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MusicMan Dilemma

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ii7-V7, Aug 28, 2005.

  1. ii7-V7


    Aug 4, 2002
    Baltimore, MD
    Have a dilemma.

    I'm a guitar player primarily who is looking for a bass. Because of this playability is a major concern for me. I just don't have the chops to play a bass with high action and a 36" scale, with monster huge strings. I've played an awful lot of basses and none of them have ever compared to a MusicMan in terms of playability. Warwick comes fairly close. What is it that makes the MM so darn playable? I mean the action is low and the notes are easy to fret, depsite there being plenty of string tension. The bass doesn't have that clicky clacky sound when its played like alot of other modern basses (Ibanez comes to mind). What is it that does this? Is it the design of the neck, the frets, what??????

    Heres the dilemma though, while the MM sounds good it isn't really the sound that I'm looking for. I like the Jazz bass sound, especially on the neck pickup. Now, I'm not a tone stickler....I'm not one of those guys who can listen to a recording and can claim to be able to tell you the string guage and make of pickup used on the track. But, I have yet to dial in a sound that seems compatible with jazz, country or R&B on a MM. Could it be that I just haven't figured out how to dial the right sound in?

    I'm thinking that I may buy a MM and just put in a Jazz Bass Neck pickup, but goodness then I'd have 7 knobs on the front of the bass. Perhaps, I could take the preamp and go passive all the way. I've never really thought much of active pickups anyway. Anyway thats a lot of money to sink into an already expensive bass.

    Anyone else ever done this? Anyone else have this dilemma?

  2. christle

    christle Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2002
    Winnipeg, MB
    Why not buy a Jazz?
  3. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Well... first, most four string basses are 34" scale, like the MM, so that shouldn't be a problem. Next, almost any high quality bass can be set up with low action (if you haven't played many basses and most of the ones you have played have been in music stores, they probably weren't set up very well). Finally, the MM does have relatively close string spacing, so that seems to be your limiting factor. The MM does have a very unique sound that some love and some hate. You should have not problem finding many bass options with your requirement of relatively narrow spacing. I know MM is coming out with some two pickup models that might be perfect for you.
  4. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    Well, Mr. Chad. It seems someone already beat you to it. They're releasing a stingray with an option of another MM pickup at the neck or a Jazz PU (with 4 pole pieces). Also, there's the lakland option.

    There's also the Lakland 44-02 and 4-94 (US Made). They have an MM/J configuration already and both can be ordered with Seymour Duncan pickups.

  5. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    MM is coming out with Sterlings and Stingrays with neck pickups. You can go here to find out exactly when www.ernieball.com/forums . Also - the 7 (actually 6) knobs on the Bongo arent all that big a deal. Most people find exactly what they want and then stick with that for most of their playing. I usually keep my bass set the same, and tweak just a bit to match the venue I'm playing. I also love the idea that the bass can do virtually anything I want it to.

    I went from guitar to bass a while back. Started with a short scale bass, but was happy when I finally went to a full scale. I adjusted immediately. It's not that much of a stretch actually. I also went for a thin neck. Started with an Alvarez - which was awesome, went to a warwick which wound up being to thin and weird and hurting my wrist - and finally settled on a MM. Had a sterling for several years, and now all I play are Bongos. I am soooo totally in love.
  6. ladros2


    Jun 2, 2005
    Why not try a geddy lee jazz bass, people around here are crazy about it. I've heard great things about the playability too.
  7. Matt H

    Matt H

    Jul 30, 2005
    Ithaca, NY
    hey whafro (a fellow masshole here, though now living elsewhere)

    anyway- from what I gather in another thread here, the "MM" pickup in the laklands isn't a MM pickup at all, but rather two jazz bass pickups wired for humbucking in a MM shell... so i'd guess it'd be closer to jazz tone (though hotrodded) than MM (proper) tone.

    of course, I'm new to this whole bass thing too (guitarist looking to expand a bit). what do i know?
  8. +1 on the Geddy.....I LOVE MINE.
  9. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    If you like stingrays but want a jazz neck pickup, order a stingray with a jazz neck pickup...

  10. One thing to note, if you don't like the MM sound, forget it because it sounds like that all the time, IMO. Why bother just for the neck? Plenty of killer necks out there. I found the Lakland neck uncomfortable actually....weird.
  11. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    The SD replacement is a genuine MM type pickup I believe.
  12. Matt H

    Matt H

    Jul 30, 2005
    Ithaca, NY
    sure? I dunno... the thread on the 55-94 seemed to indicate that the seymours in the laklands weren't MM pups (though looked the part)... I think if you order the replacement from seymour, it'd be a MM? and that... nordstrand? (getting used to all these new names!) was making a lakland type dual-jazz "MM" looking pup.

    anyway- it's good to know these are options. :)
  13. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Lakland used to make a true 'MM' type instrument with a single SD MM style pickup in the exact MM position. The 55-94 does not use the true MM pickup placement.. and it seems to really make a difference. The MM bridge pickup (whether it's a Seymour or a Bart) does 'approximate' a MM sound, but if you are really a MM freak, it's not even close. However, the old Lakland single MM pickup model with a Seymour in the true MM position (I believe about 1/2" closer to the bridge) really did a good job with the MM vibe.