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Stingray MTD hybrid . . . ?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by sgoorland, Dec 4, 2013.

  1. sgoorland


    Apr 30, 2013
    Hello, this is my first post to the site, I've been a member for just a few months, but I love the site! So many knowledgeable people! And so much information! I'm hoping that I can get some insight. I've been searching for seemingly years for the bass that both feels right in my hands, as well as sounds perfect to my ears.

    Then I picked up an MTD 535 and, wow! Nothing has ever fit in my hands more perfectly. My hands seemingly played on their own. Simply amazing! This bass feels like THE BASS for me! And yet, tone-wise, the highs were a bit too crisp, and it seemed to lack the any punch and presence.

    Once I discovered the Musicman Stingray tone, I knew I found my tone! Punchy, growly, classic, cuts through, perfect! That's my tone! (also love the even more present Bongo tone). But the Stingray feels lousy in my hands. Maybe its the neck, most likely its the 17.5mm spacing. I'm a 19mm player. I know some people say "just get used to it", but I love the 19mm feel, I played a smaller spaced Gibson Tobias for 10 years (maybe 17mm?), and then I played my Lakland 5502 Fretless in a store, and there was no looking back. And I've seen all the threads about Musicman not making a 19mm.

    So now I'm stuck, I want to play the MTD all day, and hear the Stingray come out of it! So I've been on the search for the bass that does just that, combine that amazing feel with that amazing tone. To date I've tried a Roscoe 3005, F Bass BN 5, Lakland 5594 at Bass Central in Orlando. I've also read about mod'ing a bass with pickups and a preamp, like Nords. I'm not opposed to that either. For example, if that would work on a Lakland or, even better, and MTD, great.

    I truly appreciate your reading my post, and look forward to thoughts from the great people on this site on basses out there that feel amazing, and sound like the MM, or can be set up to sound like it!

    Thanks so much,
    Scott G.
  2. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Tell Mike Tobias what you want and pay up!
  3. Brams77


    Jun 30, 2009
    I would advise you to first check out a MTD Heir bass.
    Or better yet a bunch, these are available in more then one store.. so youll have the oportunity to get a really good one...
    You get that great feeling neck of an MTD with a MM pickup in passive.. I heard a few of these they are really really great.
    If you check on youtube MTD Heir youll prlly see mr Nembhard play one ( a black one) really sick tone, and it isnt as crisp and it has much punch...

    Just my 5 cents
  4. ...or the MTD Kingston Artist, which is a single H, in, I believe, the Stingray sweetspot. The Heir is an HS, with the H a bit closer to the bridge, IIRC.
  5. You can also check Sandberg basses and even Ibanez ATK805. And you can always ask any luthier to build you THE BASS! Just put together a list of all the details and you'll get your dream bass! :)
  6. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Or have Chris Kohlman (Kohlman Bassworks) build you one. He can do whatever you want!
  7. mmbongo

    mmbongo Chicken Pot Pie. My three favorite things!! Supporting Member

    What kind of pickups are in the bass now?

    I see some suggestions for the cheaper foreign made MTD Heir/Artist but really they have nothing at all in common with your 535 and have none of the features that make your 535 so special. And if a Lakland or Roscoe didn't get the job done, those cheap MTD's sure won't either.
  8. I agree! :)
  9. +1

    Nordy makes a great Music Man pickup, you could look into that. Also, what kind of pre-amp do you have installed?
  10. Here's some links for you:

    John East makes some pre amps in the UK, and there are some faithful vintage and modern re-creations of Stingray pre-amps, check it out... http://www.east-uk.com/index.php/all-products.html?p=1

    I'm sure you can remove the controls from the plate (or order just the pre-amp without the plate).

    Paired with some Nordy's: http://www.nordstrandpickups.com/bass-pickups/modern/

    That'd be really killin'. If you're going for the vintage pre-Ernie Ball tone, go for the two band East and the 5.2 from Nordstrand, but if you're into the new Stingray's, the 3-band East and 5.4 Nordy's will do you really well.
  11. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    I have an EMG MMcs pickup and an EMG BTS system in my faux (SBMM SUB Ray4) Stingray! Not an MTD by any means but it sounds great!! I wouldn't be put off by the Korean MTD's. They are well made. Upgrade the pup/pre (and other parts if you wish) and you have a solid player without having to spend thousands of dollars.
  12. phillybass101

    phillybass101 Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2011
    Artist, Trickfish Amplification Bartolini Emerging Artist, MTD Kingston Emerging Artist. Artist, Tsunami Cables
    Sounds like you just need to know more about how to use the MTD 535 if that's what you like. Anytime I've heard a player, really playing one and getting downthey were killing it. David Dyson comes to mind but he now plays on Skjold basses. If I had an MTD 535 I wouldn't even be thinking about a MM anything. Then of course there are financial considerations. There is a great price difference between an MTD 535 and a USA MM Stingray. If you really like and prefer the MM tone, then do something like DWBass describes. You'll have that MM tone and save thousands. If would be a shame to pay all that money for an MTD 535 and not like it because all you really wanted was a MM. The Sterling MM SUB basses sound very good and could save you hundreds compared to buying a Sterling Ray or the full blown USA MM Stingray.
  13. jazzy grille

    jazzy grille - Arrogant Bastard

    Aug 15, 2006
    Palm Bay, Florida
  14. sgoorland


    Apr 30, 2013
    WOW! Thanks so much for all these suggestions, comments, etc! I got home and there was more than I could have anticipated, you all are great!

    To try and answer some of the questions asked: Currently I play a Lakland 5502 fretless with LH3 pickups and pre in it. I love the bass, and it's been my main bass for almost two years now. But I'm ready to move back over to fretted, and really want to find the right one. And I've found that my Lakland tends to get a bit lost in the mids in the mix.

    Many of you have suggested calling/emailing Mike. I think that's a great idea! I did speak to him once a year ago, and, honestly, he had to have been the nicest guy on the planet! At that point I hadn't quite gotten into my head the sound I was looking for, so we just chatted about different wood combos. Now that I do have it, Makes sense to talk to him again.

    I'm also going to check out the other luthiers mentioned here, many of whom I'm not familiar with. I do have a concern, though, of dropping that kind of cash for an instrument I've never played before, only to get it and find out it didn't quite hit the mark. But I'm going to do some more research and see where I can get comfortable.

    The suggestion on the Heir bass from Brams/Kingston from dje was interesting, I wasn't aware Mike had a bass with those types of pickups. I'll not only check it out, but perhaps that even helps me in talking to Mike to see what he can do with other pickups besides the Barts he typically uses in the 535s.

    A few questions on those pre's and p'ups mentioned here, could the Eastman/Nord setups or EMGs be placed in an MTD? And if so, do you think that is where the tone would come from, or do the MTDs themselves just by their nature have that "MTD" sound I've heard on several I've played and youtube'd?

    And, are there any suggestions on any other luthiers? In particular, I'm intrigued by the Fbass BN5, the Roscoe 3005, and the Sadowsky NYC, but I'm not at all familiar enough with them to know if they have both the feel/tone I'm looking for. I will say the Fbass played amazingly the one time I played it at Rudy's in NYC, and had a tone that seemed all it's own, and the Roscoe I played at bass central had enormous punch. Never played a Sadowsly.

    Thanks again a million to all of you! This really is a great site and is helping a ton!
  15. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    You can put any pickup/pre combo in any bass pretty much. Stingray tone is in the OEM pickup and preamp. Nordstrand makes a good copy of both. East and SGD also make a great Stingray preamp. As I said, I have a EMG system in my bass. It's not quite the Stingray sound but it's close enough for me. Bartolini, Seymour Duncan and Delano also make MM style pickups. A lot of options. If I were you, I'd just buy a Stingray! I plan on buying the real deal. You can find one for sale here at any given moment.
  16. brad houser

    brad houser

    Jan 4, 2008
    I'd put the East pre with a Nordy MM in your MTD bass. after all, your first statement was about wanting to hear MM sound out of your bass. a big part of vintage MM sound is that preamp. I've got a Nordy MM 5 string pu in my Squier (great bass) running passive and it's not very 'music man-ish'
  17. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    Look around for a Tobias Growler. You can find those pretty cheap these days.
  18. metallutca


    Dec 18, 2004
  19. sgoorland


    Apr 30, 2013
    Thanks guys! Wow Metallutca that's pretty cool! So I'm now convinced I can either get Mike to build it, or retrofit just about anything with the right East/EMG/Nord etc combo. That only leaves me with my last question of any suggestions for other brands with standard models to check out when I head to Bass Central in Orlando. I'll be heading there in a couple of weeks and want to check out existing stuff. Anyone got any experience with Roscoe/Fbass/Sadowsky (any other brands with standard models?) and whether they have the an existing model with 19mm/playability/MM-approaching sound combo we've been discussing?
  20. mmbongo

    mmbongo Chicken Pot Pie. My three favorite things!! Supporting Member

    Dang, that looks killer!