Ernie Ball SR4 FL Piezo Reviews 4

Playing out about 5 yrs. Prolly not your typical StingRay player. No slap, usually no drums. Duo or small ensemble. Job One is to support the singer.

Used bass from Bass NW, under $1100. Would have prefered a Sterling, but piezo models are rare enuf and Rays are more common. If I had the $$ for a new one, rarity wouldn't be a problem. Looking for a used, FL, piezo MM is a game of "Beggars can't be choosers". It's not a Sterling, but it did turn up in my fave MM finish: clear over swamp ash with a tort PG.

Everything is right where it's supposed to be, sitting or standing. Also there is no shift to the left when sitting. It sits or hangs at the same center. And it's easy to keep the neck at a decent angle. But I already knew all that cuz I have the same ax without the piezo. So the piezo is the big deal. I have a number of wooden bridge piezo basses and enjoy them all, but most of the metal bridge piezos I've tried are klanky sounding. One exception is the Ibnez EDA FL but it's a plastic body and plastic FB, and I finally wanted the sound of WOOD. The MM piezo has no hint of klank. To the ear, it could be a wooden bridge. The EDA has a seperate an peculiar tone control for the piezo, more like SWR's "Aural Enhancer" than a tone knob. So, I especially like that MM applies the regular [3-band] tone control to the piezo. The std super-convenient MM neck rod adjuster is even more welcome on a FL, since then it's the dial-a-mwah wheel :-)

I don't dislike anything. It's a keeper. But I can fantasize a few improvements, beyond wishing it was a Sterling: Biggest one is PU location. Since the piezo is your bridge PU, and you can't get any closer-to-the-bridge than that, it would be a more flexible instrument if the MM PU were further from the bridge than the standard MM location. Also on the wishlist would be an ebony FB. On my two other MM FLs I have zero complaint about the pua ferro FB, but the combination of piezo and FL has an acoustic property that just BEGS for ebony.

EBMM. Makin'm like they don't make'm anymore. Out of 7 EBMM basses, all problems totaled up, equals 1 broken nut. That's on a FL, where the slots are filed extra deep, and it was 16 yrs old.

I rated it a '4' cuz altho I have no actual complaints, I don't think the improvements on my wish list are off the wall. Ebony FB ? They can do it. PU location ? OK, tradition is very real, but the alternative, the dual mag PU config recently introduced across the whole StingRay/Sterling line, is NOT compatible with the piezo option. They could fix that. Til then, it can't rate a '5', but it's the best freakin '4' bass in the whole world :-)

golem rated this unit 4 on 2008-02-27.

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