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MM Sterling Frets + Setup

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by maestro7879, Apr 22, 2004.

  1. I just bought a MM Sterling and was noticing that the frets have a copperish look to them. Is this normal ? It almost looks like the frets are unfinished. Also in your opinion is this bass setup well off the shelf ? I'm going with no but wanted some other opinions.
  2. First off, I have no idea what's up with the frets. Maybe Ernie Ball uses a slightly different type of metal than most companies? Whatever. Now, to the setup. I have only found one Stingray that was set up to my liking in a shop. However, I see most Stingrays at Guitar Center, and they never do any work on their instruments. My guess on the setup issue is that Ernie Ball sets up their instruments so that the average player will like it. I prefer extremely low action by comparison. This is fine with me. When I'm shopping for basses, I usually just try to imagine how the instrument will feel once properly set up. I can get a bass adjusted to my liking in about ten minutes.
  3. Sidecar666


    Mar 27, 2004
    I have a Sterling also, but the frets don't have the copperish look like you described. They pretty much look like any other frets I've seen. I wonder if you got either a reject or a prize...like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory! Maybe you get candy!!!!
  4. Carey


    Jan 18, 2002
    Redlands, CA
    I just picked up a Sterling a couple weeks ago and I love it. It's an absolutely amazing bass for the money. It's almost flawless.
    I did have to do some things to get mine up to my standards for playabiliy and feel, kind of like what you're talking about. The setup at the store was very good, but I could tell it could be better. I played several other MM's and this one was the best sounding and the best playing. So, I got it home and took the neck off and rounded the edge of the fingerboard and the frets to make it nice and comfy. I then dialed in the setup to my favorite settings and the bass went there with absolutley no problems. It plays as well as one of mine now.
    Is yours a maple fingerboard bass? That could be part of the reason the frets look a little yellow. These basses have gunstock oil on the necks and I think it gets on the frets when they finish them. Or they may simply be a little tarnished. You should be able to shine them up with a little 0000 steel wool rubbed on the fingerboard and frets lengthwise. Cover the pickup with a towel and be very careful when you do this. If you get steel shavings on the pickup they're almost impossible to get off without compressed air. Wipe the fingerboard with a towel (blue paper towels work best for me) when you're done with the steel wool to remove the steel wool oils and shavings.
    After that you should be able to set the bass up to your liking. That means adjusting the truss rod and setting the saddle height. The nut should be just about perfect, if my bass was any indication of how these things leave the factory. If you are in any doubt take the bass to a pro to get it dialed in. Ask around for a good tech. Word of mouth is the best way to find repair techs.
    This bass should be able to be set up how you like it with no problems. If it's like mine, it is very well made.
  5. You guessed right on the neck. It is maple.
    The more I play the bass the more the tarnish is going away. For those of you out there that are trying out new basses and trying to decide what to get I have to say that it takes more then a few minutes to decide. When I first received the MM I was ready to send it back within 30 minutes of playing but now it has been a few days and I can't put it down. If you have the chance to borrow the same bass from someone for a few days that is the way to go.