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Sterling by Music Man S.U.B. SB4 Bass Guitar Black 

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Top Rated

Overview

  • 2 Band active preamp
  • Humbucking bass pickup
  • Smaller, slimmer body
Description & Specs
  • MSRP:
    $399.00
  • Your Savings:
    - $119.01
  • Your Price:
    $27999

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      Sterling by Music Man

      A smaller, more affordable alternative from Sterling by Music Man.

      The S.U.B. SB4 Bass Guitar is the answer to your prayers. A slimmer, smaller, lighter body and narrow nut width make the SB4 an incredibly easy-to-play bass. The solid hardwood body is smaller than the Ray4 and offers the same 2-band active preamp, high-output humbucking bass pickup. Narrow 38mm nut width makes for a comfortable, easy-to-play neck. It has a standard 34" scale and comes with a beautiful glossy black finish.

      Case sold separately.

      Features

      • 2 Band active preamp
      • Humbucking bass pickup
      • Smaller, slimmer body
      • 34" Scale
      • Case sold separately

      Get yours today!

       
      Customer Reviews
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      Review Snapshot®

      by PowerReviews
      Sterling by Music ManS.U.B. SB4 Bass Guitar
       
      4.5

      (based on 11 reviews)

      Ratings Distribution

      • 5 Stars

         

        (7)

      • 4 Stars

         

        (3)

      • 3 Stars

         

        (1)

      • 2 Stars

         

        (0)

      • 1 Stars

         

        (0)

      91%

      of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

      Pros

      • Fun to play (9)
      • Good tone (9)
      • Good feel (8)
      • Good pick up (7)
      • Solid electronics (6)

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Jamming (10)
        • Practicing (10)
        • Recording (7)
        • Small venues (7)
        • Rock concerts (4)
          • Reviewer Profile:
          • Experienced (8), Professional musician (3)

        Most Liked Positive Review

         

        playing is believing

        This is a follow-up to my first review on this bass. After playing this bass for a couple of weeks now,I'm absolutely loving it.I just played two live sessions at my church and...Read complete review

        This is a follow-up to my first review on this bass. After playing this bass for a couple of weeks now,I'm absolutely loving it.I just played two live sessions at my church and it performed great.Really cuts thru the mix.( sweet musicman tone)I made some reference to a slight neck dive,I now retract that statement,I was incorrect. The bass really shoulders very well(nice balance).This bass blows my Fender American deluxe jazz away.I also kinda prefer it over my Sterling Ray 34ca.I've been playing bass for over 30yrs.and never has there been anything like these new sub basses.Before, you would have to spend $$$$$ to get this kind of performance.These new sub basses are close to that at a budget price.

        VS

        Most Liked Negative Review

         

        Mixed Feelings on This One

        This bass has me in a bit of a quandary. I really want to love it, but there is just something holding me back.

        MusicMan's budget bass is a split personality...Read complete review

        This bass has me in a bit of a quandary. I really want to love it, but there is just something holding me back.

        MusicMan's budget bass is a split personality animal. The pickup is good. It has all the growl and "burp" that MM humbuckers are known for, but the controls (even though they're active) don't seem to do much. As noted by other reviewers, the volume seems to have three settings: off, very low, and full bore. A small twist of the knob and this thing gets VERY LOUD, VERY QUICKLY! The tone goes from full-on thick to thin and nasally without much in between.

        The neck on this bass is also a contradiction. The neck profile is very Jazz Bass-like (personally I like this). Unfortunately, the fret work is a bit uneven and the frets themselves are small. It almost feels like guitar frets were put on this bass.

        The tuners also have me concerned. While they work okay for now, they seem very cheap and light weight and I don't hold out much hope for a prolonged future with the stock tuners in place.

        The finish quality is not good. The finish of my black bass is cracking in several places already. Color doesn't matter if the finish peels off in less than a year.

        On the upside, every time I slap this thing I LOVE it! The pickup comes alive and the small body gets out of your way. It has a great thump and pop tone that just loves the Funk!

        So, bottom line; try it before you buy it. If you are an aspiring Flea or Bootsy, this bass could be your first best friend. If you are thinking more classic rock or metal or country, you might want to look elsewhere.

        Reviewed by 11 customers

        Sort by

        Displaying reviews 1-10

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        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        great bass, GREAT price!!!

        By Toxie

        from Tromaville, NJ

        About Me Experienced

        Pros

        • Fun To Play
        • Good Feel
        • Good Pick Up
        • Good Tone
        • Solid Electronics

        Cons

        • Fret Buzz

        Best Uses

        • Jamming
        • Practicing
        • Recording

        Comments about Sterling by Music Man S.U.B. SB4 Bass Guitar:

        I started as a bassist back in 86'. 6 years later, i switched to mainly to guitar. but i always had a bass handy, and still loved playing bass.

        recently i've had a desire to start playing bass more frequently. have ALWAYS loved the Stingray Musicman. someone told me to check out the sterlings. glad i did. the price of this bass is about the same as the price of my first bass i bought back in 86'!! only difference is the quality of the Sterling is far superior than my old Ario Pro II Cat Bass.

        the satin neck is nice and smooth and comfortable to play. i have the black body with all maple neck. nice solid hardware. the action as is great. the pickup is great, nice punchy snappy tone. unplugged the bass is LOUD.

        ONLY con, and it's minimal, is very MINOR fret buzz. but it seems to only happen when playing 2 strings together, i.e. chords. otherwise, frets are great.

        take it from someone who has been playing bass for a very long time, i can tell you, beginner or pro, you gotta try one of these. you'll be floored at the quality, playability, and tone.

        my next purchase will either be a Squier Jazz Fretless, or the Sterling 5 string. shoot, maybe BOTH, at these rock bottom prices.

        Comment on this review

        (1 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

         
        3.0

        Mixed Feelings on This One

        By CrystalCityBass

        from Corning, NY

        About Me Experienced

        Pros

        • Good Pick Up
        • Good Tone

        Cons

        • Finish Issues
        • Poor Quality Craftsmanship

        Best Uses

        • Jamming
        • Practicing
        • Small Venues

        Comments about Sterling by Music Man S.U.B. SB4 Bass Guitar:

        This bass has me in a bit of a quandary. I really want to love it, but there is just something holding me back.

        MusicMan's budget bass is a split personality animal. The pickup is good. It has all the growl and "burp" that MM humbuckers are known for, but the controls (even though they're active) don't seem to do much. As noted by other reviewers, the volume seems to have three settings: off, very low, and full bore. A small twist of the knob and this thing gets VERY LOUD, VERY QUICKLY! The tone goes from full-on thick to thin and nasally without much in between.

        The neck on this bass is also a contradiction. The neck profile is very Jazz Bass-like (personally I like this). Unfortunately, the fret work is a bit uneven and the frets themselves are small. It almost feels like guitar frets were put on this bass.

        The tuners also have me concerned. While they work okay for now, they seem very cheap and light weight and I don't hold out much hope for a prolonged future with the stock tuners in place.

        The finish quality is not good. The finish of my black bass is cracking in several places already. Color doesn't matter if the finish peels off in less than a year.

        On the upside, every time I slap this thing I LOVE it! The pickup comes alive and the small body gets out of your way. It has a great thump and pop tone that just loves the Funk!

        So, bottom line; try it before you buy it. If you are an aspiring Flea or Bootsy, this bass could be your first best friend. If you are thinking more classic rock or metal or country, you might want to look elsewhere.

        Comment on this review

        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        4.0

        This is a good bass for the price.

        By Andy Black

        from Georgia

        About Me Experienced

        Pros

        • Fun To Play
        • Good Feel

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Jamming
          • Practicing
          • Small Venues

          Comments about Sterling by Music Man S.U.B. SB4 Bass Guitar:

          This bass sounds good and plays really well for the money. It's easy to slap. When it first arrived at my house, no sound would come out of it. I was about to return it, but I removed the plastic access cover and found a lifted trace on the (very cheaply made) preamp board. Funny thing was that the trace wasn't even being used; apparently it was just touching another trace or component and killing the signal. Moving the lifted trace and tweaking the input jack a little made it come to life. The pickup has a good, bassy sound. It's louder and bassier than my G&L with humbuckers, but not as clear sounding. Both EQ knobs have a wide range of adjustment. The volume knob could be a little more sensitve though. One thing I noticed is that the E string seems to be noticably louder thatn the other three strings. I'll have to lower the pickup on that side and see if that evens the sound out. The neck feels good and the action was pretty low straight from the box. No rough edges on the frets. Very playable. I would like to see a natural or sunburst finish though. I got the black and it's kind of boring to me.

          Comment on this review

          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Somtimes you get MORE than you pay for..

          By TheNoose

          from OKC

          About Me Professional Musician

          Pros

          • Fun To Play
          • Good Feel
          • Good Pick Up
          • Good Tone
          • Solid Electronics

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Funk Bands
            • Jamming
            • Practicing
            • Recording
            • Rock bands
            • Small Venues

            Comments about Sterling by Music Man S.U.B. SB4 Bass Guitar:

            The price tag of this bass is not an indication of the quality, playability, and sound of this bass. In terms of quality, this bass is every bit as nice as any of the made in mexico F-nder basses that ive ever owned. Maybe even better. In terms of sound, it blows them away. This is absolutely a pro level, gig worthy instrument. I play in several bands that play everything from rock, funk, even country. I could get the sounds i wanted for all of those situations. My only complaint is that the color selection for the SB4 is limited to black and the output from the pre-amp is a little hot if you run the volume wide open. Other than that, i could find no fault in it. Ive played both the SB4 and the Ray 4 basses. They are equally nice. The Ray 4 is a tiny bit bigger than the SB4 and has a few small differences such as color selection, output jack location, etc. but they are both equal in terms of sound and playability. Both are great. Yes, if you have 4 or 5 times the amount of money this costs to drop on a bass, you can get a bass that might be a tiny bit better, but honestly, it aint gonna be that much better. If you are a beginner looking for a good instrument without spending a fortune, or if you are a experienced gigging musician that cares more about sound than the brand, or if you just need a really nice back up, this is the bass for you.

            Comment on this review

            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            Way better than the price implies!

            By Omahaskater

            from Omaha, NE

            About Me Experienced

            Pros

            • Fun To Play
            • Good Feel
            • Good Pick Up
            • Good Tone
            • Solid Electronics

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Jamming
              • Practicing
              • Recording
              • Rock Concerts
              • Small Venues

              Comments about Sterling by Music Man S.U.B. SB4 Bass Guitar:

              This is a great bass and a great value. The humbucker is fairly clean (very little noise) and gets SUPER loud. The two-band active EQ is great and you can really tailor your tone to specific situations with the turn of a knob or two. Makes an OK amp sound great. Use it with a sans amp when recording and it will blow you away. The body is pretty light, but not too light like a few I played before buying this one. I'm new to the bass but have been playing guitar, drums and recording music for years, so I know what a bass should sound like and this one is versatile enough to play almost any genre (especially if it's loud!) This is a great transition instrument from guitar to bass as the weight is comparable and the neck isn't huge. Frets well, no buzz, all around this is a fantastic bass! Is it professional? No. Is it a Music Man? No. But it gets the job more than done at a fraction of the price. I highly recommend this instrument to anyone but a pro who can afford the real thing. GREAT JOB, STERLING!

              Comment on this review

              (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Buy it. Buy it right now.

              By Bone Nut

              from Mount Holly, NC

              About Me Experienced

              Ask me a question

              Pros

              • Fun To Play
              • Good Feel
              • Good Pick Up
              • Good Tone
              • Harmonics
              • Inexpensive
              • Loud
              • Multiple Tonalities
              • Rings For Days
              • Solid Electronics

              Cons

              • Didn't Exist 20 Yrs Ago

              Best Uses

              • Jamming
              • Practicing
              • Recording
              • Rock Concerts
              • School Bands
              • Small Venues

              Comments about Sterling by Music Man S.U.B. SB4 Bass Guitar:

              I lost a vintage rickenbacker 20 years ago and was so heartsick that i quit playing. But recently I've regretted quitting. So I went hunting for a good starter bass, expecting to replace my beloved Rick next year.

              A salesman asked me to rethink the two bases I'd chosen and handed me this thing. Immediately I knew I'd buy this instead.

              I'm not bragging... anyone can be good. But I need the reader to understand that I know bass guitars, so here is a short resume for ya:

              I played jazz with a fender jazz master. I played punk with a Rick. I played classic rock with a Gibson SG body. I was good.. I played with lots of bands. I had access to lots of untouchable vintage guitars through a friend who made his living in a studio.

              None of them were half as playable as this gem. This is a work-horse of an instrumant. It makes all sorts of nice tones. Its got plenty of volume (i'm playing through the line-in on my soundcard without additional electronics). The neck is so approachable that you'll swear youre playing a short neck.

              Get this. Its the best bang for the buck you'll ever get from any new instrument.

              Comment on this review

              (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

               
              4.0

              Great for the price

              By Robber E Lee

              from Wisconsin

              About Me Experienced

              Pros

              • Fun To Play
              • Good Feel
              • Good Tone

              Cons

              • a little neck heavy

              Best Uses

              • Jamming
              • Practicing

              Comments about Sterling by Music Man S.U.B. SB4 Bass Guitar:

              I was looking for a bass that would give me a different sound from the typical J-bass pickup sound I typically use. I had tried other basses with humbuckers and thought I would test this one out, since it didn't cost much. I have to say that I love playing this bass! It's a ton of fun and easy to play. I have played other low-price basses that friends own that sound pretty dull. This one has a lot of tonal flexibility and can put out more volume than I could ever use. I like that it has a smaller body. To me, many bass bodies are larger than they need to be, and I'm a pretty big guy. With the light body, it does seem a little neck heavy to me, but that may just be based on the angle I tend to hold guitars when I play them. The hardware isn't going to compare with my primary bass (a Pedulla), but it's not horrible either. Overall, it's almost shocking how nice it plays and sounds considering its price.

              Comment on this review

              (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Great Bass, Great price

              By Texas Phil

              from Caddo Mills, Tx

              About Me Professional Musician

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Fun To Play
              • Good Tone
              • Solid Electronics

              Cons

              • None

              Best Uses

              • Jamming
              • Practicing
              • Recording

              Comments about Sterling by Music Man S.U.B. SB4 Bass Guitar:

              I bought this bass for my 12 year old son who is learning to play. It seemed like a good fit because it's light, has regular width frets. The bass was safely delivered and I plugged it into the house system at our church. We have plenty bottom end on the mains there with a big Bose system. I've never seen a bass with this much contour ability, tone and adjustments. Just messing around it, I could make the house system rumble. I brought the tone back to kind of a mid-range workable tone. Just knowing you can bring that bottom end up when you want is really cool.

              Ernie Ball Musicman doesn't endorse any junk apparently. Dang right, I would buy another one and recommend it to anybody.

              Comment on this review

              (8 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              playing is believing

              By Podunk

              from Afton ok.

              About Me Experienced

              Ask me a question

              Pros

              • Fun To Play
              • Good Feel
              • Good Pick Up
              • Good Tone
              • Solid Electronics

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Jamming
                • Practicing
                • Recording
                • Rock Concerts
                • School Bands
                • Small Venues

                Comments about Sterling by Music Man S.U.B. SB4 Bass Guitar:

                This is a follow-up to my first review on this bass. After playing this bass for a couple of weeks now,I'm absolutely loving it.I just played two live sessions at my church and it performed great.Really cuts thru the mix.( sweet musicman tone)I made some reference to a slight neck dive,I now retract that statement,I was incorrect. The bass really shoulders very well(nice balance).This bass blows my Fender American deluxe jazz away.I also kinda prefer it over my Sterling Ray 34ca.I've been playing bass for over 30yrs.and never has there been anything like these new sub basses.Before, you would have to spend $$$$$ to get this kind of performance.These new sub basses are close to that at a budget price.

                Comment on this review

                (5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                4.0

                Don't judge a book by its cover

                By Podunk

                from Afton ok.

                About Me Experienced

                Ask me a question

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Fun To Play
                • Good Feel
                • Good Pick Up
                • Good Tone

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Jamming
                  • Practicing
                  • Recording
                  • Rock Concerts
                  • School Bands
                  • Small Venues

                  Comments about Sterling by Music Man S.U.B. SB4 Bass Guitar:

                  On quality I was a bit concerned at first.On shipping, not much protection in the box.Could very easily be damaged.The first thing that I noticed about the bass is that there's not much finish on the neck and feels a bit ruff and dry.However, the neck was straight, frets very well and no dings or scratches on the body.Set-up was pretty good.Hardware is cheaper but gets the job done. No problems staying in tune.But after polishing the neck out and a change of strings,I have no complaints,feels great.The output and tone are great on this bass.The hardwood body on this bass is very light and comfortable.Almost too light as there is just a slight bit of a neck dive feel.The only real problem that I have with this bass is the pre-amp is a bit noisey and some static is noticeable,at least on this one.All things considered and remembering that this a budget bass,Im loving it.It is an exceptional bass for the money.

                  Comment on this review

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