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No place in my city to compare a Stingray SLO with EBMM Sterling

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by cockbloctopus, Mar 14, 2017.


  1. cockbloctopus

    cockbloctopus

    Mar 10, 2017
    I am in the market for a new bass and am kind of obsessed with EBMM basses. The city I live in (Austin) has only one EBMM dealer according to the MM website, Guitar Center. I have visited all 3 Guitar Centers, and find their selection pretty lackluster. Almost nonexistent. Off topic, I did get to play a used Stingray 20th anniversary priced at $3400 (that's crazy, isn't it?) Basically, I've been able to play some Stingrays and I find the neck to be a little to chunky for my hands. There are a couple ways to solve this, but because of the poor selection, I could use a little help. The Sterling is pretty close to a Stingray from what I understand, but lighter, slightly different electronics, and a thinner neck, but I have also heard that it can't quite nail that signature Stingray tone. I haven't been able to try one out. The Stingray SLO is a Stingray with (for all intents and purposes) a Sterling neck. I have also not been able to play one of these in store, and therefor I can't tell if the difference in neck compromises tone at all. I'm not sure what to do. I would really love to be able to play these instruments before I drop 2k on one, but Guitar Center has been unwilling to help me out by bringing one of each into the store. The best they are able to do is "Buy one from us, and you have 45 days to return it." Ultimately, GC is not going to get the sale (I plan on placing a custom order through Sweetwater, which will then take about 6 months for EBMM to build), but the only solution I can think of is to buy one or the other from GC, return it, and then order the other, but unless the one I return stays in the store, I won't have the opportunity to try them at the same time, which is what I prefer. Anywho, sorry for being overly wordy, but what can I do to be able to compare 2 (or more, humbucker vs double humbucker would be a good thing to test out) of the basses at the same time? If I have to keep buying basses with different configs and returning them, it's going to take me forever to place my order, and have me dealing with GC way more than I want to. If you have experience with both the EBMM Sterling and EBMM Stingray SLO, are you able to provide any insight? Sorry for yet another Stingray vs Sterling post.

    TL;DR: From your experience, how do you compare the EBMM Sterling4 to the EMBB Stingray4 SLO, and how can I solve the problem of not being able to try both concurrently?
     
  2. FingerDub

    FingerDub Inactive

    Jan 8, 2016
    Both have the same neck so I wouldn't worry about having to try both for that reason. The main differences are the body style, (I prefer Stingray), ceramic pickups (Sterling) v. alnico, and 2 band preamp v. 3 band (Stingray). Both basses are going to be really nice. I do prefer 2 band preamps, and the Sterling is going to be a little more cutting, while the alnico pickups are going to be punchier and deeper. Both are killer basses, just depends on what your flavor is. Check YouTube for sound samples.

    IMO, you can find great deals here on both in the classifieds.
     
    pudgychef, lostreality and jakka1 like this.
  3. cockbloctopus

    cockbloctopus

    Mar 10, 2017
    I know the ray is heavier and and a little bigger. Do you know if they have pretty much the same contour in the back? From what I've heard, the Classic Ray is pretty much a slab with no contour, so that version is out of the question for me. I've got a bit of a belly, and want to make sure whatever I get is comfortable and fits right. I really don't love the idea of placing an order without having tried EXACTLY what it is I'm ordering, although the thought of being a kid on Christmas when it gets here and having that "It's perfect!" moment sounds really special.
    Also, can you describe what you mean by the Sterling is going to me more cutting?
     
  4. FingerDub

    FingerDub Inactive

    Jan 8, 2016
    Pretty sure they are the same, but you could check with Sweetwater.

    Anyway, ceramic pole piece in the pickups can be interpreted to be more modern and HiFi sounding I guess. But that's not the end of it. The design of the pickup matters also, as do some other things, but if everything were equal, alnico should sound fatter and smoother v ceramic. Again, many factors though.
     
  5. Rabidhamster

    Rabidhamster

    Jan 15, 2014
    Drive to Dallas, or Houston.
     
    Radio and matante like this.
  6. andruca

    andruca

    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    Traditional Stingray sound is both coils in parallel. With the Sterling you get that plus series and single coil too. The Sterling pickup magnets are ceramic instead of alnico (in most Stingray 4s). The difference is not that big, ceramic is a little more agressive, probably has stronger highs. Still you have a 3 band EQ, so the classic parallel Stingray sound can definitely be dialed. Go Sterling, plays light years better and has more sound variation.
     
    Commreman, MrMoonlight and FingerDub like this.
  7. jakka1

    jakka1

    Jul 19, 2012
    Kansas
    I own and love both Sterlings and Stingrays. Like yourself, I found the neck on the Stingray a little chunky for my preference. Bought my first Stingray several years ago without even realizing that Sterling necks were thinner and more to my liking. I agree that buying used is a great way to figure out what is best for you if you are not able to play one first. SLOs and Sterlings aren't as common as Stingrays, but both are usually available here in the classifieds for anywhere from $850-$1150. If one doesn't work out, you can turn around and sell it without losing much. A new Stingray or Sterling should not cost $2k unless you are springing for a PDN model.
    You are not going to notice a difference between the necks... same radius... same width at the nut. They do differ where they bolt into the body. The Sterling has a smooth contour that transitions from the neck to where it bolts on, while the Stingray is more "blocky" if that makes sense? It's not anything that I ever notice when playing though. I don't really notice much difference in the body cutaway on the back. The Sterling body is smaller and the headstock is proportionately smaller as well. Both models work for me since I am not a very big dude, but I once saw a big body builder type with massive arms playing a Sterling and the first thing that came to mind was Wow... that guy could really use a Stingray.
    If you are sensitive to weight, not all Sterlings are lighter than Stingrays. Typically, Stingrays are "around" 10 lbs. and Sterlings are "around" 9 lbs. I own a Sterling that weighs 8.2 lbs. but have owned another that weighed 9.8 lbs. I also own an 8.4 lb. Stingray and my newest SLO weighs 9.3 lbs. and ended up being lighter than the Sterling I had initially ordered. With my luck, custom orders have always ended up on the heavy side. In the future, I will probably just wait and order one directly from a dealer that publishes actual weight in their listings.
    As others have mentioned, you also have the difference in pickups. The Sterling is a bit more aggressive. I have owned HH, HS and H configurations of both Stingrays and Sterlings. My fav is probably the HH. Nice variety of tonal options and as a guy who plays mostly with fingers, that neck pickup is a great place to anchor my thumb. Now that I mention it, the covers on HH and HS models have a nice groove/contour that runs along the top edge that is a very comfortable thumb rest. The single H for whatever reason has the rounded tabs. Myself, I wish that the single H pickups had the same covers as the HS/HH models. Not sure why they don't other than EBMM refusing to stray from what they have always been.
     
    Gtz, osonu and packhowitzer like this.
  8. Sorry OP, but GC is not your personal fitting room. If you are going to order from Sweetwater, order from them to try out the basses and return them. I am sure Sweetwater won't be too happy to be used like that, but at least they MIGHT, get a sale...
     
  9. cockbloctopus

    cockbloctopus

    Mar 10, 2017
    Yeah I totally agree it's poopy. The suggestion actually came from a staff member at Guitar Center whom I told I was going to end up placing a custom order through Sweetwater. I realize he doesn't speak for the company, but it is what it is what it is. The thought would have never occurred to me otherwise.

    Driving to Houston this weekend actually. I might have time to hit one GC up, great suggestion.

    Haha Jakka, I mentioned in another thread how you got to the Starry Night SLO a few days before I found it. Damn that thing is beautiful. Thanks for the writeup, that was super in depth and very helpful.
     
    jakka1 likes this.
  10. cockbloctopus

    cockbloctopus

    Mar 10, 2017
    I was ready to pull the trigger on the Starry Night Slo and figure the rest out later. Sounds like she went to a pretty cool dude. Can't be mad at that. I'm glad she found a good home.
     
    jakka1 likes this.
  11. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Connecticut
    Suggestion. CALL Sweetwater, and ask for a rep familiar with MM basses. Tell them your concerns.
     
    osonu and tbz like this.
  12. Sid the Kid

    Sid the Kid Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2013
    Illinois
    My suggestion is to buy a Sterling and never look back! Killer little basses these Sterlings, and about the best looking small body bass.

    The electronics in the Sterling are the same as earlier 5 string Rays. When they came out with a Sterling 5 ('08?) they made the Stingray 5 Alnico. So any old recording with a Stingray 5 should sound similar to what a Sterling will do.

    For an example of my favorite series, ceramic Musicman tone check out No Doubt's Ex-girlfriend. Grindy, beefy bass tone with a behemoth B string. My classic Sterling sounds just like this minus the B.

     
    cockbloctopus likes this.
  13. jakka1

    jakka1

    Jul 19, 2012
    Kansas
    Thanks dude!! My only regret is that I had to sell my all Rosewood neck SLO to make it happen. It is a lot easier to deal with when I see and play the Starry Night. As an added bonus, I no longer have any basses that are over 10 lbs. Best of luck to you in your search!
     
  14. phillybass101

    phillybass101

    Jan 12, 2011
    Artist, Trickfish Amplification Bartolini Emerging Artist, MTD Kingston Emerging Artist. Artist, Tsunami Cables
    Dude buy a Sterling SUB. Mod with Nordy Big man Pup and Aggie OBP and you'd be happy. Or consider an EMG selection. Ceramic Pups and the EMG Pup and pre will get you where you want to be. Or an Aggie or Seymore Duncan and Pre. Nordy makes a 2 band EB like pre. I've compared necks on a SUB, New EB MM Ray and guess what I couldn't tell that much of a quality feel difference to justify thousand more in price, SUBs are true sleepers and just need a Pup and Pre upgrade. A $400 upgrade to a Sub will put you in the mix and still come in cheaper that a Sterlig Ray and you'll have high end pups and pre.
     
    edencab likes this.
  15. ogiebb

    ogiebb

    Apr 1, 2016
    Rosenberg TX
    I own a a Sterling and a few Stingray SLO's I can tell you they have the same necks front to back and the 1.5width nut....just bought a slo stealth from Bass Central and they have been awesome
     
    Gtz likes this.
  16. maxschrek

    maxschrek Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2006
    Chattanooga, TN.
    Brother, there is a 1995 black stingray in the TB classifieds right now for $850. I have a 95 and they have very comfortable, slim and fast necks. Just FYI.
    No affiliation.
     
    lowendrachel and tbz like this.
  17. eyeballkid

    eyeballkid Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2009
    If you dig the stingray tone but want a thinner neck, get a SLO. you won't be disappointed!
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
    ogiebb and andruca like this.
  18. wideload

    wideload

    Apr 15, 2004
    Salinas, CA
    Or San Luis Obispo... :)
     
    Rabidhamster and matante like this.
  19. matante

    matante

    Nov 3, 2003
    Los Angeles
    Not a bad suggestion. Beautiful city, and he can visit Hearst Castle.
     
  20. cockbloctopus

    cockbloctopus

    Mar 10, 2017
    I'm actually going to be in Los Angeles next week. I could add a day to my trip and drive to SLO... do they host people for this reason? I suppose I could give them a call, but anybody know?
     
    jakka1 likes this.
  21. 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.

     
    Apr 17, 2021

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