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Fender American Deluxe Precision Bass VS. Music Man StingRay HH

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by yawametoo, Nov 22, 2010.

  1. yawametoo


    Sep 30, 2010
    So heres the deal. I am currently in search for the perfect bass. I currently own three basses and love them dearly, but I am looking to purchase an American high-end bass that will be "My Bass" if you know what I mean. I learned to play a long time ago on a Squier PJ Bass, a mid-90's model. In recent years I have upgraded nearly all of the hardware, electronics and added some SD Quater Pounder Pups. When I began my search I was just looking for the best P-Bass on the market... I came across the P-Bass deluxe and was sure it was the bass for me. Later, browsing around my local guitar center I picked up a music man stringray for the first time and was very impressed.

    I currently own the squier p-bass (upgraded), a schecter elite-4 and an Ibanez SR755. I have never owned a Deluxe P-Bass or any Music Man bass.

    So the question I have for everyone is, which bass is the better bass and why? What have you found to be true for high end fenders and music mans? How does the quality compare overall, and which is the more versitile bass?

    Below are pictures of the two basses I am considering:



    Thanks. :bassist:
  2. Mmmm...black and maple. *drools*

    FWIW, I own a Musicman Sterling HH (very similar to the Stingray HH) and have played the Stingray HH. I really like the Sterling and Stingray both, but the Precision Deluxe and the Stingray are two different animals. You'll want to A/B them through your rig of choice and decide which you have the better use for. I personally play a lot of rock/funk with some jazz thrown in there and the Sterling sounds nice for my tastes and purposes.
  3. yawametoo


    Sep 30, 2010
    Yea, which ever of the two basses I do get I am absolutely getting black/black/maple. I made that decisions already :D

    FYI, I play threw a Mark Bass Tube 800 with an Avatar 410 Cab, and that won't be changing... love my rig.
  4. TechJunky


    Aug 31, 2009
    Columbus, OH
    I personally prefer the Musicman. I have limited experience with the Precision Deluxe though, but in what little time I have spent with it, I find the Stingray to be a little more aggressive in tone (which I prefer), although it's very capable of toning down and giving a fatter, rounder sound with proper eq'ing. I also prefer the feel of the Stingray myself. As for quality, Musicman is well known for their high quality standards. Even if something is wrong, they'll correct it if you contact them. The only problems I've found with Musicman's in stores is poor setup, which I blame on the stores (I have not played a MM brand new out of the box, but I've always heard positive things regarding their setup. The ones with the bad setups are usually ones that are hanging there for months). The Stingray I had was 10 years old and felt bullet proof. Fenders, on the other hand, I've heard are hit and miss. Their higher end (deluxe) lines tend to be more solid and well built, and the few I've played certainly felt just fine, but I hear of more issues from Fender than I do Musicman. In the end, you really just need to play them side by side, see which you prefer, and make sure there aren't any issues before buying. The good news is, both seem to hold value pretty well, so if you get one and aren't happy, you should easily be able to sell/trade and get the other one (I also see a lot of For Trade posts wanting to swap Precisions for Stingrays and Stingrays for Precisions, making it that much easier).
  5. yawametoo


    Sep 30, 2010
    Thanks for your input TechJunky, At the end of the day I am sure it is really going come down to playing them side by side, but just hearing from people who have had experiences with both is always beneficial.

    My biggest concern, is that I have heard from different people that the quality of fender is slowing going down the drain with these newer models.

    Strong opinions are very appreciated. Thanks.
  6. plangentmusic

    plangentmusic Banned

    Jun 30, 2010
    It depends. The MM is more high tech,more versatile and more hot. But a P is a P and nothing else sounds like it.

    This is like asking a stranger if you should order your hamburger medium or rare. No one can answer that but you.
  7. heath_r_91


    Jun 3, 2006
    Topeka Area, Kansas
    It really depends on the bass with Fender. Two Fender basses that are the same model and everything will play differently.

    I think Musicman has a much more consistent feel.

    Tone wise they do different jobs. The Musicman tends to be very middy and really bark at you. Fenders tend to "sit" in the mix a little better and bark at you, but in a different way.

    Sorry, I tried my best to not be extremely vague but it is VERY hard to explain the difference in words.
  8. yawametoo


    Sep 30, 2010
    I can definitely relate to the statement that no two exact fenders feel the same. Just the other day, when I did play the MM for the first time in guitar center, I picked up an American Standard P-Bass, which is suppose to be the same exact body and neck as the deluxe (only different in hardware and electronics) and it felt like a toy. I glanced at the price tag and almost fell on the floor, a $1200 bass felt cheaper than my Squier P/J.

    That is one reason I am so hesitant to order a brand new P-Bass without playing it before hand in the store. And, the guitar center by me doesn't carry an American P-Bass Deluxe. :meh:
    nateh415 likes this.
  9. 39-Bassist


    Jul 7, 2010
    Endorsing Artist for: Brace Audio; Duncan Pickups; Line6, Hipshot, GHS Strings, Somnium Guitars
    Personally I prefer the Fender. It is a well made bass with, I feel, a bit more tonal use than the MM. BUT you definately MUST play both side by side 1st. It's tough to do but it's the smartest way. Also each bass will require some kind of tweeking of your amps EQ so make sure you put time into that too. (not too much though) If you find yourself tweeking your amp more on one bass than the other, you need to take notice of that too. Anyway they are both good sounding basses. And don't forget the feel of each one too. I know I switched out my PJ and put in a SPB-3 & STK-J2b and LOVE the tone and sound. Just another opinion. Have fun testing and good luck.
  10. slopeshoulder


    Nov 1, 2009
    keep your Squier and get the MM.
  11. yawametoo


    Sep 30, 2010
    Since I have upgraded nearly everything on my Squier P-Bass with the exception of the neck, I have been considering just upgrading the neck on the Squier to the American Deluxe neck and getting the MM.....

    Why do you say that though?
  12. TechJunky


    Aug 31, 2009
    Columbus, OH
    Talk to them and see if they'll order one in for you. Let them know you're very interested in them, but want to test before you buy, and I'm sure they can either order one in or transfer from another store. Then if you like it, you can buy it, or if you don't, you're not out anything.
  13. wengr


    Jul 21, 2010
    Oh how I wish EB could buy the rights to the P design, so they could make and sell precisions with the same level of quality fit and finish as the stingray. And yes, black, black and maple is awesome.
  14. johnboy65


    May 22, 2009
    I really liked the older P Deluxe with a humbucker in the bridge and those might be worth looking into. But I think I'd get the MM, with all the upgrades on your squire you prob have the P thing covered.
  15. j.kernodle


    Nov 23, 2008
    South Carolina
    If anything, my experience and most of what I've read here lately is that Fender quality is better than ever right now.

    The HH Musicman is capable of some really aggressive sounds. They all have a distinctive MM flavor to them though, so there's no built in j-bass or p-bass sound. you can get close, but not exact.

    The Fender will be more traditional sounding, but with that active preamp you'll have a lot of added versatility. Resale values will be similar. I don't think you can go wrong with either.

    If you like real aggressive tone in a different flavor, I'd throw in a new US Made G&L L2000 for consideration as well.
  16. TwinBass


    Oct 5, 2007
    Spokane, WA
    I was lucky enough to score a high end american bass that has become "my bass" (I know what you mean) many years ago. I lived in a town that didn't have an EBMM dealer, buying over the internet wasn't really a thing yet, and I hadn't discovered Musician's Friend catalogues. I was able to try out some really great Fenders at the local music shop, including some AmDlx P basses.

    I found a guy who was looking to trade in his Stingray5 for a killer SWR head. I bought the head he wanted and traded him for his bass. I probably didn't get the best deal ever, but whatever... we both got what we wanted from that deal. The bass is so perfect for me that it has cured my GAS. My 'Ray is not the HH version, just a regular single H version, but I've yet to come across anything that it can't do tonally (except for fretless stuff, of course). Even though it is a single pickup design, it is far from a one-trick pony. That said, my vote would be for the 'Ray, however the AmDlx Fenders are awesome instruments.

    It's really tough to recommend a bass for someone else. You really need to try them both out and make your own decision. Both the 'Ray and the AmDlx P are great instruments that you could grow old with. You can hardly go wrong with either one of those basses. Good luck and happy shopping. =)
  17. Sparkdog

    Sparkdog Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2006
    Burbank, CA
    Background - I've owned a number of Musicman basses and lots of Fenders. I've also played the new American Deluxe P several times now at local dealers.

    My take:

    The Deluxe P is a really great version of the Precision. It will give the classic P tone, a hot-rodded P tone, and with the hum-free Jazz pup at the bridge and active EQ it has lots of other tones on tap as well. Fender finally got the preamp right in this one. P/J's never work for me unless they have active EQ because you can never balance the Jazz pup with the Precision...the huge difference in output makes it unworkable to go from one to the other without major EQ adjustments...you can do it on this bass. Fender quality is indeed hit and miss, but I think it's definitely gone up in recent years. I just bought a new American Standard P and I played 7 or 8 different ones looking for it, all were excellent in every way.

    The Stingray is also a great instrument, but it has a couple of issues that put me off them. First is weight - lots of guys don't care, for me a heavy ass bass is strictly off limits. I gig all the time and 4 hours with a 10 pound beast around my neck is no fun, I just won't deal with that. You can find them in the 9 pound range but they're rare.

    Second is the string balance. Lots of Rays have weak G strings and no amount of pickup adjustment or amp EQing will correct it. Do a search here and you'll see what I mean.

    Third is the neck. I've had 2 Rays that I sold because the neck relief simply would not stay put while traveling or any time temp or humidity would change. I would set up the action, then find it very different the next time I took it out of the case. I attribute this to the oil/wax finish they use...feels great, just wasn't stable IME. I did NOT have this issue with Fenders and Laklands stored in the same conditions.

    Lastly, of the MM's I've owned, I found the HS configuration to have a lot more variety in the tonal department than the HH's. HH's have BIG tones for sure, but the single coil at the neck makes for nice variety.

    Purely my 2 cents IMO - IME - YMMV...happy hunting!
  18. Aspidites


    Oct 20, 2009
    Berkeley CA
    They could copy the P now without a legal issue whatsoever because Fender never protected their rights to begin with.

    As for the OP I would personally go with a G&L L2000. IMO it is more versatile than either of your choices and I much prefer the neck besides I can get one cheaper than an EBMM and the quality is at least on par if not better not to mention that G&L is the heir to the Leo Fender legacy that obviously started with his namesake company, continued with Music Man and culminated in the superb G&L product line.
  19. yawametoo


    Sep 30, 2010
    Thanks everyone for your input, I do have a hard decision in front of me. I think I am starting to lean back towards my original thought of getting the P-Bass. I am looking for that more classic tone, I just need to find a store near me where I can play one.

    I will be sure to post my final decision when I make it along with pictures of the new purchase. Thanks everyone for your help.
  20. pringlw


    Nov 22, 2008
    Seattle Area
    I have both those basses and love them. But if I had to choose, I would go with the Stingray HH in a heartbeat.

    First, because they are incredibly well put together. With a Fender you may or may not get a really great bass. With a EBMM you will get a fantastic bass every time. Their quality control is incredible.

    Second, the basses you are looking at are both active. When it comes to active electronics, I'm sorry but EBMM crushes Fender. If you were looking at a Custom Shop Passive P Bass, I would give a more balanced answer, but since you are looking at an active Fender.... Sorry, but go with the Stingray.

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