NBD: 1997 EBMM Sterling 4H

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Tony G, Feb 13, 2018.


  1. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    NY
    My first jump into the true world of USA EBMM. Picked up this little funk machine on reverb for a price too good not to buy it...at least that is what I'm telling myself. ;)
    Listing said it is a 1996, but not sure how to verify that. The neck playability is beautiful and has a few birds eyes on it (more on the back of the neck than on the fretboard). Fret work is perfect. Finish is nice and smooth, and the edges have that broken in, rolled over feeling. This bass has been loved and played by some previous owner. There are a couple little bumps and bruises on this bass, but nothing too bad. Solid feel and well balanced on a strap. I'm used to big jazz basses so this feels a little smaller than I'm used to, but I dig it. Overall, it is a quality instrument and I'm glad I snagged it.

    Questions for the EBMM experts. This bass has a matte black pickguard. Was that from the factory or aftermarket? Also, what is the finish color called? Honey burst or something similar?

    EDIT 2/14: EBMM got back to me with details: "This Sterling was completed on September 3rd, 1997. The color is Sunburst with the Maple neck. It was originally shipped to Corner Music."

    1996 EBMM Sterling 4Ha.jpg 1996 EBMM Sterling 4H body small.jpg 1996 EBMM Sterling 4H body back small.jpg 1996 EBMM Sterling 4H headstock small.jpg 1996 EBMM Sterling 4H headstock back small.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
  2. That's very nice - lovely condition. Congratulations. To get the build details and DOB either email EBMM customer services or post your serial number here and they will reply.

    Basses came with matte pickguards in that era and the colour is either called sunburst or honeyburst Im not sure when they changed the description - in the early 90s that colour was definitely called sunburst.

    Music Man Serial Number Database - Page 886
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
    Tony G likes this.
  3. LadyLoveStingRay5

    LadyLoveStingRay5

    Jul 17, 2004
    Nice looking MusicMan. Congrats !!
     
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  4. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    NY
    Thanks. As I mentioned, it has a bump here and chip there that the pics aren't really showing, but for a 20+ year old bass it is pretty good considering. I'll look into the options you gave me to get the build details.
     
  5. LadyLoveStingRay5

    LadyLoveStingRay5

    Jul 17, 2004
    20 + age with dings. Some call that Vintage mojo and relic job. . Pg looks great too. I remember this bass from your event thread . You got a great deal .
     
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  6. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    NY
    Thanks, I agree. Plays really great. I've been dialing up some fat tones with this thing tonight, really enjoying it.
     
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  7. bovinehost

    bovinehost

    Dec 5, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: Ernie Ball Music Man/Sterling By Music Man
    That's honeyburst. The sunbursts back then had darker edges. Very nice Sterling!
     
  8. The pocket will have a date but I believe the 1996 is correct, the mute bridge was phased out by then but it still has the matte guard that they had all previous years of the 90s and the musicman logo on the plate still. I had 2 1993 models, great era.
     
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  9. king_biscuit

    king_biscuit

    May 21, 2006
    US
    Visually, I like the larger mute bridge on Stingrays, but the newer downsized bridge looks right on the smaller Sterling body. Nice bass.
     
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  10. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    NY
    So everything looks legit to you in this case? Nothing unexpected? I wasn't aware that they used matte guards that often. Interestingly (to me), the neck plate is countersunk into the body, which was unexpected for someone like me not versed in music man build design and history.
     
  11. king_biscuit

    king_biscuit

    May 21, 2006
    US
    It all looks great to me TonyG. Matte guard, countersunk neck plate, honey burst finish -- check.
     
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  12. 73_Blazer

    73_Blazer Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2018
    4BB8BD58-8DCA-4411-9DC3-3E0560A565CF.jpeg They are an excellent bass. I have one that Is similar. Right on the honey burst mine is cherry burst.
     
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  13. Yes sir, nothing out of place. Nice one.
     
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  14. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass

    Nov 22, 2017
    Beautiful! Reminds me of "the one that got away," a wonderful burst Sterling that I had to sell when my ex and I departed and I moved to California. I sure miss that bass. I hope you will enjoy this one!
     
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  15. twinjet

    twinjet Powered by GE90s; fueled with coffee. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2008
    49
    Yum.
     
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  16. svlilioukalani

    svlilioukalani Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2012
    Seattle, Wa
    I found that same bass over the summer. Same year and color and same pick-guard. For me it was a game changer. It's my main ax now. And that is saying something since I currently have 39 quality basses. It's got the tone I have been searching for. The high end can get brittle if you turn it up to high. But, for me, it's the perfect size and weight. The neck is amazing feeling, and super fast. The tone is everything I am after.

    I then picked up a 2006 Sterling as a back up. It's an amazing bass but not quite the same. The tone is not quite as smooth and the neck is not the same, but I can not explain why. I believe the 1996 basses were all hand made where as by 2006 they are cut by CNC machines. I know it my all be in my mind but the hand made bass just feels better in my hands.
     
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  17. spufman

    spufman

    Feb 7, 2005
    Central CT
    All three of my early Sterlings had/have matte black guards. Smaller bridge and recessed neck plate say late '96-'97 to me. My '95s have the large but mute-less bridge. Sterlings are awesome, congrats!
     
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  18. muggsy

    muggsy Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2000
    Alexandria, VA
    I have a '98 Sterling lined fretless, same color (honeyburst) with lots of birdseye on the back of the neck and a black matte guard. Nice find, they are great basses.
     
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  19. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    congrats on your rationalization as that seems to have put you in good company with that great axe! and congratulations on your new instrument! :thumbsup:
     
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  20. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    NY
    Thanks for all the replies, everyone. I think this was a solid purchase.

    I have a question about the pickup. It is hard to see in the picture, but there is an indent running horizontal between the coils in the cover. This is also something I've not seen in other EBMM basses. Is this normal for this "vintage"? It can be seen a little more clearly in this picture from the "for sale" page I bought it from:

    bapdvzsgw5milkaexzzw.jpg
     
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    Primary TB Assistant

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