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Advice on MusicMan 5 string

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by noelpaz, Jun 8, 2004.

  1. Hi,

    All -- glad to be back here after a long time. Not that I was any prolific poster but I got a lot from the minds in this forum.

    Question:I have an oppurtunity to buy a new StingRay Music man for 960 - because the store just has to move it. I like it but the sound was not as I expected - not enough hi-end even when the switch was pushed towards the bridge (active) and the treble crank. I played a similar model at the guitar center and that had more high end as far as I can remember. I was A/B ing it aginst the Korean Ken Smith proto-bass 60 series. I was wondering if the guitar I am testing just has dull strings or a weak battery. I was expecting a good slap sound but it was almost nasally - without the expected high end. (treble is maxed out)

    The Ken Smith with a case will be 800+ -- The MM is 960 with a case and I hope it will have a good resale value.

    I can get the sound I want by tweaking the amp. Without changing the strings is there a way to test if the high-end is really cut out.

    Your help and advice is greatly appreciated

  2. If the store needs to move it that badly then it's probably been there for a while. I would imagine that it could use a new battery, strings, setup and a friend ;) Also, you'll get a much better slap tone with switch all the way towards the neck. It's not an active/passive switch it changes the pickup wiring configuration from series to single coil to parallel. That's a pretty good price though. I was until recently looking for a SR5 and didn't come across any for that price new.
  3. Thanks JRUG --- I think it is the strings and battery also. I've really wanted a musicman for a long time --- but I can never afford it even from ebay. Originally it was 989 but since I bougt some MIDI stuff from them they said they are selling it at cost plus the shipping charge. Do you think that is true?
  4. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Oh man there's something not right here. With the settings you describes, the amount of treble produced should feel like sticking your head into a microwave. My SR 5 is the brightest bass I've ever played.

    It could have been the strings? Maybe the amp / Cab combination?
  5. I second that. The Stingray 5 I had for a couple of months was also a very bright sounding bass with tons of available treble in the active EQ. Perhaps the battery was almost dead...
  6. venturawest


    Apr 29, 2004
    if the battery were dying, i'd expect the sound to get rather distorted and nasty sounding.

    if you're getting no treble, either a) the strings are dead (VERY likely at a GC, where things hang on the wall for months at a time and a bunch of greasy kids fondle it all day) or b) it's the amp. make them change the strings and try it again.

    my SR5 is a few months old; with new strings on it, if i turn the treble all the way up with the neck at the bridge position it sounds like someone took a chainsaw to my spine.

    960 USD for a NEW stingray 5? hmmm, you don't want to buy that....you want to tell me where they're making that deal and let ME buy it...you are getting very, very sleepy.... :smug:
  7. Danksalot


    Apr 9, 2003
    Dallas, Texas, USA
    Endorsing Artist: SIT Strings
    That sounds about right.
  8. Okay -- to make the choice harder , the guitar salesman (this is not GC) also pointed out that the Warwicks can even go lower than the MM -- Warwick Corvette Standard 5 that is. Made my choice even harder. I already traded my Fernandes bass for 175 towards the purchase but since I have to get back to work I have not been able to make a decision- They are holding both. I liked the warwick but never had experience with it. I just want a five string that I don't have to have GAS for another 5 years again -- I need it for some gigs that requires the low notes. Anyone has experience with both and which is more of a workhorse and versatile. I like the MM # way pickup selector philosophy and the 3 band EQ but the warwicks has a sound that was good as well.

    Thanks for all your help!
  9. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Apples and oranges. It comes down to personal taste now. I've played both and I'd easily chose the Stingray, but others will prefer the Warwick. It's up to you now.
  10. vacman


    Mar 8, 2004
    portland, or
    My MM 5 is a mid freak and has taken me along time to get used to.The B is super tight however and will split my skull going through my SVT. MM are built really well...great for throwing around the stage during those rock and roll moments...$960? :eyebrow: BUY IT. change the battery and restring with the mighty Rotosound and all should be well in the land of five. Its a mid monster....can be a good thing or a pain depending on my mood.
  11. Mr. Pete,

    Yes it is hard to decide - apples and oranges kind of.v The price is right -- under 1 K for pro basses. I don't care for the color but can you tell me what advantage the MM will have over the Warwick in terms of versatility, durability and resale value.

    My use of it it will be for a latin rock band -- some jam band stuff and hopefully for jazz and jazz fusion and some hip hop bass with a turntable/computer and brass (bone, trumpet , french horn) section plus drummer (new music kind of) . I already have a fretless with barts and an upright as well. The warwick was good for chord stuff and had this piano wire sound unless you cut the treble (I took my ashdown and set it flat). The MM the salesman whom I know said he will restring it when he comes back Friday. Soloing was good too on the W, but the MM had a better warmer soloed sound and yes the tightr B which need for the hip hop dub stuff -- the Warwicks B was a bit floppy but it played well and I guess my ears are at home with that Jazz configuration.

    I am really confused and I want 1000 well spent. I had never had a five string (though I tuned my fretless C G D A ) . Both appealed to my personal taste and I wish there were some pragmatic ways of narrowing what I would find which of the too will be musically and tonally useful in the long run.

    Thanks for all your help!!!
  12. I'm a big-time Warwick fan but I'd probably still go with the MM. Corvette standards are cool, but they don't seem to have as much character as some of the other Ws. On the other hand, Stingrays are pure attitude and can be a little tricky to tame. Hmm. Maybe you could try eenie-meenie-minie-mo.
  13. If only the store had a five string FNA Jazzman -- So I settled for the MusicMan. The local store here in Albuquerque, Grandmas (http://www.grandmas.com) is an incredible store. Where else can I get a MusicMan for 985 (sold at their cost plus freight I told 960 earlier but the bean counter (accounting) people said that since this has the special headstock color - limited they had to pay more) bring it home to try it and get 2 sets of strings(because I argued the ones on it was dead). Guitar Center has been selling warwicks without the gig bags and I went there and 1300 was the lowest they would go. Grandmas is local and laid back but prices here are better than most big name chains -- knowledgeable people and no selling pressure at all.

    The warwick was nice --everyone here locally said it is the better bass but once I change the strings of the StingRay at home with rotosounds the bass came to life. I had to back the treble off!, my Ashdown head was set flat -- no boost of any kind actaully I defeated the EQ and I got good sounds out of the StingRay. The corvette was nice --- even better in the looks department and initially the MM sounded like a one trick pony but I actaully find you get more sounds out of it. That mid control is the trick and with the switches -- it is actually much more versatile than 2 soapbars or jazz or PJ. No wonder this is a popular standard. I liked the warwick dont get me wrong -- but the weaker B string, not as balanced string volume and not as warm soloed string sound made me go with the MM. The FNA is the sound in my head but I need a five string and I think the decision to get the sting ray 5 was good -- also the FNA 4 they have is not in the "this has to be moved block" so it will not be cheap what more to say of the 5 string. I am also glad I did not fall for the Korean Ken Smith (proto J) which again sounded good initally because of the boost but I am finding more that the midrange control of the StingRay makes it the most versatile bass without adding more circuits or gimmicks. Also I wonder how blending the output of 2 pickups can introduced phase shifts of any kind and maybe you loose more timbre information that way -- just a thought.

    Also the typical conception that MM is not a bass for jazz is not true. I tried it last night with some jazz new music jam in Santa Fe ad there were 3 bassists there. We had a 70's Fender Jazz, a fretless Thornton 5 string and the music man. I also played sax so I got a chance the other musicians playing my bass and it was definitely as warm and did not sound like a modern active hi-fi bass. We just cut the treble push the mids a bit and centered the bass onto a old traynor tube amp --- it sounded really good.

    Also when I played chords up top and using the B string. I was surprised that the sound was not muddy. Even though the warwick was more piano like - the overpowering B muddied it a bit more than what I want.

    My old kramer precision (I think it is a 75) turned into a fretless with barts is being used more now. I got my pedulla fretless 4 as well but somehow I am loving the rootsy sound of the precision and use it extensively - the pedulla is the back-up.The musicman has that same vibe especially in series mode or single coil and I may just be taking it and the kramer on gigs. Eventually I'll get another MusicMan fretless and I would say that I am a convert to these basses. I also looked at bongo but the basswood turn me off because I know you use them for cheap drums -- my ignorance on how they are in bass - also too many controls to fiddle but people are swearing by them.

    thanks for all your help

  14. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Every time I read that a Stingray is a one trick pony, I actually laugh out loud. I find all 3 bands of EQ are set very nicely to provide plenty of variation. Plus the 5 string has the pickup selector for even more veriation again.

    For some reason, my stingray is much more sensitive to the plucking position that any other bass I've played. I tent to pluck over the top of the pickup for maximum punch, but you only have to pluck half an inch closer to the neck and it sounds noticably warmer. Theres another 10 or 15 variations in the sound right there!