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

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.8 (57 votes)
Ernie Ball / Music Man: S.U.B. X02

Sound — 10
The bass has the perfect sound for my style. I play mostly Hard Rock/Alternative/Metal stuff and it has that punchy clarity that sits in the mix perfectly. It has the typical Stingray sound which is nice for a bass which is much less expensive. I'm playing it through my Trace Elliot 250 watt head through a Trace Elliot 2x10. I might occasionally add a distortion effect on top as well which sounds great. Out of the basses I've owned (Spectors, Fenders, Charvel, Riverhead) it is by far the most quiet bass. I can have the volume on full or completely off and I hear no difference in buzzing, it's absolutely amazing. I'm able to get the typical Stingray sound and even a Vintage P sound if I cut all my highs. It's pretty versatile but it has it's limits. As long as it's being used for Rock and Funk type stuff, it's top notch.

Overall Impression — 10
I've been playing bass for about 4 years now and this is so far the best bass I've owned. I've played brand new StingRays and this bad boy more than holds it own, it's almost more comfortable to play. It's perfect for my style and the only thing I would change it for is well..a StingRay. I did more than enough research before I bought the bass and I'm surprised so many people didn't like the finish and the bass overall. Sounds just as good as the Stingray to me. If it were to break, I would probably but a Stingray since SUBs are discontinued and impossible to find, I just happened to stumble on this one which looking for a Stingray and jumped on it. The only features I wish it had was a better stock pickguard and possibly a 3 band EQ. I'm more pleased with the bass than I thought I would be and I can't wait to hit the studio with it!

Reliability & Durability — 10
I have yet to play the bass live but I have no worries. I'm selling my backups so I can fund the new investment, it's well worth it. Everything on the bass seems well built and made to last, as is expected with any MusicMan. The strap buttons were replaced with strap locks before I got to it but they seem screwed in and solid. The finish seems like it's going to last forever unless I throw it into walls for fun...

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
I can't say how it was set up coming from the factory since I bought it used but by the time I got it, the action was perfect, didn't need a single adjustment. All the wiring and hardware is installed well and I'm not worried at all about it malfunctioning. Everything seems perfect given there is a few bumps and scratches but it is a used instrument. What I really like about the finish is that I won't scratch easily at all. If smashed really hard it might crack but what finish wouldn't?

Features — 9
So my SUB Bass is American made around 2003. It has the Rosewood fingerboard on a painted maple neck. 21 frets which are all easily accessible. Body is made from selected poplar and painted with a textured "Custom MusicMan" finish; mine is a dark blue colour. Many people don't like the look of the "cheap" finish but I think it adds a unique look and feel to the bass. The bass is exactly the same as the Stingray in all senses design wise. The stock pickguard looks terrible but I bought mine with a custom one bought online which is much better. The electronics are active in mine and it has a 2 band EQ system (highs, lows) and a volume knob. The 1/4" input is located on the control panel instead of the side of the bass as is such with the 3 band EQ systems found on the modern StingRays. The pickup is the stock MusicMan humbucker found in the Stingray as well.

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    nicklopeke wrote: such a heavy bass
    i played a G&L L2000 tribute right before playing one of these and it was like a comparing a boulder to a pebble.
    Hello there, Can anyone let me know how this bass compares to the Epiphone SG in terms of sound? I tried both, but on different amps (Orange with the SG, Marshall with the SUB) so I can't really tell. It did seem the SG had more bottom and maybe less definition when playing fast. The SUB withstands distortion really well, but the humbucker sounds a bit more "clinical". The SG is also like 100 cheaper. Any opinion anyone? Thanks