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Ernie Ball Music Man unveils the DarkRay bass – a StingRay with onboard fuzz and distortion from Darkglass Electronics

In a collaboration that makes so much sense you wonder why no-one had thought of it before, Ernie Ball Music Man and Finnish bass amp and effects titans Darkglass Electronics have teamed up for the DarkRay four-string bass.

The DarkRay assumes the familiar StingRay form but augments the EBMM flagship bass with a Darkglass 2-band EQ preamp plus onboard fuzz and distortion circuits. Fuzz and distortion on a custom-designed active preamp? What's not to like?

Offered in Obsidian Black and limited-edition Granite Stone – the latter featuring a numbered backplate and matching headstock – the DarkRay has knobs for volume, bass, treble, gain and blend, with a three-way selector switch to let you choose between clean, fuzz and distortion modes.

What's really cool – and functional, too – is that the gain knob has an LED ring around it that glows red or blue depending on which gain voice you are using, and there is plenty of scope for fine-tuning that dirt with the blend control. The DarkRay is most definitely the most versatile StingRay variant yet.

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Ernie Ball Music Man DarkRay bass

(Image credit: Ernie Ball Music Man)
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Ernie Ball Music Man DarkRay bass

(Image credit: Ernie Ball Music Man)

Elsewhere, it's business as usual for the StingRay. There is a solid select hardwood body – typically ash – with a bolt-on roasted maple neck and ebony fingerboard. We've got the 34" scale, the 11" fingerboard radius, and that sculpted five-bolt neck joint that makes upper-fret noodling so effortless.

There is an oversized Neodymium humbucker at the bridge position, a back-plated steel Vintage Music Man bridge and lightweight Custom Music Man tuners, 22 stainless steel frets, and the distinctive 3+1 headstock. And you can bet your bottom dollar the fit and finish is immaculate. 

All the premium EBMM touches are here, from the unapologetically sensual gunstock oil and hand-rubbed special wax blend on the neck, to the graphite acrylic resin coated body cavity and black plated aluminum control cover that keeps those electronics perfectly shielded. 

The Ernie Ball Music Man DarkRay in Graphite Stone is limited to 100 instruments worldwide, priced $2,699, and available direct from EBMM. The DarkRay in Obsidian Black is available now from all EBMM dealers, priced $2,499.

See Ernie Ball Music Man for more details.

Ernie Ball Music Man DarkRay bass

(Image credit: Ernie Ball Music Man)
Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.