Bassists, ditch your pedalboards: the Sterling by Music Man DarkRay features two Darkglass distortion circuits in one bass

Sterling DarkRay
(Image credit: Sterling by Music Man)

Fans of bass distortion will likely be aware of pedal experts Darkglass Electronics. They may also know that back in 2021 the Finnish company teamed up with Ernie Ball to create a bass guitar that combined the venerable StingRay Special with the Darkglass Alpha Omega preamp.

Well, now the aforementioned DarkRay is also available in the Sterling range, which combines Music Man-specific features, upmarket hardware and traditional construction yet sits at close to half the price of the original DarkRay.

Music Man informs us that you’ll “unlock total tonal control via volume, treble, and bass adjustments, along with onboard gain and blend knobs for customized distortion.”

The DarkRay design boasts two blendable distortion circuits: Alpha and Omega. Darkglass describes the Alpha circuit as “punchy, tight and with lots of definition” and the Omega as “brutal and raw.” You can switch between either circuit using an eye-catching LED ring and 3-way selector switch. 

The iconic Music Man alnico humbucker is found on these models too. The classic Music Man bridge is also a reassuring sight, while a set of chunky, open-geared machineheads complete the hardware inventory with the G string tuner on the underside of the headstock in the trademark StingRay configuration. A six-bolt plate secures a roasted maple neck to the nyatoh body.

Whereas the original DarkRay is available in both 4- and 5-string variations, and in a range of finishes from Graphite Stone to grey sparkle Starry Night, the Sterling DarkRay is currently only offered as a 4-string with a black body color and matching pickguard. The guide price is $1399.99.

See Sterling Music Man for more details.

Sterling DarkRay

(Image credit: Sterling by Music Man)

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Nick Wells

Nick Wells was the Editor of Bass Guitar magazine from 2009 to 2011, before making strides into the world of Artist Relations with Sheldon Dingwall and Dingwall Guitars. He's also the producer of bass-centric documentaries, Walking the Changes and Beneath the Bassline, as well as Production Manager and Artist Liaison for ScottsBassLessons. In his free time, you'll find him jumping around his bedroom to Kool & The Gang while hammering the life out of his P-Bass.