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Thread: SB14 Sterling by Musicman

  1. #1

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    SB14 Sterling by Musicman

    Thanks to Brendon's wonderful and efficient service, I got my hands on a blue SB14 within two weeks. This is just my honest personal response regarding the SB14, in relation to a Musicman Sterling that I already own. Bearing in mind the huge price difference, it's not quite fair to do a direct comparison but I'll just briefly state some resembling points and differing aspects.

    This is the SB14


    and this is the EBMM Sterling


    Appearance
    The SB14 came in a pretty good and sturdy condition, with a hardy and tough gigbag. Mine came with a few hairline scratches but that could be due to shipping. Screws on the pickguard were not really properly and tightly screwed, and there was little ding behind the upper portion of the neck. However, these are just the really minute flaws that I scrutinized. Nobody is probably going to noticed them on first glance. The paint job and finishing were well done, the blue comes with a little shine that the picture doesn't justify. It looks much better in reality. It is also rather light, possibly because of the basswood body.

    Sound
    The SB14 comes with a Music ManŽ designed pickup that utilizes a 3rd hidden coil for noise cancellation. The 3 way switch offers much versatality with 3 distinct voices, series, parallel and single coil with hidden coil offers great bass tones with low noise. The switches offer different voicing which does make a different when it comes to selecting a suitable tone for different playing styles or genres. The 3 Band Active Preamp is based on Music Man's design and offers boost/cut for bass, mid and treble frequencies. I must say that I was indeed impress with the active preamp, lots of punch and tightness. Controls are very tweakable and a slight turn will make an impact. Reminds me of the controls on the EBMM Sterling. The SB14 is capable of producing the sound of a single H EBMM Sterling when tweaked properly at certain settings, this again proves how versatile it is in terms of sound.

    Neck
    The neck is considerably thin and fast. I don't quite fancy the satin finish as compared to the gun oil finish on the EBMM Sterling. It's a tad wider and sharper on the edges I feel, especially when playing the 9th fret onwards. The EBMM Sterling is rounder and hence an easier grip. Still, the SB14 has a fast neck that does not impede movement. Although the frets are just slight wider than the average EBMM Sterling, it still has good playability and it is not that a big stretch from fret to fret afterall

    Thoughts
    Is it as fantastic and marvellous as the EMBB Sterling? Well, not quite but for its price though, it is a fantastic and marvellous buy. It's as close to an EBMM Sterling as you can get at a very reasonable price. I really enjoyed the preamp, its switches and even the entire feel of the bass. The blue is stunning, almost like the blue pearl but with a subtle sparkle.


    *If you'd like a more detailed and direct A/B between the SB14 and EBMM Sterling feel free to drop a PM, I'll be happy to help if I can!


    Disclaimer:
    Again, this is just another review. It is better to hear and feel it yourself in any case.

    Cheers! And once more, kudos to Brendon for BGW's excellent service and hospitality!

  2. #2

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    At first glance, a price of SGD960 for a ‘Made in Indonesia’ bass made me reconsider in buying this bass. Especially when it is just a ‘low-end’ copy of the real EBMM sterling when I can easily get hold of a MIJ fender for only a few hundred bucks more (or even much less in the used market section). But having played a Squier, I found out that the neck profile as well as the body size of a fender is not very suitable for people with smaller hands in general. After much consideration, I’ve decided to get the sterling SB14 from BGW and I’ve not been disappointed since.

    Not having played a real EBMM sterling before, I cannot give a comparison between both of them. Therefore the following review is a personal experience of mine.
    As I mentioned, the main reason I decided to try the SB14 is due to its slimmer neck profile and the smaller body. The smaller body made carry the bass (both sitting and standing) less tough on my shoulders and look more natural. The change from a fender neck (jazz ) to the slimmer neck of a sb14 result in a significant difference in playability. The smaller body did not caused neck diving problems as some might worry. In fact, the bass is very balanced (maybe due to its small headstock and tuning machines).

    Sound wise, the sb14 comes with a musicman shaped pickup with a 3-way selector (series, single-coil with phantom coil, humbucking). Each sound is great and very usable. At single-coil setting, the pickup is quiet (which might be due to the so-called 3rd phantom coil beneath the pickup). Switching it to series made the sound more aggressive while rolling off some of the highs. And, switching it to humbucking rounds off the sound. Overall, the bass sounds big but tight with quite abit of growl especially on the single-coil and series settings.

    There is also a 3-band onboard preamp that runs on a 9v battery on the bass. The preamp offers boost/cut at bass, mid, and treble each with sufficient response to change the sound of your bass.
    Cosmetic wise, the finish of the bass is almost perfect, and all the hardware looks and feels solid, although it needs some fret filing to get the action very low without fret buzz.

    In conclusion, this bass is definitely worth the price that I paid for. Regardless its origin/brand, this bass is joy to play and the versatility of the sound makes it a great bass!

    This is my candy apple red SB14
    Last edited by cypher; 13-05-10 at 09:26 PM.

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