EBMM Sterling best slap tone?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by StuartV, Jul 5, 2013.

  1. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA
    I posted this in the Sterling Club, but haven't gotten any responses. Thought it might do better as its own thread anyway.

    I have a Sterling 5 H. I have absolutely no slap bass skills (and almost no bass skills of any kind, really). But, a friend was over the other day and trying out my Sterling. I like its tone best when in Series mode, so I always play it like that. But, my friend was playing it and plays slap very well. I have read here on TB many times that a scooped tone seems to be preferred for slap. So, when he played slap on it, I switched it to Parallel mode and scooped the EQ a bit. The tone he was getting was as good a slap tone as I've ever heard come out of any bass. He switched it to Single Coil and then to Series. Parallel mode was definitely the best sounding for playing slap.

    My friend liked it so much, he said he was going to start looking for a Sterling (but a 4) for himself. He found a place with a 4 HS and asked me if it would have the same tone. I checked the schematics on the EBMM website and found that the Sterling HS and HH both do NOT have the same Parallel mode setting available in their switching options.

    The only Parallel setting on the HH is 1&3+2&4 (where & = Parallel and + = Series).

    The only Parallel setting on the HS is 1+3&2.

    In all cases, coils are numbered from bridge to neck. 1 is closest to the bridge. 4 is closest to the neck.

    This leads me to think that, at least to my and my friend's ears, neither the HS or the HH would sound as good for slap bass as the H model.

    OTOH, I realize that without trying those other models, there could be a setting on them that gives some similar sound - maybe even one that I/we would like even better.

    So, can anybody comment on how a Sterling HS or HH can compare to an H when used for slap bass in Parallel mode?

    Also, I guess pickup placement would also affect the sound. Does anybody know for sure if the H pickup placement is exactly the same as the bridge pickup placement on the HH and HS?

    Low84 likes this.
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Didn't do much better here. Sorry I got nothing for you, but I feel bad you didn't get any answers so here's a bump. Maybe the EBMM's own forum would be the place to ask?
  3. mb94952

    mb94952 Endorsing Artist : SFARZO STRINGS Inactive Supporting Member

    Sub'd !
    I am on the search for a Sterling, Stuart. Your bass not only looks like it was hand made by the Greek God, Apollo god of music, but it has the tone to match.

    I think I need the Sterling that does series / parallel. The series sounds like a jazz bass, so it can be very useful, and the parallel is god like tone...

    So does anybody have an answer to the OP question ????
  4. Needenaneden


    Feb 22, 2011
    I have a Sterling. The build quality is awesome on it and I love the feel of it. It's tone is unique to it's self but it doesn't sound like a Jazz or a Precision. ...and I don't slap...or really like listening to slap, so I can't comment on that. Lol
  5. mb94952

    mb94952 Endorsing Artist : SFARZO STRINGS Inactive Supporting Member

    Well, Stu, I just bought the black SB14 you told me about :D

    I will have it by this time next week. Me excited.
  6. inthebassclef

    inthebassclef Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2012
    here is actually a link to a fantastic video reviewing the HH model of a 5 string by the ed friedland:

    As far as I know on the HS and HH models you can get the exact tone that the four sting gives you when the switch is in the 1st position. However, it does not switch the wiring on the bass as far as series or parallel. The switch simply switches between what coil you are using. Where as the single H model the switch does the following:

    Attached Files:

  7. inthebassclef

    inthebassclef Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2012
    additionally found these two schematics on the EB site. Hope this helps.

    Attached Files:

  8. mb94952

    mb94952 Endorsing Artist : SFARZO STRINGS Inactive Supporting Member

    Awesome, thanks Clef ! THAT's the answer I've been seeking. BTW, I love Ed Friedland.
    Question 2 - Are the preamps on the Indonesian versions the same as USA versions ?
  9. laneline

    laneline Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2006
    North Jersey
    Question 2 - Are the preamps on the Indonesian versions the same as USA versions ?[/SIZE][/QUOTE]

    They developed the whole line with the help of Dudley Gimpel, MM's Designer, Luthier and Head of Engineering.
    The inside cover of the SBMM catalog's last sentence is:
    " From the the bass pickups and preamps to the body shapes, everything is as close to the originals as possible."

    I A/B'd my Ray 35 to my SR5 HH bridge to bridge and was
    blown away by how similar they sounded.
  10. mb94952

    mb94952 Endorsing Artist : SFARZO STRINGS Inactive Supporting Member

    Thanks !!

    So for the sake of argument, would a USA preamp fit ? Are they interchangeable ?
  11. laneline

    laneline Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2006
    North Jersey
    I would think a US pre amp would fit perfectly, but ask Brian
    of SBMM to be sure. I was just on the SBMM site and noticed
    this paragraph on the Ray 35 section which is a bit confusing
    compared to the liner info in the catalog, so I guess a little
    clarification is needed. Again this pertains to a Ray 35 the SB14 just says "active 3 band preamp". I'm going to ask
    Brain for some help on the SBMM thread.

    "The Music Man® designed humbucker, equipped with Alnico magnets is paired with the award winning Music Man® 3-band active preamp. Onboard controls for volume, bass, mid and treble. "
  12. mb94952

    mb94952 Endorsing Artist : SFARZO STRINGS Inactive Supporting Member

    I am asking particularly about the SB 14.
  13. inthebassclef

    inthebassclef Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2012
    I wish i could help on the pre amp thing but i simply dont know. Im so glad others have jumped in too. This is a great example of how TB is a wonderful community.
  14. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA
    You totally lost me. The switching on EBMM Sterling basses is identical between 4 and 5 strings of the same pickup configuration. So, I really don't understand the first sentence in what I quoted.

    On the HH and HS models, there is a 5 way switch which absolutely does switch between what coils are in use and whether they're in Series, Parallel, or some combination of the two.

    The H model has a 3 way switch and switches between Series, Parallel, and Single Coil modes.

    As I said in my OP, the H model Parallel mode (which is coils 1 and 2, in parallel) is what gives the best slap tone (on an H model, anyway). And neither the HS or HH has a switch setting that gives just coils 1 and 2 in parallel.

    So the question remains, what is the best setting for slap tone on an HS or HH, and how does it sound compared to the H in Parallel?
  15. inthebassclef

    inthebassclef Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2012
    I am sorry if that was confusing. Yes the four string HH and HS models are exactly the same as the five strings as far as the switch.
    The major difference is between the single H and the others.

    To my ears here is the big differences

    for the single h model:
    position 1: classic musicman sound very good for slap
    position 2: single coil and phantom coil best analogy I can give is 60's jazz bass bridge position sound but to me it just sounds empty
    position 3: musicman sound with more output and gritter sounding.

    for the HH model
    position 1: exactly the same as the single H model
    position 2: coil 1 + 4 to me not very good for slap, sounds empty
    position 3: All four coils, I personally don't like that sound for slap at all. Very thumpy. Very good for palm muting and old school motown - this is the only parallel series for this configuration. All other position are series.
    position 4: coils 2 + 3 same situation IMO as position 2 for slap
    position 5: coils 3 + 4 very bassy, think bridge pickup on a Rick, of not exactly like a Rick but just a rough comparision. Not very good for slap IMO because it is too bassy for slap.

    HS model:
    position 1: exactly the same as all the others
    position 2: exactly the same as position 2 on the single H model
    position 3: 1 + 3 in series and coil 2 in parallel Will give you a similiar sound to the HH position 2 but the parallel of 2 gives it more presence. More bass really. So so great IMO for slap. This position sounds really nice for regular finger style
    position 4: is the same as the HH model. Empty for slap
    position 5: coil 3 and phantom coil - very bassy awesome tone for jazz and a melodic line but not for slap

    So i guess IMO the short answer to this very long answer is I like position 1 on all the pickup configurations for slap. It gives you that classic musicman sound that begs to be slapped. I don't think the multiple pickup configurations add anything slap wise, now they do add tonal options for other styles of music that sound really good on those bass.

    Also as a side note I have know people that say the HH model is tight for slapping because the second humbucker is where some people "pop" when they slap, but that is a matter of comfort individually

    I hope this helps and is the information you are looking for. The best thing I can say is if you have a GC or Sam Ash simply go with your friend and play around with all the configurations. GC usually has a good selection of MM bases.
  16. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    The dial pickup models don't have the classic parallel tone, just the series setting from the H. Such a mistake. IMHO, the H is the only way to fly. The other tones on the HS and HH are not all that useful, and you miss out on the best sound EBMM has to offer. If you need a neck pickup sound, get a P Bass to go with your punchy/shiny musicman H.
    Low84 likes this.
  17. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA
    @inthebassclef: you're really confusing me, now. You said Position 1 is the same between all 3 models. But, according to the schematics, Position 1 on the HS and HH is identical to Position 3 on the H.

    You also said that Position 1 on the HS and HH is the best for slap. I am prepared to take your word for that. But then, that tells me that my original hypothesis is correct. The HS and HH don't offer a setting that gives as good slap sound as what the H has, because I think Position 1 on the H sounds better for slap than Position 3. Way better.

    @pickles: Thanks! You confirmed exactly what I suspected.
  18. mb94952

    mb94952 Endorsing Artist : SFARZO STRINGS Inactive Supporting Member

    Thanks Stuart for starting this thread. Talkbass Rules !

    There is a lot of good information here, BUT/AND I am glad I made the decision to get the standard single H model Sterling SB 14 to start out with. It has the same wiring as your USA Sterling does, and to me, your 2008 Limited Edition Sterling is an end all, be all bass. It is "bassically" perfect.

    If I decide that I am in love with it and can't live without it, then I will decide to move up to a USA model, but for now an SB 14 makes financial sense, and considering that it's a $975 msrp bass, this is well above the SUB entry level, so I am still getting a pro bass at a "let me try it first" budget of around $500 at the end of the day, as you know for our conversations.

    I DO like the idea of the HS and having a jazz bass ability, and the HH sounds useless to me for a lack of better words. I have my Peavey Cirrus for the dual humbuckers, and all it does.

    The Sterling H did all the sounds I desired and in my opinion parallel (which I don't know if it's position 1 or 3 depending on which direction you look at it ) has THE slap tone, and the series has a Fender jazz bass tone (at least in the mix it will qualify as one ) so again, I think the Sterling H is the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" bass.

    Plus, I think the Sterling is just a more versatile bass than a Stingray and with the smaller, lighter body, it's gig friendly, too which is huge to me.

    So @ inthebassclef - Not that it is a big deal, but is your reference to position #1 and so on starting left and going right as you look down ? (to keep the OP in line)

  19. mb94952

    mb94952 Endorsing Artist : SFARZO STRINGS Inactive Supporting Member

    All in all, I think this simple, elegant paragraph explains it nicely based on the collective knowledge so far. It also seems that EBMM put in two HH just for looks or to have another model to sell with out thinking it through. Like you said, the single H is the way to fly.
  20. If you want a Sterling, they sound better in series. Get a HS...best of all worlds plus the single coil options.

    If you want the traditional parallel/alnico, get a Ray.