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Thinking of buying a Ernie Ball Music Man Stingray HH...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by WayneLiao, Mar 19, 2014.


  1. WayneLiao

    WayneLiao

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2009
    Location:
    San Diego
    I'm thinking if buying a Ernie Ball Musicman Stingray 4HH and just wanted to get some opinions from the experts here. I've mostly play Fender basses in the past and haven't played in awhile. Wanted to pick up bass again. I will probably be playing rock, blues rock, alternative rock and reggae/ska. Here are some questions or concerns I have, would love some input:

    1) Do EBMM Stingray's play well with most amps and different styles of music? I'll be starting out using a SVT but may get a smaller amp in the future.

    2) Can you dial the Stingray using the three band preamp and dual humbucker setup to sound in the ballpark of a Jazz or Precision bass?

    3) Any reason why one would not prefer the dual humbucker version of the Stringray?

    Any general comments/experiences positive or negative about the EBMM Stingray will help me make my decision. Not sure if I should go with a tried and true Fender Jazz/Precision or give the Stingray a shot? Thanks!
     
  2. 73jbass

    73jbass Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    Ellenwood,Ga.
    The selector switch gives you 5 diffeent coil combinations. Cant do that with a p bass or jazz.The neck pickup by itself(position 5) or position 4 will get you in the ballpark of a P bass. I used to play single H Sterlings until I tried an HH. I also own a few HS versions which is my personal favorite. Should be lots of videos on youtube about them. If you want that versatility but a little more aggressive tone,check out the Sterling HH or HS. Either way,you cant go wrong.
     
  3. WayneLiao

    WayneLiao

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2009
    Location:
    San Diego
    Thanks! Is there much of a difference in tone between a similarly equipped Sterling and a Stingray?
     
  4. 73jbass

    73jbass Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    Ellenwood,Ga.
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  6. WayneLiao

    WayneLiao

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2009
    Location:
    San Diego
    Thanks for the info. I've got my eyes on a specific Stingray at the store.

    Still interested in input on my original questions...
     
  7. Musicman20

    Musicman20

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2002
    Location:
    Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK.
    I had a Ray 4 HH, (and I own many EBMM basses and still buy more!).

    I sold this to buy a Ray 5HH.

    However, as I really liked the 4HH I am about to order another.

    1) Do EBMM Stingray's play well with most amps and different styles of music? I'll be starting out using a SVT but may get a smaller amp in the future.

    Yes. Don't be put off by people saying its a one trick pony. It isn't. It can be super aggressive or smooth and warm. Whatever you want. 5 pickup positions, 3 band EQ, pick/slap/finger technique all make a difference.

    2) Can you dial the Stingray using the three band preamp and dual humbucker setup to sound in the ballpark of a Jazz or Precision bass?

    Not completely. The neck H will get you in the P bass territory. Position 2 outer coils will get you a nice twangy Ric/Jazz mixed with Musicman type tone. It works really nice in the mix.

    3) Any reason why one would not prefer the dual humbucker version of the Stringray?

    No...not really. You win 4 new pickup tones for not much more outlay. The bridge H sounds the same as it has for a long time (all bridge H's vary slightly due to pickup height/winding/which wood the bass is made from/strings/technique but a parallel Musicman H in the sweetspot sounds how it does).
     
  8. artfahie

    artfahie

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    Location:
    Bar Mills, Maine
    Get one... you'll love it !
     
  9. StuartV

    StuartV Out of GAS!! Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2006
    Location:
    Bristow, VA
    Absolutely yes.

    http://www.music-man.com/instruments/basses.html

    The HH Stingray gives you 5 switch positions. All of which are different combinations of coils in Parallel. No Single Coil at all. No Series mode at all.

    The single H Stingray is even more limited. It only gives you the 2 coils in Parallel, and that's it.

    On the other hand, the Sterling has the same preamp and the pickup is the same except that it has ceramic magnets, instead of alnico. As another poster already pointed out, the ceramic magnets give the Sterling a slightly more aggressive sound. I definitely prefer the ceramic sound, but of course that is down to personal taste.

    However, the HH Sterling will give you 5 switch positions, similarly to the HH Stingray - except that the Sterling switch positions have different combinations of Series and Parallel. That immediately makes it more versatile than the Stingray HH.

    But, even better, in my opinion, is the single H Sterling. It gives you 3 settings (unlike the single H Stingray that has no switch at all). The Sterling H has Series, Parallel, and Single Coil (w/the bridge side coil). Parallel mode gives you the classic Stingray sound. Series mode gives a VERY punchy, strong-midrangey sound. And Single Coil gives you an option for a tone similar to a Jazz bass with the bridge coil soloed.

    You would think that the other offerings, with the 5-way switching, would have everything that the single H has plus 2 more choices, but they don't. No other Stingray or Sterling has the same 3 settings as the Sterling single H. And, to me, the bridge pickup in Parallel is THE classic Stingray tone, which I would want and which is, in my opinion, the best slap tone you can get from a bass. The bridge pickup in Series is my absolute favorite overall tone for a bass, so I would definitely want that. And having the Single Coil tone available is also a nice option for playing stuff that just sounds right with that "J bridge" type of tone.

    So, yes, there are definitely reasons why one might prefer a different variation than the Stingray HH.

    And I didn't even mention (yet) that the Sterling has a 1.5" nut (i.e. a Jazz bass width) and 22 frets, where the Stingray is wider, and only has 21 frets.
     
  10. StuartV

    StuartV Out of GAS!! Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2006
    Location:
    Bristow, VA
    Oh, and there are exceptions in either direction, but as a general rule, Sterlings are usually lighter than Stingrays, too.
     
  11. Dave W

    Dave W Previously bassgod0dmw Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2007
    Location:
    White Plains
    3) Any reason why one would not prefer the dual HH version?

    The 2nd pickup just plain gets in my way. I prefer the sound of the bridge humbucker by a long shot and felt too cramped with the neck humbucker. I'm a single H kinda guy. Also...what Stuart said
     
  12. Lo-E

    Lo-E

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2009
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    1) Absolutely. Rays work and play well with others. Very versatile basses regardless of one or two pickup versions.
    2)In the ball park, yes. Home plate, no. Precisions and Jazzes sound like they do for lots of reasons but the bottom line is; MM basses sound like MMs. Much of that has to do with the pickup design and the preamp.
    3)For some players, the one-pickup version already has everything they need and they feel no urge to complicate things. That doesn't make the two p'up basses bad, they're just not for everybody. That second P'up does add lots of tone options not available on the single.

    In terms of feel, if you're comfortable on Fender basses, you'll feel right at home on a Musicman (or a G&L, for that matter). Leo Fender was pretty consistant in his designs. I have a ferw of each and have no trouble going back and forth from MM to Fender to G&L. They all feel good to me.
     
  13. Mark_70

    Mark_70

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2013
    Location:
    Minnesota
    ^
    What he said :D
    I was about to pull the trigger on a single H Stingray SLO special. Took his advise and now have a Sterling on order..

    Can't wait for it to get here..

    Regards
    Mark
     
  14. StuartV

    StuartV Out of GAS!! Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2006
    Location:
    Bristow, VA
    Very cool, Mark!

    And just for the record, I'm not trying to say any variation of Stingray vs Sterling or H vs HS vs HH is better than any other.

    I'm just saying that they are all different. None of them is a case of "this one has everything that one has". So, if you like the general Stingray/Sterling flavor, you should definitely check them all out to see which one YOU like best.

    In my opinion, they ALL are extremely versatile, by my definition of versatile. And my definition is that it can sound good in a very broad range of music genres. To me, any Stingray or Sterling can sound really good in just about any genre of music. It will always have a Stingray/Sterling flavor to the tone, but it can still sound good in anything from Reggae to Thrash Metal to Bebop Jazz. To me, THAT is the essence of versatility. And it is the reason that Stingrays/Sterlings are one of my two favorite types of basses (along with P basses).
     
  15. WayneLiao

    WayneLiao

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2009
    Location:
    San Diego
    Thanks everyone for your input so far. Very helpful. The reason for my questions is b/c yesterday I was 'running the rack' as they say and came across a very resonant/not too heavy/great setup/playing/sounding Stingray at the store. I was looking for a vintage style P-Bass but of all the basses there, definitely this Stingray was my favorite. Normally when I play the Stringray's they are very heavy and dead/thud-y sounding (maybe due old strings/sitting on the rack for long time). This one just came in the day before. Besides my originally questions. Do you guys think that (with fresh strings and setup) most Ernie Ball Music Man basses are fairly consistent or do you think they vary widely in tone? i.e. should I jump on this one? With EBMM are there mostly good ones or are the great ones far and few between?
     
  16. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2014
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Agreed. I found I could not slap so well with that big old p'up under my fingers (I had a Bongo HH for a while).

    If I were to get another EBMM, I would be a Sterling. I had a nice one and still miss it.
     
  17. Lo-E

    Lo-E

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2009
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    IME, they're as consistant as any other type of bass. There's some variation in P & J basses, too, but they sound pretty consistant for the most part.

    Basses are (usually) made of wood. They're all different. If you find one you really like, grab it.
     
  18. Musicman20

    Musicman20

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2002
    Location:
    Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK.
    Most new Rays are bright, aggressive and punchy. EQ and flats + technique can make them sound a little more old school, so the option is there.

    They definitely do not sound dull or dead...very aggressive and zingy if you want them to be.

    They have, IMO, the best QC and overall quality for a production instrument. Its very rare that you will find a problem.
     
  19. bassdude51

    bassdude51 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2008
    Location:
    Central Ohio
    3) Any reason why one would not prefer the dual HH version?

    I have a USA Sterling 4HH. I like it but.............for me, the 4HH and 5 way switch is a bit much. I love the bridge pickup by itself. I love the neck pickup by itself and the 2 inner coils together is OK. The other 2 selections, both pickups together and the 2 outer coils are not much to my liking.

    What I really wish EB MM would do is offer the Stingray 4HH in series and not parallel. Because I like the sound of alnico better than ceramic (Sterling) and I like the sound of series better than parallel.

    The Sterling 4HH is in series but the ceramic is aggressive.

    For the 'Ray 4HH, I wish there was a "secret micro switch" in the control cavity that would let a person choose parallel or series.
     

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