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Sterling Ray34 vs Ray34ca

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ThomThomKC, Dec 19, 2013.

  1. ThomThomKC


    Dec 19, 2013
    Kansas City
    So I'm thinking about purchasing a new bass. I currently own and Epiphone Thunderbird but am looking for something a bit more versatile. I have always wanted a MM bass but will never have the cash for the real thing. The reviews of the Sterling series makes me quite excited as its something I can afford. So my question is why would one purchase the Ray34 vs the Ray34ca or vice versa. I know the bodies are different and I know alot is personal preference but shouldn't the extra EQ of the Ray34 win out due to more choice in tone? Or is there something I'm missing here outside of just personal preference.
  2. RichardCranium

    RichardCranium Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2009
    Boynton Bch FL
    I have a SBMM Ray35 and it's a fantastic bass I just can't afford a "real" Stingray but it's real close. The 2 band EQ is considered the more traditional stingray sound think of Bernard Edwards and Louis Johnson. Personally I find the slab body to be uncomfortable to play I'd try to find a music store that had one of each and see which you prefer you can't lose either way!
  3. Tbone76


    Aug 24, 2013
    Upstate, NY

    +1. You may be able to get a used MM Stingray for not much more than a new ray34, though. the ray34 is close to or over $700 depending on model, and used stingrays can be found for $800-$900 if you shop around for a bit. Just another option to look at. The build quality on the Ray34ca that I used to own was top notch, and it sounded killer. I didn't find the slab body to be comfortable, though, so I got rid of it.
  4. Never played a Ray34 but I love my USA Musicman SUB bass. You can usually find them for -$500
  5. twc1313


    Oct 28, 2013
    Pittsburgh, Pa
    I've had both, and I think they are tremendous instruments. Even the new SBMM SUB (which is their bargain bass) is great.

    Here's my overview:

    - a copy of a modern stingray
    -3band eq
    -wider neck (think p-bass)
    -modern more middy sound
    -notches in the eq knobs
    -forarm and belly cutouts


    -copy of an older "vintage" stingray
    -2 band eq
    -Jazz bass neck
    -Vintage lacquer on neck (amber color)
    -Smoother sound, vintage sound
    -no notches in eq knobs
    -Slab body (no contours or cutouts)

    I am kinda split between these two worlds because I like the sound, 3band eq, and contours of the ray34, I like the neck of the Classic. I do dislike the 2band eq on the classic (i'm in the minority here I think) mainly because I dislike the lack of a notch and can't get a good tone from it. The new SUB has the jazz neck, with a more modern sounding two band eq and notches in the eq...it meets all my needs..albeit with a slightly lower quality.

    If you want a 34CA in Mint Green....feel free to contact me.
    Tommy33 likes this.
  6. ThomThomKC


    Dec 19, 2013
    Kansas City
    Thanks for all your responses. Ya seems like what I figured. As with any guitar it comes down to personal prefrence and deciding on what feels best to you. However, if anyone else feels they have a good reason to disagree and believe one is superior to the other then bring it on! ;)
  7. UHUglueee


    Dec 10, 2013
    I recently purchased a brand new Ray34 in Transparent White Blonde finish.

    I tried the Ray34CA but immediately fell in love with the Ray34 after trying it. I just love the feel of the satin neck - personal preference.

    If you have the opportunity to try both, I suggest you do that first. That said, you can't go wrong with either! Good luck with your purchase bro.
  8. jmooda


    Apr 3, 2012
    I agree. I bought a 2002 USA sub and plays as good as a Stingray. I have heard the reason they stopped making the USA subs is because they were outselling the MM Stingray
  9. JCheung


    Jan 25, 2013
    Herndon, VA
    If you can find a used MM stingray or MM Sub (the American made version) then I'd highly recommend those. However if its between the ray34 and ca, I'd say the CA. To me the slab body felt fine. I actually own a ray34 ironically, but I've come to like the CA neck a little better. To me the neck will probably be the determining factor since they both sound excellent.
  10. bovinehost

    bovinehost Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: Ernie Ball Music Man/Sterling By Music Man
    It was actually because the price point was too low. "I might as well throw a hundred dollar bill in the case with every SUB", said someone who owns the company.

    It was a fun exercise and they are tremendous value.

    The Ray34ca is a fabulous bass if you dig the Stingray vibe but prefer a slimmer neck.
  11. pb9717


    Aug 18, 2006
    The CA has a very nice neck, thin like J Neck, , thinner frets, and I know its a little nit picky, but the CA pickup is a better thumb rest than the SBMM standard humbucker due to the edge shape. The one piece slab body is heavy and dense, and some feel provides more sustain. Both good basses, but the CA just has more Character. Theres one for sale on TB now.

  12. Red_Label


    Dec 1, 2013
    MT, USA
    Will have my own experienced opinion about this sometime next week. Bought a Ray 35 in trans white in early December, followed-up by a mint green Ray 34 CA FL fretless a week or so later... and just last night I grabbed a standard Ray 34 in honeyburst used off of ebay for $420 shipped.