proliferation of Stingray clones

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by shirojiro, Feb 22, 2001.

  1. shirojiro


    Jan 24, 2001
    San Francisco
    Hi Everyone,

    I've been shopping around for a new "kick around" bass for jamming, worry-free modification, etc, and I've found a number of Stingray clones that all seem very similar.

    There are (in no particular order):
    Aslin Dane AMB200
    Dillion VMB500
    Samick PMB415
    Cort SB10
    Jay Turser JTB440
    (And of course the Subrays from Fat Dawg are in their own little category.)

    I have tried the Subrays and the Jay Turser with mixed results. There's a lot of conjecture regarding the origin of some of these basses; some people say they're made in China. Others claim they're all made in the same factory in Korea, etc.

    Has anyone played some of these other basses? Any owners? Do they all have the same electronics? I tried to ferret out some Jay Turser owners, and I feel lucky that no irate Canadian has bombarded my mailbox (yet). :)

    I'm hoping to get a Stingray clone and mess around with the electronics a bit. It seems a bit safer than potentially ruining my prized Heartfield DR5.

    Sorry for the length,
  2. My local shop lent me one of his Dillion's to check out a while back.

    I thought the bass sounded really good and seemed to be fairly well put together.

    What was odd was that it seemed to do quite a good knock off of the Stingray tone but I opened it up and discovered that it was a passive bass!

    There are certainly basses for the same money that are much better (like the Godin SD) but if you're really after that MM tone, the Dillion seemed like a fairly cheap way of getting it.

    Having said this, I don't own a Musicman, nor have I ever owned one, so my judgement may not be that reliable in this area.
  3. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    I have a Jay Turser JTB-440 & I paid $175 bucks for it!!! It's a really awesome bass, Nice finish, nice feeling neck. Looks like a StingRay. I don't think it compares to the real one, though, that's why it cost $175 & not $1000. I put a BadAss II, Schaller tuning machines & & a Seymour Duncan MM pick-up (passive) in it & not it is 1000% better. So it cost me total of about & 300-$350. If your looking for a StingRay & cant afford the going price of a Music Man, I'd say try a JT (not John Turner :))
  4. craigb

    craigb Supporting Member

    I had a Samick PMB-41S for a while. I thought it was pretty decent for the price. The tuners were pretty cheesy but did work. The rest of it was pretty basic but it felt decent, the neck was pretty good and it was fun to play - the particular one I had was lively and you could feel the vibrations when playing.

    I couldn't lower the action as much as I did on my more expensive basses without buzzing with identical strings - I don't really know if that speaks to the frets, nut or what. The bridge was serviceable and I liked the sound although it wasn't really a stingray sound. I found it very comparable to the Squier P-bass my drummer has in quality and feel

    I ended up selling it and getting a Steinberger spirit. I've considered getting one again to hack up but other basses have called instead. I think it was about $200 new so I thought it was a good value for the money.
  5. BTW, don't forget the new MTD Kingston. The humbucker's wired in parallel, though.
  6. I've played a Turser copy, and I can't say I liked much of anything about it. I've played basses that were a whole lot worse.. this one was just realy mediocre. For the money I'd rather get a Hamer, a Peavey, or a Dean
  7. craigb

    craigb Supporting Member

    I just saw today that Zzounds has a Samick PMB41S in it's closeout stock for either 119 or 129 (I forget which). I thought long and hard about it but I'm still paying off my new head, cab and ABG.
  8. Tiemyshoe


    Feb 5, 2001
    I wanna get a cheap quality bass now and this stingray -musicman copy is juss so freggin tempting. Does anybody really no how good this bass is? And also, i heard it sounds n looks the same as the real thing. How is that possible considering their $1000 differnce?
  9. It is not possible thats how. If you try A/B a 'Ray with a copy you will prolly notice the differences. Now I didnt say that a copy cant be good.. all I said was that there are some differences. :)
  10. Andy2


    Sep 29, 2000
  11. bassguy187


    Jun 27, 2000
    Nazo, PA
    my advice is STAY AWAY <--(nirvana song),
    i personally own a real stingray and
    i love it, i've played others and they just don't cut it for me, but i also have a real ear for stingers,
    have a nice day
  12. Dave S...

    Dave S...

    Oct 13, 2000
    I've played several of the Cort SB-10. It's a touch wider at the nut than most other basses, and all that I played had a good setup for a finger-style player who 'digs-in' to the strings a bit...felt quite good for that kind of playing. I'm sure it could be set up for a lighter touch with no problems, as well.

    Electronics are 'functional.' Has enough of that 'ring' with the stock pickup to entertain yourself at first. The tone knob is a bit drastic, but makes a cool psuedo-dub type tone when it's all the way down. Replacement pickup and electronics are the ideal way to go...

    Instrument balance is okay, not super-light, but good, clean construction overall...neck/ body joint is fine, bridge is cheap stamped thing, but functional...only 3 colors.

    I've had the privilege to spend some extended time on a Sterling (borrowed for a gig...) and a few Stingrays (current models...) and can safely say that, if you want to seriously pursue that tone...BUY ONE. They are very well made and play terrific!

    There are plenty of threads (including one I started on Sterling/ 'Ray differences...) on Music Man basses...go find 'em. They're worth the read!

    BTW, IMHO the Sterling is the more comfortable of the two for more 'gymnastic' playing, and sounds so close to the 'Ray to be a negligible difference... Thanks for allowing me to put a close on my original thread!

    Best Wishes
  13. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I've played the Turser and Samick.

    The Turser was clearly labeled made in China, this particular one had a KNOT in the neck :eek: and was about what you'd expect for a sub-$200 bass, lousy fretwork, thin sound.

    I forget whether the Samick was Korean made or not, but it was only a bit better than the Turser. Neither sounded much like a Ray.

    Soapbox time :)

    When I was a beginner I bought a cheap imported bass that was alookalike of the bass my hero played. That bass was a piece of crap which I only realized as I got better. Since then I've learned one thing: it's better to save for what you really want than waste money on something that's not really what you want.

    My other rule of thumb is stay focused on want ads, great deals on used basses fly by all the time if you just look out for them.
  14. craigb

    craigb Supporting Member

    I doubt that any of the cheap copies sound and feel the same as the real thing. I had an EB Stingray at the same time I had the Samick. There was no comparison.

    Even when I went out looking for my first "good" bass I could tell the difference between quality and lesser quality - which actually surprised me, I wasn't expecting to be able to tell the difference. For example trying an American made Hamer Cruise vs. an imported Hamer Cruise (at the same shop, 2 minutes between playing). The American made one just felt better, the action was lower with less buzzing, it played better. Some of that might be attributed to the better setup on the american made one but I think that some of it was just the better quality of the instrument.

    Back to Stingray clones. The Samick is nice for ~$150 bass. That doesn't mean it comes anywhere close to a real Stingray (which is ~$1000 new if you shop in the right places). And it doesn't sound like a Stingray. I haven't personally played another bass that does sound exactly like one (to me). I had a Carvin B4 with the bridge humbucker and that didn't do it. I had a Fender American Deluxe P (with a bridge humbucker) and it didn't do it. My G&L L-2000 doesn't quite get there.

    I did like the sound of the Samick but it sure didn't sound like a Stingray. And it didn't feel like one. If you really want a Stingray, save up and get a Stingray - there is no (cheaper) substitute.

    One bass to watch for might be a used G&L L-1500 or Climax. They are single-pickup basses (like a Stingray) from G&L. I haven't played one myself (I've never seen one in the flesh [wood?]) but while Musicmen are really popular now and sell at a premium even used you could get a new L-1500 for the price of a used Stingray and a used one would be even cheaper as G&Ls don't hold their resale value very well.
  15. shirojiro


    Jan 24, 2001
    San Francisco
    Thanks for all the input everyone,

    I don't think that too many people will claim that passive Stingray clones can really get the Stingray-sound. I'm kinda hoping to find a passable "tinkering" bass, if you know what I mean. Anthony's mods with the Seymour Duncan pickup and active eq sounds like a fun project. I would also like to install a coil tap/series/parallel switch.

    I find it funny that I wouldn't consider a cheap knock-off of a Precision or Jazz bass, I I would consider one of these Stingray clones. I guess if I wanted a cheap Fender, I could just go with a MIM or Squire.

  16. shirojiro


    Jan 24, 2001
    San Francisco
    Ok, so I did it. I got the Jay Turser 4 string Stingray copy. It's definitely a low-end bass, but it is surprisingly good for the price. I paid $220 delivered. A local music shop here in San Francisco wanted $325 without a case, so I guess I did ok. I hear about people getting these for $185 to $200, but I figured about $20 for shipping and it's a wash.

    At an rate, the reason I picked the Jay Turser is kind of shameful - It's the only clone that lets you do the 3+1 Tuner arrangement. It comes set up with 2+2, but it's really easy to switch the D string tuner to the top.

    Initial impressions:

    Very light, and a bit neck heavy.

    Decent acoustic tone.

    Fast neck. (this is the nicest surprise I think)

    So-so fret work - lots of buzzy notes. This could be the cheapo strings, though.

    Finish is ok. I got black since I'm kinda conservative. The finish is translucent though so one can see the wood grain. I may sand it down and oil the body.

    I've only briefly played it amplified. The tone was surprisingly good. It sounds great through my Korg Pandora though.

    All in all, I am satisfied with my $220 bass. It will get modified soon, I think. The Seymour Duncan Pickup/preamp sounds tempting as does a BadAss bridge. New srings are in order too.

    I think these basses would be great for a beginner. I remember the Kent Jazz bass I started with, and it makes me cringe.

    I wish that my first bass (or second, third or fourth for that matter) was as nice as this one. The quality of low-end basses has really improved since the 70's and 80's.