just A/B'd a '79 stingray with stringray classic

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by raal, Sep 3, 2010.

  1. raal

    raal Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2008
    Minneapolis / St Paul
    after reading some good reports about the classic series ray, could not resist the temptation to A/B one with my '79. Called the next GC and sure enough they had a maple one with white finish, white p/g and p/u cover. I spent about 30 minutes going back and forth about five times between the 2 basses.

    mine is also maple fingerboard but it has a 3 pcs alder body under its dull root beer finish. the weight between the 2 basses was surprisingly similar. they did a great job matching the finish of the neck too, even if the logo doesn't look quite the same (maybe it's more a '77 logo, not sure on that one).

    In terms of feel, the basses were very close. The necks profiles were almost the same, maybe the classic was a little beefier. The setup on the classic was really good and the bass well playable. The neck curvature was straighter on the classic and hence more suitable for low action.

    Now comes the catch: in terms of sound it was night and day. I had a set of D'addario XL nickels which are still relatively fresh, but man it was impossible for the classic to come even close with any of the preamp settings. Across all registers, the clarity of the '79 is far superior and the dynamics more responsive regardless if thumbed or fingered

    The pre exhibited a different characteristic. it was difficult to dial in a decent slap tone without sounding to harsh. Legend has it that Leo Fender was hard hearing when he designed the music man basses preamp in the seventies ...wow, talking about genius ...

    I hope i do not offend anyone here. This experience made me aware how great values the pre EB remain when you think you can have them for the same price as a brand new classic, i wouldn't think twice, even if the bass is beat up and looks like crap.
  2. Bassflute


    Jun 24, 2006
    Endorsing Artist: MTD basses and strings; Bergantino Amps & Cabs
    wood changes over time...so does the sound. And I'm sure they've tweaked the preamp since then.

  3. king_biscuit


    May 21, 2006
    I'm not really surprised. Something about them getting older seems to open up the sound.
  4. steamthief


    Jan 25, 2006
    Mentone Beach
    First thing I thought was your pre-EB has thirty-one year old wood. Also, your alder does have different tonal characteristics vs. the ash they use on the new series. Were the strings fresh on the Classic?

    I really liked what I've heard in the new Classics, so your bass must be a freakin' monster!
  5. raal

    raal Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2008
    Minneapolis / St Paul
    certainly the music man preamps have changed a lot over the years. one would think the 2 band they now have in the classics are voiced to capture the spirit of the early ones. it did not sound quite like that (to my ears) ... but hey they're good basses
  6. raal

    raal Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2008
    Minneapolis / St Paul
    the point is not to bash the classics. they look very cool and they replicate the overall feel of a vintage very well.

    the strings were as new as the bass and likely slinkys.
  7. Infidelity


    Jan 14, 2010
    Melbourne, FL
    I ab'd my 78' Pre-EB and Classic SR5, IMO the pre-eb sounds punchier and more solid than the Classic SR5. I feel you about the night and day the Classics seems much smoother in my ears than the pre-eb.
  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    cameron, hate to break it to you, but it's 31 years, not 21.
  9. feelinlow

    feelinlow Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2007
    Bay Area/Northern, CA.
    I have played pre EB Stingrays since they were originally produced and always wished I had a 5 string with that sound. I have owned several SR5's over the years and although they have that "stingray sound", they never was really close to the pre EB preamps. With that said, I feel my new Classic 5 is not quite as warm as the pre EB's but is real close. Definitely close enough. When I am playin mine I get more compliments on my sound than ever. I feel now that I have the pre EB sound in a 5 string plus you almost have to look twice to realize it's a 5'er. Mine is definitely a keeper for the long run.
  10. Some (not me though :D) would argue that a '79 StingRay is not the best place to find the true vintage 'Ray tone, as both the pickups and preamps were changed from the original designs, by then. Still, that's another story ;).

    I owned a 1977 StingRay, with the inch long pole-piece magnets and the epoxy-coated pre, and that was flat-out amazing, tonally. Sadly, the frets were worn down to thin strips, the finish was really 'sticky' to the touch and the slab body was both heavy and un-ergomic, but ... THAT SOUND :eek:!

    Anyway, I haven't played one of the 'Classics' yet, but I know that there are a few experts on the subject here (Caca de Kick, to name but one ;)) and I'm sure that they will be along to add their $0.02 shortly.

    In the mean time, I can only thank you, raal, for (temporarily :ninja:) making me feel good about not having bought one of these new basses :D.
  11. raal

    raal Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2008
    Minneapolis / St Paul

    nichts zu danken, I was actually hoping for the classic to be a close match to the '79 so I could buy one (possibly a 5), the test was a good cure against my uncontrolled GAS ;)
  12. raal

    raal Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2008
    Minneapolis / St Paul
    I hear you on that, I found the vintage stingray look on a 5 so appealing this was the reason behind testing the 4 at GC. The only other alternative to this i can think about now is a Lakland 55-76 but they probably would need new electronics anyway.

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