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Fender Jazz and Stingray - question?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Peter Squire, Oct 26, 2005.

  1. Hey all

    I play both a Fender J and a MM SR5, and love them both, so this isn't a versus question.

    I find that my Jazz has a more noticeable "colour" tonewise than the SR5. The SR5 sits beautifully in the mix, and has its own character tonally, but the Jazz has a really unique sound that stands out. The Jazz has a rosewood fretboard, which I know makes it darker sounding. Nothing wrong with that, mind you, just wondering what you guys think.
  2. Peter

    I owned and played a '78 jazz bass for 20 years and traded it in on a stingray 4 a while back.

    As far as I am concerned there is absolutely no comparison. The stingray is head and shoulders above the jazz in every respect.

    Given the hype that surrounds 'vintage 'instruments I would say that my old jazz was definately not worthy of any so called 'hype'

    I mean, I love jazz basses but would never own another.

    It sounded ...well...pretty average. My brother in laws $300 'Legend' jazz copy is a better sounding instrument.

    The stingray on the other hand, is superb. I cannot say too many good things about it.Phenomenal sounding and superbly constructed and yes it sits in the live mix very very well.
  3. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    I beg to differ. ^^^

    I own both... the Jazz is the bass I take to every gig or session. The SR4 plays well, but the sound doesn't even come close. It's too harsh and "clicky" for me, the Jazz sounds much more natural and full, whether for live work or recording.

    Personal preference, I guess.
  4. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Ya really, personal preference. Use the bass you want. You like the Jazz better, use it. You like the Stingray better, use it. Neither is a better or worse bass, though my preferences are strongly in the Fender camp.
  5. Excelite


    Mar 18, 2005
    Near DFW, Texas
    Although I have not owned a Stingray, I think I know what you mean by "clicky". Im pretty sure its the active electronics. I have a P-bass Special which is active, and I get that harsh, "clicky sound". Even when I heard the live recording of my band from a venue, you could still hear this clicking, and it really annoyed me. This is why I'm trying to sell the P-bass to get a MIM 60's Jazz Reissue, which is so much smoother and faster, I already have one on layaway at GC :)
  6. brothernewt

    brothernewt Some people call me the stormtrooper of love...

    Apr 13, 2004
    Happyrock, OR
    I have also have a Jazz and a Stingray 5. I almost use the Jazz exclusively. I too love them both. I toy with the idea of trading the SR5 for a Jazz5... but I don't think I'll ever do it.

    To my ears, the SR5 sits "in" the mix too much... almost disappears under the guitars. The jazz sits next to 'em without sounding "out". This could all just be the heavier music I play now. When I was playing dancier rock with fewer guitars and more synth/electronic drums I liked the SR5 better....
  7. I gotta chime in here. SR5's (or any MM bass) are very seducing because they're so different from Fenders. SR5 workmanship, fit and finish are flawless. Plus that big tone is undeniable. But I've noticed that my Jazz bass (rosewood board) is warmer and has a voice that compliments whats going on around me a little better.

    This all depends on the style of music of course. If it was heavy or a 2 full stack band then the SR5 will slay. We do a mix ala Zep, Van Morrision, DMB, Pearl Jam and the SR5 feels like a bull in a china shop too full, too big and too much string noise unless I have the treble and mids rolled back.

    None of these are deal breakers but I think the thread poster made a valid observation.
  8. zazz


    Feb 27, 2004
    for me the stingray is good but i do really appreciate the jazz neck for playability. If its "clicky" then eq it down .. you cant go the other way.
  9. You beat me to it, zazz. :)

    To tame the wild Stingray sound, I've found that:

    1.) Cutting the mids and treble*
    2.) Using darker-sounding strings
    3.) Playing between the neck and the pickup

    will calm down a Stingray's aggressive tone somewhat, and bring it more into Jazz territory. It will never sound exactly like a Jazz, but I think most people know this. I recently played a few Jazz basses, and have to admit that I'm a Stingray guy for life. I'm thinking of getting an SR5 or Bongo too.

    Mike ;)

    * For 3 band EQ 'Rays, just experiment with the mid control. I keep my treble at 1 or 2 and while the signature Stingray sound is still there, it's less *clicky.*
  10. Groover


    Jun 28, 2005
    Ohio, USA
    I found that #3 is what really makes a difference on the Stingray in regards to the clickity. Playing there makes the sound much rounder/warmer, and also cuts down on the tight feel of the strings. Basically by playing aroung that spot makes the strings feel a little more bouncy as if I were playing a P bass... or somthin' like that.

    I'm thinking about putting a fingerest there, but I haven't because my SR4 looks so pretty without it.. :D
  11. long live the Fender Jazz!!
  12. Thanks guys. As I say, I love both instruments for their sound, I was just wondering whether you guys notice how distinctive each one is.

    My 'Ray is big and upfront, and the Jazz is dark and growly. Where we play, most of the stages are fairly small, so its not really practical to take both. I just decide on the day which I am gonna take.

    My guitarist prefers the Jazz, but as mentioned by RSmith, the construction and quality of the Ray is untouchable.

    Meh, just an observation! :D
  13. Jimmy

    In my experience, my jazz bass was without question a much inferior bass to my current instrument (SR4)...its like night and day. I consider the stingray to be a much more versatile instrument for the styles I play (soul,jazz,funk,R&B)

    You guys who find the stingrays too clicky...try some TI jazz flats...what a sound!!
  14. bovinehost

    bovinehost Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: Ernie Ball Music Man/Sterling By Music Man
    Amen. I've always wondered why the Stingray gets the occasional comment about "too modern" or "too much treble" and so on. Even before TIs, I strung my Stingrays with the 'darkest' rounds I could find. Of course, the Stingray will do the pop-n-snap tone - ask that Flea guy. But it will also do "Smooth Operator".

    BTW, I like Jazz basses just fine. I've always kept at least one Jazz around.
  15. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    In which respect(s) exactly do you find the SR superior to the Jazz? Are we still talking presonal preference here, or something more?

    As I said, I prefer my jazz over the ray, but I wouldn't say it was necessarily "better" as my SR4 is a beauty and exceptionally well put together. It just doesn't suit ME as much as the Jazz.
  16. BassyBill...To me the SR just sounds much much better than my old jazz...
  17. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Yeah, I get it. It was just that the phrases "without question" and "much inferior" (not to mention "night and day" and the comments in your first post) sounded like there was a definitive answer to the SR v. Jazz comparison. If you re-read your posts you'll probably see why I asked my question.

    Like I said, personal preference, I reckon. No problem.
  18. What are these "dark strings" for a SR5? I'm stuck on DR Lo-Riders myself, but I'd be interested to hear suggestions.
  19. KeithPas


    May 16, 2000
    I own both a decent jazz bass and a SR5 and I love them both. In my experience I have found that Fender jazz basses differ a bit more in tone than the Stingray's that I have played. If you a get a really good jazz it is like magic, the tone is great but if you get a medioce one then the tone is not that exciting. The Ray OTOH is always ballsy and in your face tonewise. For some situations I prefer the jazz and for others I like the Ray. I have also found occasionally that the huge tone of my SR5 does'nt work on some stages, it is not focussed like the jazz. All this having been said I would proabbaly lean in the direction of my SR5 if I had to pick one.
  20. Strings that I've used and think have a darkish-type sound:

    Dean Markley Blue Steels - compared to Ernie Ball Slinkys, thay have more bottom, a less brash midrange and a smoother top. These were the first set of strings I put on my 'Ray after I took off the factory Slinkys. Imagine the Slinkys tone as sky blue, and the Deans as Royal Blue. ;)

    Elixir Nanowebs - Very smooth sound overall. Less top end than many other strings. (which I like) I would also describe these strings as the crossover point between roundwounds and flatwounds.

    Flatwounds - LaBella Deep Talkin' Bass - Good bottom with balanced midrange and top end. When I had these on my Stingray, they added a little thump to the 'Ray's aggressive tone. Nowhere near a P-bass, but a nice tone. A nice change from the familiar roundwound sound on a 'Ray.

    Right now I have a set of DR High beams on my 'Ray. To me, these seem a little darker than Slinkys, but brighter than Blue Steels.

    That's my experience so far.

    I recently put a set of Fender Super bass roundwounds on my Jack Casady, and these seem to have the most bottom end of any set I've tried, and they have a nice tone. I might try a set on my 'Ray.

    Another set of bright strings to compare the above strings to: Rotosound 66s. I don't like them at all. Rough sound, rough feel.

    Bear in mind that I have a Stingray 4.

    Mike :)