The Sterling By MusicMan SUB Ray 4 and 5 Club!!!!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by TheBassmaster27, Apr 2, 2019.


  1. Many many thanks @Waggins00
    Quick one - the 5 string pickup, what is that and where was that bought?
     
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  2. tubatodd

    tubatodd Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2004
    Birmingham, AL
    I love the look with the white pickguard! Both of your SBMM basses look great. Did you install the Ali Express pickup with series or parallel wiring? I had mine installed in parallel, because that's what all the cool kids were suggesting. I ended up swapping out my white pickup with a cheap ceramic pickup off Amazon. To my ears it sounded better. Of course I also put on a new set of strings. So perhaps it really wasn't a fair comparison. May go back to the white pickup at some point. It's Alnico and a cool look. May be worth another shot.
     
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  3. BBassBassington

    BBassBassington

    May 6, 2018
    Ontario
    I vote no guard or white.:thumbsup:
     
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  4. trseal

    trseal

    Mar 18, 2021
    NorCal
    Nope. TORT!

    Tim
     
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  5. Waggins00

    Waggins00

    Jun 8, 2021
    Lyon (France)
    I install it with parallel wiring, and it sound a bit close to my SUB USA.
    I really like it with this pickup, but the high of the pickup is very important, at first it was too high, and the sound was very.... ugly... so I lowered a bit, 2 times and now it sounds really good, really "stingray ".
    I'm waiting for the new bridge, and after the remplacement, I'll put the rotosound flats which are waiting ;)
     
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  6. Waggins00

    Waggins00

    Jun 8, 2021
    Lyon (France)
    Yes, I agree !!!
    I put the white pickguard, but I really like with no pickguard too!
     
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  7. Waggins00

    Waggins00

    Jun 8, 2021
    Lyon (France)
    glassmoon likes this.
  8. I've decided I have to have a black and maple ray (on a budget) and it seems like my only option is a Ray4 so I've been watching the local markets for a deal. I'd rather have a fatter neck but I've tried a couple Ray4s in GC and I think I can make peace with the skinny jazz neck. Am I missing any options?

    Now, the Ray4s I've tried don't quite have the Ray tone but I've been through this thread and a lot of @LowEndLobster 's fantastic vids and I think I understand this is mostly because the PU is wired in series, not parallel . . . I know I can replace the PU with any number of alternatives that appear to be upgrades . . . even really cheap ones . . . but, has anyone just tried wiring the stock pickup in parallel? I thought I saw a pic recently of a stock PU with 4 wires (2 connected, so apparently in series), so it would seem to be possible. I also think I understand that the output would lower but the stock set up is already way to hot for most anyway .. right?

    Once I do find one, I may just try it as is first. I already have a USA Sub that is awesome and does the Ray thing perfectly and I may want to go for something a little different . . . will probably try some Chromes or other flats.
     
  9. P Cheen

    P Cheen Chelsea Blue is the colour! Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2015
    Sacramento, CA
    The Ray4 does have a fat-ish neck front-to-back, but it is a narrow 1.5” at the nut.
    I think the pickup on the Ray4 only has one hot and one ground, so wiring it another way is impossible. I suggest buying a used SBMM Ray24CA pickup or a cheap no-name one (such as AliExpress) so you have the option of wiring series/parallel without shelling out a lot of cash.
     
  10. That's 2 for that pickup from that site - time to ensure that I don't get fleeced as a result of Brexit hahahaha :(

    Oh, just to confirm, the closest string spacing for the Delano (or any other pickup for that matter) would be 16.25 yes?
     
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  11. Waggins00

    Waggins00

    Jun 8, 2021
    Lyon (France)
    Yes, 16.25 ;)
     
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  12. skycruiser

    skycruiser

    Jan 15, 2019
    Texas
    Hi all - thought I'd see if I can join this club, dragging along the Ray4 I picked up a few days ago (my first). So far I've tried 3 sets of strings on it that I had hanging around my room and I can't say I'm thrilled with the sound of this bass so far. Hate flats the most, I'll probably try recording a little with the NYXL's I put on last night. Also tried DR Pure Blues - OK but they sound much better on my Jazz bass. But anyway, looks like there's a lot of good info here about mods so I have some digging to do. Looks like there are plenty of pickup and pre-amp swaps available out there.

    One other thing bugging me about this bass - it's on the heavy side. I haven't weighed it yet but my guess is 10+ pounds. I'm wondering if I could use a plunge router to cut out some meat under the pickguard and if it would make a noticeable difference. I estimate about 17% of the total body area could be removed under the pickguard, and some ribbing would need to be left in to retain structural integrity, plus obviously you can't cut all the way through. So maybe no more than 60-70% of that 17% could be removed. Would a 10-12% reduction in body weight make a difference?

    Also the shafts on the tuning machines are on the short side - I think I cut my DR Pure Blues G string too much so I can't put it back on my Jazz!! :rage: Live and learn I guess...

    upload_2021-7-13_8-38-31.png
     
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  13. P Cheen

    P Cheen Chelsea Blue is the colour! Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2015
    Sacramento, CA
    What about the tone don’t you like? The Ray4 has been known to have a ceramic pickup that’s way too hot. I think (and according to @LowEndLobster) that problem has been solved with the new 2021 Ray4 models, but I really think you could benefit from a pickup swap. An alnico humbucker wired in parallel should get you that StingRay tone.

    As for the preamp, the Tone Monster stuff should be a good inexpensive upgrade.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2021
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  14. skycruiser

    skycruiser

    Jan 15, 2019
    Texas
    I found it to be a but muddy and dull. My basses never sound like demos I hear online, so technique is a part of the problem too, but I expected something with more character. And I did find that I have to keep the Volume down quite a bit to avoid overdriving the preamp. I wonder if the board could be hacked to reduce the gain.

    I see there is a schematic available - but it was put together by DIY folks and a few things are uncertain:
    Musicman/Sterling S.U.B.

    I think that upper op-amp stage shown in the schamatic is the main input gain stage, and has a 12k and 51k in the feedback. The gain there is 1+51/12=5.25 (I'm assuming this applies even though there is a cap between the 12k and gnd - I think it will still function as an AC circuit with the normal gain definition). But anyway, reducing that 51k down to something lower will reduce the gain, I think. If I feel adventurous enough I may try tacking a smaller resistor across that 51k to see if it drops the gain. I'm also not sure how that might affect the high/low boost/cut circuit. I think the bass section may be unaffected but the treble might be gained to match that input, and so it might sound different if the main stage gain changes.

    I'm looking at the AlNiCo options out there - thanks for the tips. Thinking about the Seymour Duncan and try the parallel/single/series switch mod to give some more options. Also saw the mojotone pre-wired set which would nice and easy to install. Just trying to decide if I should put $150-$200 into a bass that may still end up "blah". I may try the hog out to reduce the weight first and then figure out if I should put more money into it. I'm just a bedroom player so weight isn't a killer for me, but I do practice standing at times and prefer light weight.
     
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  15. Gustopher

    Gustopher Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2018
    SWVA
    Just looking at it, that is an older Ray4 and it had a truly hot pickup and preamp. Any (even cheap) alnico pickup will make a huge difference in sound on that bass and there are some great cheap and easy preamps available too. Mojotone is a good one for sure.
     
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  16. Gustopher

    Gustopher Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2018
    SWVA
    Oh and to add to your statement about the bass ending up “blah” I worried the same, but mine played and felt so good in my hands I went for it and am now totally sold on it. I put a Delano pickup in and mojotone preamp. It sounds truly fantastic and is one of the better bass tones I’ve ever gotten. I am installing a active/passive switch sometime this week just to play around and have a passive option. It may or may not pan out, but I’ll use the switch for series/parallel if it doesn’t get me the results I want. Win/win
     
  17. skycruiser

    skycruiser

    Jan 15, 2019
    Texas
    I put the older Ray 4 schematic into a TINA simulation and get freq response curves below for treble and bass cut/boost.


    Circuit.png Treble.png Bass.png
     
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  18. Gustopher

    Gustopher Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2018
    SWVA
    I was able to install a passive/active switch on my Ray! I’d show a picture of the guys, but it’s sloppy due to my soldering iron being on its last legs, lol…
    I took this diagram;
    9C56AEDE-81A9-4BB3-9FAA-50795E08A034.jpeg
    I used a on/on mini toggle and connected the wires just as the diagram shows and it works very well! I know going into this that I would lose my volume control and that’s ok. I never use my volume for anything except all on or all off. When I engage the switch it is full signal from pickup to the jack and when I flip to the other side it’s just like it was with the preamp engaged. The tone is very good from my Delano pickup. Clearly the preamp isn’t doing anything but cut/boost and there is no “color” to it, because when I set it flat and swap back and forth the tone is practically identical even the gain level stays the same. This will be a very useful mod for me so I can ignore the battery when playing live and even use it as a kill switch if I disconnect the battery. Here is the final product. I really love this.
    5D76DD2F-714A-4E2F-B797-9ECCE5D618A3.jpeg
     
  19. shojii

    shojii

    Sep 7, 2011
    Nice work. So did you mod the bridge? The mounting screws look a lot more MM than SBMM....
     
  20. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Jul 30, 2021

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