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Ernie Ball question.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ausf, Mar 13, 2010.

  1. ausf


    Jun 24, 2008
    New York
    As I understand it, when he took over Music Man, it wasn't like the CBS takeover of Fender.

    Here's a guy with a string company and music store who buys out a dysfunctional company on the ropes, facing bankruptcy and barely getting anything out the door (piecing out most of the work at that point, Leo already gone). He turns it into a viable entity that puts out quality stuff.

    So why are pre EBMMs discussed with the reverence of pre CBS Fenders?

    I remember MM being a higher end bass (I recall street around $600 when Rics and Ps were mid $300s) that weren't easy to find.

    Just curious, I never played a 'pre'.
  2. Johnny Alien

    Johnny Alien Supporting Member

    Jan 24, 2003
    Harrisburg, PA, USA
    Both pre and post have their fans. There were some small design differences with the earlier ones but overall they are still pretty similar and you can still get them with the same 2 band pre. Probably alot of is is older is better mentality but perhaps not.

    I don't see it quite the same as the Pre-CBS stuff because those people think CBS and later Fenders are junk while someone might "prefer" an older MM but won't say the new ones are junk.
  3. Very true. I'm hardly an EB/MM "devotee"/history buff, but I imagine it's far less about the quality and more about simple technological changes to the line over the years (string mutes, pickup designs and the magnets used within, 2 vs 3-band EQ, slab vs non-slab bodies, neck radius, etc) and players who prefer these to newer, "more refined" versions of the bass design. Thus the new "Classic Collection" to satisfy people who preferred the old-school design.
  4. ausf


    Jun 24, 2008
    New York
    Thanks guys.

    I was wondering, because I've heard people talk about not even looking at an EBMM, that unless it's a MM, they're not interested and I can't figure out what it's based on.

    I can see the jonesing for a Classic (finished neck, mutes, 2 band EQ, slab), but if the original isn't superior, why hold out?
  5. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Well, I LIKE the 2-band EQ and the feel of the old necks. But they varied a lot over the years, even while Leo was still designing them. And Leo never really seemed to "run" MM, he just designed instruments (and perhaps amps, but that's not certain) for them. In fact, CLF (Clarence Leo Fender) Research was a separate company that built the instruments for Music Man.

    Anyway, for me personally, the new Classic StingRays seem to hit the mark for what I want out of a 'Ray, including the look. I guess I can be that shallow at times...

  6. to say that an era in musicman history is better than another is blasphemy,theyre all good
  7. pringlw


    Nov 22, 2008
    Seattle Area

    It's very different than the "CBS-era Fender" thing. To your point, Ernie Ball has made fantastic instruments. They have carried the Musicman brand forward with pride. I myself have a pre-EB Stingray, a EBMM Stingray and a EBMM Sterling. If I'm honest, I'll admit that the EBMM instruments are better instruments. They are incredibly well built and consistent.

    But there's just so much cool mojo attached to a pre-EB. It's like you've got a little piece of Leo Fender's (almost) last hurrah.
  8. ausf


    Jun 24, 2008
    New York
    Complete respect.

    This is what I was looking for.

    A friend of mine recently scored a Sterling (1 year old and mint except some dirt on the maple fretboard) for $500. He based grabbing it on my espousing of EBMM and while he finally has come around admitting that it's a nice instrument, he wants to find a pre.
  9. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    They were a high quality instrument and were built like tanks.
    I too own both eras of basses, but my '78 still remains my favorite gigging bass. The necks are a dream to play.

    The company didn't loose itself because they were building junk...it's because all the buisness partners had a falling out and let the company go.
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