Sterling by Music Man is an affordable range of instruments licensed by Music Man and built offshore in Indonesia. This does not mean the quality is sub par, and it is actually very high given the affordability of these instruments. The Sterling by Music Man S.U.B Ray5 has all the features of its more expensive cousin without the price tag. It also features the aesthetic of its relative, which will have you looking closely at the headstock to see if it is the real deal, because it sounds pretty good too.

The body of the Sterling by Music Man S.U.B Ray5 is made from hardwood, but it is not so heavy as to cause you back damage, even after prolonged use. The neck is made from maple, with a maple fretboard, adding to this instruments cutting tone. The finish on the neck is a very comfortable satin finish, very fast to play. As with the Music Man the neck is joined to the body via a six-bolt neck plate and the result is a very solid feel with plenty of sustain. The heel of the neck features an easily adjusted truss rod, a clever feature borrowed directly from the Music Man. This means you can make adjustments to the neck and set up the optimum action without the need to remove the neck from the body, very handy indeed.

The pickups on the Sterling by Music Man S.U.B Ray5 are active and require a 9 volt battery for them to operate. Changing and accessing the battery is easy thanks to the battery box on the rear of the body. The bass features an onboard pre-amp that can cut or boost frequencies, giving you a very wide range of tonal possibilities. The bridge features individual saddle adjustments making the instrument very easy to set up and keep in tune. The fretwork and finish on the Sterling by Music Man S.U.B Ray5 is better than what you would expect on an instrument of this price. The frets are nicely crowned and rounded, and straight out of the box the action is low and easy to play, without any buzz. The hardware feels solid and looks as though it would last the life of the instrument. The body is finished in a nice black gloss and the Sterling by Music Man S.U.B Ray5 requires no set up or tweaking straight out of the box. They come in walnut satin too, along with the choice of a maple or rosewood fingerboard.

Being a S.U.B, I couldn’t help but cause myself some blisters with some popping and slapping, but the Sterling by Music Man S.U.B Ray5 is by no means a one trick slapping pony. There is a wide range of tones on offer here thanks in part to the onboard active EQ. The ability to cut and boost frequencies means there is a much wider range of frequencies to be had. This bass sounds as good with fingers as it does with a plectrum, making it a very versatile instrument. Being a five-string bass the added B string allows you to cover a lot more in terms of heavy rock styles and down tuned riffage. The neck is wider than a four string of course, without being so wide as to make it uncomfortable to play.

THE BOTTOM LINE

The Sterling by Music Man S.U.B Ray5 is a well-built instrument and thanks to the design features borrowed from Music man it is a very versatile instrument. The on board two-band EQ adds to its versatility and being a 5 string you can cover a lot of different genres. Given the price it is well worth checking out if you are shopping for a playable instrument that won’t break the bank.

FEATURES

•    Solid hardwood body

•    34 inch full scale maple necks

•    Medium jumbo frets

•    Satin tinted neck finish

•    Narrow 38 mm nut width

•    Two-band onboard active pre-amp, cut and boost

•    Large heavy duty bass bridge with full adjustments

•    Easy access truss rod adjuster

•    Six-bolt super strong neck joint

PRICE: $550

PROS

Affordable

Wide range of tones

CONS

Heavy

CONTACT

CMC Music

(02) 9905 2511

www.cmcmusic.com.au