MTD Kingston vs. MM Sterling - Opinions needed

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Matthew West, Sep 23, 2001.

  1. I recently sold my Jazz bass and a few other thing, so I've got a little money to but a new bass. I've been doing the circuit of stores around town lately, and today I went to a place and played a MM Sterling. I have to say that I was definitely impressed. I normally do not like Fender-style necks, but this thing was the easiest playing bass I have ever sat down with. I was flying all over the neck. One thing I didn't do is play it standing with a strap. I may go back tomorrow and do that. Sounds were good too. I particularly liked it with the mid and bass controls maxed, and the treble flat. Played it through a Mesa Bass 400+ and mesa 2x15 cab.

    I've also considered a MTD Kingston. The only problem is that the nearest dealers for these things are a two hour drive away. I've read nothing but good things about them on this site, and several people have recommended it to me in another thread I started.

    So I'm looking for some advice. The way I see it the pro's and cons are these:

    1. I can get a used Sterling from Bass Central for $899. I can get a new Kingston for less than half that.

    2. I know what the Sterling sounds and feels like, but don't know how the MTD sounds or feels. I do generally prefer a 1-1/2" nut width.

    3. Sterling may be a bit more versatile in the sound department. I'm generally a one sound kind of guy, but the more options, the better.

    Is there anyone here that's played both and compare/contrast the feel and sound of these two? Is the Sterling worth the extra money?

    FWIW, I play with a pick through a Mesa Buster 1x15 tube combo. I play mostly indie rock, so sparkling highs are not high on my list. I like a deep sound with good definition and a good bit of mid-range grunt. Kinda like a P Bass. I love how they sound, hate actually playing them.

    Any ideas or opinions will be appreciated. I may just need to go to DC next weekend and spend the day at Chuck Levins...
  2. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    The Kingston, with the standard electronics and pickup, would sound more like a P bass than the Sterling.

    The Sterling would be more versatile though.
  3. RS


    Aug 27, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    I'd go for the Kingston. Alot cheap, better sounding imho. You can buy a Kingston mail order so you can return it if you really don't like it.

    Personally, I don't find the coil selector that useful.
    The playability of the Sterlings are generally good but I kind of tired of that MM nasally sound.
  4. Thanks for the opinions. Once again Jeff, you seem to know what I'm looking for. Does anyone know if the Kingston neck is as fast/playable as the Sterling neck?

    In any event, I think I may be giving Gard a call tomorrow to place an order.
  5. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Matt, playable to one guy is unplayable to another. The neck is wider than a Sterling, the bass has wider string spacing, but the neck on the MTD has a thinner profile than the Sterling.

    Also, the Sterling is a 34" scale, and the MTD is a 35" scale.
  6. Actually, the Kingston 4 string is 34" scale. Just checked the MTD site.

    I'm so torn!
  7. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Cool. I was mistaken.[​IMG]
  8. stingray96191


    Jul 27, 2001
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Unofficially Endorsing Ernie Ball Music Man Guitars
    I personally have not played the kingston, and do not own a sterling, but o do own a stingray 5. Iwould not trade this bass for anything. And as for the pickup it is the same as the sting 5 but on a four. Its kind of like a stingray, but a little less punchy most of the time.
    I hear kingstons are great though.
    Does it have a finish on the neck?
  9. I'm not really after any particular pickup configuration. Those basses just happen to have the same thing.

    I've tried G&L, but I don't like how they feel. I'd love to own an ASAT or L2000, but they are just not comfortable.

    Thanks for the suggestion though.

    From what I can gather from the website, they are either oil finished or satin finished. None of that glossy stuff.
  10. Matt, I don't have to tell you how a Sterling sounds since you've tried one, but, they are incredible. But, at half the price, and with Embellisher's stamp of approval, those Kingstons are looking mighty tempting. Jeff, do they sound a lot like a Precision?

    Mike J.
  11. lo-end


    Jun 15, 2001
    Sterling all the way!

    Im gonna be getting a Stingray myself. I love the sound of MM basses, and they are the best playing basses ever, IMO. I think the MTD must be good, but I just dont like the looks of it.
  12. If I go the Kingston route, I would get a black one with a rosewood board. I've checked with MTD, and you can buy a black pickguard for the solid black look. I'm actually growing to like the way it looks. I still like the Sterling's looks better though.

    My fiance and I are driving up to Baltimore this Saturday to look at a wedding dress, so I'm trying to find a MTD dealer in the DC/Baltimore area so I can actually play one before I make a final decision.
  13. virtual.ray


    Oct 25, 2000
    I have a K5.I removed the silly pickguard.It now looks as good as it sounds.
  14. Comakazi


    May 3, 2001
    Midwest US
    Yea, the pickguard isn't my cup of tea either, but what your getting for the price of the K5 -- I don't think it can be beat.

    I should have mine in about a week, I'll take the pickguard off and let you know what I think!!:)
  15. The Growler is not available in a paint finish.
  16. RED J

    RED J I ain't ready for the junkyard yet. Supporting Member

    Jan 23, 2000

    Of course. And Of course I agree. :D Of the "affordable" 5's out there, I have not been able to find the right combo of sound, playability,and looks to suit me in a new 5'er. I think a Warmoth Assymetrical neck and new stacked humbuckers are the answer for a franken mod on my P Spec 5.

    RED J :D
  17. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    I think you're out of luck. AFAIK there is no store selling MTD K series in Baltimore. There is a store in Northern Virginia... I talked to them, they don't stock them.

    Maybe I should become an MTD dealer;). This is pretty ridiculous.
  18. Yeah, I talked to them too. Closest dealer is in Norfolk. That's 2 hours the other way.

    Oh well. Looks like we may finish breaking in the new car this weekend.
  19. spaz


    May 24, 2001
    Hampton, VA - USA
    I went by AL&M in Norfolk yesterday and they had 1 kingston in stock and it was a 4 string. They also carry MM basses, but don't have the greatest selection. If you do drive down make sure you check out Alpha Music in Virginia Beach. Its only about 15 minutes away and they usually have a pretty good selection of MM basses and a ton of other stuff. Their website is and Sef in the bass department is great. There is also a Mars and GC on the same street as Alpha - just a couple of miles away.