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NBD: (First) Stingray Special Content- Pics of my 'Burst Twins

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by WhtMtnGrv, Dec 8, 2018.

  1. WhtMtnGrv


    Nov 1, 2015
    Burbank, CA
    It has arrived, two days early! Of course no indication from UPS that this was happening since recently (not just the holiday season, but the past couple years actually) they tend to scan their shipments when they want, not when the item moves... but that's another thread.

    Anywho, the subject of this NBD is a Musicman Stingray Special 4H in Vintage Tobacco. This is my first Stingray, and only my second Musicman; I used to have a Bongo 5 HS which I thoroughly enjoyed, but it never quite felt right. I've played lower end/budget basses for most of my life since I've never really had the funds or the patience to save said funds for an expensive USA made bass. I sort of impulse bought this one and decided to give her an extended home trial before making the final judgement.

    So far, so good!

    First thing I noticed is the weight... Holy hell this thing is LIGHT! I have a Squier parts build that I did (PJ) which comes in at under 8 pounds, and this 'Ray is right in that neighborhood. I think the specs have it as 8.5 pounds, and this one certainly feels like it delivers in spades. After admiring its aesthetics for a few minutes, and sat down, plugged her in, tuned it by ear (was about a half step flat across the board, so I just got everything close, relatively speaking), and started noodling away. This neck.... this NECK! I love it. I adore the roasted maple neck, and it feels ridiculously smooth. The gloss finish on my old Sire V7 was meh at best, the satin finish on the V3 was lovely, and I vibe with whatever finish is on the back go my Fender P neck... but this wax finish on the 'Ray is on another level. It just feels so natural and slick, and you can coast all over the FB with ease. The tuning machines are butter smooth and very accurate. The setup felt very nice right out of the box, but I may lower the action just a touch.

    Regarding the sound- I like it. I like the preamp, I like the 'bucker, but I think I need to spend some more time with it to familiarize myself with how to dial in the tones I'm trying to hear. I'm so used to playing P's (have spent the VAST majority of my life as a musician playing P's) and that dark, wooly, vintage, tone-knob-rolled-off sound has eluded me so far on this Stingray. Granted, I've only tinkered on this thing for maybe 45 minutes so far, but I guess I'm used to just rolling back the knob-closest-to-the-input-jack to thump it up. Don't get me wrong; the balls on the Stingray are great, and it has that recognizable Stingray crispness which I've coveted for years. But in order for me to be sold on this thing, I'll need to find that warm, dark sound (or as close to it as I can get) to justify keeping it. Sure, I could swap basses mid-set and grab the trusty P when needed, but I'd like to avoid the need for that if I can. I do have a Sansamp Programmable DI which gives me plenty of options to get just about whatever sound I need out of pretty much any bass, but I generally prefer simplicity.

    I admire the 18 volt preamp since it gives plenty of power/headroom, and keeping the preamp flat, the bass sounds wonderful. I also toyed with cutting the mids and boosting the highs and lows, and the resulting tone was marvelous... out of my amp in my apartment. Live, we shall see. I do have rehearsal tomorrow so I'm going to give her a little test run there to see how she holds up.

    Time will tell if she's a keeper, but the forecast is certainly promising.

    EDIT: The only thing missing on this bass is a black pick guard. If I decide to keep it, that's the first and probably only mod to be made.

    Pictures forthcoming!





    IMG_0175.JPG IMG_0176.JPG


    Last edited: Dec 8, 2018
    LeonD, mikezimmerman, fretno and 24 others like this.
  2. Marko 1

    Marko 1

    Mar 9, 2009
    N.E. Ohio
    Not gonna read all that right now, but damn that's a fine pair of instruments. :)
    Nunovsky, WhtMtnGrv and lowdownthump like this.
  3. lowdownthump


    Jul 17, 2004
    Oh what beautiful grain on that Special. That’s a great looking pair.
    Yes the necks are superb . ( Did you happen to smell that neck yet?) :smug: A black pickguard would be the icing on the cake.
    LeonD and HD007 like this.
  4. Marko 1

    Marko 1

    Mar 9, 2009
    N.E. Ohio
    TalHaz and WhtMtnGrv like this.
  5. Stranger Danger

    Stranger Danger Feel Like A Stranger Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2010
    Great bass. If you decide to return it, go for the HH. You’ll get the thunpiness you require in spades and keep the Stingray growl.
    HD007 and lowdownthump like this.
  6. HD007

    HD007 Supporting Member

    Jul 12, 2018
    Gorgeous new bass, and a gorgeous duo there.
    Be sure to give the Stingray an ample tryout playing with your band. I have a 4HH special, so can’t compare directly, but found its full power came alive when playing out. The P will probably always sound better in a bedroom.
    I also love love love the necks on these specials.
    Congrats on the new bass!
  7. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    great looking ax! i'm with you on the black pickguard, but the piece looks sweet, anyway. congratulations on your new instrument! :thumbsup:
  8. WhtMtnGrv


    Nov 1, 2015
    Burbank, CA
    I certainly respect that :roflmao:

    Appreciate the kind words!
    Marko 1 likes this.
  9. WhtMtnGrv


    Nov 1, 2015
    Burbank, CA
    Thanks! I’m surprised by and in love with how closely the colors of the bodies match up.

    I actually did get a little sniff of it when I took it out of the bag. It does have a pretty sweet aroma to it!
    HD007 and lowdownthump like this.
  10. WhtMtnGrv


    Nov 1, 2015
    Burbank, CA
    I’ll have to look into that; thanks for the suggestion! The HH is the only MM configuration I haven’t owned or played (I almost went for one this time around).

    Much obliged! Yeah I’m excited to hear how it sounds in a group. My guitarists don’t play huge stacks or anything so I won’t have a volume war to overcome. My Sire didn’t quite cut through the way I’d have hoped but I think I’ll be able to make the Stingray sing!
  11. kranahan

    kranahan Supporting Member

    That roasted neck... Incredible!
    WhtMtnGrv, lowdownthump and HD007 like this.
  12. @WhtMtnGrv, before you even think about getting rid of it, put some flats on that Special! My 4H roasted maple Burnt Apple Special has flats and it has tons o' thump!
    lowdownthump and HD007 like this.

    MYLOWFREQ Supporting Member

    May 13, 2011
    New York
    Congrats, that's a very nice bass you got there!
    lowdownthump and HD007 like this.
  14. Mikey F

    Mikey F

    Aug 12, 2014
    Denver, CO
    WhtMtnGrv and lowdownthump like this.
  15. StayLow


    Mar 14, 2008
    I really like the look of the wood on that one! Hopefully you'll really dig the bass.

    And I agree with the suggestion above to try flats on it.

    Don't put a black pickguard on it. Remove the pickguard entirely. StingRay pickguards are a useless abomination, often covering gorgeous wood or finishes.

    A new bass with a pickguard that isn't ncessary to cover routing underneath should never come with the pickguard screwed-in. That should be owner's choice. Especially when you're talking $2k, or much much more.
    faulknersj likes this.
  16. jgroh

    jgroh Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    Love the roasted neck. Regarding the sound....it took me a little bit to get used to my Stingray. Was worried it was too "clanky". But, in a live mix, this thing kills. Just kills. Great booty to fill out the sound and the crisp top end they are famous for. If you cant get the thump you want with EQ settings, try some flats or groundwounds.
    HD007 likes this.
  17. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
    I got a USA Sterling that I was flip years back. Took it to a couple gigs and hated the way it sounded. Come to find out...the reason I ‘hated’ It was because my ears were so used to Fenders. Took it out for ‘one last gig’ on a whim...and that was the gig where I finally ‘got it.’ Give yourself time to get used to it. It’s not going to do a ‘P’ bass (especially if you darken it up by rolling off the tone. ...it does that Music Man thing that just slices thru any mix. It may or may not work for you...but now you have another tone in your arsenal.

    PS...you can hear a clip of my Sterling live in the link down there
    HD007 and lowdownthump like this.
  18. lowdownthump


    Jul 17, 2004
    Link? Where?
  19. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
    Maybe it’s not on my TB signature anymore?

    Here is my Sterling in action...

    lowdownthump, HD007, jgroh and 2 others like this.
  20. mouthmw


    Jul 19, 2009
    Blah! Pickguardless basses always look so boring and unappealing to me. Stingray's pickguard shape is instantly recognizable and cool as! I say put that black guard there man!
    HD007 likes this.

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