Ernie Ball Musicman Owners

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by TGLbass, Sep 29, 2010.

  1. TGLbass


    Aug 20, 2010
    I own 2 EBMM's-- 06 Sterling HH 4 ASH and an 05 Stingray H 5. I recently traded an 06 Stingray HH 4 for the 05 - 5.
    I'm wondering what you guys think of the Balls? I've always played J's and P's and even though I like the MM's, I'm just not sure quite how I'm getting along with them.

    I'm new to the Balls and I don't know any hot rodding/ mod tricks for them. I usually don't like active basses but that is not a problem with these. I did have a problem with the G string on the 06 HH 4--( if anyone knows what I'm referring to--). I know they don't sound like Fenders so much but a blend knob might be nice. Maybe that can't be done with the set up on them though. So I'm hanging out here wondering. I don't know if there is a site that will give me the kind of info I want about them. I tried the MM site but-well I just was kind of turned off by it. I couldn't get much from there. Pity really.

    I guess I just want to get some "in general opinions". Do you like your MM's? What about sound mods that don't cost $300? Any tips on live sound? Anyone?:help: Thanks
  2. bunkaroo


    Apr 25, 2003
    I've played my '02 SR5 for eight years stock - sound great and it's my go-to bass. No mods needed IMO. The only mod I just did last night was a new pickguard. :)
  3. Pickebass

    Pickebass Supporting Member

    Jul 12, 2004
    San Antonio, TX
    I've owned a few Stingrays and go in and out of favor with them. It really depends on what you are doing. First of all the construction on these things are awesome! Just about everyone of these that I have seen has been a great instrument.

    Sonically, these things cut thru a mix great. To the point of being overkill in some musical situations. I've tried a few different pickup combinations but not the nordstrands.
    Overall, the electronics in these are great. Really one of the few basses that is almost a "leave as is" proposition. For me, the biggest difference was having one with a rosewood fingerboard which cut down the aggressiveness of the instrument. The maple boards IMO are too aggressive sounding for me.

    However, I did own a 77 Stingray that was perfect except it weighed around 13 pounds.
  4. syciprider

    syciprider Inactive

    May 27, 2005
    Inland Empire
    There's not a big modding cottage industry for EBMM (nor any other major maker save for Fender really) but some folks here like John East pres. I'm sure a blend isn't a stretch as long as you are willing to alter your bass as needed.

    You won't find too many Fender sounds in EBMM's products. The CEO's vision is to break the bass world away from the 1950s. IOW, he probably designs the newer models to NOT sound like a Fender. He also puts the multi pickup models in niches via features specific to every model:

    SR/Sterling : Coil selector

    Bongo : Blend

    Reflex/Big AL : Pick up selector

    So I guess your best bet for a blend will be DIY or a Bongo.
  5. FromTheBassMent

    FromTheBassMent Those who can, play bass.

    Jan 19, 2010
    Providence, RI
    I have settled on EBMMs as my gigging basses. I have a Sterling 5 HH and a Stingray Hp fretless.

    EBMMs do have a unique voice, but they're not the one-trick ponies they're accused of being (I play country/Americana, not slap!). I love the necks, I love the build quality, love the sound... so I'm happy.

    I'd never mod mine, because I chose them for the sound they came with out of the factory. I know there are replacement pickups for them, and you could stuff just about any preamp into one that you'd like. Just save the original electronics if you decide to go that way, as modded EBMMs are generally worthless on the resale market (fans tend to like them just the way Big Poppa builds them).
  6. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    I agree with the above as edited by me.
    I have a number of vintage P and J basses and have had an 83 ray for approx 25 years.

    * The Rays are all well made (including the Inodnesian Ray 34's)
    * They have a unique tone that is muscular and cuts but also solidly holds the foundation
    * They do not sound like a J or P but can be used for the same types of music
    * The only issue I have is inconsistent weight; some of these beasts are heavy; The Perfect Bass lists actual weights; last time I checked they had some Rays in the low 8lb range to well over 10 lbs; while the build quality is consistently great, the weight is all over the place and a heavy bass is a deal killer for me
    * Seems like the afterrmarket for most of the Ray parts (pups and pre's) is to recreate what Leo did originally; some here don't like the 3-band EQ; I haven't enough time on one to comment
    * The weak G (meaning tone not necessarily volume) seems to be inherent; the bass is so good I don't mind altering right hand position or amp settings to minimize this short coming
    * Love the 1 5/8" nut and flat neck on my 1983; makes a P feel like a baseball bat and a J feel too tiny (in my hands)
    * I don't care for the tone and comments on the EB site either
  7. stoolpigeon


    Dec 17, 2009
    Greenville SC
    Love ' two SR5's have been my main basses for 5 years now...I've owned just about everything in the past, but feel at home with these basses....increddibly well built for a stock bass...definitely the best value out there. IMO they are extremely versatile...I play everthing from Jazz to country to rock...the SR5's fit in everwhere...rock solid instruments.
  8. steamthief


    Jan 25, 2006
    Mentone Beach
    I own one, a 30th Anniversary SR4, and while it still hasn't bumped my Fender P/J as my #1, the more I play it, the closer it gets. I guess you can say I like it. :)

    One cheap mod, if you can call it that, is putting a set of flatwound strings on it. Lots of good comments on it, I'll give it a go once the rounds on my Ray go dead.
  9. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Inactive Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    These basses don't need any hot-rodding. Stock they are great.
  10. zenrad

    zenrad Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2009
    Bergen County, NJ
    Leo Fender designed the Stingray. HE wanted to take the bass to the "next level" and becasue of his hearing problems the basses ended up as bright sounding as they are.

    Sterling Ball helped design the Bongo. Up until that bass it's really all Leo, with a few variations (like the 'Ray 5 and Sterling in the 90's).
  11. This! :bassist:

    Modding an EBMM, Stingray specifically, seems to be hit or miss around here. Some people have changed pres\pickups and love it, some have done it or bought modded SR's and hated it.

    I like mine all stock thank you! :bassist:

    To the OP - I've owned a 2008 Stingray 4H and currently own a 2010 Classic Stingray 4H. I enjoy\enjoyed them both! My only tip is a little bit of EQ goes a long way! Unless the tone you want requires having the EQ dimed, then have at it! :bassist:
  12. rayzak


    Jan 13, 2001
    Louisville, KY
    Hmm, I did not know that. Very interesting....... if it's true:ninja:...:)
  13. Get a Bongo and you'll have your Blend knob. Personally I don't see any reason to mod a MM. They are top notch instruments straight from SLO.
  14. T. Alan Smith

    T. Alan Smith Guest

    Sep 9, 2001
    The biggest tip I would share is to NOT mod it. I have 3 EBMMs and love them all. In all honesty, I do plan on selling my 'Ray 5H someday, as I do live looping and have my sights set on a 'Ray 5HSP model that would fit my situation better. My other 2 will be buried w/me. They are easily my favorite bass guitars in the world.
  15. spufman


    Feb 7, 2005
    Central CT
    I have 3 early Sterlings (rosewood, maple, fretless) and love 'em. The design, materials and construction of these is pretty much perfect in my view. Everything about them feels just right and I can definitely get solid working tones out of them, all stock. The only others in my collection that temp me from the Sterlings are my G&L SB-2s which share the material and construction superlatives but are not nearly as comfortable to play (necks are great and they sound killer, though). The Sterlings sit just right with my body and really make me smile.
  16. rpm750


    Sep 21, 2010
    Newnan, Ga
    I have an '06 Sterling SH Ash/Maple. Plays like Butta and the electronics that drive all 5 tones is awesome. It's my work horse!

  17. syciprider

    syciprider Inactive

    May 27, 2005
    Inland Empire
    The only Leo design in the present line up is the Stingray 4 (and only the two band one pup model). The rest is EBMM/Dudley/Sterling Ball.
  18. Can you give us a little more detail on what your dissatisfaction is? It could be a setup issue, including strings. To get the sound I love out of mine I had to switch from DRs to the Ernie Ball strings, and also I keep my pickup VERY low (far from the strings). When the pickup is raised higher the bass gets very boomy and harsh. Set lower I can really dig in and the bass sings.

    Also you could experiment with what EQ settings you are using, as I find eq-ing a Jazz bass is much different than with the Stingray.
  19. As someone who really "resisted the hype" for a long time, I'll have to say that these are really good instruments. The quality is consistently high and their customer service is excellent.

    EBMM's have a signature tone that is somewhat unique to the brand and is present across the product line in some degree or anther. Some folks will tell you that this tone is so prevelant that the bass is a "one trick pony" and only good for this or that kind of music.

    I disagree for a few reasons:

    1) Every EBMM has a pretty powerful preamp that lets you do some aggressive tone-shaping.

    2) While the EBMM signature tone can sound a trifle bit clanky at times when played alone, it sits in a mix EXTREMELY well -- in all kinds of music. It flat-out works.

    3) EBMM offers some of most varied electronics choices available in bass-dom right now ... H, HH, HS, HSS, SSS, Hp, HHp, HSp. You can also get EBMM's with 2-band, 3-band, or 4-band preamps and most have a series/parallel option as well as active/passive switches. And they all work as advertised.

    With all this, plus a wide variety of body shapes/styles, you should really be able to fiind SOMETHING in the EBMM lineup that suits your tastes and your gig.

    My personal sense is that the company discourages modding of their basses and offer no support or options for such. That said, I don't think they need very much of that -- they work right out of the box.

    These are great axes that do a great job. Here's a gratuitous photo of my three ...

  20. TGLbass


    Aug 20, 2010
    I've been having a little trouble hearing mine in live stage situations. I've used the 10db pad switch on my amp and then cranked it up a bit and that helped some. I gues I'll increase the eq volumes next time out. Our band plays loud heavy Rock so I'm a bit messed up when I come in and the bass is not filling up the room like my Fenders do. I know that I'm going to have to punch up the volume some and re- evaluate where I'm at. I think maybe the amp I use may not take the input volume so well. Sometimes the tone turns "Blatty" if you can understand that. Maybe I may be one of the guys who is not too crazy about the preamp. The only mods I'm into on the bass is so I can make the thing sing like I want it to. I know it's a good bass and is built great.

    Of course all this could just be the other guys in the band cranking thier equiptment too much. I'm like in a dark place looking around with a flashlight -so to speak.

    I would also like to say that I'm not having any problems with my Sterling. The 5 string is the one I'm dealing with at the last couple gigs. I just may try the pickup lowering thing. Kind of like starting over with it. I'm thinking about putting Rotos on it--only thing is I like 45- 105 with a 130 B string. I hope that with Rotos I don't have to buy 2 sets of strings in order to go with the 105 E string. I'm not crazy about a 100 E string.
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