|Body And Neck:
Even though Sterling is a brand tasked with producing affordable, licensed Music Man copies, their instruments are far from a knock-off. The type of build quality and performance you can expect to get from a Sterling bass guitar have a lot of similarities with the Music Man models they are inspired by.
Sterling by Music Man S.U.B. Series Ray4 is a model that many experienced bass players have found to be a decent solution for a good tone on a budget. With that said, it's a perfect choice for beginners who want to ‘future proof' their setup right off the bat. To see more basses like this one, check out our recommended models for beginners.
The shape of this Sterling is identical to what Music Man designed for their Sting Ray. Tonewood they've used for this particular model is basswood, which of course has its benefits and drawbacks, but is overall a decent choice. The neck is a hard maple piece with a maple fretboard and black inlays. Overall quality of build and craftsmanship is great, and chances are you won't have to adjust anything aside from tuning straight out of the box.
Hardware comes in form of a Music Man style fixed bridge that sports four fully adjustable saddles. On the other end of the strings, you will see four standard die-cast tuning machines. In the grand scheme of things, the hardware on Sterling by Music Man S.U.B. Series Ray4 is great and will perform consistently give that you use the guitar within the limits of reason.
Sterling has several versions of this bass, each with a different set of electronics. The one we are looking at here comes with a single active humbucker at the bridge position and a pretty sweet two band EQ. A configuration such as this one might seem limiting from a distance, but in the case of Sterling by Music Man S.U.B. Series Ray4, it is quite the opposite. There's a lot of range, and the humbucker sounds pretty awesome on its own.
When it comes to sound, Sterling by Music Man S.U.B. Series Ray4 treats you with a wide range of shaping options combined with one hot output. If we had to describe what this bass can do in simple terms, we'd say it's the model to use when driving rhythms are the name of the game. However, this Ray offers a lot of definition as well, allowing it to keep up with you when some precision work needs to be done.
When you look at Sterling by Music Man S.U.B. Series Ray4 as a beginner's bass, it meets and exceeds all requirements as well as expectations. Its build quality, performance, and just the feel, puts it among the more refined bass guitars in this price range. You could easily gig and use this thing as your main axe even when you advance as a bass player. With a price that is just right, we can't recommend this bass enough.