Music Man SUB - 3 weeks into

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by mouthmw, Dec 15, 2015.

  1. mouthmw


    Jul 19, 2009
    So I've had my MM SUB a bit over 3 weeks (closing in on a month) now, and it's been properly used in a loud rock band setting on a gig too, so I'm giving out a small review.

    First of all, I always wanted a Stingray. A P bass and a Ray (kind of 2 opposites), are pretty much 2 of my favorite tones on bass. I liked my PJ because it sort of kind of got the ray thing going with both pups on, had this certain tonal thing that reminded me of ray (but more "woody" if you will), and I guess instead of keeping my ray GAS at bay, only put more oil on fire, as I had to get "the real thing".

    Once I found about the american SUB series, and finding out it had the original 2 band eq and pretty much sounded like the old school rays in that regard, for a lot less $$, I needed to hunt one down!
    Plus, I was never sold on unfinished oiled necks, and much prefer some sort of finish on them. So another plus!

    Got my SUB, replaced the ugly UGLY guard with a white pearl (perfect fit!) one, and done some substantial setup tweaking during the weeks of bonding. The famous G string issue dreaded me, because I kind of experienced it during the band practice, so more tweaking, before the real gig, occured. I was aware that the band practice room never yielded fantastic results from my basses, especially the D and G strings sometimes got lost in the mix, as it's a small room, and we're still loud as hell. Plus, I need to tweak my eq a bit more differently than I have my P - just something that comes with getting used to a new instrument, and patience.

    Anyways, I tried to lower the pole pieces on the SUB, but the thing is just rock solid and I couldn't make them budge, and I didn't wanna break anything. So, I got another idea.

    Why not "shim" the pickup cover?

    I used 2 small pieces of folded paper, and put them under the E poles of the coils, and used 2 slightly thicker folded papers and put them under the A poles of the coils. The result - once I put the pickup cover back on, the E and A coils were lower, while my D and G were pretty much intact. Slight adjustment of the pickup height (slightly more raised on the G side), so I can comfortably play with both hard and soft touch and voila! Everything sounds pretty balanced to me. And my coils are in original condish! xD

    I was still worried about losing the G in the mix once the loud gig comes along, but at least I did everything I could setup wise.

    Well, needless to say, it rocked in the mix. The G was prominent, haven't noticed any dead spots, and it was all around, really well balanced. It's not a super hot output bass (really depends on how high you set your pups I guess), actually a bit lower output than my EMG GZR P bass, but I'm cool with that because it plays great with my effect pedals too! The slap tone, wow, that thing really cuts through unlike any bass I played live! I was also extremely surprised to see how awesome it worked with Darkglass VMT, something I though might cut the ray treble a bit too much, but nope! In the band mix, those VMT mids fattened it up, gave it more snarl and absolutely punched through! Fantastic!

    The neck on this thing is great, frets are perfect, absolutely no buzz whatsoever. I tried the 3 band Ray, the classic and the ray34 last year around this time. This one without a doubt is the closest to tone and feel of the classic, no doubt. I can easilly get all the classic Ray tones and would be hard pressed to "upgrade" to any Ray, since it's setup this well to my preferences now. I'm grabbing a black guard too now (actually getting one from my gf), as I wanna see how that combo looks like, probably killer! The slab body was a bit weird at first, but I got used to it in like 2 days of constant playing, now I don't even notice it. The finish is pretty cool too, actually, especially with the ugly aluminum plate out of the way.

    In a nutshell, the old SUBs are killer Rays, with all the tone you'd want, and less fancy finish. All is good now that I have my P and Ray combo!

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  2. mouthmw


    Jul 19, 2009
    Here's a pic of the pickup, and how the shim affected the pole pieces height. I kept the D raised as I haven't noticed it being too loud compared to others.
    Not a bad option for those who don't wanna mess with pushing the pole pieces down.

    On a side note, any good way to clean up the pole pieces? I used the eraser to get most of the rust off, but they're almost completely blackened. Must have been played quite a lot by the former owner.

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