What's the difference between the Sterling SUB SB4 and the SUB Ray4?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by el_Bajo_Verde, Jan 25, 2017.

  1. I just got a new SUB SB4 on sale for $179 since they're discontinued. I don't know anything about Sterling or EBMM shaped basses. I noticed my SB4 is slightly different from the more common Ray4. But in what ways are they different?

    I'd especially like to know if there are any electronics differences between the two.

    Visually, I can see that the SB4 is slightly smaller, lacks the metal plate on the front, and has a different jack location.


  2. primussucks9126

    primussucks9126 Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2008
    Bronx, NY
    The Ray 4 is a budget version of an EBMM Stingray. The SB4 is a budget version of the EBMM Sterling.

    Compared to a Stingray(EBMM at least), Sterlings are narrower at the nut, have a smaller body, more frets, and a ceramic pickup instead of an Alnico. The preamp is the same. There's also a 3-way switch on an EBMM Sterling that allows for series/single/paralell options.

    With SBMM, the Ray 4 already has a 1.5" nut, and I doubt that they put a different pickup in it. They don't do the 3-way switch either. That would leave the differences being the body shape and an extra fret.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2017
    Badwater likes this.
  3. Badwater


    Jan 12, 2017
    I tried both the SB4 and the SUB4. And they are knock offs of the EBMM Sterling model and Stingray model. Based on the manufacturer spec on line: the Sterling Sub series, the SB4 has the same size neck, hardware and electronics as the SUB4. On the SB4 the body is smaller, lighter, and is back loaded with electronics where the SUB4 is top loaded with a metal plate. Both have the same pickup and preamp. GC had a huge clearance sale and the SB4 was selling at $179. After Jan 18, 2017, the price is back up to $279. The SB4 is discontinued, and does not show up on the Sterling website.
    el_Bajo_Verde likes this.
  4. BassAndReeds


    Oct 7, 2016
    I believe the preamp is different between the two. Ray4 is higher grade I believe.

    My first bass (besides a crap Ibanez) was a Ray34. Very good first bass. I still bring it as a backup for gigs and if some drunk V Wooten wants to jam.
  5. 4ffa75301861335a660028f1.jpg
    dralionux likes this.
  6. BassAndReeds


    Oct 7, 2016
    I see. The Ray34 that I own is not the Ray4 you're talking about it looks like. I tried to search Sterling by MM's website, but could not find an SB4 through their search.

    The Ray34 is a good instrument, but not what you're looking for. Good luck.
    el_Bajo_Verde likes this.
  7. It appears that the SB4 has been discontinued, which is why it was on sale for so much.

    Also, just noticed that the SB4 has an extra fret
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2017
  8. Badwater


    Jan 12, 2017
    Yup, Ray34 is the top grade of SBMM. It's more than 2x the price of a SBMM SUB Ray4. The SBMM SUB series all have the same pickups and preamps. They're photos of the Ray34's preamp and SUB Ray4 preamp as well as the SUB SB4 preamp. The SBMM Ray34 preamp is like the EBMM Stingray which has a large long PC board mounted to all the pots. The SBMM SUB series have a small square PC board wired over the center Pot. Google the images for the preamps.

    Keep in mind, the Sterling company SBMM is licensed by EBMM, and the new SUB4 is not the same as the older SUB RAYs build by EBMM.
    el_Bajo_Verde likes this.


    Nov 28, 2014
    Just put money on a S.U.B Ray4. I was pleasantly surprised at the feel and sound for a $300 bass! I have a 6 string Ibanez SR496 that has been my main axe for the past 10 or 11 years. Have a great sounding Steinberger inspired 4 string I don't play much because it's actually uncomfortable to play for extended time periods, at least to me. Got the S.U.B because I wanted to get back into playing more 4 string.
    el_Bajo_Verde likes this.