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Music Man "Franken" Sterling Sub SB4 Re-do

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by mikecd1, Oct 29, 2013.


  1. mikecd1

    mikecd1 Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2009
    New England
    I had taken my son to GC so he could pick up a low cost bass to just fool around on and leave out in his room ImageUploadedByTalkBass1383064675.589222. ImageUploadedByTalkBass1383064722.890278. ImageUploadedByTalkBass1383064736.423976. to just pick up and play sometimes (drums are his main instrument). Of course as a fellow bassist I was looking around checking stuff out and then I saw this SB4 Sub and picked it up and just started playing it with no amp. It felt really good and the action was low and no buzzing so I gave it to my son and he played it a while plugged in then gave it back and I played it some more. For whatever reason he bought something else but the salesman gave me 15% off and of course I had 30 days to return. About a week went by and I loved the feel, but not the electronics. Does this sound familiar? That was how it started - I had some tuners and a Duncan mm pup then picked up an OBP 3 and what you see is a really sweet sounding Sterling bass. Wired in parallel it sounds pretty darned good next to the real thing. Very impressed with the basic build on these. Not sure if the SB4 is discontinued, but a cool little bass I'm looking forward to gigging with and taking to jams.
     
    murphy likes this.
  2. mikecd1

    mikecd1 Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2009
    New England
  3. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative

    Apr 23, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Was there a significant improvement in tone? I played one recently, stock, and it was amazing. $249 new in store? Crazy!
     
  4. mikecd1

    mikecd1 Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2009
    New England
    Major tone improvement in the area of tighter bottom and mid control (no mid on stock). The mid is push / pull for 400 or 800hz, stacked bass and treble and push / pull active passive on the volume control which is using a 250k pot. I love the Duncan SMB-4d (I'm sure the alnico would sound good too) and get thick bottom using just a little bass and can shape the mids for slap, growl etc. I missed a mid control on the stock version. The stock was nice and gets some nice sounds, but I just wanted to take the sound up a notch (or two) because I just love that neck and the Aguilar is just a great preamp. The neck plays so nice on this bass and right off the shelf the neck was straight, the action low, no sharp edges, and the intonation spot on. Got mine for like 211 plus tax new. Even tho I saw some used ones for 149 online I just loved the neck on this one so I grabbed it.
     
  5. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative

    Apr 23, 2006
    Austin, TX
    I need another 4 string bass like I need a second head, but damn they are nice for the price. I need to look for a GC discount coupon...
     
  6. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Nice. I have the Ray4 version and upgraded the electronics with a full EMG system (pup and pre). I didn't see a need to upgrade the tuners as the stock ones work fine and hold tune. I agree about the necks. Straight neck and extremely low action. Lower than any of my other basses except my Lakland 55-01.
     
  7. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative

    Apr 23, 2006
    Austin, TX
    How do you like the EMG MM system? I have a US SUB 4 and I swapped out the preamp with an SGD Lutherie preamp and it sounds awesome. To be honest it gets more play time than any of my other basses.

    What I'm getting at is I wonder if replacing the preamp alone is enough to liven these up.
     
  8. Stingray317

    Stingray317

    Mar 19, 2013
    I have a sub ray 4 and have been thinking of upgrading the electronics in it. Not really sure what to use...any suggestions?
     
  9. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    I love it. A lot clearer and more defined than the stock electronics! Was a cheap upgrade as I got the entire system (EMG MMcs pickup and BTS system) here on Talkbass for $60!
     
  10. mikecd1

    mikecd1 Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2009
    New England
    EMG has several MM style pickups and their new preamps look very easy to install. The Duncans (alnico or ceramic) can be wired series, parallel and single mode with a switch, but I am happy with parallel mode for now. I replaced the preamp first and it helped, but I didn't get the definition I wanted so I also replaced the pickup.
     
  11. mikecd1

    mikecd1 Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2009
    New England
    Nice! I would have done that if I'd seen it first!!!!
     
  12. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative

    Apr 23, 2006
    Austin, TX
    I probably got away with it due to the pickup in the US Sub (supposedly) being the same as the one. The articulation is what I like best on mine, but I haven't A/B'd it with one of the new SUBs.

    I saw it and should have pulled the trigger, but didn't see myself getting another MM style bass. Live and learn eh?
     
  13. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Here's a pic of mine.
    000_0013.
     
  14. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative

    Apr 23, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Nice. If I get one it will get a white PG.
     
  15. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative

    Apr 23, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Actually, I prefer rosewood fingerboards and I see the red one comes like that. Do you suppose the necks feel the same? (referring to the Sterling SUB SB4)
     
  16. mikecd1

    mikecd1 Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2009
    New England
    I would think the necks feel exactly the same. I used a scotch brite pad on mine and got it fairly smooth and then applied some tung oil and it really feels great. I cleaned the fretboard with orange oil and put a set (about a year old) of DR Sunbeams and it sounds great. I'd love to try DWBass' axe, that looks really cool with the EMG's and those black knobs. BTW, my bass was a real neck diver until I put those hipshot tuners on. At a little under 7.5 lbs I'm guessing the neck is about half the weight. Anybody know what the body is made of on the SUB basses? Says select hardwood I think...
     
  17. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    I wish mine was that light! Mine is in the 9.25-9.5lb range. Mine plays like butter though. I didn't think I could ever get action that low without fret buzz of any kind although my Lakland 55-01 is right there too!
     
  18. WillieB

    WillieB Battling Bass Guitar Bulimia since 1975 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2010
    Columbus Ohio
    very cool thread.

    so the swap I made was the SD basslines smb-4a alnico
    mm pup

    and thebasslines stc-3m3 3 knob pre

    Not cheap but oh well. I already had the pup.

    the details on the pre amp package say

    bass center freq 20hz
    mid 578

    treble 6.6hz

    slap contour is boost at 83 hz and cut at 633 hz
     

    Attached Files:

    mikecd1 likes this.
  19. WillieB

    WillieB Battling Bass Guitar Bulimia since 1975 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2010
    Columbus Ohio
    there was a change. but I don't know if the freq. selection of the preamp is what
    I'm looking for. I think it had higher highs and lower lows then the stock pre
     
  20. mikecd1

    mikecd1 Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2009
    New England
    Not sure why Duncan picked those frequencies...
     

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