Music Man basses ?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Josh Ryan, Jul 7, 2003.

  1. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    I am thinking about buying or trading for one of these. What, particular to this type of bass, should I be looking for? What's a good price? Any years to avoid?
  2. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Central Texas
    Are you a P guy or a J guy?

    It doesn't matter - the correct answer is Sterling! :D
  3. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    The thre common models are the Stingray Stingray 5 and Sterling. The Stingray has controls for volume bass and treble. There is a mid option and a piezo option. The Sterling has the mid control as standard and a series/parallel/single switch. The pickup is different to the Stingray but I'm not quite sure how. The Sterling body is smaller and the neeck is different (not sure how).

    The Stingray 5 as discussed here ad nauseam is has many Sterling features.

    Musicman basses were made by ex Fender employees until cease of production. Ernie Ball bought the rights to the line and reproduced the Stingray and developed the 5 and the Sterling (as well as the guitar range). Pre-Ernie Ball basses command more coinage but I for one think that the EB build quality is incredible.

    The early EB basses had a lacquered neck. In the mid to late 90's they went to an oiled neck. Currently they have a satin neck.

    I've played many EB basses and many have birdseye maple necks as standard. I ordered my Stingray 5 assuming it would be birdseye because due to blind luck every bass I had played at that point had birdseye. Mine did not, :( Anyway I got it home and when it caught the light noticed a very llight flame in the maple neck :)

    I don't think that there are any years to avoid and so I've been as thorough as possible because you might have neck preferences. Also the colours changed recently. And there is a matching headstock option.

    Finally there have been some oddballs.

    The Fender era range included a Sabre which is a two pup Stingray. THere was also a limited edition Cutlass that had a carbon fibre neck.

    In 1997 there were Anniversary basses which was a Stingray with a quilted maple top, there were 1997 of them and they cost $1997.

    I forget whcih year but there was a more recent special bass which is a grey Stingray with a carbon Fibre neck made by Status.

    Whew I'm lying down.
  4. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Didnt know this, my bass was made in 96
  5. KB


    Jan 13, 2000
    Chapel Hill, NC
    Also most pre-EB Stingrays have the "epoxy" pre-amp. It is completly coated in a black plastic so you cannot see the components. My understanding is that EB did not get the rights to that pre-amp so they made their own (the now current EB pre-amp), but I am not sure.

    I have owned both a '88 EB stingray with normal EB pre-amp and a '78 stingray w/ epoxy pre-amp. The '78 blew away the '88 in terms of sound and feel (much warmer and punchier at the same time). I plan to keep it as long as possible. I didn't keep the '88 long.
  6. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    CS, you are correct in most of you information, but the pickup between the ray and sterling is the same. The preamps, as mentioned are slightly different, with the series/parallel option.
  7. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Thanks! I'm considering selling my 83 P elite-2 for some cash towards one of these, if not a trade.
  8. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    I really like my Sterling! Small, light, comfortable, versatile, and TONE!!!!!!!
  9. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    If you shop around, a two or so year old Stingray with a few small dings should run you about $700-800. It's well worth it to buy these used and save about $ can't break them.
  10. Basho

    Basho Guest

    Agreed. Yummy Sterling.
  11. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio

    mmmmmmmmmmmm sterling


  12. Fran Diaz

    Fran Diaz

    Mar 28, 2002
    Santander, Spain
    Hi There,

    The pickup in the StingRay uses alnico magnets while the Sterling and SR5 (since '92) use ceramic magnets.

    The neck in the Sterling is narrower than in the SR (kind of jazz neck vs precision neck)

    keep groooovin'
  13. Masamax

    Masamax Guest

    Jun 11, 2003
    Edmonton AB, Canada
    I would highly recommend looking for one with the piezo pickup option. Beautiful, simply beautiful.
  14. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Cool. Apparently I should be able to get somewhere between $700-$900 for my 83 elite 2 P-bass. I just might do it. I do like the tone, on the few I've played anyway.
  15. roadraider

    roadraider Leon Phelps Wanna Be

    Just to give you another option to make sure you get exactly what you want,check out a G&L L-2000,or L-1500 also.
    I've always liked Ernie Ball basses,and still do,but ever since I played some G&L basses,I always seem to gravitate towards them over the Ernie Balls.
    Here's their website. They offer a few different neck sizes,two fretboard radiuses,and of course your choice of fretboard wood at no extra charge,so be sure to click on the options link on the left of their homepage.
    The poles on their pickups are height adjustable,and their preamps have a mini toggle switch that bypasses the preamp for passive mode,turns it on standard in position 2,and boosts the highs in position 3.There's also another mini toggle switch that serves the same function as the EB's 3 position toggle.
    Just figured I'd give you another choice to look at.I'm absolutely in love with the G&L stuff.
  16. sdguyman


    Jan 31, 2003
    San Diego
    I'll second the G&L, which happens to be the company Fender created with George Fullerton after Fender's Musicman company. I own both a G&L and a EB Stingray and I find myself playing the G&L more due to more versatility. You can also pick up a used one for around the same price as a used EB.:)
  17. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    OK, I will check out the G&L's. I've never actually played one, but you've got me interested.
  18. Dr. PhunkyPants

    Dr. PhunkyPants Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    I bought mine from the guys at -- it was an awesome transaction and the instruments they sell have usually never been out on a sales floor. I'm getting ready to seel my 2002 and 1975 Fender Precisions. Since the Sterling came along, I don't stop to play anything else.