Sterling by Music Man Ray34CA (2011-2014) vs Ray24CA (2017-present)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Matt Mallet, Mar 13, 2021.


  1. Matt Mallet

    Matt Mallet

    Mar 13, 2021
    Hey everyone,

    I’m fairly new to this site so forgive me if this question has already been answered somewhere else. I’ve been playing bass for 6-7 years now and have only ever owned 2 Fender MIM’s (jazz and dimension5) and a Squier (P), but I’m curious about getting myself a stingray. Currently, a genuine American-made EBMM is way out of my price range, but from what I’ve read about the Indonesian-made SBMM’s they are quite the bang for your buck and have heard that the Ray34 is comparable to Fender’s MIM line in regards to build and sound quality.

    I’m particularly curious about the Classic Actives (Ray24/34CA), but also looking at the Ray34. I went to my local shop and tried out the Ray4 as it was the only one they had in stock and was, well, unimpressed to say the least – it’s not bad for the price tag but it plays more like my Squier than either of my MIM Fenders. I’ve heard that the 24/34 series are a big step up from the SUB series, but am curious to know what the differences are between the three models (Ray34, Ray34CA and Ray24CA). If anyone has experience playing specifically both of the Classic Active SBMM’s please let me know what significant differences there are as I’ve had quite a hard time finding information about them. Where I’m at the Ray24CA sells for ~750CAD (plus taxes), but I’ve also found a Ray34CA used for ~800 and a Ray34 used for ~900 – which one would you guys recommend and why?

    Thanks!
     
  2. 58kites

    58kites Save a life....adopt a Pitbull

    Oct 21, 2014
    Austin Texas
    The older Ray34CA.
    Built better, the like the neck finish and it has a nice two-band pre.
     
    Matt Mallet and shojii like this.
  3. shojii

    shojii

    Sep 7, 2011
    +1 this. And the 24CA has the same eq as the Sub4. It’s a shame the 34CA was discontinued. It was a real sleeper...
     
    Matt Mallet likes this.
  4. Matt Mallet

    Matt Mallet

    Mar 13, 2021
    Thanks for the replies! :) I think I’m gonna pick up the 34CA – it’s not in the color I’d like but maybe I’m thinking of removing the paint job and adding a nice dark brown stain along with a glossy finish. Paired with a black pick guard and the rosewood fretboard I think it’ll look quite nice.
     
  5. jd56hawk

    jd56hawk

    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    What does the Ray 34CA have that the Ray 34 doesn't have?
    Or should I say what does the Ray 34 have that the Ray 34 CA doesn't?
    Well, two things.
    Photo-Collage-20210314-205258568.jpg
     
    Matt Mallet likes this.
  6. Matt Mallet

    Matt Mallet

    Mar 13, 2021
    Being the MID-boost/cut and belly/forearm cutaways, right?
     
    jd56hawk likes this.
  7. 58kites

    58kites Save a life....adopt a Pitbull

    Oct 21, 2014
    Austin Texas
    Please clarify or elaborate.
     
  8. jd56hawk

    jd56hawk

    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    The MID-boost/cut and belly/forearm cutaway.
     
    Matt Mallet likes this.
  9. jd56hawk

    jd56hawk

    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    I missed out on this one last year.
    Didn't jump on it, $100 off, and it was gone the next time I checked.
    RAY34-QMAM-large-jpg-cf.jpg
     
    B-Mac and Matt Mallet like this.
  10. Matt Mallet

    Matt Mallet

    Mar 13, 2021
    That’s a nice one, a shame you missed out on it! Imagine the same thing but natural wood grain with an earthtone walnut stain – that’s the idea I’ve got in my mind right now. B8161C8E-3A43-4483-ABF0-DC4C5C632697.jpeg
     
    jd56hawk likes this.
  11. 58kites

    58kites Save a life....adopt a Pitbull

    Oct 21, 2014
    Austin Texas
    When you can find them the older Ray 34CA are around the same price as the used current model Ray 24CA.
    The old Ray 34CA would be my preference because of the two-band eq and the finishes on neck and body were great.

    The current model Sterling Ray 4 are $299 new. (two-band eq, body cuts, cheap parts all around)
    The current model Sterling Ray Classic 24CA are $499 new. (two-band eq, slab body, 1.5 nut/neck)
    The current model Sterling StingRay Ray 34 are $799 new. (three-band eq, body with cuts)
     
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  12. jd56hawk

    jd56hawk

    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    I should've bought this for $500 when I had the chance two years ago.
    Sterling-music-man-Ray34-pearl-white-jpg-cf.jpg
     
    tindrum, B-Mac, tubatodd and 2 others like this.
  13. brushfirewolf

    brushfirewolf

    Nov 12, 2016
    Maryland
    Can’t really judge the playability of a bass when you pick it off the wall at a music shop, especially guitar center. They all need a set up to be what most would consider playable. I just tried out one myself this weekend and the neck was so bowed i could probably practice my archery skills with it.

    IMO the Ray24ca is definitely not worth the price tag. It’s got a Ray4 neck, same hardware besides the bridge, and a slightly better pickup. Other than that it’s identical and $200 more. Ray4 best bang for the buck for sure. If you want something closer to a real stingray spend a little extra for the Ray34.
     
    Matt Mallet likes this.
  14. Fitz

    Fitz

    Oct 20, 2009
    That Ray 34 after tax costs about the same as a used USA Stingray. Food for thought.
     
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  15. Matt Mallet

    Matt Mallet

    Mar 13, 2021
    Yeah it was mostly the feel of the neck for me and the quality of the hardware, it seemed to be a much lower quality than the instruments I have at home. It definitely needed a setup but I don’t think that would have made me like the Ray4 much better...
     
  16. Matt Mallet

    Matt Mallet

    Mar 13, 2021
    Shoulda, coulda, woulda – hope you have the chance to find one used :)
     
    jd56hawk likes this.
  17. jd56hawk

    jd56hawk

    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    I had one about five or six years ago but returned it. Wasn't bass savvy back then.
     
    Matt Mallet likes this.
  18. Staccato

    Staccato Low End Advocate Supporting Member

    Aug 14, 2009
    Alabama
    The math doesn’t work for me. USA Stingray prices jumped, and the used prices with them. Sellers now get more for them.
     
    Matt Mallet likes this.
  19. 58kites

    58kites Save a life....adopt a Pitbull

    Oct 21, 2014
    Austin Texas
    Yeah, the used USA StingRays did jump when the new ones went up, good for sellers, not great if you want one.
    Glad I got my EBMM USA SUB Bass when I did, it's a nice two-band StingRay that was made very well with a slab poplar body, a Stingray neck and a nice black finish that does not show fingerprints.
     
    Staccato and Matt Mallet like this.
  20. Fitz

    Fitz

    Oct 20, 2009
    I can probably get one for a thousand bucks any day of the week.
     
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    Primary TB Assistant

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