Is this true about Musicman Bass quality?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by lo-end, Dec 11, 2001.

  1. lo-end


    Jun 15, 2001
    Ive heard that the quality of MM basses has gone down in the past few years. Like they stopped using birdseye maple on the necks, and they started using poplar bodies, and the overall construction has gone downhill. Is any of this true?
  2. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    Poplar is a perfectly fine tonewood, which is used on MM's with solid colour finish. The transparent finishes are painted on ash bodies. I saw a recent MM ('99 or '00 I think) in a store with birdseye neck and also, I think, birdseye fretboard. So IME what you've heard is not true.
  3. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    As a matter of fact, there are renowned bass builders who consider birdseye maple to be less than optimal for neck construction and greatly prefer maple with a good straight grain... so it's not really a sign of quality. This refers to the neck itself, not the fretboard, where figuring would have less of an impact.
  4. As I sit here looking at 14 assorted Music Man Sterlings, Stingrays, and Stingray 5's....

    ...where did you hear this goofiness? ;)

    Quality and customer service are neck-and-neck for job #1 at Ernie Ball. I've never seen a bass come from them that wasn't perfect, and anytime a customer has had the slightest problem or complaint, they've responded aggressively to correct the problem.

    Among the "factory made" (i.e. not made by "hand" in a small shop by a single person or a small group, like Alembic or MTD) basses, I'd say they're the best I've seen.

    All that said, I don't play one myself, I just think very highly of the basses and the company that makes them.
  5. Jeffrey A-Bomb

    Jeffrey A-Bomb Drink Coffee & Destroy Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2000
    Silver Spring, MD
    Well, I have a '92 musicman with the solid color/poplar body and to me, it has certain small tonal characteristics that the new ones don't have. But generally, every musicman I've ever played has been well constructed with top notch attention to detail.
  6. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    I have. All of them suck. ;)

    No but seriously, a Sterling I played (and tried to like, but couldn't) in a store had some goofiness :)D) going on with its knobs. Just had to say it.
  7. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    I have to disagree Gard. I've seen at least 4 of them that had serious flaws. All of them had the same flaw. They costed more than I had in my wallet at the time!
  8. Velkov


    Jan 17, 2001
    Lansdowne, Ontario
    I agree with Gard. I played 4 or 5 different MusicMan basses at Long & McQuade in Toronto a couple of weeks ago and they all felt amazing, looked solid and pretty and sounded the way a MM bass sounds. The only thing I don't like about them is the high price but they are quality instruments.
  9. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    You have to consider that the aging process of wood has a serious effect on the tone quality. Sure, a new bass is going to sound a little different than a 10-year-old bass. In ten years, each will sound different than it does now.

    As for the construction quality and craftsmanship, I would call it outstanding. As for the expense, I don't consider it excessive. I think that EBMM basses compare favorably to similarly-priced instruments, and compete with some that are more expensive. (Pedulla comes to mind)
  10. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    I also wanted to add that was in the GC a few days ago, and they had a 'Ray 5 in a nice cherryburst oversprayed with sparkleflake clearcoat. Rosewood board. I played it for a while. The subtle roundness in tone with the dark board made it an excellent compliment to my L-2500 (ash with maple). As soon as I struck a string, I knew I wanted it.

    I tried it this way and that before delicately placing it back in its cradle. As I was leaving, I had to look back over my shoulder at it one more time. There may be a romance brewing.

  11. Blackbird

    Blackbird Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    All right, the myth has been dispelled.

    All that remains is for lo-end to tell us where he got his info...

    How about it?
  12. rayzak


    Jan 13, 2001
    Louisville, KY
    Ten days ago I purchased a Stingray in Burnt Apple. It's absolutely gorgeous. I E-mailed Ernie Ball as to what type of wood this is made of, mine being a solid color. I was told that it's most likely ash. He said the great majority of Stingrays are made of ash, solid or translucent, and only a fraction are made of poplar. So, it's NOT true that all solid color Stingrays are made of poplar (not that that's neccessarily a bad thing).
  13. Root 5

    Root 5

    Nov 25, 2001
    All of the EB/MM basses I've seen have been flawlessly constructed but lately when I've looked at some Silhouette and Morse signature models the neck pockets had big gaps. They weren't even close to being tight. No excuse for it and if it was delivered to me I'd send it right back.
  14. lo-end


    Jun 15, 2001
    Well, Ive heard these myths from TBers. I know SMASH was the one who said they stopped using birdseye maple for necks and ash for solid color finishes, and I believe it was Oysterman who said their quality went downhill in the construction department.

    I am asking these questions because I need a new bass. My Squier can't handle my awesome amp rig :D Besides, the damn thing weighs like 11 pouds and it is killing my 16 year old shoulder, even with a 3" strap and its being slung relatively low.

    So I guess I will be emailing EB about what kind of wood they use on new Blue Dawn finished Stingrays. :)
  15. FalsehoodBass


    Jul 22, 2001
    Denver, CO
    knobs are easily abused by stupid careless bass shoppers at GC.. that might have been the problem
  16. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    Did I say that?
  17. lo-end


    Jun 15, 2001
    My bad, it was Warwick5S who said the thing about their quality going downhill, not Oysterman.
  18. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    Might have been. Couldn't have been anything serious, for the bass was apparently sold the next time I visited the store.
  19. Dan Muller

    Dan Muller Guest

    Sep 28, 2001
    Baltimore, Maryland
    Hey lo-end, didn't you just get an American Precision? You already need a new bass? Oh well, Musicman makes a sweet bass. Maybe you should have saved an extra few bucks and got an American Deluxe Precision. They are killer.


  20. Gman


    Jan 4, 2000
    Indianapolis, IN
    When I got the itch for a new bass, I played everything at GC for under $2000. I had never considered a Stingray, because I heard they were " 1 trick ponies", but when I picked it up, I knew I didn't have to try Another one.

    The fit and finish of mine is flawless, and as far a birdseye maple necks, I don't know, but mine has a gorgeous flamed neck. (Thanks Gard)