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Sterling by Music Man RAY34 – Performance And Style On a Budget

4.8 out of 5 stars

Music Man bass guitars are a thing of legends by now. They are reaching the level of Fender P or J models. However, they cost a rather decent amount of money. Just like Gibson has Epiphone, Music Man has Sterling. Make no mistake, though. These bass guitars are anything but cheap versions of the original. Compared to a Music Man Ray 34, the one made by Sterling is a budget option, but it's definitely not cheap. With that said, this bass guitar is by far one of the best you can grab right now, which is why it's so popular.


Body And Neck

If you know what a Music Man Ray 34 looks like, you will know exactly what to expect from Sterling's rendition of the model. The body is made of good quality swamp ash that is treated with a clear coat lacquer layer. The guitar features that famous circular pickguard as well. Moving on to the neck, we see a nice maple design with an equally well-made maple fretboard. The neck is secured to the body with six bolts instead of your regular four. Overall, the build quality is absolutely on point with this guitar.


In terms of hardware, Sterling went with Music Man's own bass bridge solution. It's a fixed design with four fully adjustable saddles. On the other end of the guitar, at the headstock, the tuning machines you get are a die cast set made in-house. Overall, hardware definitely works. While it's fairly similar to any other fixed bridge, the one on this bass does offer a bit more sustain.



Here's where Sterling got things really right. Instead of going for the standard P/J or double humbucker configuration, they went ahead and installed a single massive humbucker at the bridge position. This single pickup is wired to a very potent active circuit that features a three-band EQ. It's a simple configuration, but one that has a lot of potential.


Sound wise, you know exactly what to expect from a single humbucker setup that has even remotely anything to do with Music Man. The range is there while the tone is dominated by a heavy, meaty vibe. With a pretty capable EQ under your fingertips, there is not a lot you can't do on Sterling by Music Man RAY34. Good for blues, rock or jazz, equally capable of dropping a heavy background for metal fans, this Sterling is one mighty bass guitar.


Compared to a legitimate Music Man Ray, Sterling one does fall short in some aspects. However, compared to anything in its own class, you will hardly find a match. While it's not exactly the most affordable guitar on the market. Sterling by Music Man RAY34 is very reasonably priced compared to what it offers. If you need a versatile bass that features an active setup, this is probably as good as it gets.

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