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NBD: EBMM StingRay 4HH, and a question

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bdplaid, Dec 5, 2018.

  1. bdplaid

    bdplaid Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2007
    Update: The more I play this bass the more it think it might be the best bass ever. Certainly the best Stingray I've ever played by far, and I used to own one of the 1st Gen that were so good. Everything about the 2018 Stingray Special is first-rate: the design, the materials, the workmanship, the service. Big for me is playability, which includes weight and fretwork; both are stellar. It outclasses the boutique basses I have had. I love it.

    I got my new and long-wanted StingRay yesterday, and actually last week too. As with me, there is always a story...

    I had a MusicMan in 1978 and wanted to reprise it with one of the new "Special" models. I thought I wanted just the regular old Stingray similar to what I had: 1 pickup, active electronics, that sound, done. I ordered from Sweetwater and received this last week:


    Beautiful bass, plays really well. Light weight at 8lbs 3 ozs. Except, it had exactly what i thought I wanted: that sound. Which reminded me that I sold the original bass back in '79 because it's kind of a one-trick-pony: other than eqing that sound a bit, that was what it did.

    Fortunately I have the world's best salesman at Sweetwater, Ryan Holquist, who worked with me through the week to find a replacement that had two pickups. The issue was weight: I wanted a lightweight StingRay 4HH, and I had to wait for Sweetwater's Ministry of Inspection to weigh them. Bingo! They had one that was just a hair over 8 lbs! On to me it was:


    This one is even mo' better than the first, which was really, really good.

    The fretwork is great; I discovered that Ernie Ball does hand file work to their frets, essentially a setup, so right out of the box the thing plays great. Way better than a PLEK job. Both basses play(ed) like butta even without a setup.

    The range of sounds is pretty wide, although the sound of the preamp pretty much flavors everything coming out of the jack. Still, when one engages the neck pickup, it's thunderous. I can only imagine what it will do through a full PA in a large room. Interestingly, the center position for the switch is like the iconic scooped MM sound, but on steroids. One can still get the normal MM scoop using just the bridge pickup, but the center position (which is both pickups on) was a surprise. It's a great sound, BTW. RHCP's Aeroplane never knew what hit it.

    I've raved about the setup, but there is a problem with both basses: In lowering the bridge saddles, they just stop at some point. It kind of like they hit an area that either has thread lock on it, or is rusty, or isn't tapped properly. It's weird. Both basses, mind you.

    Has anyone else had this issue with a new EBMM?

    Anyway, I'll have more to say about the bass as I go along; I really, really dig it.

    Now back to RHCP...

    UPDATE: If you recall, I am having some trouble getting the string saddles to go down as far as I'd like. I called EBMM today (06Dec2018), and guess what? They're designed that way! They told me it's supposed to mimic how the first MM basses were. Seems ill-conceived to me, limiting the travel of a bridge piece, but there it is. Still a stellar bass, though, that plays terrific!

    Update 2: I got to the bottom of the issue (pardon the pun, as you will see):

    Stingray saddle.

    The saddles are hollow (strange in and of itself). They are only threaded on the bottom side, meaning that the height screw with "bottom out" when it hits the top of the saddle.

    My options are:
    1. Drill out the top of the saddle for the screw to clear
    2. Shorten the adjustment screw by a few mm
    3. Buy new saddles

    I think I'm going to do #3.

    Still a great bass, though!

    UPDATE 14 Dec 2018: EBMM is sending me shorter screws at no charge. A class act they are.
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2018
    dannnnn, Burwabit, TinIndian and 5 others like this.
  2. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    Oh, so hot. I love the roasted maple necks with the black body. Nice choice!
    bdplaid and lowdownthump like this.
  3. lowdownthump


    Jul 17, 2004
    I have not had these issues with my MusicMan basses.

    That bass is beautiful . Very classic looks. Those necks look, feel, sound, play, and smell great!!

    The dual pickup models seems to be selling quite well. Big selection of tones, big fun!!
    bdplaid and HD007 like this.
  4. bdplaid

    bdplaid Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2007
    I have discovered that EBMM basses, at least the Stingrays, Caprices and Cutlasses, have longer screws in the A and D string saddles, apparently to accommodate neck radius.

    The short of this is that this morning I heard from EBMM. They said what we already know - the A and D string saddle screws are longer, by design. I was offered additional shorter screws for the A and D saddles if I wanted, and I accepted.

    Yes, EBMM has great customer service. And I'm still loving the bass!
    HD007 and lowdownthump like this.
  5. HD007

    HD007 Supporting Member

    Jul 12, 2018
    I like the story of your hunt! You ended up with a great bass there.

    I also have not had this issue with any of my (three, ahem) EBMM basses.

    Glad you found a solution that works. Good to know should I ever run into this problem.
    lowdownthump and bdplaid like this.
  6. LkS


    Oct 30, 2013
    EU, Slovakia
    Why don't you just flip the saddles up side down? So the threaded side is on the bottom?
  7. bdplaid

    bdplaid Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2007
    I think you don't understand. Or maybe I don't..
  8. LkS


    Oct 30, 2013
    EU, Slovakia
    Ah, yes I misunderstood at first, I think I understand now. Well the only solution seems to be to file the adjustment screw by a little.
  9. bdplaid

    bdplaid Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2007
    That's possible and was recommended by EBMM.
  10. Briton


    Apr 4, 2009
    Why don't you just add a shim to the neck pocket which will raise the neck closer to the strings. Contact EB and they will send you three different sizes free of charge as long as it is still under warranty.
    bassdude51 likes this.
  11. Congrats on finding the bass you wanted!
    I have the 4H, and I have found that it has a much more versatile, useable set of tones than the old StingRay. It doesn't have that ever-present zing that used to drive me to distraction.
    But bass is such a personal thing. Glad you found what works for you. It's beautiful, btw!
    bdplaid likes this.
  12. bassdude51

    bassdude51 "You never even called me by my name." Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2008
    Central Ohio
    Find some screws and shorten them. This seems to me to be the easiest fix. Don't alter the original screws. Find some replacements. You probably only have to shorten the screws on the G and E saddles, right? And perhaps, only for the G saddle.

    I'm guessing E. Ball made the saddles hollow to save weight. Still, it's strange that the height screws are only threaded on the bottom!

    You could also try finding a thread tap and thread it through the bottom and cut threads up through the top hole. I'd see about buying a couple of extra saddles from E. Ball for any modding.

    As Briton mentioned up above, you could also shim the neck. Use a full size shim and not a tilt only shim.

    Good Luck!

    Nice bass! Nice weight! Musicman has finally addressed the weight problem of their basses!
  13. bdplaid

    bdplaid Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2007
    It's done, fixed, over. Shorter screws from home depot did it, but EBMM are sending me some that are shorter anyway.
    HD007 likes this.

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