S.U.B. SB4 review by Sterling by Music Man

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 7
  • Features: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 8.4 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.9 (8 votes)
Sterling by Music Man: S.U.B. SB4

Price paid: $ 239

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Sound — 10
I mainly play blues, rock, punk, and occasionally punk rock. I run this through Bass V-Amp Pro most of the time at home. Noise level is awesome (I meant no back ground noise). The humbucker does great job cleaning noise. EQ's cut and boost works very well to control tone from super fat to very clean slap to mellow finger blues. Coming from Ibanez and Yamaha user, I was very surprised by the tone quality and versatility of this under $300 bass. It sounds much better than other brand that cost 2 to 3 times more. My only complain is the output of the preamp. It gets so HOT at the full volume, it will create it's own distortion. I may need to lower the pickups a little.

Overall Impression — 9
It has very punchy fat growl like P-Bass. It can produce funky snappy slap tone like Jazz Bass. EQ controls are so good, it can change it's personality in a snap. However, After 3 months of playing with this bass, I feel little lacking. Granted this is under $300 bass and it sounds like a $1000 bass, but ceramic pickup on this bass is a bit harsh in my ear. Also, I am looking for a new set of strings, just because I prefer softer string (pure person preference, factory strings are great). I would prefer this bass over a... say... SBMM Ray34? Then again Ray is modeled after a completely different bass, which is MM Stingray. All in all, for sub $300 knock out MM Sterling copy, this is the bass to buy. Very satisfied.

Reliability & Durability — 9
I have not taken this bass on stage yet. However, from what I have been experiencing in 3 months with 3 kids around, this bass is a solid built. I would prefer taking this bass on stage than any other basses. Electronics seems very solid build. Phone jack is very strong. Shoulder strap buttons are at ideal location. Paint on this is very thick. I would like to pill off and measure it myself, but it feels like it will last for a decade. Everything is bolted solid. I have not lost tune even though I am moving low E string to D and back to E I know exactly how much I need to turn. Dead on every time. I love this tuner.

Action, Fit & Finish — 7
I cannot say much about the set-up out of box. I bought a display model which has been played by other people. However, string level was decent, pickup height was little high, and neck had a little bend at the nut side. I adjusted all that in a matter of minutes. Thrust, string height, and pickup adjustment are very easy to do compare to other basses I have. My bass had over all good finish. Even though it was a display model, there were no dent, crack, break, bent... etc. In my opinion, because MM does not re-inspect this model at CA factory, frets have sharp edges. Something I had to address as soon as I bought it. I though I was going to cut my finger on it. Other than that back of neck can be little bit smoother.. But then again, it could be because it was abused from guitar store.. Or I am asking too much for sub $300 bass.

Features — 7
My bass was made in Indonesia at 2010. It comes standard with 34" scale, 38mm neck. Solid black ash body finish with maple neck. Body is in MM Sterling style but thinner. Features passive single humbucker designed by Music Man at bridge side with active preamp and EQ (bass/treble boost and cut), also designed by Music Man. Standard open clover leave tuner, one volume, one bass and one treble eq boost or cut with flat indication (this helps a lot when finding flat position without looking at the eq). Externally, nothing stunning but over all very clean finish.

5 comments sorted by best / new / date

    "mainly play blues, rock, punk, and occasionally punk rock so theres a difference between punk and punk rock? lol
    I can't speak for this one but I have the SB14 and its amazing for the price, it competes with basses twice its price.
    I own a couple of Sting Rays and tried one of these at G.C., yeah, for under $300.00 it IS a deal. Very solid looking. I want one in mint green.