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Dramatic Stingray Modification

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by tanuki, Jun 22, 2005.

  1. tanuki

    tanuki Bass Minotaur

    Dec 13, 2004
    bristol, england
    i know im going to get shouted at for this but i got a stingray 4 frettless, i love the feal but hate the sound, i wanted something warmer and thought about removing the preamp and trying to make the bass passive.. get away from the preciseness of the mm sound maybe i have to change the pickup., make it PJ combination..

    im not sure how this will work out and cant find any posts about it so...

    Has anyone any experiance or information that may help me?
  2. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    DFW, Texas
    I don't care for the sound of my SR5 playing in my house, but I'm learned to love it because of the way it sounds with a band.

    I've heard the MM preamp is a big part of the sound, so I don't know how it would sound passive.

    You'd think if it sounded decent passive, they would have added an active/passive switch.
  3. tanuki

    tanuki Bass Minotaur

    Dec 13, 2004
    bristol, england
    yeah, i know, its really come down to me either selling it or considering it a blank canvas tho..

    active basses just dont do it for me, i heard something i didnt like that is inherant to the stingray sound and now i cant stop hearing it!

    If i removed the mm pickup and installed a thunderbird pup in the mm hole and a p bass pickup further up

    maybe it would be sweet..
  4. Mobay45

    Mobay45 The artist formerly known as "Big Daddy"

    Apr 28, 2004
    Irving, TX
    If I wanted the P/J sound, I would sell the Stingray and buy a Fender Hot Rodded P bass with a fretless neck. I would think that a good used Stingray would bring more than enough to cover the cost. Once it's modified the value goes down the drain though. Just my $.02.
  5. thisSNsucks

    thisSNsucks Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Yonkers, NY
    I wouldnt bother putting that much time, effort, and not to mention money, into doing all that to a stingray. If you're unhappy with the sound and want a passive bass then sell it or trade it for a passive bass you like.
  6. superfly


    Aug 4, 2004
    I had the same "problem" with my Sterling. I loved the bass, feel looks etc but active basses just don't get me that warm vintagey sound. So I sold it and got myself a NOS 98 Fender American P bass. Theres no subbing for a passive bass in my book.
    I would suggest you do the same. Sell the bass and find somthing passive that will suit your taste.
  7. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private residence...man

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    I played an old (mid-70s) Stingray that had been de-fretted and switched to a PJ combination several years ago.

    Not sure if they switched out the preamp or not, but I know that the "wah" factor was not there.
  8. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    Changing the pickup would be an easier and cheaper way to experiment with changing the sound. It's easily reversible and non-permanent, you can buy pickups cheap secondhand and sell them for little loss if you don't like them, and even keep the original to restore the bass before selling it later.

    Go to the pickups forum and search forTBer luknfur's Dimento's MM test thread where he experiments with a whole lot of different models.

    With that suggestion, I have no idea how it would sound
  9. notduane


    Nov 24, 2000
    I do know that a Seymour Duncan SMB-4d works fine in passive mode

    I don't have a Stingray, but an Ampeg AMB-1 which uses the SMB-4d
    passively with a series/parallel switch, vol, and tone

    I was concerned that without the preamp, the output would be weak

    Wrong! The AMB-1 is a shortscale; I tried it with GHS 3020 Precision
    flats and DR SNMR-45 Sunbeams and with either, it freakin' roars :D

    I've got a Kent Armstrong (blade style) MM p'up ready to drop in...
    soon as I get some free time :rolleyes:
  10. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    The Nordstrand MM pickups work great in passive mode. I agree with the above poster.. don't route your body out or anything. Just bypass the preamp and try a different MM-size pickup before you get wild.
  11. dooft11

    dooft11 Supporting Member

    Dec 30, 2003
    i totally agree that the EB bass is never the bess solo sounding bass, but it blend so well in a band.
    I did see some japanese friend had done some mod to the SW4, which they changed the pickup to Aero and added the passive/active switch, changed the pre to Fodera(where the hell they get hold to those pre??) and added a coil tap switch. they didnt route anything out of the body but what they added was two little holes on the steel plate.. i think that is pretty cool. Also, you probably wont go wrong with Nordy Pup, and you can have a lot of wiring option to it.

    However, to me, my SW is going into her 10th years..so i decide to keep everything original and it will turn vintage sometimes later
  12. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I would sooner sell the bass and buy something else rather than mod it. A pickup mod is easy and reversible, but that sound is always going to be in the bass because:

    1. That's the way MusicMan basses sound.
    2. The pickup hasn't been moved.

    I think you just bought a bass that you don't dig. Buy something else.
  13. IMO, don't chop up a bass someone else could enjoy for a nice "used" price.

    Instead, go get a new body routed from Warmoth. Yes pricey, but if the pickup combo you mentioned is what you think will make you happy, I advise you to start fresh, with a new body, and not "destroy" a perfectly good bass for no reason.

    Plus, if you decide you don't like the pickup combo, you can sell it on the 'bay, or here for more money. I think that a buyer would be more attracted to a new body, routed to purpose, than an old body, "customized" to purpose...

    ...Just my two cents though.
  14. 73jbass

    73jbass Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2004
    Replace the pickup with an Alnico Magnet version by one of the aftermarket makers.I have a Seymour Duncan Alnico on one of my Sterlings and on a custom 5 stringer. The 5 string can be played passive, and it sounds great. the SD alnicos seem to be a bit hotter than the stock pickup,and it sounds more like a vintage Stingray.Definitely warmer.Just my $.02 worth.
  15. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    Four string Stingrays already have an alnico pickup.

    It's Stingray 5s (most of them anyway, early ones were alnico) and Sterlings that have ceramic pickups.
  16. SamHD


    Nov 22, 2004
    It's that "chirp", isn't it....?

    I have a Stingray 4, and I hate that too. It does however, like many have already mentioned, sound good in a band setting.

    When I practice/play alone, I just turn the highs down all the way, and the chirp is gone.

    I did pick up a passive P-J fender, and man... I love it and haven't touched my Singray in a few weeks!

    Not sure I want to get rid of it becuase the two basses I have, sound a lot different and each gives me a different "attitude" when I play.

    My opinion is very similar to what everyone else is saying here. Don't waste your time and money modding it. Find something else, and either trade or sell that one... If you can afford it, then keep it and try it in different settings. You might change your mind about it later on.
  17. tanuki

    tanuki Bass Minotaur

    Dec 13, 2004
    bristol, england
    thanks for your help so far,

    yeah, i dont really want to butcher, its a bass that served me well, i bought it before a lot of touring so got to know the bass live, its an old friend, i know what you all mean about it sounding so good with a band i think the stingray forces sound in that mid that we dont put in ourselves cos it sounds wierd..

    there again the fretless used to be the thing i played at home all the time as its the more fun and "solo instrument" thing to play, i guess i am just missing that natural warmth and finding the stringray more clinical.... i used to a/b the MM with a sterling fretted live, i guess the problem came when i bought a '73 pbass, the sterling didnt stand a chance..

    now i have the same p bass plus another with 64 body and a jazz neck and a 1971 eb3 (i swaped the sterling for this one)

    now when i plug in the MM fretless it sounds like a big plastic bass...damn, cos it is a really nice bass

    what fretess would people suggest???
  18. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    Yep, see if it works when you take the battery out. Voila, instant passive SR.
  19. tanuki

    tanuki Bass Minotaur

    Dec 13, 2004
    bristol, england
    hmm, it is a 3 band but it doesnt really work without the battery


  20. I suggest Carvin. Fantastic fretless basses IMO. I own 2.


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