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Are stingrays really one trick ponies?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Progfan44, Apr 3, 2013.

  1. I recently purchased a brand spankin' new Stingray 5, my first really nice bass, and I've been loving the death out of it. The neck profile is comfortable, it's thick enough to get a meaty tone but thin enough that you can manoeuvre it comfortably. The pickup has an amazing response, I always rued single pickup basses, but after playing this one in the music store for a while, I fell in love with it. However, I still see a lot of people denouncing it as a "one trick pony", and to that I respectfully disagree. The 3 band EQ is very balanced, with smooth and subtle bass, punchy and powerful mids and (of course) the gut ripplingly fierce treble. While it's no secret that the Stingray flourishes as a mix cutting punch machine, I think the dynamics in the tonal options leave the door open for a lot of alternatives. If a situation calls for a smoother tone, you can boost the bass, change the coil to parallel and cut the treble. While it may not be the optimal bass for this scenario, it fills the role quite amicably in a pinch. So, thoughts? Opinons? I'm curious to get a more in depth look at people opinions in this subject
  2. Duckwater


    May 10, 2010
    USA, Washington
    A bass is only as versatile as the person playing it IMO
    eJake likes this.
  3. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    For a one trick pony it works in a lot of different styles. All of them actually.
  4. I agree, I think so long as your tone is mutually agreeable, and you can control your attack. You can ultimately make anything work. Although, looks can be a factor. Pulling out the flying V to play tunes from the real book at a jazz club probably isn't the best idea
  5. Smallmouth_Bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    It's a bass that works in so many styles. It does have a certain sound to it, but it can be adapted to fit most, if not all, types of music.
  6. thebassbuilder


    Mar 7, 2012
    Spartanburg SC
    guitar builder, Meyers Guitars

    These basses are great for everything out there. They can blend into the mix if needed or standout. They don't sound like a P or J but those will never sound like a Stingray. Hands down my favorite bass and wish I would have never sold mine.
  7. Doctor J

    Doctor J

    Dec 23, 2005
    Just like a Precision, any limitations are in the hands of the player.
  8. I am a firm believer that it is not the bass that gets the tone but rather the player...
    EXCEPT for stingrays. Every time I pick one up they all have the exact tone and they are difficult to manipulate. I love the looks and layout of them but just can't get beyond the tone.
    Not my cup of tea. :rollno:
  9. Smallmouth_Bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    I think the Stingray and Stingray 5 are as universally accepted in all situations as a P or Jazz Bass.
  10. I have used my Ray for everything from Motown to 80s to Indie to British Invasion--and even some jazz. I find it is very string sensitive ( I prefer DR Black Beauties) and the controls have to be spun a little further to get the tone you want. For most applications I set everything at flat and take off a tad treble and add a tad bass with midrange EQ'd from the amp. Add some compression, and it's a beautiful thing!
  11. Oh absolutely, I play a lot of Death Metal as well as Jazz, and I'd be proud to headbang with my stingray any day of the week.
  12. I think it's no less diverse than a Rickenbacker. While I love the Ric sound, in all the demos I've seen it always has that trebley, Chris Squire bite. But then again, I haven't had the privelidge to play one, so I can't say for certain
  13. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Lots of different sounds can be had from a Ric.
  14. InternetAlias


    Dec 16, 2010
    I think the greatest problem with one pickup Rays is that you can manipulate the EQ curve to death and it will still sound great, BUT you can't manipulate the voicing much (parallel/series switch doesn't cut it IMO). I think that's why some people perceive them as one trick ponies, because they have one voicing built in. However, then it is hypocritical that people can dis a ray and praise a P, for the same reason while there's that one aspect they're basically the same in - they truly have only one voicing built in. (two in case of tappable coil rays, which many people forget!). A jazz bass (specially 70s ones) have REALLY different voicings on their neck vs bridge pickups so that might be what people would refer to as 'versatility', but it's really a sound you either love or hate. I don't like the neck jazz pickup, I really LOVE the 70s bridge solod, and I like them combined. But even after all those years, it is still somewhat of a 'niche' sound compared to many different and more versatile designs. Don't even get me started on quality PJs (ones with a tapped humbucker in bridge position).

    On the other hand, there are people who have never played a ray and dis it because many others like rays over some other bass, those people should be jailed. Rays simply work because they have that one signature sound that you can 'cut to taste' with an EQ and it will fit practically anything. It's like chocolate; if you want to add something to a sweet but don't wanna go wrong, just use chocolate, majority of people like it and it is proven to work. The point of the 'sweet spot' on a ray is, in fact, to create the most versatile and useful frequency spectrum possible, not that ONE, SINGLE sound that always sounds the same.
    kkaarrll likes this.
  15. Stone Soup

    Stone Soup

    Dec 3, 2012
    I've owned a Stingray 5 H, for several years. It's a wonderful instrument that will fit every style, with a bit of EQ adjustment, as InternetAlias stated. It will never sound like a Fender. If you're looking for the Fender sound, pass them by. I keep a P-Bass and a couple J-Basses, as well. Right now, I play the Stingray 5 more, by far.
  16. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Pretty much, yes.
  17. lpdeluxe

    lpdeluxe Still rockin'

    Nov 22, 2004
    Deep E Texas
    I've been playing Precisions for a few years now, and love the sound and presence I get out of it. I have an SR5 on loan from a friend right now (if I like it, I'll buy it) and I'm anxious to hear what it does. Another friend had a Fender-era SR4 some years ago, and that really did seem to have a limited range. I'll see how it goes.

    The one in my living room has EB Regular Slinkies, while all of my Ps wear TI Jazz Flats. Anyone here have any experience with those strings on a 'Ray?
  18. Sort of, but less so than Precision basses. All basses have limitations and some degree of versatility, but the biggest variable is the technique of the player and their musical knowledge. That will affect what comes out of the amp so much more that I wouldn't ever advise that someone turn down an instrument based on its limitations, and instead get whatever they're most comfortable on. That way they can focus better on expanding their own capabilities.
  19. bass4u

    bass4u Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2007
    I have a 82 Stingray 4 string that can sound like a lot of different basses, but in my opinion no other bass I've ever played
    or owned can sound quite like a Stingray.
  20. Pretty much it isn't a one trick pony - watch Ed Friedland's demonstration of a Classic Stingray to see this is fact (and that only has a 2 band EQ).

    The coil selection, and series/parallel, combined with the 3 band EQ make for a range of tone from the bass - add to that the responsiveness to your fingers (and especially, in single H form, plucking position) and you have an exceptionally versatile instrument. It'll give you one of the best fingerstyle sounds around, one of the best slap sounds, and also one of the best pick style sounds, so there's three tricks straight off!!

    You can get these basses to thump well by plucking near the neck joint - add some flatwound strings and everything can go all vintage-like....add some EQ and you can get that treble back again.

    It's all in the fingers....and the bass! Congratulations on your bass - pictures would be nice !!
    kkaarrll likes this.

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