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MusicMan matchup: Which is it?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by South Town, Mar 23, 2004.

  1. OK, so I've been looking at all of these past posts about MusicMan basses and I am here to ask what is the deal? What is the difference between the traditional Stingray and the new basses like the SUB and Sterling. Personally, except for the SUB's finish, they all seem to be essentially the same bass. I have heard that the Sterling is more compact but that is the only difference. Tonally, what can y'all say? I am into a rock sound but I want something different from what I have now. I am already changing my amp, but I want another bass. What can y'all tell me about these MusicMan basses? Thanks for any help!

  2. Toasted


    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
  3. As said, already searched. All I get is "just save up and buy a 'ray" I know how to search, but those ain't answers bro. I want a real compare/contrast. Any idiot can say "buy a Stingray." Tell me why.......
  4. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    First of all, a Sterling as far as body/neck is a jazz bass compared to the Precision bass of a Stingray. Also has a pickup selector switch to split the coil unlike the Stingray. I personally don't find the switch too useful, and the neck to narrow. I'm a Stingray guy.

    The SUB to the Stingray is just like a CIJ Fender to an MIA. You're right, the finish is different, the woods are cheaper (poplar in the SUB) and the fretboard is only available in rosewood. SUBs are available with a 2-band active preamp or passive controls, while Stingrays are either available with a 2-band, 3-band or 3-band with piezo saddles. I personally happen to really like SUBs, though I can't justify buying a new one for what I paid for my two year old Stingray. The passive SUB is the best passive Ray clone out there. As far as build quality, if you can get over the finish, it's spot on.

    Hope this helps.
  5. Honestly, I like the SUB too. I have been wondering for the basic reason of looks. I would rather fulfill my GAS and get my dark blue finish but it comes down to feel and sound. So the feel of the Sterling is different? I have a P-bass now, but I'm not really picky on basses like I was on my guitars. Thanks for that clarification. What about sound though, is it different?
  6. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Sound difference between the SUB and Stingray is minimal to my ears. I want a SUB or two when/if I tour. :p
  7. I like Sterlings myself. Some people say it's a girly bass or you're pussing out or something, but that's all B.S. Sterlings have the coil selector which I like, and a more compact and fast neck. I could care less about the body size, I just like the options and feel of a Sterling. The regular 'Ray just seems to cumbersome to me. Also, if you're going to get one, make sure you like the sound. You usually only get one good tone out of 'em. 'Ray 5's are great, though. If you ever get to check out a fretless 5, do so- even if you can't play it. They're amazing basses. I vote Sterling. The Bongo's are just too crazy for me. :bassist:
  8. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I have to say that the SUB 5-string really impresses me also. It is not as sonically versatile as the SR5, but it is versatile enough for me. It can get a good Stingray tone and it can get a more P-Bass style sound. That will suit me fine. Also, the B string is super tight with great clarity. If I don't go for a G&L Tribute, KSD, or some other fancier bass, I will definitely pick up a SUB this summer. :D
  9. bump
  10. ted13


    Mar 12, 2004
    montreal quebec
    the sterling is great. i've had 2 stingray 5's and 1 stingray4 they are all gone now but the sterling 4 has stayed. great bass great feel mine has a beautiful pearl finish. the coil switch gives you tons of tones it's great. lemme know if your interested i may just let it go.
  11. bdgotoh

    bdgotoh Supporting Member

    Aug 6, 2002
    Pacific NW
    I think the Stingray is best, that alnico pickup sounds so great. Sterling is next best, the only thing I don't like is the ceramic mag pickup doesn't sound as good as a Stingray pickup. I have both and really like them. I've played a SUB and the other difference that hasn't been covered is the body doesn't have the normal Stingray contours front and back. If you like that slab-body feel the early Pre-EBs have, the SUB is for you. I personally hate that feel and really prefer the back cut and the forearm contour - much more comfortable.
  12. ted, tell me more about yours and I'll see what I can do. I'm kind of short of cash right now, but for an EB, I'll work.

    what difference do ceramic magnets have in a bass sound. They are more edgy for guitar but I don't know about bass pickups. DO you know what kind of magnets my P-bass has? They are Basslines P-bass Quarter Pound.
  13. bdgotoh

    bdgotoh Supporting Member

    Aug 6, 2002
    Pacific NW
    Your QP Basslines has Alnico pole pieces like the Stingray pickup. The SR5 and Sterling use steel poles that are bottom-loaded with a flat ceramic magnet. While they sound good, I've AB'd a variety of MM pickups (stock EB alnico and ceramic, Basslines Alnico and Ceramic, Bart ceramic) and the alnico always sound better to me. Sound is a hard thing to describe, but they sound smoother and more full to me than the ceramic. The edginess you described is similar in basses with ceramic. If you try a Sterling set to parallel (switch lever back towards the bridge) vs. a Stingray you'll get an idea of the difference in tone. Duncan supposedly custom-makes a 3 coil alnico pickup to fit into the Sterling but it's something like $160!
  14. armybass

    armybass Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2001
    This is the best description of the difference between the Stingray and Sterling's sound I have read. Great job Brad.

    I'll just add that to me although you can get the highend snap out of the Sterling in it's Parallel Setting, it does not have the same full bottom to my ears. I have to add bass on the EQ and it sounds good but not quite a Stingray. That being said I have played Stingrays that don't sound as good to me as my Sterling. I have a really good Stingray and Sterling now and I think that lots of other things like bodywood/strings ect effect the tonal differences too, so it really is a VERY subjective thing.
  15. Truthfully, it all really does come down to each instrument as far as sound goes. Wood is never the same, neither is craftsmanship.
  16. I heard that the older Stingray5 pickups are alnicos and not ceramic...the changeover supposedly happened in '92 (I happen to have a '91). I know the modern SR5 denifitely sound and feel different than mine.
  17. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    Give me a Sterling with the tone of a 70's Stingray, and versatility of a double bucker bongo, and I'll buy em all day long.

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