Confused by ALL the Stingray models!! Guidance?!?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by JimFog, Jul 15, 2013.

  1. JimFog

    JimFog Supporting Member

    Sep 8, 2000
    Phila, Pa

    I've been interested in picking up a Stingray for years now, but never pulled the trigger. Lately, what's daunting me is all the options and models available out.

    I know there's a TON of info here on TB, but it's all over the place. Ray fans, I'd love a rundown of the current and recent models, with any advice or comments you'd like to add.

    Assume I know NOTHING.

    Assume 4 string only, for now.

  2. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    I really like the neck on a stingray.
  3. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    I like the Classic series best though I haven't extensively compared the entire lineup. For me I seem to be able to get more traditional sounds with it over the others. Crank the treble and you can get the "Stingray" sound if you want.
  4. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    OK, I'm sure somebody who knows more than me will chime in, but here it is as I understand it.
    Classic = 2 band EQ (bass and treble)
    Anything not a classic today has a 3 band EQ (bass, MID and treble)
    They are available with just the one humbucker at the bridge, two humbuckers (one at the neck), or a humbucker at the bridge and a single at the neck.
    If I am not mistaken, the classic is only available with the one humbucker at the bridge.

    Again, somebody may swing by and correct me on this, but I think that covers some of the options.
  5. jlepre


    Nov 12, 2007
    Cedar Knolls, NJ
  6. 68Goldfish

    68Goldfish Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2006
    Port Orchard WA
    Don't forget the Slo special which is a stingray with a jazz sized neck instead of the more traditional P sized neck. Then theres just vaious special models that have unique colors and wood choices.
  7. eyeballkid


    Jul 19, 2009
    basically of the US made models you have this:

    the Standard 4H- one humbucker, usually has a three band EQ, but can come with the 2 band as a special order, and can even have a Piezo factory installed.. (these have 5 knobs). The neck is about the standard Pbass size with a oiled finish. Body has contouring at the belly and arm relief. It can come as the "SLO" special which is exactly as the standard model but with a Sterling profile neck, ie... jazz width.

    The 4 HH.. same as above but with two humbuckers and a five way switch that lets you choose between rear humbucker, outer coils, all coils, inner coils and front humbucker.

    Classic 4 H.. 2 band eq, no body contours, string thru bridge with mutes, beauteous!!
  8. JimFog

    JimFog Supporting Member

    Sep 8, 2000
    Phila, Pa
    Ok.....starting to make sense.

    And a Sterling Ray34 would basically be the same as a standard 4H (without the options), but built overseas?
  9. JimFog

    JimFog Supporting Member

    Sep 8, 2000
    Phila, Pa
    Finally......tonal differences between the H vs HH.....and the 2 band vs 3 band EQ??

    This great, guys.....thanks!!
  10. uOpt


    Jul 21, 2008
    Boston, MA, USA
    IIRC the HH doesn't have a pickup right where the H pickup is (at least the bongo doesn't).

    The 3 band EQ is useful. Of course it doesn't do anything when on neutral.

    Honestly, any US made full-size 4H SR from the last 20 years will do if you want *the* Stingray sound. Some classics are very heavy, the ash models might be a bit better buy when buying used blind. 5-string models are also usually heavy.
  11. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    2 band vs 3 band = the 3 has a mid control. It isn't going to change the inherent tone of the instrument, just allow you to dial in more/less mids.

    the neck pickup is going to be more "boomy". And that is because of its position and physics. It is the same pickup IIRC as the bridge one. It will allow you more tonal options. The way over simplified version is that the neck will be fatter and the bridge will be brighter.
  12. eyeballkid


    Jul 19, 2009
    sterling ray's are the overseas models, correct.

    the H is a classic stingray sound, and SOME say that ONLY the 2 band is the classic sound, but I find I can get a 2 band sound with the 3 band, but cant get a 3 band sound with the 2 band if you follow me..

    the HH can do the H sound plus a convincing Pbass tone, Jazz bass tone, a scooped funk/rock tone, and a more agressive H- tone and thats just with the EQ flat. Ive had plenty of HH's, but prefer the original single H as I find that while the HH is more versatile, very little of it is tones I would want.
  13. Epitaph04

    Epitaph04 Always overcompensating Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2010
    Play every EBMM bass guitar you can find at GC/SamAsh/whatever, then take home the one you like the best, regardless of price or model. : D
  14. eyeballkid


    Jul 19, 2009
    NOW... to make it a little more confusing..
    there is the US made S.U.B. series that is long discontinued..
    these are NOT to be confused with, but EASILY can be confused due to the name, with the Sterling by Musicman SUBS available new today.

    the US MADE SUBs are 2 band, no contour, single H stingrays with a rhino liner style finish and come with a stock diamond plate pickguard and THEY RULE! Basically they were a US made Stingray with a cheap, durable finish for half the price.
  15. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA
    Also, the Classic basses have a gloss finished neck, I believe, where the regular models have an oil-and-wax finish on the neck.

    The Classic basses are beautiful, but I would always (personally) buy one with the oil-and-wax finished neck. I love that "bare wood" feel and I hate the "stickiness" of a gloss finished neck.


    Ernie Ball Music Man (EBMM) makes the Stingray (and the Big Al, Bongo, etc) and the Sterling bass.

    Sterling by Music Man (SBMM) is a separate company that makes the Ray (in different flavors) and the SB-14.

    The SBMM Ray basses are their less expensive versions of the various EBMM Stingray basses. The SBMM SB-14 is the less expensive version of the EBMM Sterling.

    The big difference between the current Stingray and Sterling is that the Stingray has an alnico pickup and the Sterling has a ceramic pickup. Also, the single pickup Stingray (aka the H) has no switching - the coils are wired in Parallel. The single pickup Sterling has 3-way switching - Parallel, Series, and Single Coil.

    Personally, I strongly prefer the sound of the ceramic magnet pickups. Which, incidentally, are what was also used in the Stingray 5, up until 2008. So, if you have heard a Stingray that you like, and it was a pre-2008 5-string, then you were actually hearing the ceramic pickups - in which case, your only modern choice is a Sterling, to get that sound.

    Anyway, the point of that was, if you go for a H (single pickup), then you should at least have a try with a Sterling. The Sterling H will do the Parallel mode sound that is the Stingray's only option, plus the Sterling H will do Series mode, which is huge and fat in the midrange compared to Parallel mode.
  16. JimFog

    JimFog Supporting Member

    Sep 8, 2000
    Phila, Pa
    Excellent!! Thanks so much.

    I may try picking up a decent used Ray34 as a gateway drug, and if I dig it, decide between a Classic or Standard 4H, as an upgrade.
  17. uOpt


    Jul 21, 2008
    Boston, MA, USA
    Hmm, pretty sure that vanilla 4H (non-classic) also had ceramic for a long time. My 2000 has one.

    Honestly - used vanilla 4Hs are so cheap I wouldn't bother with imports. All you do is lose a bunch of money on the resell.
  18. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    To make it worse, There are SLO SUB's and S.U.B.'s
    Like the Fender Hwy 1's and the Highway One's there are subtle difference.
    The main ones were compensated nut and a flat black pickguard instead of the dimond plate.
  19. I have two us subs... Same decals, same design, one has diamond plate, other has black pg, both apparently stock, and iirc neither has compensated nut.

    USA subs were weird wonderful things....
  20. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    I think only the last year came with the compensated nut.
    Mine has it and it came with the black PG.