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Ernie Balls

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by floridagatorfan, Oct 12, 2013.

  1. I tried to do a search on this because I'm sure it's been brought up before, but I didn't have any luck.

    Can you guys please explain to me what the differences between the Stingray, Sterling, and SUB models.
  2. landau roof

    landau roof Reupholstered User

    Jul 29, 2010
    Downstate CA
    Why not inquire directly with Ernie about his balls?

  3. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    This has been talked about many times. but in a nutshell:

    The original US made Musicman and Ernie Ball musicman models: StingRay, Sabre, StingRay 5, Sterling, Sterling 5, Big Al, Bongo, Reflex.
    At one time, EBMM made an inexpensive line called the SUB series. These had basic satin finishes and black painted necks.

    For a short while EBMM licensed the design out to a company called OLP to make offshore copies of the Ray and SR5.

    At present day, the designs is again licensed to an outside company making better offshore copies: The Sterling By Musicman. They're nice instruments, but they aren't from Ernie Ball.
  4. chilensko


    Sep 27, 2010
  5. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA
    An EBMM SUB is basically a Stingray with a less expensive finish on the neck and body, so they could sell it for cheaper.

    An EBMM Sterling has a different body shape than a Stingray. And it has ceramic magnet pickups, where the Stingray has alnico magnets. The preamp is the same.

    The exception to this last is, from 1991 through 2007, the Stingray 5 (but not the 4) had ceramic pickups. Before that and after that, they have had alnico pickups. The EBMM Sterling basses have always had ceramic. The Stingray 4 has always had alnico.

    For Stingrays, the "Classic" models have 2-band EQs. The others have 3-band EQs.

    That's it in a very generalized nutshell.
  6. stonewall


    Jun 14, 2010
    The Stingray has a bigger body and has a Fender Precision type neck the Sterling smaller body with a Fender Jazz type neck.Both basses are quality great sounding basses.I have no knowledge about the SUB versions.good luck.
  7. Loki182

    Loki182 Soundtrack '96 Supporting Member

    May 13, 2009
    Columbus Ohio
    Stingray SLO: Stingray body/Sterling neck
  8. Doctor_Clock

    Doctor_Clock The Moon Machine Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2013
    Brooklyn, NY
    Thanks, I just spit coffee all over my office!
  9. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    Ernie1980's. + womens-basketball-club-hemofarm-two-balls-small-18097. ?
  10. shaft311

    shaft311 Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2010
    Mt. Juliet, TN
    Well, damn.
  11. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    Regarding the SUB basses it goes like this...
    If comparing to Fender and Squier and the hierarchy of things. Ernie Ball Music Man being Fender. Sterling being Squier.
    The SUB basses are what you would get if Squier decided to create a budget line of their instruments. A budget line of a budget brand.
    SUB basses are 2 band EQ basses and are actually pretty darn good for the price, I have two of them.

    Ernie Ball Musicman basses (including their previous budget line SUBs) are made in the USA. Sterling and it's budget line SUBs are made overseas - in Indonesia.
  12. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    For clarification sake (damn you EB and GC), you're talking about Sterling by MusicMan.
  13. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    Amazing how much that pops up. I wonder how much EBMM regrets that decision, if at all.
    I played a couple at Guitar Center last night. Was impressed for the money, but there's no way the SBMMs will replace my EBMMs. One was marked down to $180 and I couldn't bring myself to buy it.
  14. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    lol... yeah, I forgot about that EBMM and SBMM (Ernie Ball by Music Man, Sterling by Music Man) ... took me a while to get it all straight myself.
    The Two SUBs - SUB by EBMM (US made and discontinued) and SUB by SBMM (current).
    Once in a great while, if you're lucky you can buy a used SUB by EBMM, the US made one for the price of the cheaper offshore made one thanks to the confusing description.
  15. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    According to someone here, on the EB forum Sterling Ball got pretty annoyed when it was brought up. I've also read that GC wanted it named like that. No clue why EB would allow GC to essentially make their business decisions like that.

    They could have name it "ANYTHING by MusicMan" and it would have been better ;)
  16. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    Yeah, I saw that first hand (on the EB forums). If I had more time I'd look it up and post it here.
    I'm sure that it involved a hefty sum of money from GC/SBMM which helped soften the blow. I guess I'm not enough of a headstock reader to really care, and I don't sell gear often at all, so I don't get impacted there either. If I did either, I'd be more annoyed I think.

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