Sub 1 review by Ernie Ball / Music Man

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  • Features: 7
  • Sound: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.4 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.5 (2 votes)
Ernie Ball / Music Man: Sub 1

Price paid: $ 375

Purchased from: eBay

Features — 7
Made in the USA for a limited run of 1300 units. It was Ernie Ball's Music Man try at a USA made guitar below $1000 USD. I got the hard tail version with neck and bridge pickups black pickguard. Pretty basic guitar no WOW features but built well and is a solid guitar.

Specification are:

  • Poplar body
  • Custom MusicMan textured finish
  • Standard MusicMan-style string-thru-body bridge of chromeplated steel with bent stainless steel saddles
  • Diamond-plate aluminum pickguard
  • 25-1/2" scale
  • 10" radius
  • 22 frets, high profile, medium width
  • 1-5/8" width at nut, 2-1/4" at last fret
  • Rosewood fretboard
  • Black painted maple neck and headstock
  • Chromeplated, enclosed, non-locking tuners
  • Adjustable truss rod
  • 5-bolt attachment
  • Volume and tone controls
  • 2 custom humbucker pickups
  • 3-way toggle pickup selector

Sound — 8
Warm is the main character of this guitar. The pickups are stock and I'm normally a guy to replace them straight away (EMGs) but I like these. Not muddy and warm and full character but the tonal range is limited. I'm thinking of putting in a Tex Mex Strat pickup in the middle of the 2 custom humbucker to give the glassy bright cut tonal option. I play everything from metal to blues and jazz thought Mesa Boogie Nomad, Marshall JCM 900, Peavey ValveKing and a Bugera V22 Infinium, and a Eleven Rack, the guitar sound great full thought all of them. I rate this 7 due to it is at the Warm end of the tonal range and some may want that Bright Strat cut tone which this does not have. But the character this does have is warm full and solid.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
I feel the action is not super low it's high enough to get your fingers around the string it's not a low as a Ibanez RG I have but very easy to play, the neck contour is nice I think it's a Ernie Ball Music Man thing and I like it a lot, the pickups all standard and easy to adjust the paint is well. It's not paint it's more like a "industrial coating" it has texture not gloss you can grip it even with the sweatiest hands interesting and a cool difference I think it's a feature, tho some may disagree.

Reliability & Durability — 9
The guitar is built exceptional well and is the first Ernie Ball Music Man I have own and I'm very impressed and will be look out for another to add to my collection (I have Fender, Gibson, Kramer, PRS, Peavey, EVH, Ibanez, B.C. Rich, Yamaha etc etc) the bridge and tunes all custom all Solid quality the neck joint has 5 bolt one more then more so that has to be good =) and the paint/industrial coating I think it would be interest to see if you can even give this guitar a belt buckle rash the coating look to be pretty serious stuff.

Overall Impression — 9
I got his for a bargain at $375 on eBay. I have been looking for a while and most go for around the $600 USD mark and to be honest that's a fair price for such a well-built well playing guitar. There are not many out there so if you see one and have a chance to play it. Again I may add a Strat pickup to give it a bright tonal option but I do respect how warm the guitar is and see it as a good thing it not muddy clear and strong tone come from the standard pickup, if the tone is an issue for few bucks on new pickup you could have your prefect guitar at a bargain price.

it is a great guitar but to be fair i do have to take one point off for not having and not being anywhere near the Strat glassy tone some may like, hey 9 is still super, it's just not perfect ;)

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