“It delivers a lot of the classic Stingray sound and it plays like a dream”: Sterling By Music Man SUB Series Stingray Ray4 review

The most affordable take on the Stingray might just be one of the greatest budget basses money can buy

Sterling By Music Man SUB Series Stingray Ray4 review
(Image: © Richard Blenkinsop)

Guitar World Verdict

A superb, budget-friendly bass, modelled on the legendary Music Man Stingray, that plays great and can cater to a range of musical styles.


  • +

    Punchy, powerful pickup

  • +

    Has a lot of the Stingray sound

  • +

    Versatile active EQ

  • +

    Good build quality

  • +



  • -

    The tone might not be for everyone

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The Sterling by Music Man SUB Ray4 is a more affordable take on the legendary Stingray bass guitar designed in 1976 by Leo Fender, Tom Walker, and Sterling Ball. In terms of aesthetics and sound, it’s very similar to its US-made counterpart, though the price tags look very different! This one is made in Indonesia with a basswood or jabon body (finish dependent), maple neck and either a maple or jatoba fingerboard.

It’s fitted with a ceramic humbucking pickup, and has the trademark 3+1 headstock and teardrop scratchplate. The Sterling SUB Ray4 also features an active two-band EQ section. There’s a knob that allows you to cut and boost bass frequencies, and one for treble. There’s then a volume control. 

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Richard Blenkinsop

After spending a decade in music retail, I’m now a freelance writer for Guitar World, MusicRadar, Guitar Player and Reverb, specialising in electric and acoustic guitars, bass, and almost anything else you can make a tune with. When my head’s not buried in the best of modern and vintage gear, I run a small company helping musicians with songwriting, production and performance, and I play bass in an alt-rock band.