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Old StingRays vs New StingRays

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Larzon, Apr 28, 2005.

  1. Larzon


    Jan 15, 2005
    Do old StingRays (70s, 80s) sound better than new StingRays (90s until now)?
    If they do, why? And what is the difference? (if there is any)
    Both SR4 and SR5 (I know that SR5 was introduced '88)
  2. bovinehost

    bovinehost Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: Ernie Ball Music Man/Sterling By Music Man
    No. You find minor tonal differences between individual instruments and some difference between 2 band and 3 band EQs, but modern era Stingrays sound just as good and in some cases better than the pre-EBs.

    Okay, glad we cleared that up without controversy.
  3. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    The only pluses I can think of in relation to owning a vintage Ray is the re-sale value factor, and the bridge mutes.
  4. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Ernie Balls have the comfort cuts, pre-EB's don't. That's what it comes down to for me. I'd rather have a modern EB so I don't accidentally drop a vintage.
  5. hands5


    Jan 15, 2003
    good 'ol USA/Tampa fla.
    I preferred the pre Ernie Ball Rays ,but with that being said I'm sure the Ernie Ball Rays are pretty good,I've never owned a EB 4 string Ray,however I did have a SR 5 that wasn't my cup of tea,but it still was a great bass.I still do have my 79 Sabre which is still a blast" ! to play.
  6. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I dont think old Rays have anything on the mid to late 90's , or even recent rays.
  7. Funkster

    Funkster Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Wormtown, MA
    Ive had both and loved them both but I kept the 79,
  8. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    I had a 78 that sounded KILLER! However, the modern era rays quality is much better FME, and the contours make it much more comfortable to play. Also, I find the 2 bands sound better than the 3.

    Those mutes are worthless IMO.
  9. NCorder

    NCorder Smoke-free since 4/3/05

    Dec 26, 2002
    Dayton, OH
    I'm brand new to the Musicman owners family, but I just acquired an '89 or '90 Stingray5. From what I understand they used Alnico magnets in the pups in the SR5's until around '91 when they switched to the ceramic pickups. IMO the Alnico pup is a slightly 'warmer' with just a tad of the 'vintage' vibe compared to newer SR5's I've played recently. However, I really like the sound of the newer ceramic pups. It's all in what tone you're looking for.
  10. bassaussie


    Oct 6, 2001
    I've owned both pre-EB and EB Stingrays, and I think the biggest difference you notice is not to do with age, but more in relation to which preamp you've got. The 2 band sounds more aggressive and full on (dare I say, more "Stingray"!!), while the 3 band seems a bit tamer. I'd also agree with the various suggestions above that the QC from EB is a bit more consistent than in the earlier instruments.
  11. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    I too have owned Rays from both eras, and agree 100%.
  12. I have always been a fan of heavy basses, that's the only reason I prefer older Stingrays...

    ... but I also love my Sterling!!! :D :D :D
  13. NCorder

    NCorder Smoke-free since 4/3/05

    Dec 26, 2002
    Dayton, OH
    So, am I the only one who hears the difference between alnico and ceramic pups in the SR5's?
    Thumper likes this.
  14. Fred312b

    Fred312b Proof that gear doesn't make you a better player Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2002
    Chicago, IL
    the folks at seymour duncan/basslines seem to agree with you


    i am not too familiar with old vs. new stingrays. i just bought a new one and love it!!! :bassist: as far as the 2 vs. 3 band eq (mine has the 3), i seem to remember bp running a review of the stingray by none other than roger sadowsky himself (i guess he should know a thing or two about a good instrument) and he said he preferred the 2 band. i didn't get a chance to play the 2 band, but my 3 band sounds pretty darn good.
  15. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    You're not alone.

    I've owned FIVE different SR5's, and at one time owned three at once. The one that always beat the rest in the sound department was my '89, which I didn't even know HAD an alnico pickup until recently. It just always had more grunt than the others, a little less bright, but much more punch. When I used to switch back and forth between it and a more modern one who's color I liked better, I always ended up switching back after a few songs to get the grunt back.

    The '89 with alnico is now my only SR5, I sold the rest.
  16. Larzon


    Jan 15, 2005
    First of all, I'm just curious about peoples opinions, I'm definitely not gonna change anything in my gear, I am 100% satisfied with the bass sound I have - SR5 + GK 1001RB-II.

    Okay, so, SR4 - 2 band and 3 band preamp sounds a little different, majority prefer the 2 band EQ, right, ok.

    SR5 - Alnico or Ceramic pickup, humm...

    From Seymour Duncan/Basslines webbsite:

    "SMB-4d/SMB-5 -- Your Music Man® plays great, now make is sound great with this powerful 4- or 5-string ceramic magnet pickup and special 3-band Tone Circuit designed specially to bring out the best tone of the mid- and late-'70s Stingrays™. The hum-canceling pickup offers a highly musical tone contour with a richly articulated bottom, major midrange, and lots of treble. It's got a nice, mild bark without being overly brash, and it's not at all harsh in the mid-range. The low end is full and strong without being mushy or foggy. The Tone Circuit preamp will squeeze out every drop of tone your bass is capable of yielding. The lows are deep, clear, and tight. The mids range from ultra-smooth to punchy and all points in between. The treble control can produce a very wide, very usable response that is brilliant, yet smooth without any brittleness. Pulling up on the volume knob engages the proprietary Slap Switch, a special EQ contour made just for slap-style playing. Push the volume back in and you're back to your three-band preset. All of this is available in an amazingly quiet on-board package. The pickup is best used wired in parallel.

    SMB-4a/SMB-5a -- Music Man® used Alnico magnets on the original 1976 StingRay® basses. These groundbreaking instruments are some of the most highly collectable basses of their era, and are known for producing some of the most popular bass tones for metal, rock, blues, and funk. Installing a ceramic magnet in a conventional humbucker will tend to make it brighter and edgier with a punchy bass response and a higher resonant peak. However in the case of our SMB-4/5A Music Man replacement pickups, the Alnico magnets, together with unique coil windings, have the effect of extending both ends of the frequency spectrum beyond that of their ceramic magnet counterparts. In other words, the SMB-4/5A Alnico version is both warmer on the bottom and more detailed on top. We use .375” (3/8”) diameter Alnico 5 rod pole pieces and a winding spec that’s designed to produce the same resonance as the original 1976 StingRay. The SMB-4/5A is available in 4- and 5-string replacements."

    Well, who knows...
  17. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    I don't know, I have yet to hear a basslines MM pup that I thought sounded anything like a stingray. I think the MM preamp colors the sound a lot more than the pickup selection.

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