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Ernie Ball Music Man expands its DarkRay line of bass guitars with new 5-string model, finishes

Ernie Ball Music Man's 2022 collection of DarkRay bass guitars
(Image credit: Ernie Ball Music Man)

Last year, Ernie Ball Music Man caused a bit of a stir with its unveiling of the DarkRay bass guitar.

The premise was pretty simple, but cool nonetheless – a StingRay bass fitted with onboard effects courtesy of Darkglass Electronics. Now, the company has expanded the DarkRay line with some swanky new finishes, and a five-string model.

For starters, the DarkRay 5 is outfitted with a new two-band EQ preamp designed specifically for the five-string model. Also onboard are three tones – clean, Alpha (distortion), and Omega (fuzz), each of which are tweakable via a gain knob and blend control.

Volume, treble and bass controls allow for further tonal tweaking, with a three-way lever switch and neat color-coded LED ring included to help users switch between the trio of tones.

Elsewhere, the DarkRay 5 is identical to its four-string predecessor, with a solid select hardwood body and a bolt-on roasted maple neck with a 34" scale ebony fingerboard sporting an 11" radius and 22 stainless steel frets.

Elsewhere, there's the same neodymium humbucking pickup, and lightweight Music Man tuners atop the distinctive 4+1 headstock, with all hardware finished nicely in black.

The Ernie Ball Music Man DarkRay 5 bass is available now – in a limited-edition (100 examples) White Sparkle or full-production Starry Night finish – for $2,899 and $2,799, respectively.

Aside from its original Obsidian Black colorway, the 2022 DarkRay 4 is also available in a limited-edition (only 25 examples) White Sparkle or full-production Starry Night finish. The White Sparkle DarkRay 4 retails for $2,799, with the Obsidian Black and Starry Night editions ringing up at $2,699.

For more info on the full line of DarkRay basses, visit Ernie Ball Music Man (opens in new tab).

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Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player (opens in new tab). Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder (opens in new tab) and Unrecorded (opens in new tab). Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.