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Stingray 4 vs Old Smoothie

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by _Some Dude, Jun 25, 2017.

  1. _Some Dude

    _Some Dude

    Sep 14, 2016
    Looking at my next bass and am looking for opinions. I've demoed both and liked both.

    I play rock/punk and the spit between fingers and pick is about 50/50. I'm currently using a J bass, which I like a lot, but sometimes wish it was a bit more aggressive sounding.
  2. Stingray 4, Old Smoothie is exactly that- smooth. That's because the strings aren't directly over the pickup poles, meaning more sustain, but a more mellow sound.
  3. Richard I

    Richard I

    Jun 22, 2017
    I'd suggest you a standard, 3-band EQ Stngray 4.
    Personally, I don't like them because they sound too much "metallic", with a bit of extra edge for my tastes. Plus, the non-gloss neck is faster: they probably could help you in playing rock/punk music!
    Plus, if those old school colours and features (mute pads, vintage radius, etc) are not necessary to you, it's a way to save money...
    Badwater likes this.
  4. AngelCrusher

    AngelCrusher Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2004
    Mesa Boogie, Tech 21, Taylor
    I much prefer the 2 band over the 3. The 2 band is so warm, but still has incredible mids if you don't abuse the bass and treble. It just has that modern, burpy bridge tone that is so great for fingerstyle and slap.

    Based on what you are saying in the OP, I almost wonder if you would prefer a Pbass with rounds and a Geezer Butler pickup. Pbasses are so great with pedals too, so you can add even more grind to your tone with a good OD or Fuzz.
  5. FugaziBomb


    Jun 5, 2017
    BlueAliceOasis likes this.
  6. barginkov


    Feb 1, 2012
    L.I. New York
    The smoothie is way too smooth for my taste ..the stingray is in your face which I happen to like.
    Treb likes this.
  7. _Some Dude

    _Some Dude

    Sep 14, 2016
    The thing that stood out about the 2 band is that it sounded pretty natural... but it was on the Smoothie and I didn't know how much of that was the EQ vs the smoothie pickup position.

    The 3 band surprised me. I set it flat to demo and the mids sounded very fat. I didn't know what to expect, but it made me smile. It felt like I had to put in very little effort to get a lot of power out of it. On my Jazz I find myself aggressively digging in, whereas this Stingray I was lightly touching the strings.

    I was planning on a P Bass, but I'm looking for a little somethin' somethin' that I can't quite put my finger on and as best I can figure out it's an active bass thing. I hear it as an aggressive attack and a metallic ping off the frets. The more old school version that's not as exaggerated what I hear in some modern recordings.
  8. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis

    The Old Smoothie can get that Stingray aggression, at least this one could.
    Tbone76 likes this.
  9. barginkov


    Feb 1, 2012
    L.I. New York
    I tried 2 of them at two different guitar center.and 1 at sam ash. I a/b them with the sr 4 stingray and there's was a big difference in aggressive sound , I think it would be even a bigger difference in a live band setting. Getting lost in the mix
  10. _Some Dude

    _Some Dude

    Sep 14, 2016
    How does a Stingray perform in a mix vs a P Bass or Jazz?

    I've been reading that Stingrays can get lost in the mix, but the one I tried sounded like it had plenty of midrange with the EQ flat. Is getting lost user error? Or is it inherent to the instrument?
  11. _Some Dude

    _Some Dude

    Sep 14, 2016

    Today I went and played the same Stingray I liked so much when I started this thread and didn't like it nearly as much as I did before.

    I went back and for for an hour or two between an Stingray 4 and 5, a pair of P Basses (MIA & MIM) and various J Basses (MIA active and passive). In general, I preferred the the various Jazz basses, followed closely by the P. I really wanted to like the Stingray and spent a lot of time fiddling with them, but I just couldn't find what I was looking for.

    While disappointing, I may have just saved myself a lot of money.
    Badwater likes this.
  12. _Some Dude

    _Some Dude

    Sep 14, 2016
    And on a side note, I really wish music stores had demo band. That way I could test gear out in a mix instead of in isolation...
  13. Badwater


    Jan 12, 2017

    In terms of recording, the mix is where the magic EQ and compression is done on the bass track. Most who mix bass don't let the bass get lost in the mix. The bass tone or sound in digital recording (in most styles of music), depends on the player, and how they attack and value each note. In most cases, when playing live, you can let the notes ring on without stopping it. With digital recording, the preferred bass tracks are punchy and tight where the player cuts each note clean before attacking the next. And this is done in time with the groove and drums. Thus, you have a wave form with spikes that are level, and tiny flat lines in between them. That's how a lot of studio players do it, and that makes for easy mixing with other instruments in the song.

    As for the Stingray 4, it's a great bass for recording and live applications. If you're a former guitar player, the neck will feel right at home as there is not much taper and slim. If you like the taper of a Jazz, it may take some getting use to. But I like the sound of Stingray as it has that natural overdrive tone without distortion.
  14. Badwater


    Jan 12, 2017
    I agree, always better to test it and be sure, than to have regrets.
  15. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    Long Island, NY.
    If you're getting lost in the mix with a Ray then someone is doing something wrong.
    eastcoasteddie and AMp'D.2play like this.
  16. jefff100

    jefff100 Supporting Member

    Jan 23, 2010
    Central NJ
    Food for thought: If you're concerned about a StingRay getting lost in the mix, consider a G&L with MFD pickups.

    I have a StingRay SR5, HH pups. It can go from warm, old school thump to aggressive and in your face....and depending on how you play the 5 way you can get some nice single coil(ish) tones out of it and the 3 band EQ gives you allot of flexibility. The Ray is a very flexible bass. It CAN be mellow & polite. Or it can be out front & center. You should't be lacking definition.

    My other 5 string is a G&L L1505. Kind of like a basic single pickup StingRay; but its tone can go from warm and woody, to classic rock tones, to sharp, biting and angry. Cuts through muddy mixes like nobody's business.
    We get allot of mud in church situations as we generally dont have a qualified sound tech and allot going on, the G&L is a great bass for this.
    The secret on the G&L is learning to NOT use all of the volume knob when you want smoother, warmer tones. Let the amp do the lifting. The MFD pickups and preamp are very hot. I run an amp pad even when in passive mode. Another bonus is that the G&L L series basses will run in passive mode with a dead battery so you arent stranded on a gig. Even the tone knobs still work ! Its also the tightest sounding, crispest B-sting I've ever come across.

    Check them out, and you can pick up a USA made used G&L on TB classified generally for between 700 to 900. Made in Leo's original shop !
  17. The Old Smoothie gives a great 2 band EQ Musicman sound. You won't get lost in the mix (as long as the PA sound man reproduces your sound rather than doing silly things like cutting all the mids). In fact I heard/saw my Old Smoothie used in a jam session on Superstition with two loud guitars, sax and vocals and its sound was excellent both finger style and slap through an LM3 and traveller 2 X 10. When I say great 2 band MM sound it's clearly pre Louis Johnson's involvement (based on a 76 instrument - different voiced EQ - and made to sound like an actual 42 yr old bass).

    The 3 band EQ Ray is much more aggressive so would be great for punk (listen to early RHCP or even RATM - I suppose funk or hip hop punk). The thing is you can get to a 2 band sound by cutting back the mid control say -70%. You can also get a 'vintage' type sound - just modify your playing and aggression. But if you want aggression it's there.

    The Old Smoothie is slightly more polite sounding and will not do the same level of aggression IMO - the same is true of a 76 v a 79 Stingray - the 3 band version just gives you more control and variation.

    I have both types plus a classic 2 band so am speaking from experience (though I don't actually play punk)!!

    Now to a P bass - good as they are these will not do a modern sound and neither will they do clean aggressive sound. You are as likely to get lost in a mix with these as any other bass (despite what people tell you). If you want to look and sound like Sid Vicious by all means play a white Precision but if you want the same but more ability to be cutting and aggressive use a white Stingray 3 band.

    The neck on the Smoothie is lacquered whereas the 3 band is oil and wax finish - both are extremely quick to play.

    Best of luck with your choice. Here's my Old Smoothie - excellent bass.


    Last edited: Apr 4, 2018

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