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NBD - SBMM Ray35 (Translucent White Blonde)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Cyborg, Mar 2, 2013.

  1. Cyborg


    Jul 7, 2007
    Lowcountry, SC
    I recently decided that I wanted to come back to the MusicMan fold. I own an Ibanez SR505 but it is more of a polite bass (which isn't a bad thing) but I wanted something with a tone that's more in your face. I used to own a 1989 & 2001 Stingray 4 that had that classic Stingray tone that I loved and cut through the mix like a hot knife through warm butter. I got rid of the 2001 quickly because I couldn't stand the oil and wax neck finish. Then I sold my 1989 Stingray 4 about when I decided to move exclusively to 5-string basses.

    After I thought about it for a few days, I decided to take a look at EBMM and SBMM basses. I decided on the SBMM series, since the back of their necks have a satin finish, rather than the oil and wax finish of the EBMM. The price difference was a consideration as well.

    I explored Bass Central's website and saw a couple of SBMM basses that caught my eye. I emailed Bass Central and asked them what they had in stock, as I was looking for a SBMM bass that wasn't a Sunburst or Black color. They quickly emailed me back listing what they had in stock. They had a "Blue Sparkle" Ray34 and "Translucent White Blonde" Ray35 that interested me the most. I thought about it for a day and although I LOVED the Blue Sparkle finish, I really wanted to continue to have my B string and the 3-way switch. The Ray35 won out and I ordered it after a few more emails with Bass Central.

    I received the bass on Friday, tuned it up and gave it a little test run.

    The Good:
    • The B-string is flat out awesome!!!
    • The tone is DAMN solid! I love that MusicMan tone.
    • The 3-way switch provides a nice variety of tones. I wish this was offered on the 4-string versions.
    • It sounds very similar to a recent model Stingray 5H with an Alnico V pickup.
    • Quiet electronics without any noticeable oddball hums or buzzes.
    • Fit and finish were a little better than I expected and I had fairly high expectations.
    • Fretwork seems really nice without any fret sprout, uneven frets, etc.
    • Plays great and had a great setup out of the box. The setup and final inspection by Park in Orange County is a nice touch.
    • The cutting of the nut is right on.
    • Intonation is set properly according to my chromatic tuner, FWIW.
    • Fairly tight string spacing, similar to their USA counterpart, which I like and is great for picking and fingerstyle.
    • It weighs 10.5 pounds, according to Bass Central and my digital scale. How is this a good thing? It balances very well and it could've weighed 12.5 pounds. :D I think the weight is probably close to the norm for a USA EBMM Stingray 5.

    The Bad:
    • Although it's Translucent White Blonde, the grain is harder to see. Bass Central did inform me that the grain was really hard to capture in the photo. This was disappointing since the Ash body has a nice grain pattern. I guess this is to be expected at this price point. Based on my bass at hand, they should've just done the color a solid "Alpine White", IMHO.
    • Since it's a translucent finish, the headstock doesn't match perfectly with the body due to the different woods' natural color.
    • Slight over spray of the white on the headstock.
    • Input jack is tight. This could be a good thing I guess in the long run.
    • No compensating nut.
    • The bridge, tuners and battery compartment appears to be a tad cheaper made than the USA models but they're still excellent quality and fully functional.
    • Fairly tight string spacing, similar to their USA counterpart, which can be tougher for a big-handed slapping hack, such as myself.
    • The fretboard seems to be a little on the dry side. Unfortunately, this is not limited to SBMM, since it seems pretty typical these days for rosewood fretboards from all major bass producers at 2-3x times the price of the SBMM.
    • It weighs 10.5 pounds. I listed it as a good point but it's still 10.5 pounds. It would've have been great if it was less than 9.0 pounds. :D

    Quite frankly, the good is REALLY GOOD and the bad is really nitpicking on my behalf on cosmetic items, since I couldn't find any major issues to put down as a "bad". Overall, this seems to a be a very solid 5-string bass at a reasonable price. Also, a BIG THUMBS UP to Bass Central for providing excellent service all the way around.

    Tomorrow I'm going to install Dunlop strap locks and try to take some pictures outside to try and capture the ash grain.

    Here are the pictures, courtesy of Bass Central!



    Crusher47 likes this.
  2. peledog


    Jul 9, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    Very nice!

    I had a Ray34 in white, but sold it as it was too heavy. Love the tone!
  3. johnson79


    Jan 8, 2010
    Lancaster, PA
    I really love the the look of this one. Nice bass!
  4. Cyborg


    Jul 7, 2007
    Lowcountry, SC
    Yea, both EBMM and SBMM basses are known to be on the heavier side, especially the Stingray 5/Ray35. I think 10.5 pounds is probably pushing it for me even with my new Neotech strap.

    Thanks! They are definitely lookers!
  5. Congrats on your new bass. That's a very nice colour choice.

    That colour is the same, I believe, as was offered as an option on MM basses around 1990 and are now much sought after - there were not many made - dubbed Mary Kaye white, it was called trans white - the body wood showing through gives a slight hint of pink in the colour, and certainly after aging.

    This same colour (or very similar) is being offered on MM Classic series basses now, I'm thinking of ordering a Sabre and this colour is a potential choice and is the new blue colour (though I will probably go for sunburst as a 'classic' colour).
  6. Cyborg


    Jul 7, 2007
    Lowcountry, SC
    Thank you! I almost called it "Mary Kaye White" but it didn't have gold hardware. ;) I've always liked the Trans White finishes, so when this one was available I thought it was calling for me. I know Fender used the TWB color again about 10 years ago on some of their US models and I really dug the color. I almost bought a Precision and Jazz Bass in that finish to have a matching pair.

    The headstock has a little tint of pink to it. I figured it was from it being a maple headstock.

    If you get the Sabre bass I think both the Trans White and Diego Blue would look great. I'm not a Sunburst fan, even though it's a classic finish.
  7. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    That's a great looking bass! I hope it works for you.
  8. mowmwbass


    Feb 16, 2013
    Your bass might look like this in the future?
    It's nice.

    Attached Files:

  9. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    Well, you know what?

    It doesn't matter: great find my friend... the bass is beautiful and tort guard is sweet

    I wouldn't mind over its weight (not that much really, especially considerin' it's a 5er) and I bet it sounds brilliant beatin' its price tag down to the ground!

    Great great find I'm happy for ya

    I was lookin after an all black one but now I'm divorcin' so my wife's cravin' my money:bawl:

  10. I think that one's butterscotch blond - an even rarer colour on a Stingray - similarly, early 90s custom colour :cool:

    Unlike the solid white, the trans white doesn't seem to go creamer with age from what I've seen.
  11. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    Gorgeous bass and congrats and to me if the tuners and bridge function then they are perfect love that color.
  12. laneline

    laneline Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2006
    North Jersey
    Congrats on your new Ray, I have the same one which is my second ,I had a black one for a year and I can say they are as stable as a US MM. Amazing bass for the money.
    All the best with it.
  13. phillybass101


    Jan 12, 2011
    Artist, Trickfish Amplification Bartolini Emerging Artist, MTD Kingston Emerging Artist. Artist, Tsunami Cables
    Congrats on your new bass. Now get back to practicing :)
  14. Cyborg


    Jul 7, 2007
    Lowcountry, SC
    I think it's going to work out for me, until the next GAS battle. Since I love the MM tone, etc. I think I'll end up keeping this bass for a bit, unless SBMM comes up with a gotta have color for the Ray35.

    Hmm, I sure hope not. I like the Mary Kaye look.

    Thanks Wallace!

    Ouch, Divorce! I feel bad for you. :crying:

    I'm a little disappointed that the finish isn't more transparent but I still really like the finish. The tone is just pure MM and I outright dig it. The weight is fine at 10.5 pounds. It's the average I'd expect for a Ray35/SR5.

    Thanks! Yea, everything functions fine, so no complaints from me.

    Thank you! I used to own a couple of EBMM SR4s and the SBMM Ray35 really impresses me. Unbelievable value for the money.

    I definitely need to practice more! :bassist:
  15. Durockrolly


    Nov 26, 2012
    So. Cal.
    I saw that bass at the SBMM facility today. That trans white is stunning!!!
  16. Cyborg


    Jul 7, 2007
    Lowcountry, SC
    Awesome you got to tour the SBMM facility! I saw a picture in the SBMM Owner's Club thread of the Ray34 TWB's getting setup. It looked pretty cool.
  17. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    That white is beautiful!
  18. I should really take a closer look at the SR5 style. Congrats on the sweet new bass! What do you plan on stringing it with?

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