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Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by johnk_10, Nov 5, 2010.

  1. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    ever since they came out (and then were discontinued), i always wanted to try one of these. to me, they seemed to be more like what an original stingray bass would be, other than having a poplar body instead of ash (which to me, isn't a bad thing). being made in USA, and having a 'slab' body with a 2-band preamp, it definitely caught my attention. i never did get a chance to try play one, so last week i bought one at a good price and it arrived last night.

    the bass was actually in very good shape, but just needed a little cleaning, inside and out. it arrived with very good action, but i quickly tweaked it to be even better (neck/action/pickup adjust/strobe etc), and it plays and sounds great now.

    the neck is really good. it has a little slimmer profile than my standard 2001 stingray and is very comfortable. i like its satin finish better than the oiled & waxed type too. ( i gloss lacquered my standard ray's neck). the new SUB weighs 9lbs 2 oz exactly, which would make it an easy bass to play for extended periods, and is actually kinda lightweight for a ray.

    the previous owner had already changed the aluminum 'diamond plate' pickguard with a single ply black plastic one, which was fine with me since i didn't care for that feature anyway, and i already had a couple of new stingray spare pickguards.

    IMO, the tone on this bass is much more closer to an early vintage stingray than my 2001 ever was. the two band pre has alot of thump/punch, and is nowhere near as brittle/sterile sounding as the 3 band, but still has that signature stingray sound. i was also looking at the new ray34, but everyone that i've encountered so far (4 of them) has been over 10.5lbs so i passed on those.

    anyway, i know, no pics, no bass, so here's some pics of it after i got it all cleaned up, and tried a couple of different pickguards and pickup covers.




    with a parchment/black/parchment guard:


    and a couple pics with the parchment guard and white pickup cover:


  2. Jim C

    Jim C Is that what you meant to play or is this jazz? Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    Have been interested in a Sub but haven't found the right deal yet (although did just buy an OLP and await it's arriveal)
    Glad to hear that at least some of these are lighter

    How does the flat paint look in person?
    It's been mentioned on the MM board that the factory actualy lost money on these intruments (at least in the later years)
  3. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    i'm not wild about the colors they came in, but it doesn't bother me. it seems to be extrmely durable.

    and yeah, i heard that they were too expensive for them to make at their pricepoint too.

    perosnally, i think if you stripped one, gave it a tummy cut and arm relief (for comfort), it would weigh even less, and be as good and just about any stingray currently offered today.

    it's tone really has me thinking about installing a 2-band preamp in my featherweight ray.

  4. Well we all know you can pull that off :)

    Any mods really planned for this or keeping it stock?
  5. Great score John, and your endorsement means alot to me. I have two of these, one in turquoise and I thought enough of the other to have it refinished in gold sparkle by Marty Bell in California. I don't have a lot of opportunity to do side-by-sides with other more expensive or vintage EBMM basses, but I was damned impressed with the tone of mine.

  6. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    Wow. Wine-vomit purple like mine! Mine's heavier than that, though.

    Don't mod it.
  7. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    i'm leaving this one completely stock, with the parchment guard (since i don't have the original aluminum guard anyway) and black pickup cover. (at least that's my wife's favorite color combo on it ;)).

    these were offered in some pretty strange colors: all of them textured, in flat black, metallic turquiose, 'wine vomit' metallic burgundy (like mine), textured white and textured metallic graphite, none of which i think looked very nice, but who cares? they're absolutely great stingray basses and, IMO, a real bargain if you can find one.
  8. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    awww black guard + white cover? :(
  9. bassmachine2112


    Mar 23, 2008
    They were one of the great bargains,love mine to bits
  10. I scored a killer deal on a Very Slightly Used SUB Sterling (in a color that EBMM told me was only sprayed on 6 SUB Sterlings, the Rust Red/Green/Gold overtone flip-flop "Cinnamon") a few years ago, and it's transformed my near dislike of the stereotypical Music Man tone to one of begrudging acceptance and then "Hey, at least it's not a P-bass!" ( :smug: ) and am keeping an eye out for a SUB StingRay 5-string (I've found one in Black that I may pull the trigger on if I can talk the store down... it truly is priced too high than they're selling for). I've played the SBMM models, and as a player who would NEVER spend the new price for an SLO-built "real" Music Man, for my money I'd much rather have a "bargain" Music Man built in the USA at the same quality level and nearly identical parts & electronics at a lesser price than a Far East-made version that happens to have a Glossy Finish. :D

    Killer SUB StingRay, I happen to *like* the "Wine-Vomit Purple" color a great deal (my "Cinnamon" is like that except it shifts to Green and has some Gold overtones in the finish much like the John Petrucci guitar's "Mystic Dream" flip-flop), and I think both the Black as well as the White pickguards work well against the color. Great score!
  11. I to became a MM SUB convert when I got my SUB in April. Mine looks like yours John with the w/b/w scratchplate, I like the slab body & the way it looks & feels like an early Stingray.
  12. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    yeah, IMO, they are truly an underated and overlooked USA EB bass.

    so tonight, i started building a 2-band stingray preamp for my jazzmaster bass project, and another one for my lightweight Stingray. it's going to be a whole new optional control plate assembly for my swamp ash SR that i used solderless quick connectors so i can quickly A/B between the 3-band system and the 2-band one. i mean, i love the 3-band in it right now, but the SUB's 2-band got me thinking that i should at least try a 2-band in it.

    here's a couple of pics of one of the new pcb's that i just made up. thanks to unclefluffy for making and supplying me with the blank pcb's. he really did a beautiful job on them.


  13. I think that the SUB bass is as close as you can get to a Stingray without the big price tag. I may get slated for this but I think that they are better than the Sterling Ray 34.
  14. the colour of the body is great, but I really can't decide between black,black or white,white
  15. I loved my SUB. I can't believe I sold it:crying:. The only thing I would have changed was the slab body, but that is easily remedied, and I always wanted to change the pickguard. You picked up a great bass :bassist:
  16. babsobass


    Jan 10, 2009
    Milwaukee, WI
    John, can you provide some more details on the PCB? Is unclefluffy selling these? And if so, for how much? I have a passive OLP 5-string that I'd love to upgrade!

  17. Jim C

    Jim C Is that what you meant to play or is this jazz? Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
  18. JazznFunk


    Mar 26, 2000
    Asheville, NC
    Lakland Basses Artist
    At one point, about 5 years ago, I owned three SUBs: a fretted active one in teal green, a fretless passive one in white, and a very rare (according to MM) fretless ACTIVE one in black that I added a tort pickguard to. I needed more versatile tones than what a 'Ray or SUB could offer me with the projects I was involved in at the time, so I sold them over time to fund other purchases. I am still kicking myself to this day for selling that fretless active SUB. It was in many ways the most comfortable fretless bass I've ever played, and totally nailed a vintage/Pre-EB Stingray sound without the price tag. I was going for a Pino vibe with that bass and it nailed it in spades.
  19. If I were lucky enough to find another SUB cheap,then I would be tempted to have it turned into a fretless for that Pino vibe.
  20. Jim C

    Jim C Is that what you meant to play or is this jazz? Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    What is the history on active vs passive 4 string SUBS?

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