Sterling StingRay SR50 Review & Prices

Sterling StingRay SR50 Review
Add to Compare
FIND IT ON:
Amazon logoReverb logoMusician's Friend logoSweetwater logo
Set a price alert
  • From Sterling's 2017 StingRay series
  • Made in Indonesia
  • 6 strings
  • 25.5"'' scale
  • 12" Fretboard Radius
  • Poplar body
  • Roasted Maple neck
  • Rosewood fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Sterling Humbucker (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: Sterling Humbucker (Humbucker/Passive)
  • 1 volume and 1 tone Dome knobs
  • 3-way Switch
  • Vintage Tremolo bridge
  • StingRay Bolt-On neck
  • 22 Medium frets
  • Locking tuners
  • Compare Specs >

Our Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 70
Sound 66
Build quality 62
Value for money 71
Overall Score 66
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
Sterling StingRay SR50
  • Locking Tuners
  • Expensive Wood
  • Compensated Nut
  • Tremolo
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • Made in Indonesia
  • No Top Brand Pickups
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
  • No Weight Relief
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock

Price Overview

Its average competitor's price is $750, which means that the Sterling StingRay SR50 is around 28% cheaper than the competition. This takes into account all instruments of the same category in our database with 6 strings and Tremolo bridge that are made in Indonesia.

SET PRICE ALERT

These are affiliate links. We may earn a fee if you purchase after clicking. These prices are prone to error. Make sure you're buying the right product after clicking on a link from our site. We are not liable if you buy the wrong product after following these links. As an Amazon Associate site we earn from qualifying purchases.

Videos

Sterling by Music Man | StingRay SR50 Demo feat. Donnie Laudicina | SR50
THE LONG-AWAITED STERLING SR50 STINGRAY REVIEW!
Why Didn't I Know About THIS GUITAR BEFORE??
Sterling by Music Man | StingRay SR50 Demo feat. Jacob Evergreen | SR50
Sterling by Music Man | StingRay SR50 Demo feat. Jacob Evergreen | SR50
More Videos

Your feedback

Not all instruments are created equally. That's why it's important to have different opinions. Here's what our users who have played this instrument say. If you've played it before, help others by voting below!

Weight

Vote

Tuning stability

Vote

Neck speed (thickness)

Vote

Neck access to high frets

Vote

Neck profile shape

Vote

Fret edges

Vote

Pickups noise

Vote

Pickups power

Vote
View all user feedback

Explore All From Sterling >

Is it Easy to Play?

The Sterling StingRay SR50 meets 6 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness, which means that it's a good guitar to start with as a complete beginner. This takes into account the type of frets, scale length, nut width, bridge type, fretboard radius, and neck profile to determine the easiest combination for new players to get used to.

New Player Friendliness

Sterling StingRay SR50
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Locking tuners
  • Tall frets
  • Narrow nut
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Short scale

Hand Size Comfortability

After taking into account the neck profile, scale size, fretboard radius, and nut width, we can conclude that the Sterling StingRay SR50's construction favors people with relatively small hands.

Nevertheless, this comes down in the end to personal preference. Make sure you test this guitar—or another one with similar characteristics—before buying.

Big Hands
Small Hands

Scale Length

Scale length is the distance the strings will span between the bridge and the nut. It can tell you a lot about the overall playability and tone of the instrument. A longer scale length means longer distance between frets, brighter tone and more string tension—which means lower action, but more difficult bending of the strings.

Here's the Sterling StingRay SR50's 25.5" scale length compared to other common sizes:

Sterling StingRay SR50 Scale Length Comparison
Sterling StingRay SR50's scale length (at the top) compared to other popular sizes

This is the same scale length used in Stratocaster guitars, and it's one of the main reasons they have such a bright sound. It's considered a long scale when compared to most non-baritone guitars.

Since the distance between bridge and nut is relatively long, you'll need to give the strings more tension to get them in tune. This higher tension will allow for a couple of things. First, you can get a lower action (get the strings closer to the fretboard) because the strings won't 'wiggle' too much when pluck and won't cause fret buzz. This can allow you to use lower tunings without increasing your string gauge, and it will make it easier to press down the strings fast.

However, the frets will also have a wider separation between each other, which can make it harder to play, especially if you got small hands. The higher tension will also make the strings feel stiffer, so bending will require more strength.

More with the same scale length:

Neck Profile

Sterling StingRay SR50 Neck Profile
Sterling StingRay SR50's neck profile

The neck profile tells you the thickness (neck depth) and shape in cross section. Every difference will completely change the feeling and comfortability of the neck. This is a highly subjective thing, but most players indeed prefer certain types of necks (like Cs and Ds) because they feel nice in most hands.

It has a C type neck. C-shaped necks like this have been the most popular for the last years. The reason is that they feel good in most hands. It's generally a thin neck that doesn't get in your way when playing fast, but that also has enough mass to give your hands a comfortable grip for chords if they aren't too big.

Thin necks like this make it easier to move your hand across the neck and it helps when playing fast solos, especially if you like to leave your thumb free while playing high on the fretboard. However, thinner necks are also weaker and will need adjustment more often than a thicker neck.

More for different hand sizes

Fretboard Radius

When it comes to fingerboard radius, personal preference will dictate which one is better for you. However, most people seem to agree that a more curved (lower) radius will make it easier to play chords while a less curved (higher) radius is better for soloing and bending.

The Sterling StingRay SR50 has a 12" fingerboard radius.

Here's an image comparing this fretboard radius to other popular choices:

Sterling StingRay SR50 Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
Sterling StingRay SR50's fretboard radius compared to others

This is the same radius that Gibson uses in most of their guitars. When compare to the other popular radius of Fender Stratocasters, you can see that it's a lot flatter. Guitars with this radius are usually made to bring a good balance between single-note and chord playing.

Compound radius fingerboards give the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, the Sterling StingRay SR50 has the same radius across the board.

More with the same fretboard radius:

Playability compared to main competitors

25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.65'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
Multiscale Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.417'' Nut Width
20'' Fretboard Radius
Multiscale Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.417'' Nut Width
20'' Fretboard Radius
Multiscale Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.417'' Nut Width
20'' Fretboard Radius
Multiscale Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.417'' Nut Width
20'' Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

Sterling StingRay SR50 Nut Width
Sterling StingRay SR50 Nut Width

The Sterling StingRay SR50 has a nut width of 41.9mm (1.65''). This is considered a narrow width for a 6-string guitar. This means that this guitar will have a narrower string separation at the nut, which will affect your fretting hand.

If you are a player with big hands, you might find it difficult to play chords without muting strings. However, this is good for players who have smaller hands, as it will allow them to reach each string more easily at the nut.

Frets

The Sterling StingRay SR50 has 22 frets. Even though 24 frets has become really popular, there's still a good reason to get fewer frets; the pickup at the neck position will be further away from the bridge. This makes the neck pickup achieve a warmer tone. You might want this if you're playing Jazz or similar genres.

However, if you don't care about the warmer neck pickup, more frets will always be better. It's always nice to have the option to play higher notes if you want to.

It comes with nickel silver frets, so they won't last as long as stainless steel frets. If you use your instrument a lot, you might need to replace the frets after a few years. But this is unlikely as most people change instruments before this happens.

More with the same amount of frets:

Fret Size

Sterling StingRay SR50 Fret Size Comparison
Sterling StingRay SR50's fret size (in orange) compared to other popular sizes

Finally, let's talk about fret size. Some people prefer tall frets because it's easier to press the strings and perform bends since there's less friction against the fretboard. On the other hand, some people like shorter frets because they like to touch the fretboard when playing, or because they got heavy hands and tend to press too much on the string and alter the of the note pitch accidently.

The Sterling StingRay SR50's frets are Medium size. With medium frets, you can feel the fretboard more than with jumbo frets, but it's still easier to press the strings cleanly than with small frets; notes might change their pitch just slightly if you press hard on the fret. Also, if you need to do some fret leveling after years of playing, you'll have some room to sand them down without having to replace them.

More with the same type of frets:

Playability Score

Bending & Vibrato Ease 70
Chord Playability 70
Solo Playability 70
Playability 70

Tone Analysis

Wood will have little influence in the final tone of an electric guitar or bass. Instead, the hardware, especially the pickups, will be the most important thing to look at. Bur first, let's see the quality of the wood.

Wood

Poplar wood pattern used for guitar building
Poplar Body
Roasted Maple wood pattern used for guitar building
Roasted Maple Neck
Rosewood wood pattern used for guitar building
Rosewood Fretboard

Poplar Body: It's similar to Alder in terms of tone as it has a fat low-end with strong mids, but it's a lot cheaper and softer. It's a bit heavier so it's mostly used for tops.

Roasted Maple Neck: Similar to simple Maple, but even stronger, darker, and more stable to temperature changes. This is thanks to the treatment process that consists in using high temperatures to drain the water, sugar, and resins from the wood.

Rosewood Fretboard: Since the ban of Brazillian Rosewood, this has become a rare and expensive wood. It's not usually used for guitar bodies because of this, and also because it's heavy. Instead, it's used mainly for fretboards. Sometimes it's also used for necks because it's an extremely hard wood (even harder than maple). Its tonality tends to favor warm tones.

More made with the same wood:

Pickups

Unfortunately, it doesn't come with pickups from one of the top brands. This doesn't mean you will get bad pickups, but you might want to consider a pickup upgrade after some time.

These are passive pickups, so you can expect a rounder sound and a moderade level of output.

The Sterling StingRay SR50's configuration is HH. With this pickup combination, you'll get warmer tones and more output than using single coils. Humbucker pickups cancel the noise that single-coil suffer from, which also results in a warmer tone. This pickup combination isn't only for high-gain music like Hard Rock or Heavy Metal. Their warmness is also popular for Jazz, Indie, R&B, Blues and more.

More with the same pickups

22 Frets
Tremolo Bridge
Sterling Humbucker Bridge Pickup
Sterling Humbucker Neck Pickup
24 Frets
Tremolo Bridge
Sterling Humbucker Bridge Pickup
Sterling Humbucker Neck Pickup
24 Frets
Tremolo Bridge
Sterling Humbucker Bridge Pickup
Sterling Humbucker Neck Pickup
24 Frets
Tremolo Bridge
Sterling Humbucker Bridge Pickup
Sterling Humbucker Neck Pickup
22 Frets
Tremolo Bridge
Sterling Single Coil Bridge Pickup
Sterling Humbucker Neck Pickup

Versatility

It comes with the popular 3-way switch that is present in most guitars. For more versatility, players tend to prefer a 5-way switch, although it all depends on what you want to use your guitar for.

Unfortunately, it doesn't come with more options for coil split or coil tapping. This makes it less versatile than some competitors.

Diagram

Sterling StingRay SR50 pickups switch and push knobs diagram
Sterling StingRay SR50's switch options

What music genre is it good for?

As a 6 strings, Solid Body guitar with HH configuration and Passive pickups, we'd recommend it for genres like Hard Rock or similar. However, you can use almost any guitar for any genre. This is just the typical type of music for this particular one.

Sound Score

Pickups 60
Sustain 65
Versatility 64
Tuning Stability 75
Sound 66

Build Quality Analysis

Country of Origin

Knowing where the instrument is produced is a good way to know how well it's built. Some manufacturing countries are known for having higher quality standards. For example, most expensive instruments are made in the US or Japan, but there are some exceptionally great countries—like South Korea—that are building a good reputation.

The Sterling StingRay SR50 is made in Indonesia. Many people prefer the quality of an Indonesian guitar over a Chinese. Respectable brands like Epiphone, Ibanez and Schecter are building in this country because of the great quality and lower price. Some people like to compare them to the ones built in Japan during the 80s, when Japanese guitar makers made a name for themselves.

Bridge

Vintage Tremolo: This type of bridge allows you to change the pitch of the notes by pulling the bridge with the attached bar, which gives you better versatility. Also, since the bridge is not fixed to the guitar body, the bridge will move as you bend the strings. So you'll have to increase the distance of your bends to reach the same tension (note) compared to a fixed bridge. This allows you to perform smoother bends but will also make you slower. Finally, remember that this type of bridge requires a bit more maintenance than fixed ones, especially when changing strings.

More with the same type of bridge:

Tuners

The Sterling StingRay SR50 comes with locking tuners, which helps with tuning stability and makes changing strings a lot faster and easier. As long as they're high quality, these are the best tuning machines you can have. The only disadvantage is that they are a bit heavier than normal tuners.

Nut Material

Another important thing to analyze is the nut material, as it's one of the most important aspects that can affect the sound and playability of your guitar. A well-cut nut will make sure it stays in tune and will make it more comfortable to play.

In this case, the Sterling StingRay SR50 has a Compensated nut. It's cut in a way that makes each string have the correct length for perfect intonation across the fretboard. It provides excellent tuning stability.

More with the same nut material:

Neck Joint

The neck joint is the part where the neck of the guitar meets the body. There are three main techniques to attach both parts together: Set-In, Bolt-On and Neck-Through. The latter two provide different advantages, although neck-throughs are the most expensive.

This guitar has a Bolt-On neck joint. Even though this type of neck was looked down upon for a long time, nowadays bolt-on necks are well built and provide just as much sustain as any other join method. First of all, it's cheap to make because it consists of simply 4 bolts that attach the neck to the body. And you can travel with the guitar more easily, swap out the neck if you damage it, or upgrade to a more comfortable neck later on.

More with the same build:

Build Quality Score

Quality of materials 51
Features 65
Quality Control 70
Build Quality 62

All Specs

Sterling StingRay SR50
General
Brand: Sterling
Year: 2017
Configuration: HH
Strings: 6
Made in: Indonesia
Series: StingRay
Colors: Yellow, Gray
Left-Handed Version: No
Body
Type: Solid Body
Body Material: Poplar
Bridge: Vintage Tremolo
Neck
Neck Joint: Bolt-On
Tuners: Locking
Fretboard: Rosewood
Neck Material: Roasted Maple
Decoration: Dot Markers
Scale Size: 25.5"
Shape: StingRay
Frets: 22 Medium
Fretboard Radius: 12"
Nut: Compensated
Nut Width: 41.9mm (1.65'')
Electronics
Switch: 3 Way
Knobs: Dome
Volume Controls: 1
Tone Controls: 1
Bridge Pickup: Sterling Humbucker (Humbucker / Passive)
Neck Pickup: Sterling Humbucker (Humbucker / Passive)

More Popular Comparisons With This Guitar

User Reviews

Help others by sharing your opinion about this guitar. Note: to avoid spam, your review will be submitted for approval before appearing here.

You're reviewing as anonymous. to comment with your account.
Your Rating: