Music Man sound and pickups

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by TonyP-, Feb 8, 2011.


  1. TonyP-

    TonyP- Excuse me but you have your I-IV-V in my II-V-I Gold Supporting Member

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    Music Man sound and pickups

    Just to address some of the many posts as of recent regarding Music Man sound and pickups.

    I feel there are 3 main attributes that contribute to the tone of a Music Man.
    1. The larger humbucking (or dual coil) style pickup
    2. The ‘sweet spot’ placing of that pickup
    3. The EBMM preamp

    You can get the majority of the tone IMHO with pickup and placing. Some manufactures do offer models like this the Modulus Funk Unlimited bass (previously known as the Flea bass) ,ect.

    On EBMM preamp and parts:

    The EBMM preamp IMHO (and many others as well) feel the preamp is the icing on the cake of the “MM” tone. (Not that having the other pres are bad…this is just in reference to nailing the EBMM tone itself) and the preamps are proprietary.

    In general EBMM preamps appear to have more an effect on the natural tone of the bass then say several other after marked preamps (Ex: Bartolini, Aguliar, ect)

    Note: EBMM does not sell aftermarket parts (pickups and preamps) the do repair and if necessary replace original EBMM parts that where stock on instrument. Nor will they modify your original EBMM bass with anything additional (EX: The will not modify your original Stingray 4 H to a HH model).

    Aftermarket parts:

    Nordstrand makes a dual coil and a quad coil MM style pickups in both 4 and 5 string. These are my personal favorite since they use wire, magnets and DC resistance as the original Music Man pickups.
    http://www.nordstrandpickups.com/bass-pickups/modern/

    Seymour Duncan makes both alnico (Stingray) and ceramic (Sterling) replacements in both 4 and 5 http://www.seymourduncan.com/products/basslines/

    John East makes some MM style preamps that where designed with the characteristics very similar to the original MM Stingray preamp (with and without the plates).
    http://www.east-uk.com/

    (There are others out there as well I just wanted to tip the iceberg of the most common post your experiences)

    Additional information (various)

    Some of this might be common knowledge to some players, so bare with me. This sticky is to address some of the common questions that do pop up.

    Standard wiring and pickups are (with some exceptions with the wiring)

    EBMM Stingrays: wired in parallel and use alnico pickup(s)
    EBMM Sterlings: wired in series and use ceramic pickup(s)
    H=Humbucking, HH=Dual Humbucking , HS=Humbucking&Single
     
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  2. Johnius

    Johnius

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    I think the large pole pieces affect the sound as well. Similar to a Sting bass, the large poles tend to sound strong and focused.
     
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  3. musicman4lyfe

    musicman4lyfe

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  4. TonyP-

    TonyP- Excuse me but you have your I-IV-V in my II-V-I Gold Supporting Member

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    Hi Johnius...I'm sure that there is some effect to it, as compared to some of the Delano or Bartolini casings you see that do not have them exposed. However IMHO I do not think its an overwhelming effect.

    For instance you can place electrical tape over those pole pieces and they still will pickup the sound. However I do agree there is slight element there to it.
     
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  6. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

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  7. TonyP-

    TonyP- Excuse me but you have your I-IV-V in my II-V-I Gold Supporting Member

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    Thanks DS
    Also thanks for sharing the links as well. I'm hoping that we can make this thread a nice pool of resources for those looking for this classic configuration.
     
  8. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

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    No problem at all dude. It should definatly be a helpful thread as it's a question that gets asked every day, seemingly.

    Somewhat OT, but if you check out the link in my sig, I'm having Gadow Guitars make me a bass with this exact setup in mind, Nordstrand MM5.2 in the sweetspot, and the East MMSR 3knob-3band preamp. :cool:
     
  9. jonathan_addams

    jonathan_addams

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    thanks for the link to the East preamps.
    Might have to grab meself one of those :)
     
  10. ericmknight1906

    ericmknight1906

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    And I don't know if the Ray35 uses the same specs as the Stingray but I gotta tell you, the 35 that I have has the best slap tone and cut through that I have ever heard. I wonder if that really is just because of the the components and quality of a music man or could I get those qualities with any single humbucker bass?
     
  11. Rano Bass

    Rano Bass

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    EBMM Sterlings are not just wired in series, they have a 3 way switch for series- single coil- parallel just like the Stingray 5.

    On two pickup basses they are wired in series for the Sterling 4 and 5 and parallel for the Stingray 4 and 5.
     
  12. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member

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    big polepieces obviously will affect the sound, as will any other aspect of the pickup's design (coil size, winding, location, etc.)

    electrical tape will not affect the sound of any pickup, and tells us nothing.

    the main questions about MMs seem to be the usefulness of wiring them passive, or of installing fancy general purpose aftermarket preamps in place of the stock system.

    i would argue no to both, as the whole idea of the bass was to design and place the pickup for maximum clarity and focus, then design a preamp specifically to provide the missing low end. the complete system results in a bass with clear attack and big bottom; removing or changing either element just compromises the design.
     
  13. TonyP-

    TonyP- Excuse me but you have your I-IV-V in my II-V-I Gold Supporting Member

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    What I was stating was it was general reference to Sterlings and Stingrays.
     
  14. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

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    I have one of the few SX mm copy basses. I replaced the original neck and replaced the original preamp with a Seymour Duncan 3 band preamp and that bass pretty much nails the music man tone and look.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. TonyP-

    TonyP- Excuse me but you have your I-IV-V in my II-V-I Gold Supporting Member

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    The Ray 35 is an excellent instrument and I actually preferred mine to most EBMM rays. The pickups stock in those instruments are fine, however I'm a big proponent of the quality of Nordstrands and love the tone that they brought to mine.:)

    A few folks have changed over their SBMM pickups to Nordstrand and where happy with the results.
     
  16. dmot002

    dmot002

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    The nice thick ash body has quite a bit to do with the tone as well.
     
  17. ericmknight1906

    ericmknight1906

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    OMG,why are you guys fixin' what ain't broke??:eyebrow:
    What could that Nordstrand possibly do better than the MM stock PUP? Leave the Ray alone please.:cool:
     
  18. LDonnie

    LDonnie Supporting Member

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    I think it is also worth mentioning that post-2008 (correct me if I am wrong) StingRay 5's sport pickups with AlNiCo magnets as opposed to pre-2008 ones which have pickups with ceramic magnets. The pre-2008 basses sound more like Music Man Sterling basses while post-2008 SR5's sound more like their four string counterparts.
     
  19. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

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    Well, it must be broken to them, if they don't like what the stock pickup offers.
    Sound as good as possible, it seems.
    You do that. ;)
     
  20. gjbassist

    gjbassist Supporting Member

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  21. topcat2069

    topcat2069 Supporting Member

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    As far as Pickups and Pre amps.. I'm using a Nordstrand MM 5.2 and a John East MM SR 2 band EQ. As far as I can tell they (together) sound just like my 1976 MM String Ray (only now I have a low B string) The main difference is the finger board .
     

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