a Ray34, I prefer the less clanky tone of the inexpensive Ray4 and dig the value for a bar beater bass. I also like the slimmer neck and color options more as well.
    BassFace13 and Pete Langford like this.
  3. Thanks, appreciate the input.
  4. Bassist Jay

    Bassist Jay

    Dec 28, 2009
    Sterling, CO.
    Endorsed by K.B. Guitars, Nordstrand Audio Pickups, Von York Strings and Gallien-Krueger Amps.
    The Ray 5 is the Sterling by Music Man entry level 5 string bass. It is made in China and was built to be the entry level version of an Ernie Ball Music Man Stingray 5. Same with the Ray 4 for a Stingray 4.

    The Ray 25 is also built in China but has a better bridge pickups and I believe tuners. The Ray 24 and Ray 25 are based off of the Ernie Ball Music Man Stingray Classic 4 and 5 string.

    The Ray 35 was built in Korea but now may be starting to be manufactured in Indonesia for all 2018 models and going forward. The Ray 34 and Ray 35 basses are almost identical to their American made counterparts, the Ernie Ball Music Man Stingray 4 and Stingray 5. I just got a Ray 34 koa a few weeks back and when comparing it side by side to my Stingray 4’s and 5’s, it would be very difficult to tell which bass was what if I was blind folded and given either the Ray 34 or my Stingray 4. With EBMM also raising their prices across the board and every bass costing a minimum of $2,000.00 or more now, I have a feeling a majority of buyers will now be looking either used or at the Ray 34’s and Ray 35’s. I know with the knew price increases, I don’t see myself ever buying a new Music Man again. They priced me out of the market. Especially when the used stuff is less than half the cost.
  5. krovx

    krovx Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2003
    Michigan, USA
    Just had the local GC order a Ray25 in to check out. Curious what it will be like!
  6. krovx

    krovx Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2003
    Michigan, USA
  7. Jnes


    Dec 30, 2018
    I just bought RAY 35 and its amazing I love it, more than my EBMM stingray (I sold it recently/ too heavy and bolshy aggressive tone was a one trick pony in my opinion, but the wood was of course nice) Ray 35 much lighter too as the wood is swamp ash. I just love it. Now looking at KOA 35 also :)

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