Ernie Ball SUB 4-string Reviews 4

I play small ensemble, small venue ... I rather hear my music than the 'roar of the crowd', so I also don't need to 'move tons of air' with my bass. This is the StingRay version of the SUB, in textured black, and with the later, more normal, type of pickguard [plain black PG]. It happened to come my way used with worn-in DR Black Beauty strings, which will not be removed unless they break, which means prolly never.

It was at Daddy's Junkie Music, for some hundreds of dollars. There was a trade-in involved. I just happened to see it and play it. The real reason I bought it was to put a Moses FL neck on it, but I never got around to that .... So, it was hanging around while I ignored it, and then I 'rediscovered' it, as itself rather than as a 'to-do list' project.

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The appearance is very purposeful. The tone is the first fretted StingRay I ever cared to play. I didn't really buy it to like it. I bought it to take it apart, but before I did that, it kinda got under my skin.

The non-contoured body is a bit less comfortable, but thaz not huge. I really miss the midrange control from the fancy Rays with their 3-band EQ, but this version also has it's own voice, so again it's no huge problem.

Fortunately, this one has a real pickguard. Finish is heavy texture black over poplar. Neck is finished in glossy black with rosewood FB. It's a sorta crude version of the StingRay, but that doesn't mean it's not built to MusicMan standards. It definitely is.

I bought it to use with a Moses Graphite FL neck, but never did the neck swap. All my other MM's were FL, as I just had no use for the overpowering sound of a fretted MM. This one is different, and I suspect it's the poplar body and heavy finish. OTOH it certainly CAN deliver the in-you-face sound if you want it. Maybe the regular Ray can do THAT even better [maybe], but that is no concern to me. What matters to me is the other extreme ... that this bass can be tamed down to a level that the regular Ray refuses to accomodate. It seems like EBMM expected this more affordable bass to entice players into the EBMM fold, where they would, presumably, later 'move up' to a Sterling or such. I suspect that SUBs are discontinued mainly for being too good, thus never leading to a tsunami of upgraders ! It's not a stepping stone. It's an excellent utilitarian bass with real tone and playability. Players prolly moved UP to it from a Squier or such, with no lust in their hearts for the 'top shelf' MM's. The difference between a SUB and the most basic version of the 'real' Ray is simply not large.

Golem rated this unit 4 on 2010-03-09.

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