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New Musicman Stingray Replacement Pickup! Proto / Ulyate with MM and J Coils

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Quadzilla, Apr 4, 2016.

  1. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    So I will be putting together a more detailed review, but here are just some initial impressions.

    My US made TBC (The Bass Company) Stringray style bass is a very well made bass (right there with US EB MM in my opinion). It came with a 2-Band preamp (like the old Stingrays) and a high-quality MM style pickup with Alnico poles.

    The sound tone of the stock setup was good, but not great in my opinion. Had decent highs, a scooped middle (a bit too scooped for me) and a loose, big bottom-end.

    So I started looking for different options and reading reviews, etc. I was intrigued by a similar model by Delano that also had a J coil and a MM coil. Then i started looking at other options. I came across the Proto Guitars pickups (made by Howard Ulyate). Reviews on Howard's pickups were stellar and I struck up a conversation with him and Matt (his partner @ Proto). The pickup seemed to be exactly what I was looking for, so I plunked down the cash. Link ---> https://proto.guitars/product/stingray-hybrid/

    I also ordered a Stinger preamp (Retrovibe Stinger EQ : Classic Stingray 2-band Active Tone Circuit ) which is supposed to be an exact replica of the old, late 70's Musicman preamp. I had the preamp installed before installing Proto pickup. The Stinger preamp, while an improvement, didn't solve all of the issues that I was hearing (especially the undefined bottom-end, etc).

    Upon getting the box Proto, there was a Proto stamp on the back as well as another stamp that I found entertaining. :) The pickup was packaged well.

    I spoke to Matt about doing some coil tapping as well as series / parallel switching and the pickup was wired to allow for both options. I took my bass and the pickup over to my good buddy, electronics wiz and fellow TBer John Dahlman (JKDahlman here on TB).

    He added a 3-way switch for coil-taps and a 2 way switch for series and parallel.

    Firing her up, the difference was night and day! Wow! The highs were clear and not brittle, the mids were not nearly as scooped and the bottom was extremely well-defined and tight. The coils taps and series/para switching gave me a bunch of tonal options that didn't exist before. She performed wonderfully at one of my gigs this past weekend. A very even pickup across the strings and pretty much virtually eliminated the dreaded dead G string that this bass had previously (many Musicman basses are also plagued with this). Just as a side note, I had tried the Fender "Fat Finger" clamp to help cure the dead G prior to doing the electronics upgrade and it didn't help. The new pickup seems to have fixed the issue.

    I'm going to do a more formal review and also attempt to shoot some video and post that too. Till then, here are a few pics.






    Factory pickup and controls:


    Proto Pickup now with the Stinger preamp, coil taps and series / parallel switches. I took a quick picture for this, but it was taken at an angle and it makes it look like the poles are off-center, but they are not. I'll take better pictures later.

    Last edited: Apr 7, 2016
    5StringPocket and cataract like this.
  2. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    Here is a video that Howard made to give you an idea of the tone.

    cataract, Geri O and kkaarrll like this.
  3. birminghambass

    birminghambass Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2002
    Birmingham, AL
    Cool, does it still sound like a Stingray?
  4. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    Yes and no. The pickup maintains all of the good points of a Ray (that growl and awesome slap-tone), but fixes a couple of things that I pointed out. My mids are not quite as scooped and the bottom-end on this is much tighter (but still very present). The loose-woofy part is gone. The notes across my strings and up and down the neck are more even (in terms of volume and output). It also punches through the mix better than before. But it still sounds very much like a Ray. Just an improved one.... ;-)
  5. knarleybass

    knarleybass Commercial User

    Apr 6, 2005
    Tustin, CA
    Owner of Ulyate Instruments
    did you make the cookies?
    Geri O and Captain Chaos like this.
  6. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    In the oven!
    Geri O likes this.
  7. ERIC31


    Jul 1, 2002
    Maricopa, AZ
    That pickup sounds great! Do you make it in a 5 string model? I have an OLP MM3 5 string bass I'm trying to get a good pickup for.
  8. BassLife77


    Nov 13, 2009
    San Diego
    thats a great sounding pickup but I was wondering why you paired it with that Retrovibe Stinger. its just a made in china knock off and they just put their name on it. as you can see they use cheap junk components and there is no way to know the authenticity of the LM4250 opamp. more than likely its counterfeit. since you're handy with electronics you could have built your own for only around $10 and used high quality components like silver mica caps
  9. Bard2dbone


    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    Is this the same pickup as the Delano Hybrid? Or is it just constructed on the same theories as the Delano?
  10. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Feb 24, 2021

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