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Stingray or Sterling ?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Metalmaster6254, Apr 10, 2014.

  1. Metalmaster6254


    Apr 9, 2014
    Ive always wondered what the differences were? Which is better for metal and rock like metallica or red hot chili pepers ?
  2. Metalmaster6254


    Apr 9, 2014
    Also what would be the prices for each of them ? Are they expensive like 1K or affordable?
  3. senp5f


    Jan 27, 2008
    Santa Barbara, CA
    Short answer:

    Sterling has a smaller body, jazz bass width nut and a ceramic pickup that is hotter and more "in your face." It also has a three way switch that allows you to run the pup in parallel (like a StingRay), in hum-cancelled single coil (sounds like a soloed J kind of) or in series mode, which is hotter, fatter and more aggressive.

    For what you want to do, I would pick the Sterling. They are not the most versatile bass in the world -- they are very aggressive, and you can't ever really tame them. But for what you want they should sound great. Search YouTube for some comparisons.

    The main drawback of the Sterling, in my view, is that the lines are not as elegant as the original StingRay design in terms of the body shape. That's purely option. The other issue is that the strings are spaced tighter at the nut (like a Jazz bass, basically) so that's a consideration if you have big hands.

    Yes, a Sterling is the best bass for metal.
  4. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    To start, straight from the EBMM website:

    And from other TB threads:

    (as you can see, this question is asked pretty frequently).

    It's not really possible to say which is "better". They both work well, just as many other basses do, in many genres of music. For me, I'd choose the Sterling over the Stingray, but I like the neck profile better, the tone better and the smaller body size better. But that's me - there's plenty of other players who feel the exact opposite.

    Your best bet is to play both and decide for yourself which works better for you.
    Welcome to TalkBass though!

    Edit: Yes, new prices on both are way over $1,000 USD. Even used you'll only be right around $1000 - sometimes less if they're a little beat up. I think the cheapest I've seen lately has been about $850 or so for a four string single-H pickup model in decent condition.
  5. A-Step-Towards

    A-Step-Towards Supporting Member

    Nov 16, 2009
    Los Angeles California
    There both around $1500. I have had Stingrays but got a Sterling because it was a good deal, I like the Stingray better and am selling the Sterling but only because the Sterling has a skinny nut width like a Jazz bass whereas a Stingray has a neck like a P bass unless its a SLO which has a Jazz nut width on a Stingray.

    If you shop around you can find each for as low as $800 used.
  6. senp5f


    Jan 27, 2008
    Santa Barbara, CA
    USA made Music Man instruments are not cheap -- you are looking at $1,200-$1,400 new. Used they can easily be had for $800-$900. Music Man makes an import line called "Sterling by Music Man" (which is VERY CONFUSING) which is more affordable but still quite nice. Search the classifieds and eBay. I happen to have a USA made Sterling for sale on eBay now.
  7. JSpradBass


    Mar 3, 2013
    Columbus, OH
    Different pickups, different electronics, different necks, different bodies.

    Sterlings are smaller, lighter, and have a thinner jazz style necks. The single H model has a 3 way switch that runs the pickup in Series, Single Coil, or Parallel modes.

    Sterling/ Sterling Classic: Ceramic magnet pickups
    Stingray/Stingray Classic: Alnico magnet pickups

    Both are going to run you new well over $1000, used you're still looking at about a $1000. It also depends whether you're looking at 4 or 5 string and single H, HH, HS, or Classic models.

    Flea and Rob have both used Stingrays, but you can't go wrong with either. I prefer Stingrays myself. The S.U.B. line is worth checking out. Basically a stripped down Stingray with a single H pickup/2-band EQ/Made in the USA. They've been discontinued for a few years, but they can be had on the used market for around $500. Also worth checking out are the G&L L and M series basses. They are sort of in the same vein as a Stingray/Sterling and are a great value on the used market.
  8. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Feb 28, 2014
    San Diego, CA
    I've had both. They *are* very different instruments.

    I preferred the Sterling. I just liked how it sounded/played/felt better in every way.
  9. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    You can easily look up new prices online.
  10. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA
    My Sterling is my favorite bass ever. To the comment about being super aggressive and not being able to tame them, all I can say is, I took mine to my big band jazz ensemble rehearsal last night, for the first time. Up to now, I've been playing other basses, all passive and strung with flatwounds with this group. I thought the Sterling (with nickel roundwounds) sound might not fit in. But, to my extreme pleasure, I did some EQ adjusting on the bass and the amp and the Sterling sounded great (I think) playing old big band charts!

    The Sterling is not the one trick pony that some people seem to think it is.
  11. Sterling's are anything but a one-trick pony. In fact, that's the frequent complaint about the Stingray. I've owned both. Don't have a Sterling at present, but they're fine basses. I do have Rays, but I never got along that well with the standard three-band. Mine are a two-band Classic and a three-band with piezos.
  12. I have two Sterling H's. The Stingrays are definitely good basses as well. I don't have time to look it up, but there's an article floating around where they did a bunch of science on the Sterlings and it turns out they're the best basses of all time ever. It's worth a read!
  13. Bassmunnky


    Jul 3, 2004
    New York and Philadelphia
    Endorsing Artist: Ernie Ball MusicMan Guitars
    Look for any Video with Jennifer Young in it from the Travis Larson band...she mainly plays the Sterling...you can't argue with her tone...and all she pulls out of it...