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Reviewed by 2 customers
Displaying reviews 1-2
Comments about Sterling by Music Man RAY4 Electric Bass:
Amazing customer service from, MF! Thanks very much!
After all is said and done, I am very satisfied with my purchase. Solid little bass with a very comfortable(to me) neck. Nice tone, and pretty good quality for a budget bass.
Comments about Sterling by Music Man RAY4 Electric Bass:
Some introductory information:
I've spent A LOT of time in guitar shops. My hobby is going through basses and getting a feel for their differences. I buy, fix, and sell a lot of beginner basses also as a hobby. In other words, beginner basses are kind of my specialty. Now to the review:
I like to judge basses on 5 criterion: Feel, Sound, Construction Quality, Looks (more subjective), and Versatility (includes variety of sounds, balance, and weight).
Feel: There's nothing about the raw feel of the bass that will blow people away. Everyone has a different preference for what they like in terms of action, spacing, etc., but generally better basses should be easier to play for everyone. There is nothing about this bass that really seperates it from a VM Squier or similarly priced Ibanez or Toby Pro. There is nothing wrong with the feel, but there is nothing that would say "this bass feels like a bass twice as much." With that said, I did not feel that there was a huge gap in the feel between this and say the Ray 34, which does cost twice as much. The Ray 34 is better constructed, but the feel is much closer than I would have expected. I think that says more about my opinion of the Ray 34 than this bass.
Sound: This is the bass's strength. On one hand, I'm a believer in effects pedals and I think people overemphasize the "sound" of a bass, since that can be adjusted, but the sound on this bass is genuine. It obviously is no Stingray or Bongo and it isn't even a Ray 34, but I have never come across a bass for less than twice the cost of this bass that has this much "character." Normally, basses in this price range don't have a lot of personality, they're meant to suit as many customers as possible. This bass emulates that Musicman Sound way more than I was prepared for. It's voice is just so clear. (If you're not familiar, Musicman basses are known for their distinct tone, which is a very even and deep midrange). With all that said, if you're not looking for that particular sound, you're kind of stuck. The good news is that the sound can be used for almost any genre.
3. Construction Quality: Overall, I'd say that the bass's construction is average for its price range. For me, the squire VM jazz basses are the best constructed in this price range. My version has the rosewood fingerboard, which is "meh." The maple necks are a bit better in my opinion for the bass. The frets are relatively even, some are high (17th) especially. You do see the fret inlay lines from the side, though that is just a cosmetic concern. Other reviewers are concerned with sharp fret edges, but I did not encounter that. Controls and pickup are fine in construction. The biggest weakness is the overall quality of the body wood and the finish. I have the walnut finish and it feels like a very cheap veneer. The wood just seems...wrong. It does not feel appropriate to the bass. It's too "flimsy," hollow sounding, and cheap. You would expect that this would make the bass weigh less, but it still weighs a ton, which I'll mention later. Also, the pickguard is cheaply made, but that is pretty universal on basses in this price range. The bridge is about as cheap of a bridge you can put on a bass, not to say it's terrible, just unremarkable. Having the truss rod adjustment on the body end of the neck is handy. The bass does offer active pickups, which is the growing norm for this price range. It's only a 2-band EQ, which you don't see that often. Sound is clean, however the volume knob is too hot---goes from 0 to "woops" in 1/4 twist.
4. Looks: I've seen 4 of them in person. I purchased the Walnut Satin. I happen to love the oval pickguard look and mine shows that off well. I think some of the color combinations are odd (black on black?), but overall this is a good looking bass. When I was first learning to play, you wouldn't find a bass that looked like this for less than what I had in my bank account, but with the SUB series, the Ray 34, and the OLP maybe that association might be less for people now.
5. Versatility: The single humbucking style of bass has its particular strengths. The extra room is good for using a pick and slapping. For those that like to fingerpluck nearer the neck, the single bridge pickup can be an issue, but I have quickly adjusted. The tone is sharp and clear, but in this price range, pretty much any other bass you buy will be able to produce a more versatile sound, particularly a jazz bass. For feeling so cheap, the bass is heavy (about 10 pounds). A squire VM weighs about the same, but feels so much heftier. The weight makes long playing sessions difficult. Other reviews were complaining about neck dip. It's there, but it is not as significant as I thought it would be. Most basses in this price range are more balanced, particularly by Ibanez.
Final Thoughts: I really do like this bass and purchased it. It's fun to play and has a great sound. It does not blow you away with its quality, but it's fine for the price range. Definitely make sure it's a tone you like before you jump in.
Some alternatives and thoughts:
-VM Jazz bass by Squire is better constructed, better looking, and offers more variety of sounds for basically the same price. However, it lacks the musicman personality that makes this one a winer. It also only has passive pickups.
-Ibanez SR 250 and others is similarly constructed, a bit more plain, and offers 2 covered pickups and a 3 band eq. Also, lacks that personality. The Ray 4 is a bit smoother to play in my opinion, though you may be able to get a little bit lower action on the Ibanez.
-Epiphone Thunderbird IV: I hate thunderbirds, but it also has a larger variety of sounds and is more suited to those that just want to dial in a metal or rock tone. ESP and Jackson are also ones to look at if this is your angle.
-Tobias Toby Pro: Construction Quality on the Ray is a bit better. Tone is miles away better on Ray. Toby is easier to play.
-Schector Omen is another option. I've never liked these much. They might be a bit easier to play, but tone is so boring.
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