Build Quality:4.8 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.8 out of 5 stars
Electronics:4.8 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.8 out of 5 stars
Value:4.7 out of 5 stars
Average:4.8 out of 5 stars

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Sterling by Music Man RAY34-HB Bass


  • Great Mid Tone
  • Lovely Sunburst


  • Single Humbucker
  • Less emphasized high tone

The variation on a single type of bass guitar is something you will see pretty often in the bass guitar world. This happens because manufacturers want to produce instruments that fit well with specific demands. This means a single model might be made in several different ways to adapt to these demands well. This is the case with the Sterling by Music Man Ray34-HB Bass, where it has been made to be a variation on the original, in order to satisfy specific demands. Let us take a closer look and see what makes it good.

Body Quality

The body of the guitar is made in the very same way as the original design of the Sterling by Music Man Ray34. It has a double cutaway, rounded bottom body shape that spends a whole lot of time looking rather handsome. The middle pickguard persists in the design, creating a singular, eye-drawing center that is irresistible. The coloring options are available as minimal, but the sunburst model of the Ray34 HB model looks delicious and I highly recommend it.

The body of the guitar is built out of swamp ash, which is a popular tonewood to use, especially in bass guitars. Slightly cheaper than its northern ash cousin, the swamp ash has a whole lot of lovely characteristics to make it the favorite of many bass musicians. Swamp Ash is known to have extremely well pronounced mid tones, while also having a very well-rounded low tone background. The wood is also rather sturdy and quite lightweight, making it perfect for long-term bass guitar playing and ownership.

The neck of the guitar is made out of the traditional guitar neck material: maple. This hardwood has a whole slew of qualities that makes it perfect for necks. It is an extremely sturdy hardwood that makes the neck of the guitar warp-resistant, as well as resistant to damage by denting and scratching. The neck is bolted onto the body of the guitar, which is not always the best choice for guitars, but works well in the case of this one. The fretboard of the guitar is made out of rosewood.


The guitar comes with a music-man-designed, bass-specific bridge. This allows the instrument to have a great level of action and a satisfying level of string stability.

The nut of the guitar is made out of a moderate quality synthetic material. This provides the guitar with a nice level of action at the fretboard, as well as a good level of sound cleanliness.

The turing machine of the guitar is handsome and looks well on the instrument. The tuning stability is decent and mostly not annoying.


The guitar comes with a single humbucker, located at the bridge of the guitar. This high output pickup provides the instrument with a powerful sound. Though the fact that it is only a single pickup results in the tonality of the instrument not having the best flexibility. Still, the pickup does its job well, producing a powerful, interesting sound. You will eventually want to replace it, but it works well once you first buy it.

The controls on the guitar are extremely detailed, especially for a guitar with a single humbucking pickup. The instrument comes with a master volume knob, and three-band EQs to control treble, bass and mid-tones of the guitar.

Sterling RAY34 Sound

The guitar has a very nice, balanced sound that feels like it could be perfect for the funkiest music playing. The mid-tones are expressive and interesting, making the guitar good for some jazzy or disco playing. The low tones are deep, though a little less emphasized by the guitar. Still the bass sound powerful, just like a bass guitar should, though the emphasis is definitely towards the mid tones.


This guitar is made with something of a specific sound in mind. Dedicated more to mid tone playing, the guitar delivers on bass tones as well. Great stuff and it’s affordable! Definitely highly recommended.

Click here to find out more about Sterling by Music Man RAY34-HB Bass.
Click here to view more from Best Bass Guitar Under 2000.


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