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Sting vs more traditional p bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Reinhardt Amps, Jan 22, 2008.

  1. Reinhardt Amps

    Reinhardt Amps Commercial User

    Dec 28, 2007
    Lynchburg Virginia
    Owner: Reinhardt Amps
    What is the difference tonally between the sting sig bass, and the later style p bass with the newer pickup arrangement? Also, are all the sting sigs MIJ? Someone offered me a MIJ sting bass, and Im just trying to find info on it.
  2. I always felt the Sting/ '51 Precision Bass sounds more like a Jazz Bass. I haven't played one in a while though. But, they are definately punchy.
  3. NKUSigEp


    Jun 6, 2006
    Bright, IN
    Two words: Dusty Hill. I bought one last week to get that ZZ Top vibe and absolutely loved the bass, but it's not my kind of sound and I need the money elsewhere so it's on its way to a new owner shortly.

    In comparison to models with the split-coil precision pickup, I would say it is less versatile, less output, more of a boomy sound but what it does do well is give you a fat, sweet, and warm tone, especially with flatwounds. They're all made in Japan but they're definitely nice basses and have solid construction. And someone just offered it to you like they're just giving it to you?
  4. The Sting is virtually identical to the 51 ri in sound characteristics and feel which has been discussed in other threads here on TB (except the 51 does not have the body arm taper or belly cut found on the Sting sig. Both use the same neck profile, frets and pup).

    I currently own both basses. The 51 ri has flats, Sting sig has rounds. The strings do make a difference in the sound, but over all these basses produce more lows and more high's, with about the same mids when compared to the post 57 P-bass with split coil pup. Yes, the output is slightly less than the newer design split coil pups. With flats you get a good woody tone, the rounds have more zing or bite. Either bass with either type of string will set very will in the mix of a band setting and cut through quite well. I disagree with the comment about being 'less versital' than newer P-basses. I think the 51/Sting is every bit as versatile as my newer style split coil P-basses, they just have a slightly different tone, and much cooler looks. I love the feel of the neck profile and the small frets. Strap balance is neutral. The only down side IMO is the old single coil hum issue. It's not noticeable when playing, so I've learned to turn the volume control down when there is a long pause between songs. Some players may complain about the two saddle bridge not intonating correctly. I haven't had any intonation issues, but I rarely play above the 15th on either of these basses.

    I remember reading a review in a UK bass magazine that described the sound of the Sting sig P-bass as 'rude'. That is the overall tone was not as refined, a little more in your face, than the standard split coil P-bass. Sorry I don't remember the name or date of the publication, but it was 3+ years ago.

    :hyper: Bottom line: IMO if the price is right, the Sting sig is a great P-bass.:bassist:
  5. Reinhardt Amps

    Reinhardt Amps Commercial User

    Dec 28, 2007
    Lynchburg Virginia
    Owner: Reinhardt Amps
    Thanks for that. That was good. The guy is asking 550, but is flexible so im sure i can get it for 500 or so. Is that good, average, poor?
    Thanks again everyone. Im very curious about it now.
  6. BillMason


    Mar 6, 2007
    $500 is about right for a used one in 9/10 condition, IMHO.

    One was selling here in Canada for $500 CDN in perfect shape, I should have bought it!! I didn't like the inlay at the 12th fret.
  7. kasbrey


    Aug 23, 2002
    York UK
    I had a 51 RI and found that I couldn't get on with the sound due to the pickup placement.

    I found the sound way too boomy and inarticulate (and not in a good way).Every 51/Sting model I've tried cannot reproduce the 4th fret harmonics through an amp despite them being there acoustically.

    I loved the way the bass played and wish I'd kept it to put a different pickup on.
  8. maxbass


    May 22, 2002
    Milano Italy
    Dear friend, it aint' possible ;)
  9. joelb79


    Mar 22, 2006
    Lansing, Michigan
    +1. They also sound brighter than split-P's when used with roundwounds. That has a lot to do with the Stratocaster style pickup.
  10. Exactly the way I feel about my '51 reissue that I sold a couple of years back. I wish it was still around then I could put a Darkstar on it.:)
  11. LuvMusic


    Aug 18, 2007
    Oak Park, IL
    Seems average. Sam Ash is still asking $699.00 (USD) for a new one.


    Guitar Center has a used one for $599.00 (USD). Good thing here is buying from a store.


    You may also want to checkout one of these (especially if cost is an issue).


    When my tech at my local music store set it up for me, his reaction was "Sting bass with a high output humbucker in it." My tech was also impressed with the overall quality of the bass, but, really loved the neck.

    I have the Squier and also played the Sting bass before I bought the Squier. I liked the sound the higher output pup
    had and I love the "growl /thump" I get from the TB bass. Much different than my Jazz.

    My 2 cents
  12. Reinhardt Amps

    Reinhardt Amps Commercial User

    Dec 28, 2007
    Lynchburg Virginia
    Owner: Reinhardt Amps
    Thanks again. Its got a SD antiquity installed in it. Im assuming thats a better pup?
  13. lpdeluxe

    lpdeluxe Still rockin'

    Nov 22, 2004
    Deep E Texas
    My '51 RI has a Basslines Quarter Pound in it and it's the Thump King. Not much sustain, beefy low end and good articulation.

    I spent the last year playing a Classic '50s split-coil P with a working band and loved it. But I recently started doing some duo material with an old playing partner and the '51 came out of the case.

    The Sting has the contoured '53-early '57 body, and I wouldn't mind if my '51 had that, too, and the "butterscotch" is a little over the top, but it's a fine bass. I have gigged with it without problems, although I just noticed the output jack socket is working loose (Stewart-McDonald sells a superior replacement).
  14. vanscoy


    Nov 30, 2007
    I might be willing to trade my brand new 51RI in burst for a Sting bass. I enjoy playing my Turser '54 so much with the body contour but love the action on the '51. Man, GAS sucks!
  15. koobie


    Jul 11, 2007
    Portland OR
    I've got some general questions about the '51 Precision & Sting basses. I played a Sting a while back, but it was through a subpar student amp, hard to determine it's basic tone. The Sting I played was a little heavier than I prefer, are the weights of these all over the map? How about the neck carve, are they fairly consistent?

    I'd read on a different thread about the '51 pickup sounding like a Darkstar. Sounds too good to be true. I played BartmanPDX's DS-equipped bass and the tone is exactly what I'm looking for, more top-end detail than my standard split P pickup, a bit less mud, a tad less bottom. Slightly less bottom isn't a problem, it's easy to turn up the amp's bass a bit.

    Lastly, can anyone compare the sound of the stock '51 pickup, the Seymour Duncan replacement and the Darkstar? The higher output of the Duncan concerns me a bit, I tend to prefer the tone of lower output pickups, in guitars anyway. If I end up going with a Darkstar, a '51/Sting might not be the way I'd go, not sure if I would bond with the chunky neck.
  16. BillyRay


    Jan 20, 2008
    It doesn't sound like the DS, it sounds pretty much like a normal p would with a tad more bass, way more hi's and scooped mids.
  17. 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.

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