Musicman SUB (USA made) vs Sterling Ray34/24

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Faldoe, Jul 29, 2019.

  1. Faldoe


    Mar 31, 2012
    Bay Area, CA
    I've been eying the Ray34 for some time but just played the Ray 24 at Guitar Center the other day and really liked it.

    I had played the Indonesian made SUB and wasn't impressed.

    There is a USA made SUB for sale near me. How does the USA SUB compare to the Sterling Rays?

    I may just take the Ray 24 as I was really impressed. I haven’t played a Ray 34 but I’ve read the neck on the Ray 24 is thinner which I enjoyed when I played it.
  2. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    I have a US SUB (passive) and a Sterling Ray34. The neck on the US SUB is thick like they are on a typical Musicman Ray and in comparison to even the Ray 34. Quality wise, the US SUB is essentially a Musicman Ray with a cheap paint job and painted neck but is very much a Musicman - in other words, it is noticeably better in quality than any Sterling bass The US SUB active (there is a passive version) has a 2 band EQ and slab body, so it'll sound like the Ray Classic.
    Between the Ray 24 and Ray 34, the 2 band EQ of the Ray24 is preferred by some (myself included) as the Ray34 is a little on the trebly/mid side in terms of tone, the Ray 24 just sounds more like the classic Ray sound.
    There is a Ray34 with a thinner neck and 3 band EQ, the Ray34QM, but would probably recommend still going with the Ray24 due to the tonal quality of it.
    tkonbass likes this.
  3. tkonbass

    tkonbass I'm just one of the out-of-focus guys.

    Mar 11, 2012
    St. Paul, MN
    I have two Stingray 5 Classics, a USA SUB 5 and 4. While I can't compare the USA SUB to the Ray24/34 I can definitively tell you that the USA SUB's are every bit a real Music Man Stingray. Aesthetics aside the playability and sound is the same. As @Maxdusty said the only noticeable difference is the finish on the body and neck. The SUBs do not have Music Man stamped on bridges or tuners but I believe they're true EBMM components. They also share the same 2-band pre and pickups as the classics.

    I've never held a Ray24/34 and it could well be a fine instrument in its own right but I would go try out the USA SUB before you buy. If for no other reason than to know for yourself which you prefer.

    About the paint, I purchased both of my SUBs with the intention of refinishing them but have yet to do so because the utilitarian finish has kinda grown on me. Although I have changed the pickguards on both because I really didn't like the treadplate look of the originals. For future reference a standard USA Stingray pickguard fits the SUBS exactly. :thumbsup:
    Maxdusty likes this.
  4. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    The Ray 24/34 are very good instruments, but comparing them side by side to the MM in terms of the way they feel in your hands to the sound, they're still different. Pretty close, but not the same. I remember reading something not too long ago that the Sterling Ray 34 pickup and electronics are EBMM designed ie. Alnico pickups, the Ray24 is a Sterling designed, ceramic.
    I agree, try the US SUB first and see if the neck will work - it is wider and chunkier but will sound terrific and also of higher quality in comparison to either of the Sterling basses. Actually getting harder to find these US SUBs.
    The finish on the US SUB as mentioned, isn't really the problem but the pickguard was for most people, but it's an easy switch. I have a black pearl on mine.

    Arson-o likes this.
  5. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone.

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    Check out the USA SUB, and if you like it, buy it. They’re not makin’ any more. ;)
  6. mouthmw


    Jul 19, 2009
    USA SUB all the way. My first Stingray was a USA SUB. I had 3 Stingrays after that (2 of them are still with me now, sold 1 of them). USA SUB is a 2 band Stingray with textured paint job and black paint on the neck. It is fantastically made and is a true Music Man through and through. I'd still rock that SUB, but I got tired of the vomit red color. A matte black/graphite one? Oh hell yes, I'd rock that one all day long.
    odarellmc and tkonbass like this.