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What are the major differences between the Sterling 24 and 34?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Jon Herring, Aug 7, 2018.

  1. Jon Herring

    Jon Herring

    Aug 7, 2018
    i am wanting to get a Sterling Bass and absolutely love the Butterscotch yellow with black pickguard and Maple Fretboard but as far as tone and build quality, how does it compare to the Ray35?

    I have a shop that will sell me a used Ray35 in Honeyburst for only $425!!! Of the burst colors I prefer the Vintage sunburst but this is still a gorgeous bass and I’ve always wanted a Stingray.

    Attached Files:

  2. Jon Herring

    Jon Herring

    Aug 7, 2018
    When I said Ray 35 I guess I meant Ray 34
  3. tubatodd

    tubatodd Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2004
    Birmingham, AL
    2 band vs 3 band preamp
    Different pickup
  4. Bassist Jay

    Bassist Jay

    Dec 28, 2009
    Sterling, CO.
    Endorsed by K.B. Guitars, Nordstrand Audio Pickups, Von York Strings and Gallien-Krueger Amps.
    The Sterling by Music Man Ray 24 and Ray 25 are based off the Ernie Ball Music Man Stingray Classic 4 string and 5 string. Slab body with no forearm cut or tummy cut standard but and a 2 band eq.

    The Sterling by Music Man Ray 34 and Ray 35 are based off of the Ernie Ball Music Man Stingray 4 and Stingray 5. They have the more modern sculpted body with the forearm cut and tummy cut, compensated nut and 3 band eq.
  5. Jon Herring

    Jon Herring

    Aug 7, 2018
    Is the Ray24 a “quality” guitar? The 34 seems really nice especially if I can get for that price but I like the color options on the 24 a little better.
  6. A Ray34 at this price is a no-brainer. It’s a very good instrument. Now the Ray24 has a different tone, has a thin neck and AFAIK shares the same cheaper preamp than the Ray4. Unless you want the Ray24 tone and neck I’d go for the Ray34.
  7. Jon Herring

    Jon Herring

    Aug 7, 2018
    Thanks I appreciate that! I’m used to playing a standard jazz bass and finally getting my hands on the 34, the neck being wider will take some getting used to but man oh man did it feel and sound amazing! What does AFAIK mean? What would you say is the difference in tone between the two?
  8. AFAIK - as far as I know
    Wisebass likes this.
  9. I'll develop. When I bought my Ray34, there was only the SBMM SUB (not to be confused with former US sub), Ray34CA (narrow neck, formerly SB14 model or so I think, pickup may differ between ceramic and AlNiCo) and Ray34 models. The compromises made to achieve the SUB series (now named Ray4) price point made it necessary to "voice" (i use the exact term used by a SBMM rep here on talkbass) the preamp so it sounds like a Stingray. So, and I take shortcuts here, the SUB series were made to be stingray copies at a very attractive price while the Ray34 is an asian clone of a stingray and naturally sounds close to one. So IF the Ray4 preamp is the same as the former SUB and IF the Ray24 shares the same preamp (as I've read but cannot warrant) THEN the Ray24 is a step below the Ray34. In any case you've got to find the 30% price difference somewhere and it's not just one band on the EQ that will make such a difference.
    An EB classic stingray nut width is similar to a P-Bass nut width. Actually the Ray24 is named the Ray24CA, the letters CA being important. it means that, like an EB Sterling (not to be confused with Sterling by MusicMan brand), it has a narrow nut and Ceramic pickup which is supposed to bring more grit instead of being mellower as the Ray24CA is reported to be (maybe because the preamp is 'voiced' to do so, see later). It seems essentially to be the same as the Ray34CA except that the Ray34CA may have had AlNiCo pickups instead of ceramic as is now stated for the Ray24. I say 'may' because AlNiCo is what is written in several vendors specs sheet but spec sheet from SBMM is now unavailable. Interestingly enough, these sites say for the Ray34CA that "The preamp and pickup were re-voiced for this model, for a more organic feel and are noise free.". Again this "voice" term which makes me think that the Ray4 and Ray24 are not 'natural' Stingrays, but that's just my opinion. If you want to go for a narrow neck, I would consider a used SB14 which has the 3 band EQ preamp. It is however very probably brighter than the Ray34CA/Ray24 which is 'voiced' to be mellower. The SB14 is to the EB Sterling what the Ray 34 is to the Stingray, unfortunately it was discontinued.
    I haven't tried any of these models but the Ray34 that I have and is really a good bass if you're after a Stingray. The other data I gathered while choosing which model I would buy. The SB14 was interesting but it was discontinued at the time I bought the Ray34 (18 months ago) and finding used SB14s here in Europe is difficult.
    SirMjac28 likes this.
  10. Jon Herring

    Jon Herring

    Aug 7, 2018
    Wow thanks for that detailed reply! I went with the Ray34 ;) I was was tempted by the Ray24 because of the color and maple fret board and narrower neck but the 34 seems to be the better bass and closer to an actual Stingray.

    The Honeyburst is the 34 I got and the Butterscotch (the one I wanted) is the 24.

    Attached Files:

    Wisebass likes this.
  11. wizard65


    Sep 1, 2014
    Looks nice, you made the right choice.
    Wisebass and Jon Herring like this.
  12. Yep, good choice.
    Wisebass and Jon Herring like this.
  13. Wisebass


    Jan 12, 2017
    Lost in Space
    Hi Jon Herring :)

    Happy NBD! (New Bass Day) :hyper::hyper::hyper:

    Have fun!

    may the bass be with you


    btw: the difference between 34 and 24 is 10! ;):laugh:
    Jon Herring likes this.
  14. Jon Herring

    Jon Herring

    Aug 7, 2018
    Hahah thanks! Yeah I really like it.
    Wisebass likes this.
  15. Jon Herring

    Jon Herring

    Aug 7, 2018
    Now I just need a better amp... I have a Ampeg BA108 (I think) practice amp. Doesn’t have a good deep sound just pushes out loud sound that breaks up really quickly :(
  16. Jon Herring

    Jon Herring

    Aug 7, 2018
    I thought about ditching the amp and just getting a Boss Me50B and use headphones. Then I could also run it through other speakers.
  17. Or get a Fender Rumble 40. I’m always skeptical about ´running through other speakers’. A rumble 40 is a good practice amp that you can use for rehearsal / small gigs. And it has an headphone output.
  18. The Ray34QM's have smaller neck. [38mm as opposed to standard Ray34 43mm]. I noticed this on SBMM website and emailed company if this was correct and they confirmed; stating they wanted to give customers more choices. They discontinued the Ray34CA which had 38mm neck so my guess is the QM gives that choice now but with 3 band eq and Ball Family Reserve type finish. FIY new SBMM basses have 'Stingray' on Headstock now not Ray34.
    This is link to Bass I bought
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019

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