Stingray or Sterling over a Jazz?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Dr. Cheese, Aug 27, 2020.

  1. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis

    I know this is an ancient question (at least by bass guitar standards,) but who prefers a Stingray or Sterling over a Jazz Bass? I have always loved Stingray style basses, but I could honestly see me with my Sterling as my number one four string, or even my only fretted four. It has a slim Jazz style neck, and I love the downsized body and fairly light weight too. Most of all I like the tone. It can be sharper as a scalpel, but I can get a decent amount of bottom too. I always felt Stingray 5’s were great basses if you can deal with closer string spacing (it never bothered me,) but now I love this four much more than I ever thought I would.
  2. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I think the discussion about the 60th Anniversary Jazz Basses got me thinking because I know my Geddy is all of the four string Jazz I ever need, but the 60th Anniversary would be fun to have for the look. So much of my GAS is driving by tendency to collect instead of musical needs.
  3. Craig T Vector

    Craig T Vector Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 8, 2013
    Liberty Hill, TX
    Stingray tone is so distinct that, to me, it stands out and is different enough to justify not having an either/or choice over a Jazz. I keep it in my stable alongside my Jazz and other basses for that reason.
    SJan3, Giffro, 4StringMadness and 7 others like this.
  4. Flaked Beans

    Flaked Beans

    Sep 9, 2005
    I don't know Doc, I love them both and they are my number one 4 string basses, both of them. Except my '78 natural ash/maple jazz bass, of course :). Here they are, '08 blizzard pearl Am. Std. jazz bass and '00 vintage sunbust EBMM Stingray bass.
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2020
    SJan3, dune, byoung93888 and 4 others like this.
  5. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    I had a Sterling, couldn't get rid of it fast enough. I played a Stingray for a few years, just too much after a while. Now I switch between a jazz and a precision.
    chilee, dune, foolforthecity and 6 others like this.
  6. lowdownthump


    Jul 17, 2004
    This has been my experience as well.
    However, I will never give up the possibility of owning another Musicman Caprice.
    Jazz basses just do it for me.
    foolforthecity, jbhaugh and lfmn16 like this.
  7. Dbassmon


    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    I have come to love my Stingrays. Jazz sits unloved, for now. I reserver the right to change my mind at any time.
    xaosbass and Ikkir like this.
  8. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Agreed. I have a long history of re-buying bases I've already decided aren't right for me. :D
  9. AxtoOx


    Nov 12, 2005
    Duncan, Okla.
    Some stores have quality issues w streling, I really like stingrays.
  10. lowdownthump


    Jul 17, 2004
    Doc you are one of the fortunate players that’s sounds good on anything you put in your hands. I can’t make those active Musicmans work for me. But I love the way they sound when other play them.
    Ryno1330 and teh-slb like this.
  11. bassdude51

    bassdude51 "You never even called me by my name." Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2008
    Central Ohio
    I had a USA Sterling 4 H. And, I have a Stingray 4 H. And I have a Jazz Bass. I sold the Sterling but kept the Stingray and Jazz.

    The Sterling has 3 pickup selections, series, parallel and single coil and the pickup is ceramic and not AlNiCo like the Stingray. I honestly could not tell the difference between series and parallel but the single coil was a wee bit different in sound. So, I was not impressed with the 3 way switch. The Sterling sounds IMHO maybe about 90% to 95% like a Stingray but a little bit more aggressive (what does that mean?) in sound but not very much different than the 'Ray.

    I like the Sterling and it's a wonderful bass but the Stingray is the Stingray sound. So, if you want "that sound", get the Stingray. Although the Sterling is lighter in weight and has a narrower neck at the nut and one extra fret (22 vs 21).

    Now, the Jazz Bass. By god, you can almost get a Jazz Bass to sound like a Stingray. IMHO, maybe 85% to 90%. Cut the neck pickup volume down some, bridge pickup full, up the mid range on the amp and pluck right over the bridge pickup and man oh man, you can get close to sounding like a 'Ray.

    Of course, the Jazz Bass can do much more than mimic a Stingray. The Jazz Bass is very versatile! (Actually, the Jazz Bass came first so maybe it's the Stingray that mimics the J.)

    That's my experience with the 3 basses.

  12. lowdownthump


    Jul 17, 2004
    bassdude51 likes this.
  13. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
  14. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    My Sterling is an old American SUB Sterling. It has a three band preamp but no coil selector switch. I know that’s Jazz and a Sterling do different things, and one does not replace the other. What I am saying is that I really love what this bass has to offer, it has an array of tones that work well for what I like to do. For me, it is not a one trick pony. I should not be surprised at this because I always loved the Stingray 5, which electronically is the same as a Sterling.
    Flaked Beans likes this.
  15. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    I've owned at least 5 Alembic basses over the years. I finally wised up about 20 years ago. Never again, although ...
  16. CapnSev


    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    Oh 100% Stingray over a Jazz. I love the sound of J Basses, but I can’t make one sound good to save my life. I don’t know why.

    I have the opposite experience with a ‘Ray. I can always make one fit, and I’m never let down by EBMM’s quality control.
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2020
    Giffro, grrg63, miles'tone and 3 others like this.
  17. EchoEcho


    Oct 14, 2007
    I prefer stingray as it has more of the tones that I like, and is therefore more versatile IMO. I find jazz bass a little nasal sounding even when only using the neck pup.
  18. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I don’t have a hard time getting a good tone out of a Jazz or Stingray. I just am really enjoying that Music Man tone right now.
  19. Mikey F

    Mikey F Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2014
    Denver, CO
    I love them both, and play them pretty much equally.
    Dr. Cheese and lowdownthump like this.
  20. bassgrackle

    bassgrackle Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 17, 2010
    Sterling body is just too small. But my experience was with a Dart Special edition. And it was so lite I couldn’t get comfortable playing it. Was always falling away from me.
  21. garp


    Feb 7, 2009
    Connecticut USA
    Love my Sterling 5, but it will never supplant any of my Js – Fender or non-Fender. The EBMM does what it does very well, but IMHO, it earns fewer points in the "versatility" category than my Js. I'm thankful to own it, but the Sterling would not be my choice for a "desert island bass."
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