S.U.B. X02 Review

manufacturer: Ernie Ball / Music Man date: 04/29/2010 category: Bass Guitars
Ernie Ball / Music Man: S.U.B. X02
The selected poplar body is tightly fitted to the neck with 6 bolts for enhanced resonance. Egg-shaped diamond plate aluminum pickguard looks way cool and resists marring. Chromeplated steel bridge plate with stainless saddles. 34" scale and 11" radius fretboard.
 Sound: 9.7
 Overall Impression: 9.6
 Reliability & Durability: 9.2
 Action, Fit & Finish: 9.5
 Features: 9.5
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (5) 8 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9
S.U.B. X02 Reviewed by: UtBDan, on december 02, 2005
8 of 8 people found this review helpful

Features: 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. // 10

Sound: 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. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: 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. // 9

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 8

Overall Impression: 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. // 9

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overall: 9.3
S.U.B. X02 Reviewed by: unregistered, on may 03, 2005
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 700

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Features: Humbucker, carbon/composite body and neck, 21 frets, rosewood fretboard, 2-band EQ, textured black, teal, red, and white. 2004 model. The selected poplar body is tightly fitted to the neck with 6 bolts for enhanced resonance. Egg-shaped diamond plate aluminum pickguard looks way cool and resists marring. Chromeplated steel bridge plate with stainless saddles. 34" scale and 11" radius fretboard. // 10

Reliability & Durability: This bass is very durable and I think the only design flaw was with the first volume knob. It kept coming off. // 8

Overall Impression: Even though it had a few kinks, it is hands down my favorite bass. I would reccomend it over the pricy Stingray. // 10

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overall: 10
S.U.B. X02 Reviewed by: unregistered, on august 19, 2005
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 700

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Action, Fit & Finish: No flaws except the treble knob came off and I had to seal it back on. Everything was perfectly adjusted and routed. I love the bass more than any other. // 10

Reliability & Durability: This is the toughest, strongest, most durable bass on the planet (ok a little exaggeration there). The hardware will last forever aside from the occasional need to replace the pickup or bridge like on any other bass. I would most definatley gig with it, but since I thumb and try to tap, I'd bring my J Bass to the gig also. The textured finish needs no polishing, and it looks awesome. // 10

Overall Impression: This is perfect for every rock genre, and I play every rock genre. If it were stolen, I'd kill the guy who stole it and buy another to be safe. The humbucker is the best bass pickup I've ever played. I'd compare it to the Stingray which is more popular. This bass is cheaper and better. I'll save you some cash, if you want a Musicman, get the S\.U\.B\. X02, and save yourself at least $500. // 10

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overall: 9.4
S.U.B. X02 Reviewed by: Benjirob, on august 27, 2007
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Features: My Ernie Ball S.U.B. 4 bass is an American made bass made in 2006. It is made from selected poplar, has a musicman chrome plated steel bridge and has a Diamond plated aluminium pickguard. It has 21 wide profile frets, acitve electronics consisting of one volume and the two tone controls. The bass came with a voucher for a free set of Ernie Ball strings which was a good offer and quickly used due to price of bass strings but other than that, no case, cables etc came with the bass which considering the price, is annoying. The finish on the bass is a textured colour blue and although this isn't the best paint job in the world (my MIM Fender Strat has a better paint job), it's all about the sound which means you're paying all the money for a fantastic sounding bass. // 9

Sound: This bass fits in my style of music perfectly. I play mainly ska, punk and ska-punk so the bright sound of the bass cuts through the mix of guitars, brass and percussion perfectly. I am using it with an Ashdown MAG210 Combo amp and the sound is phenominal. It is very hard to tell that this bass isn't actually an Ernie Ball Musicman Sting Ray and considering the price, this is fantastic. The only difference between this bass and the Sting Ray is that the Sting Ray has a 3 band active EQ and it has a custom paint job. The only way you can tell it isn't a sting ray is to play both basses through the same amp at the same time. This bass has a vide variety of sounds and works best when I'm playing ska but also works well for rock, metal, power punk and just about any other genre of music. The bass sounds best when played agressively with a pick and a bit of treble rolled on but sounds good with both fingers and slap bass. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: The bass was set-up near perfection. The action was a just a little bit too low and the E string would rattle ever so slightly when played but after a few minor adjustments all was well. The instrument did not contain any flaws or imperfections and is still in working order. // 9

Reliability & Durability: This bass has and will easy withstand live playing in front of an audience. The hardware seems that it will last longer than I will and the strap buttons are solid and easily replaced with strap locks. I would easily gig without a back up bass, I would still however take my first bass, a Squier P Bass, just as a preacaution in case some horrid accident happened to my bass or a string broke during a song. I would also take a spare battery in case the one in it ran out during the set! The finish on the bass despite being low quality hasn't chipped or become damaged despite me hitting it against objects. // 10

Overall Impression: This bass is perfect for the styles of music I play, it was deffinitely the best bass I tried (I tried various other models such as Fender Highway One Jazz and Precision basses as well as Fender Active basses) and this one came out on top everytime. I am exceptionally pleased I bought one. This bass has been discontinued so if it was stolen, I would search ebay or save up and get a Sting Ray model. I would be able to sell it for near it's original price due to them being discontiued. I love the sound of the pick up and I love the ease of playing it, the only thing I dislike is the weight but I've become used to it. All in all, this is a fantastic bass made by a fantastic company, I reccomend this bass or any other Musicman product to any bassist. // 9

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overall: 9.8
S.U.B. X02 Reviewed by: unregistered, on april 29, 2010
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Features: 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. // 9

Sound: 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. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: 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? // 10

Reliability & Durability: 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... // 10

Overall Impression: 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! // 10

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