S.U.B. X02 review by Ernie Ball / Music Man

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.8 (57 votes)
Ernie Ball / Music Man: S.U.B. X02

Sound — 9
Odds are, if you're looking at MusicMan basses, you know what the MusicMan sound is. The MusicMan pickups make it so the bass already has a large amount of bottom end, and its nice. However, this does limit your sound. This means you can basically either crank up the highs and turn down the lows and go for a funky sound that comes naturally with the bass in a balanced volume or keep the highs fairly neutral and keep it lows for a great metal or hard rock sound. My band plays a mix of funk and hard rock, voila, the perfect bass. However, if these sounds aren't yours (if you're a typical jazz bassist, for example), then this is not your bass. It's not a versatile bass, but it is a great slap bass. It is a great funk bass. It is a great fingerstyle and pick bass. It is a great bass. It's just not for everyone.

Overall Impression — 9
As I said earlier, I play a hard funk rock. This bass is meant for metal, hard rock, or funk. Anything else, and you MIGHT be able to get your tone out of it; but it's not a J-Bass that is capable of thousands of different tones. This is a MusicMan: It sounds like a MusicMan. That sound is right on for me. I love it so much. I've been playing for well over two years; I don't rush to reviews like some people (I didn't review my last bass till I had owned it for more than a year, had gotten a new bass for comparison, and went to the store several times each time trying several others so I got a feel for more than just the basses I own). The product this should be compared with is ofcourse the Stingray. The Stingray does provide a better sound. To the untrained ear, it will sound the same. To the trained ear, you'll want a Stingray. Now now, I wouldn't say choke up the extra $400 for a new Stingray. I'd say if you can find a used Stingray for $700-800, buy a used Stingray. If you can't, or if you absolutely must have a brand new bass, buy the Ernie Ball MusicMan SUB.

Reliability & Durability — 8
I've never had the EQ battery die. I can depend on it, I don't feel I'd need to break a backup with it. If you pop fast enough you can pull the strings off the bridge, which can be a bit of a pain; and it is a bass so it can hit things. But overall, it's more durable than your average bass, especially your average bass in the price range that sounds like a high end bass. The strap buttons aren't that solid, but if you're gigging that much, buy a straplock. It withstands live playing, my abuse, and environmental struggles all the while. A solid 8.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The factory sent this one all set up nice, and I'm not just saying that. I've played poorly set up Fenders from the factory, and I'm telling you this isn't one of those basses that you need to configure. It comes in, and its yours. The action and string height were perfect which I was very happy to know because I'm not very good with 2 mm philipshead screwdrivers to lower strings and I'm not very good at wiggling a rod to make the action better. Don't know anything about this in a bass? Then don't worry about it. Because with the SUB, it comes ready so you don't need to worry about it. The finish is also stainless, which I don't see when I would stain, but its nifty to know.

Features — 10
The MusicMan Sports Utility Bass (SUB) has basically a Stingray minus 2. Now, that doesn't mean score is going be an 8 instead of a 10, that means I'm going to explain the two that's missing. A MusicMan Stingray has a custom paint job that makes it more expensive (no big deal). A MusicMan Stingray has a 3 band EQ while the SUB has a 2 band EQ. Other than that, they are just about the same bass. You can get the SUB with either active or passive electronics; either way the tone controls are volume, treble, and bass. Only one pickup, a MusicMan humbucker. The tuners work really well, as do all the ones that come on MusicMans, but I just feel the need to point out that it was the second thing I noticed with this bass. I've owned this bass for some time now, but when I first got it, I noted how much more playable the SUB's neck was than my old bass; and I noted how much easier it was to tune and how much better the tuners kept it in tune. 10 out of 10 for features, absolutely nothing I'd really change.

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