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Stingray popularity decline?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by nomaj, Jul 28, 2018.

  1. nomaj


    Apr 2, 2012
    It seems like Music Man Stingrays aren't as popular with working bassists (especially rock bassists) as they were 15-20 years ago, while on the other hand, P basses, J basses and Rics seem more popular than ever in this niche.

    Any thoughts on why this may be? The desire for passive grind is the only explanation that I can think of, since the Stingray is otherwise a marvelous instrument.
    Bassist Jay and Smooth_bass88 like this.
  2. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    I think the new, better, lighter Stingray Specials are going to change all that.
    petch, djaxup, Alan Scharrer and 7 others like this.
  3. nomaj


    Apr 2, 2012
    What exactly do you mean when you say "better?"
    Bassist Jay likes this.
  4. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Powerful Neodymium Pickups
    The new and improved StingRay electronics feature powerful neodymium magnets, bringing you more output and a wider range of sounds

    New 18-Volt Preamp
    A newly designed 18-volt 3-Band preamp for extra clean headroom lets you dial in everything from modern punch to classic, vintage tones.

    Lightweight Performance.
    Weighing in at an average of only eight and a half pounds, the StingRay is lighter than ever but still packs its signature punch.

    Reengineered Hardware.
    Reengineered lightweight tuning machines create a more balanced neck while still providing ultra-reliable tuning stability.
  5. nomaj


    Apr 2, 2012
    Looks like they are going for the Sadowsky-on-a-budget market, not the Ric 'n' P rockers.
  6. I love stingrays - I dont know about dipping popularity, but I do know that they have risen in price significantly. I don't really follow Ric prices though

    The specials seem like a true upgrade on the formula. Beautiful tasteful refinement.
  7. Sid the Kid

    Sid the Kid Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2013
    They were a lot more present in the 90’s and early 00’s. I suppose some of it has to do with the genre of music. Most Stingray players I see these days have them slung around their knees and covered in stickers, playing for “Three name band” at the warped tour.
  8. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    I always thought the one thing that hurt the Stingray more than anything else is the 'Music Man' company moniker and logo that looks like something off a kid's toy. And the overly busy (and straight out of the early 70s font) "Ernie Ball" they wedged on top of it doesn't help matters either. It seems hokey and out of place on that instrument.

    Three different and totally clashing fonts? That mess would earn you an immediate F in any school of design that was worthy of the name. <EDIT - @project_c who teaches graphic design in a school worthy of the name disagrees with me on this. Be sure to check out his post later on for an alternative view. He makes good points. Published graphic designer @amper also disagrees. >


    And it’s totally unnecessary to have all that on it anyway. A Stingray is one of the most iconic looking basses out there. The body shape and oval pickguard immediately identify it. So why the need for all the verbiage on the headstock?
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2018
  9. Bardolphus

    Bardolphus Put some stank on it... Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    I see just as many if not more nowadays than I did 20 years ago. They’re very popular in country music here in Texas. I see more 5-string StingRays than P basses.
    Miles_ONeal, Dasgre0g, 4dog and 2 others like this.
  10. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Looks like they are going for the “stingray but better” market to me.....
    Andre678, mouthmw, Burwabit and 6 others like this.
  11. Got a Stingray a few weeks ago and I adore it!
    djaxup, amper and fakeneckplate'65 like this.
  12. BigDrew


    Jun 1, 2016
    I pined for one, got rid of it quickly and really haven’t touched one since. Now that they raised the prices even higher, me thinks they may have a problem in the next year or so.
    redwingxix, Bassist Jay and nateh415 like this.
  13. Medicine Man

    Medicine Man

    Apr 10, 2015
    I feel like stingrays need to be amplified well to sound great. Mine sounds excellent through my Mesa or Ampeg stack, but not so hot through a small neo combo. The popularity of these small gigging amps may be a factor.
    Groove Doctor, nateh415 and 10cc like this.
  14. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    In the late 1980s, after Ernie Ball took over Music Man I recall seeing used Rays all over the place for $3-400. Then in the 90s they were all the rage again and used prices went back up.

    Popularity is always cyclical. 15-20 years is a whole new generation of players, right? Over that period of time I've been watching renewed interest in short scale basses, funky budget basses from the 60s being reissued, long dead amp lines resuscitated, etc.
  15. Mantis Tobaggan

    Mantis Tobaggan Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2015
    Tampa, FL
    Stingray = nineties
  16. Jscriv


    Feb 3, 2017
    I went to the final warped tour last week, I can assure you ska/punk and metal bassists are still rocking the stingray hard.
  17. inthebassclef

    inthebassclef Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2012
    I actually had a chance to play a stingray special this week. The body maybe lighter but the neck isnt. Terrible neck dive and the bad easily was over 9lbs. Not terribly different than any other stingray I've played except it now has neck dive
  18. bwildt


    Mar 21, 2017
    Wichita, Kansas
    I have moved towards Stingrays rather than away from them.

    For many years, I mostly dismissed Stingrays as a bright, grindy and clanky "slapper's bass", as that is where I heard it mostly used. For that reason, I never even tried one in stores. A couple of years ago, I got an American S.U.B. 5 in a trade. After messing with it, I discovered that all that brightness CAN be tamed and it has a distinctive voice that is actually quite versatile. It has gained a spot in my regular rotation.

  19. mdogs

    mdogs Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2010
    Cary, Il
    Ok, I’m not sure how you come to this conclusion. I think Sadowsky has cornered the Sadowsky on a budget market.
  20. Jscriv


    Feb 3, 2017
    I played a P and a jazz for nearly 15 years. Then one day really sat down with a ray about 10 months ago. The result.... IMG_20180512_100905785_BURST001_LL.

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