EBMM Stingray vs. Sterling

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by strost, Dec 1, 2010.

  1. strost


    Oct 2, 2008
    Blacksburg, VA
    Hey all. I am sure this has been asked and answered 20 times already but I couldn't find the answer. What, aside from the size of the body, is the difference between a EBMM Stingray and EBMM Sterling (not the Sterling "Rays")?

    I played both and preferred the Sterling but I can't say why.

    If you can point me to an existing thread, that'd be fine too.

  2. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    Nut width is bit wider on the 'Rays.
  3. elskeetro


    Nov 22, 2010
    Buffalo NY
    Sterling every day of the week.

    I've had mine for over 10 years and couldn't be happier.

    Thinner, faster neck, smaller body, wider range of tones, and now that they have the HH and HS models...outta sight.

    for the neck alone...Sterling.

  4. FromTheBassMent

    FromTheBassMent Those who can, play bass. Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2010
    Warren, RI
    The neck profiles are slightly different on the 4-string models (I believe they're identical on the 5's, or at least they feel so to me). They feel differently ergonomically when you're playing standing up, but I can't say I prefer one over the other. Sterlings tend to be lighter, but this is not always true (there are some boat-anchor Sterlings out there too).

    For me, the sound differences are noticable. The pickups coils are wired differently (series on the Sterling, parallel on the 'Ray), and to my ears this gives the Sterlings a more aggressive low-midrange and slightly brighter high end. I would hardly call the 'Ray a subtle sounding bass, but dang, the Sterling is a buzzsaw that can truly cut through the most cluttered mix.

    Fit, finish, overall quality on both is some of the best in the bass world, possibly the best you're going to get from a mass-produced factory instrument.
  5. I'm scared to try a sterling because I just fell in love with 'Rays and would hate to find out there is something even better for me (thinner neck, smaller body).
  6. Ya, Sterlings are smaller, lighter, and have a thinner jazz style neck. I am a Sterling man and gig a Sterling about 4 days a week. I can get any tone I want from a Sterling. They also have a a 3 way switch that runs the pickup in Series, Single Coil, or Parallel modes. Series is aggressive sounding while parallel scoops the mids.
  7. In addition to what's already been said, as pertains to current product:

    Sterling/Classic Sterling: ceramic pickups magnets
    Stingray/Classing Stingray: alnico pickups magnets

    The 'Ray can be had with the Sterling neck, with the SLO neck option. At least that used to be the case...may have changed.
  8. ezstep


    Nov 25, 2004
    north Louisiana
    A slimmer neck is not always preferable. I have big hands, and one of my favorite necks was an old Fender P. My favorite newer neck is the MTD, asymetrical neck. Wider, slightly "chunky," and it sorta forces you to use proper fingering technique. After a four hour gig with the MTD, my hand is fine, not tired, and ready for a few more hours.

    Your choice, and YMMV.
  9. BigOldHarry


    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA

    Different P'up, different electronics, different neck, different body. I've owned both, and I still miss my single-p'up sterling.
  10. spufman


    Feb 7, 2005
    Central CT
    The contoured heel on the Sterling is a thing of beauty to hold and behold. Sterling ergonomics are perfect for me. Stingrays are great but feel bulky. Both are equally well built and sound fantastic.
  11. Caca de Kick

    Caca de Kick Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    Except every guy I've seen looks funny playing the Sterling because the body is so small it looks tiny on guys, looks like a guitar.

    I'm a Stingray guy.

    In the past, the neck widths were different. 1-1/2" vs 1-5/8". But you can now get the 1-1/2" neck on a Ray too.
  12. strost


    Oct 2, 2008
    Blacksburg, VA
    Thanks all - some great stuff here!

    Can you describe the sound difference between the pickups?

    The Sterling definitely did fell better for me - probably because I'm used to a Fender Jazz neck. I loved the classic but can't find 'em used and new they are too much.
  13. I read a thread a couple of weeks ago that had a Seymour Duncan link that had audio samples of the differences. I'm sure somebody on here will post the link, or search the SD site.
  14. Any idea where? I'm looking at getting a Sterling, but if there's a ray with a thinner neck maybe I'll look at that too. Problem is there's nothing around here.
  15. Gasman

    Gasman Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2007
    South Carolina

    Bass Central has them. They're called SLO stingrays.
  16. Jimmy Stump

    Jimmy Stump

    Jan 27, 2010
    Hmm, maybe why I like mine so much. I'm 5 foot 9, and my Sterling feels great. That aside, as other posters have said, the neck on the Sterling is the best I've ever played. Fit and finish justify the cost of these instruments.

    To the OP, EBMM Sterlings and Stingrays both sound great, pick the one that feels best to you.
  17. crispygoat

    crispygoat Guest

    Aug 22, 2006
    London, Ontario
    I went to my local music store last week to A/B Stingrays and Sterlings. As others have said, the Sterling has a smaller body, and Jazz-like neck (more comfortable in my opinion) while the Stingray has a bigger body, and P-like neck. I also thought that when putting the Sterling on Parallel mode, cutting the mids, boosting the bass, and slightly boosting the treble, it sounded quite similar to the Stingray. That is using the Sterling straight through the mbox and into Pro Tools without any analogue or digital amp/pre amps (other than the one in the Sterling). Then again, that is in my opinion, for there are guys here who claim they can tell the tonal difference between the exact same bass with and without the pick guard. :bag:

    I would also advise you to try the HH/HS/H. I personally didn't like the HH at all.

    I purchased the Sterling and am quite happy, although I am GASing for a Pre-EB Stingray :rollno:
    my man pookie likes this.
  18. lowfreqgeek


    Mar 15, 2010
    Albuquerque, NM
    Endorsing Artist: Regenerate Guitar Works, Honey Badger Pickups, Westone Audio
    Let's talk 5's for a minute...

    How would an SR5 w/ceramic pickup compare to a Sterling 5, all else being equal? Are the preamps the same? I have and like an SR5, but find the Sterling 5 to be a very cool bass. Perhaps I need one of each... Or would they be tonally redundant?

    Maybe a fretless Sterling 5 would solve that.
  19. Nutz4Bass


    Jan 30, 2011
    I've been reading about the differences in neck size, body, pup's, and electronics as it relates to the stingray 5 and sterling 5. I think I get it!!! However, I'm not reading alot about the difference in 'playability' .

    I agree that personal preference is most always going to be the deciding factor when choosing an instrument (e.g. size, color, tone). However, there should be some agreement with EBMM owners as to which plays 'easier', more comfortably. I've watched some Ed Friedland (you tube) videos where he's demo'ing / playing stingray 5's and sterling 5's. To me, it sure looks like he's laboring a bit when playing stingray 5's. On the other hand, he looks and sounds much more comfy, smooth, fluid when playing the sterling 5. Does anybody agree?

    As ezstep put it, the wider (MTD), 'slightly chunky' neck forces you to use proper fingering technique. Maybe the wider neck of the stingray 5 makes it more difficult to play when compared to the narrower sterling 5. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with using proper fingering technique but cant you also use good technique on a narrower neck while enjoying easier/better/faster playability. If so, I think I'm signing up for a Sterling 5.
  20. madbassplaya


    Dec 28, 2007
    Agreed. They are too damn small!