Today we are looking at a very nice Sterling by MusicMan SB14 bass guitar. For those of you that are not familiar with the brand, here is a little background of this MusicMan bass copy:
MusicMan instruments are expensive, and are financially out of reach for many beginning musicians. In an effort to provide reasonably-priced quality instruments to this crowd, the Ernie Ball company made a deal with Praxis to sell imported versions of popular MusicMan guitars and basses.
They named the brand “Sterling by MusicMan”, which is confusing as there is already a MusicMan Sterling bass. Oh well.
Sterling instruments are very good and are made from nice woods, and are equipped with good quality hardware and electronics. They are made in Indonesia, and are inspected and set-up by Praxis in Orange, California.
The Sterling SB14 we have here today is a copy of the MusicMan Sterling. A Sterling Sterling, if you will. See what I mean about the brand name being confusing?
As this bass is sold at a lower price point, there are not as many configurations or color choices as you will find on MusicMan basses. For 2011 the SB14 is available in black with a rosewood fretboard, or tobacco burst with a maple fretboard. They are only available as a 4-string with a single pickup.
This one is a 2009 Sterling SB14, and it is finished in Candy Apple Red over its basswood body. The body has the same shape and contours as its MusicMan cousin. The paintwork is first rate and the neck and body fit very well together.
The 3-band pre-amp and electronics are very good. There is a MusicMan designed ceramic humbucker with a phantom coil underneath to quiet the circuit down. This is a very loud bass, and it has an edgy tone, leaving nothing on the table.
The 5-bolt neck is good, and the fretwork is well done. The frets are level and the edges are smooth with nice bevels to them. Sterling has adopted the truss rod wheel too, so adjustments are a snap.
The SB14 is growly as all get out, and it has a smooth and playable neck and action, making it a true winner. The only reason I sold this bass was that I no longer prefer narrow jazz-width necks, so I am more of a Stingray bass guy.
The Sterling SB 14 basses have a list price of $849 and a minimum advertised price of $599, which is the same price as they were in 2009 when they were introduced. They are a great value, and if you are not label conscious you will get a great bass for not much money.