Sterling Sub 5 Bass

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RockerRocker Frets: 2744
Anyone know much about this bass, Sterling Music Man Sub 5. Thin finish, blue/green - hard to tell, fairly heavy, nice price. Looks good to me, what is the general feeling about this bass? Thanks.
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Albert Einstein]

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  • steamabacussteamabacus Frets: 919
    A friend of mine picked up a Sterling Sub 4 string a while back. It's a very nice bass and now his number one instrument - and he has a few much more expensive basses (Fender Jazz, Rickenbacker and others).

    I've not played it but I have sat in a rehearsal room with him playing it and remarked on how even across the neck it sounded.
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3327
    Sterling By Musicman SUB Series instruments are Crafted In Indonesia at the Cort factory. The basic woodwork and fret finishing are of a high standard. In my opinion, the bridge, pickup(s) and control electronics are serviceable but would benefit from being upgraded as soon as funds allow.

    The wood used to make SUB bodies tends not to be very pretty. Hence, it is probably wise to avoid the translucent finishes. Black is especially handy for disguising any screw holes exposed if/when a better bridge is installed.

    The Sterling By Musicman RAY34 and RAY35 series of bass guitars is noticeably better in several departments but not necessarily by enough to justify spending double the money.

    An S-By-MM SUB 5 with a Bartolini, Duncan or EMG pickup and upgraded EQ would do the business.


    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • fretmeisterfretmeister Frets: 9142
    The Ray5 shape is quite heavy. Not much can be done about that. Might not suit your back problems.

    You might want to have a look at an Ibanez SR series. The SR505 is a great instrument. Nice and light, quite narrow string spacing though.

    Many 5 strings have 19mm string spacing at the bridge.

    I'm not sure about the "Sterling by EBMM" ones, but the US Musicman basses are all 17.5mm at the bridge.I assume the "Sterling by EBMM" will be the same.

    Ibanez SR series are 16.5mm at the bridge and the BTB series are 19.

    It goes a long way to comfort. 16.5mm is too tight for me for slap but ok for the rest.

    The Ibanez necks are quite thin compared to Musicman instruments too.




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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3327
    I'm not sure about the "Sterling by EBMM" ones, but the US Musicman basses are all 17.5mm at the bridge.I assume the "Sterling by EBMM" will be the same.
    On the four string models, the USA and S-By-MM 'Ray models both have 19.5mm saddle slot spacing. The S-By-MM bridge is a slightly more cheaply made replica of the short-form American design.

    The Cort-built S.U.B. series uses a generic P.O.S. stamped steel bridge with skinny saddles and small wood screws instead of the big lock down bolts.
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • fretmeisterfretmeister Frets: 9142
    I'm not sure about the "Sterling by EBMM" ones, but the US Musicman basses are all 17.5mm at the bridge.I assume the "Sterling by EBMM" will be the same.
    On the four string models, the USA and S-By-MM 'Ray models both have 19.5mm saddle slot spacing. The S-By-MM bridge is a slightly more cheaply made replica of the short-form American design.

    The Cort-built S.U.B. series uses a generic P.O.S. stamped steel bridge with skinny saddles and small wood screws instead of the big lock down bolts.
    We are talking about 5 string models only.
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3327
    Uh-oh. Patronising, "newbie-assumed-to-know-nothing" syndrome.

    I was merely drawing the parallel between the S-By-MM and USA designs. It is extremely likely that the five string bridge designs are equally similar.

    Likewise, the four and five string Cort-built S.U.B. series suffer under similarly generic P.O.S. stamped steel bridge designs.
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • fretmeisterfretmeister Frets: 9142
    Not in the slightest. Never done that, never will.

    Just don't want Rocker getting confused. At his location the chance to try before buying are minimal.
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3327
    Not in the slightest. 
    Mea culpa. I've spent too long on a well-known Californian pickup users group forum. Some of the "lifers" could be condescending to new arrivals. (By the same token, some of the newcomers probably deserved the derision that they attracted.
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • fretmeisterfretmeister Frets: 9142
    No drama.

    I had a similar experience when I joined the EBMM forum.

    That being said I definitely deserved it. It was bad enough when I showed them a picture of my limited edition 5 string 'ray with Hipshot Ultralites on it...

    But when they saw the twin EMG humbuckers and the paisley scratchplate they went mental. :D


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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3327
    Been there. Witnessed that. ;) 

    If you really want to foment apoplexy, post photographs of modified Rickenbacker 4001 and/or 4003 basses.  ;)
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • SnapSnap Frets: 2364
    The Ray5 shape is quite heavy. Not much can be done about that. Might not suit your back problems.
    You might want to have a look at an Ibanez SR series. The SR505 is a great instrument. Nice and light, quite narrow string spacing though.

    I have a SR370 and its blooming lovely, Very well made, plays and sounds great. 4 string, but does indeed have a very narrow neck at the nut., which (IMO) bodes well for a 5 string variant. Tbh, I hardly every use the first fret, but that is because at moment I am busy immersing myself in all things fretless wankery at higher frets type stuff. ;)
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  • fretmeisterfretmeister Frets: 9142
    Was it the bloke in Saxon who always tried to write parts where he didn't have to use his left hand much - to leave more time for pointing!?

    Seems like a good idea to me!
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 15719
    Meh. I get enough derision and stick on here as it is without going elsewhere.

    And I'm a newbie as well.
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  • RockerRocker Frets: 2744
    edited May 2017
    @fretmeister said it perfectly "At his location the chance to try before buying are minimal"

    And accepting the wisdom of the forum members, my search is now focused on 4 string basses.  Priced in the €250 to €500 region.

    Following frets suggestion, I looked at :
     (on the Thomann site)

    Ibanez SR300EB-CA
    Ibanez SR370E-SPB

    Which led me to:

    Squier SQ Vintage Mod JB 77 3TS
    Squier Deluxe JB IV 35B
    Squier SQ Vintage Mod JAZZ 3CSB

    And I ended up at:

    Marcus Miller V7 Alder-4TS

    I did not get to the Fender page, there might be suitable models in the MIM ranges.

    So has anyone any knowledge or experience with any of the above.  Or indeed, suggestions of other basses to check out. The Marcus Miller range looks impressive, TBH I never heard of Marcus Miller before - a bass with his signature may not be the sound I am looking for.  And there again it just might.

    The music I play is mainly Country, Pop and singalong songs [at my friends house one evening every other week].  My bass is an Aria STB [active Jazz type] which works but I realize that the sound is very generic and lacking any real depth or quality.  Also I don't have much experience playing other basses.  When I bought my Markbass amp, the seller let me use his Fender Jazz to try out the amp.  The Fender felt amazing to play and the notes had depth and clarity that the Aria can only dream about.  The Fender had flatwound strings but it gave the sound that was in my head.  That Jazz sets the standard, it is a question of how close any of the above are to the Jazz.

    Totally confused TBH and fairly certain that the shops in Dublin have few, if any, of the above.  Hence my request for help and guidance.  Many many thanks guys.
    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Albert Einstein]

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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 15719
    From your list @Rocker, I would say the Ibanez ones. Quality has always been really good from what I've seen and they generally play and sound really nice.

    Buy online and you can send it back if you don't like it..
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3327
    Ibanez Soundgear, Crafted In Indonesia. Squier VM and Deluxe series, Crafted In Indonesia. Lower end Schecter and LTD, you guessed it.

    The Squier Vintage Modified Jazz Bass is consistently good. The ones with Duncan Designed pickups sound more convincing than the current Fender Designed pickups. I would take one of these over a MIM Fender Standard series bass.
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3327

    Rocker said:
     My bass is an Aria STB [active Jazz type] which works but I realize that the sound is very generic and lacking any real depth or quality.  

    When I bought my Markbass amp, the seller let me use his Fender Jazz to try out the amp.  The Fender felt amazing to play and the notes had depth and clarity that the Aria can only dream about.  The Fender had flatwound strings but it gave the sound that was in my head.  That Jazz sets the standard, it is a question of how close any of the above are to the Jazz.
    Sounds like a good salesman. He has planted the seed. Now that you have heard and felt what a serious professional bass guitar sounds like, it will be difficult to be satisfied with anything less.

    The Aria STB-JB is normally a passive J-style bass. What active EQ and/or pickups do you have in yours?
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • steamabacussteamabacus Frets: 919
    Rocker said:


    And I ended up at:

    Marcus Miller V7 Alder-4TS

    I did not get to the Fender page, there might be suitable models in the MIM ranges.

    So has anyone any knowledge or experience with any of the above.  Or indeed, suggestions of other basses to check out. The Marcus Miller range looks impressive, TBH I never heard of Marcus Miller before - a bass with his signature may not be the sound I am looking for.  And there again it just might.


    I do have a vague memory of doing a setup on a MM Jazz Bass - though for the life of me I can't remember when or who's it was. I don't have any strong recollections other than I quite liked it - I'm a guitarist not a bass player though, so I'm pretty easy so long as it has a skinny Jazz neck. I certainly don't remember any problems with it. Were they made in Japan?
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3327
    The Fender Marcus Miller signature four string was MIJ. The five was USA. More recently, Miller has put his name to an affordable starter/intermediate level instrument. It is reputed to be good value for money but difficult to find in Europe.
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • fretmeisterfretmeister Frets: 9142
    The Basschat guys seem to have bought most of the EU supply of the Sire basses and are very impressed with them.


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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3327
    Rocker said:
    I never heard of Marcus Miller before - a bass with his signature may not be the sound I am looking for.  And there again it just might.
    You probably have heard the sound of Marcus Miller without realising it. Just about every Roland digital synthesizer of the last thirty years has employed a slap bass preset rooted in the Spectrasonics Bass Legends sample library. That preset is Marcus on his Sadowsky-modified Fender Jazz Bass.
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • RockerRocker Frets: 2744
    Off to Dublin on Saturday to further my research! I want to find out the difference between a Precision bass and a Jazz. And try a few Squiers. From the music I listen to, Fender (and Squire) bass sounds are what I like best.  And I am conservative regarding body shape. Headstocks are not an issue for me. The Fender Precision and Jazz  body shape looks 'right' to my eyes. My Aria is that general shape and it looks vaguely Fendery.

    My choice may come down to a choice between Squire and MIM Fender. The Fender is more expensive but if it is right for me, nothing else will do. And I am thinking long term. Bass is now important to me, I bought the Aria cheaply to see what a bass does in a band context. Now that I have got that question answered, I want to progress with my playing. Or to sound as good as I can ever be.
    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Albert Einstein]

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  • fretmeisterfretmeister Frets: 9142
    @Rocker You might want to have a look at this

    http://basschat.co.uk/topic/304081-musicman-usa-sub5-immaculate-l550-inc-uk-mainland-delivery/

    You'll have to ask him how much it weighs, but they are the proper USA Sub models. Very nice instruments i it is in your budget.

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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3327
    Rocker said:
    I want to find out the difference between a Precision bass and a Jazz. 

    My choice may come down to a choice between Squier and MIM Fender. The Fender is more expensive but if it is right for me, nothing else will do. 
    P and J basses hang differently on a strap. Their fingerboards and string spacings are (usually) of different widths. One fat pickup makes for less sonic variety than two skinny ones BUT, if that one sound happens to be the right one, you can get right down to concentrating on your playing. 

    The Squier Vintage Modified Jazz Bass is a consistently good instrument. It should play nicely straight out of the box. Compared to a Mexican Fender, there will be evidence of cost-cutting but nothing bad enough to negate the price difference. The money saved at time of initial purchase could be invested into pickup and hardware upgrades at a later date.

    Whichever brand you choose, try as many examples of it as you can before settling on the one to buy. Wood varies. It is possible to stumble across fabulous cheapo bargains and Custom Shop dawgs. 

    Money-wise, if you can stretch to a brand new Mexican Fender bass, you are not far short of affording a pre-owned American one.
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 15719
    For me, the main difference between the P and the J is that I hate J's and absolutely love P's.

    I have a Stingray, which is brilliant, but for me a bit fat n' heavy, and 3 P's. 

    I bought a 1974 in olympic white which I loved so much that I went the whole hog and got a 1964 in sunburst. So good is it, that I got a classic 50's MIM to use for more risky gigging to save the '64.

    The MIM classic 50's is stunning for the money.

    In an attempt to get out of my 'keep buying more P's' trap, I've got an oddball Yamaha with J pickup configuration to see what happens.. the smart money is on me swapping it for another P... *sigh*
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3327
    Bridgehouse has a point. The Precision sound could be summarised as the bass, the whole bass and nothing but the bass. It is difficult to think of any amplified music genre into which it cannot fit.

    Three old gets, talking amongst themselves about their subjective favourites, is of limited assistance to the OP. 
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • fretmeisterfretmeister Frets: 9142
    For me, the main difference between the P and the J is that I hate J's and absolutely love P's.

    I have a Stingray, which is brilliant, but for me a bit fat n' heavy, and 3 P's. 

    I bought a 1974 in olympic white which I loved so much that I went the whole hog and got a 1964 in sunburst. So good is it, that I got a classic 50's MIM to use for more risky gigging to save the '64.

    The MIM classic 50's is stunning for the money.

    In an attempt to get out of my 'keep buying more P's' trap, I've got an oddball Yamaha with J pickup configuration to see what happens.. the smart money is on me swapping it for another P... *sigh*
    I like the PJ when there is separate volumes or a blend pot.

    It's just a quick and easy way of getting a bit more cut if the room needs it. I once borrowed a Duff sig model where the owner had removed the 3 way switch and put in a blend instead. It was a very versatile instrument.

    I don't usually do the back pickup Jaco thing, but a little extra clarity is nice sometimes.
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  • guitarfishbayguitarfishbay Frets: 7024
    I like Ps, Js, and Rays. All give distinctive sounds that cover a lot of ground, and all are fairly comfortable as long as you don't get a heavy one.

    Just like with guitar I prefer balanced pickup setups. So HH Rays are fine but I wouldn't want a HS. I prefer traditional J/J Jazz basses. Ps are pretty foolproof if you stick to a trad pickup.

    I'm conflicted on PJs because the sound difference between the 2 sets of strings is too much for my tastes with both pickups on, due to audibly different scoop points in the mids. However I love the sound of the strings with the P side closest to the bridge. So I guess I'd want a reverse P setup on a PJ to give that sound on the lower strings. 


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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 15719
    Bridgehouse has a point. The Precision sound could be summarised as the bass, the whole bass and nothing but the bass. It is difficult to think of any amplified music genre into which it cannot fit.

    Three old gets, talking amongst themselves about their subjective favourites, is of limited assistance to the OP. 
    I kinda hoped my musings about Ps and Js would help the OP with his "gonna go find out what the difference between a p and a j" statement.

    But you are right, once you find "your" style(s) of bass, it can be difficult to stay objective for someone else. 

    I actually see my inability to get on with Js as a weakness.
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  • fretmeisterfretmeister Frets: 9142
    "The old gets"

    I'm pretty sure Rocker is older than the rest of us put together! ;)

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