Music Man Sterling bass

Music Man Sterling Bass Review -Our Thoughts

Last update 13/11/2023

If you are in the market for top-of-the-line bass, here’s one worthy of consideration—everything you need to know in our  Music Man Sterling Bass review.

History and Background of Music Man Sterling Bass

In the 1970s, Leo Fender, Forest Whiteand Tom Walker founded Music Man. This iconic brand quickly gained recognition for its innovative designs and high-quality instruments.  The Sterling Bass, introduced in 1985, was a significant addition to the Music Man lineup and has since become a staple in the bass community. 

The bass’s popularity soared when it became the signature instrument of legendary bassist Tony Levin, known for his work with Peter Gabriel and King Crimson.  Since then, the Music Man Sterling Bass has continued to evolve and improve, keeping its status as a go-to choice for bass players worldwide.

The Music Man Sterling Bass line is known for its meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail. Each instrument is handcrafted in Music Man’s California factory, ensuring the highest quality control. 

 Now, let’s take a closer look at this Bass’s key features and specifications.

Key Features and Specifications 

This bass features a sleek, double-cutaway body made from high-quality tonewoods, delivering superb resonance and sustain.  The neck is constructed from select maple, providing excellent stability and a smooth playing experience. 

The neck is adorned with a rosewood fingerboard, which adds warmth and depth to the instrument’s overall tone.

Also, the neck features a comfortable, contoured shape, allowing for effortless playability across the entire fretboard. One of the standout features of this bass is its electronics.

In addition, it has a powerful active preamp and a versatile pickup configuration consisting of a humbucking pickup in the bridge position and a single-coil pickup in the neck position. 

It also boasts a robust hardware setup. It has a sturdy bridge with individual saddles, great for getting the bass’s intonation and action spot on.  The tuning machines do the job without any tuning issues. 


Model: Sterling
Size: 12-1/2″ wide, 1-5/8″ thick, 43-7/8″ long (31.8 cm wide, 4.1 cm thick, 111.4 cm long).
Body Wood: Select Hardwoods.
Body Finish: High gloss polyester.
Bridge: Music Man® chrome plated, hardened steel bridge plate with stainless steel saddles.
Scale Length: 34″ (86.4 cm).
Neck Radius: 11″ (27.9 cm).
Headstock Size: Only 7-5/8″ (19.4 cm) long.
Frets: 22 – High profile, wide stainless steel.
Neck Width: 1-1/2″ (38.1 mm) at nut, 2-1/2″ (63.5 mm) at last fret.
Neck Wood: Select roasted maple neck.
Fingerboard: Maple or Rosewood.
Neck Finish: Gunstock oil and hand-rubbed special wax blend.
Tuning Machines: Schaller BM, with tapered string posts.
Truss Rod: Adjustable – no component or string removal.
Neck Attachment: 5 bolts – Sculpted neck joint allows smooth access to higher frets.
Electronic Shielding: Graphite acrylic resin-coated body cavity and aluminum-lined control cover.
Controls: Single Pickup, 3-band active preamp; vol, treble, mid, bass; Dual Pickup, 3-band active preamp; vol, treble, mid, bass.
Switching: Single Pickup – 3-way lever pickup selector; Dual Pickup – 5-way lever pickup selector.
Pickups Standard: Music Man®: humbucking with ceramic magnets and hum canceling phantom coil; Optional – Dual Humbucking with ceramic magnets.
Left Handed: yes.
Strings: 45w-65w-80w-100w (Super Slinky Bass #2834)

Sound and Tone 

The Music Man Sterling Bass Electric Bass 2023 is revered for its exceptional tonal versatility. This bass has covered you whether you’re seeking deep, booming lows, articulate midrange punch, or crystal-clear highs. 


The pickups are the Standard – Music Man® humbucking with ceramic magnets and hum canceling phantom coil; Optional – Dual Humbucking with ceramic magnets. The bass also features an active preamp, further enhancing its tonal capabilities. The preamp allows you to precisely shape your sound, offering controls for bass, midrange, and treble frequencies. This will enable you to sculpt your tone to fit any musical style or playing situation.

Playability and Comfort 

This a Bass designed with the player in mind. We love its sleek body contours and ergonomic design. The double-cutaway body shape provides easy access to the upper frets, making it easy to play up the neck without issue. The neck of this instrument is a joy to play. It’s slim profile and smooth finish make navigating the fretboard effortless.

The select maple neck and rosewood fingerboard combination provides excellent playability and a comfortable feel under your fingers. 

The balance and weight distribution of the bass are also worth mentioning. This bass feels perfectly balanced, whether you’re playing seated or standing. The weight is evenly distributed, ensuring the instrument sits comfortably against your body.

This balance allows for better control and reduces strain on your neck and shoulders, making it easier to focus on your playing. 

Pros and Cons of the Music Man Sterling Bass Electric Bass 2023


1. Outstanding tonal versatility, thanks to the combination of humbucking and single-coil pickups.

2. Excellent playability and comfort, with a sleek body design and ergonomic neck profile.

3. Superior craftsmanship and build quality, ensuring durability and reliability.

4. A Wide range of finishes allows for personalization and style expression.

5. Versatile enough to cover various musical genres, from rock and metal to jazz and funk.

6. Active electronics provide precise control over the instrument’s tone.

7. Excellent tuning stability and intonation, thanks to high-quality hardware.


1. Higher price point compared to entry-level bass guitars.

2. Limited availability in some regions, making it harder to find in local music stores.

3. The active electronics require a 9-volt battery, which needs to be replaced periodically.


In summary, Music Man bass guitars have a unique and familiar sound many people love. These basses produce sound based on a solid and noticeable low-mid tone, which works well in various music styles and ways of playing.

They also have a strong middle-range and high-pitched sound that adds some character without any harshness. This is a bass worthy of your consideration.

Transparency disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning that I may earn a commission if you click on a link and make a purchase. This commission comes at no extra cost to you. We only recommend products and services that I believe are helpful and valuable, and we never let the potential for a commission influence our recommendations.


Sterling. (n.d.). Ernie Ball Music Man Basses. Retrieved August 18, 2023, from

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