MusicMan Sterling and StingRay Tone Differences?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by John Deacon, Aug 22, 2009.

  1. John Deacon

    John Deacon

    Aug 24, 2007
    What are the tone differences? I know that the body is smaller and the neck is thinner. Are there any other body/neck differences? Thanks!
  2. I always thought that the sterlings have a more aggressive tone.
  3. metalfunkjazz


    Jun 10, 2009
    Sterlings have ceramic pickup magnets in them, rather than the Stingray, which has alnico magnets. The Sterling has a more gritty, aggressive tone to it. The Stingray has more of a punchy vintage tone. Also, the Sterling has a selector switch, which will help if you are looking more more tonal options. I personally love the classic Stingray tone. It just kicks more than any other bass I've played before. The Stingray seems to have a rounder fuller body shape compared the Sterling, and you'll notice that if you look at them side by side. Also, the Sterling has 22 frets, but thats only one more fret than the Ray, so there's pretty much no difference at all.
  4. John Deacon

    John Deacon

    Aug 24, 2007
    Does anyone have any sound clips for comparison?
  5. Davecg2


    Sep 8, 2008
    Founder, Dave
    I have some videos of me playing with my Sterling, and some more with me playing an OLP Stringray. Im sure if you search youtube you can find some of a EBMM Stringray for comparisons.

    Heres a link to my playlist of me playing my EBMM Sterling

    EBMM Sterling Videos

    I also agree that the Sterling has a more aggressive sound.
  6. jasper383


    Dec 5, 2004
    Durham NC
    The Sterlings, to my ears, have more mids going on. The Ray is a little more scooped naturally. With that eq on board, all the differences can be pretty much nullified.

    At one time, I had one of each, and would have bet that almost no one could tell them apart if blindfolded.

    The big difference, in my opinion, is the body and neck. The Ray is very Precision like, and the Sterling is very Jazz like.
  7. Rumblefisher

    Rumblefisher Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    Astoria, NY
    He's playing a Sterling and a Stingray through the same exact rig so this is a great comparison of what makes them different:


    Stringray wins for me.
  8. Thorsoundcore

    Thorsoundcore Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2009
    Capital district, NY
    never tried a sterling,but LOVE the ray.
  9. BigLoopDuke


    Jan 2, 2007
    DSM, IA
    I second this. I think the tone comparison would be accurate too. I found the Stingray to be more full sounding than my old Sterling. Then again, I think of my P-bass to be more full than my old jazz...
  10. John Deacon

    John Deacon

    Aug 24, 2007
  11. stingray pickup has the two coil wired parallel, while the sterling has its two coils wired in series.

    edit: the single H sterling is actually switchable between parallel, single, and series.
  12. chris lykins

    chris lykins Supporting Member

    Dec 4, 2004
    phoenix az
    Have owned them both and much prefer the two band stingray. Its a one sound bass but a great one sound! I found the sterling to be harsher sounding than the ray and you couldnt eq that out.
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