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Stingray vs Precision: Compare and Contrast the Tone.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BulbousMoses, Dec 28, 2013.

  1. Experts chime in...how does the basic "set flat" tone of these two iconic basses differ. What are the tonal characteristics of each and what tonal similarities (if any) do they share? Discuss!
  2. stonewall


    Jun 14, 2010
    You might want to state passive or active P.Also i think most people play a Stingray with rounds and a Precision with flats so there are alot of variables.In general i would say a Stingray has bright growly tones and the P has midy woody tones.
  3. Let's put flats on both basses and compare the tones as the majority of players use them. In other words, a passive P bass and an active Stingray.
  4. Geri O

    Geri O

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    That's kinda hard to describe (and I've not seen a lot of Ps with flats) in words...

    The Precision is maybe more mid-range oriented with a nice growl with the tone at 100% and with round-wound strings. The Ray is maybe more accented with the highs and lows. I'm speaking pretty generally here as active pups on Ps will offer more tone options. But I've always said that you can add highs and lows with active pups and preamps, but the character of the split-pup P will remain the same. And this pretty much applies to nearly all pup arrangements.

    Both sound wonderful. I have a Ray, I've had Ps over the years. While I prefer the Ray these days, I've always said that the P bass is the SM57 of the electric bass. It works decently on everything and will always work when nothing else will.

    And I promise you, everyone will state their take of the differences quite, quite differently...:oops:))

    Geri O
  5. Geri O

    Geri O

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    Where are you guys seeing all these flat wound strings being used? I know dozens of players and not one of them uses flats. I hate flats. Just my preference.

    Geri O
  6. shaft311

    shaft311 Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2010
    Mt. Juliet, TN
    Stingray: Bridgey, middy, aggressive, metallic.

    Precision: Necky, thumpy, warm.
  7. Mastermold

    Mastermold Supporting Member

    When both are set flat, the Ray is scooped and the P-bass has a low-mid emphasis.

    The Ray can be EQ'd to sound more like a Fender, but I find with mine (I own both) they retain their own tone.
  8. hillerup

    hillerup There are basses, and there are Thunderbirds! Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Copenhagen, Denmark

    Same here.... Never seen anyone use flats on their P's either.

    The P has such a wonderful growly tone with roundwounds, that I couldn't imagine putting flats on one.

    Never tried a Ray, though...
  9. Mastermold

    Mastermold Supporting Member

    All my P-basses wear flats. My Jazz basses too. I only have rounds on my Ray and G&L. Different strokes. :D
  10. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
  11. jasper383

    jasper383 Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2004
    Durham NC

    When set flat, a Stingray has a lot more inherent highs and lows, and a lot less going on in the mids than a P Bass.
  12. shaft311

    shaft311 Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2010
    Mt. Juliet, TN
    I too am not a flatwound fan. Reminds me too much of dead strings, which I hate.

    That said, friend's reggae band uses mostly a P with flats for their recordings and it's the perfect sound. I've played the bass and hated the tone by itself, but it really works in the tracks.
  13. shaft311

    shaft311 Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2010
    Mt. Juliet, TN
    Well, I can't agree with a P being more middy than a Stingray. It's just the way of things when you have a humbucker at the bridge.

    This guy runs the gamut of Stingray tones, and never do you hear anything that doesnt scream midrange-heavy:

  14. Geri O

    Geri O

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    PLEASE NOTE! I'M IN NO WAY SLAMMING USING FLATWOUND STRINGS!!! You won't find a more "live and let live/different strokes" kinda guy. That's not what this post was about and I'm sorry for my part in getting it off-topic. I was pondering out-loud the "most everyone uses flats on Ps" statement and I never should have. I apologize.

    Back to the OP's topic. Please!

    Thank you,
    Geri O
  15. Thrash3r


    Aug 5, 2013
    I've never met another bassist that uses flats, outside of TB they just aren't that popular.
  16. I just happen to like flats but the point is more that for the sake of comparison, the strings should be identical. So if you want to answer the post based on both basses having rounds, that's fine.
  17. I don't get the love for flats either Geri. My 2007 Stingray wears nickel-rounds, all my P's wears nickle-rounds, cheap ones too, and none of them get changed very often. I haven't had flats on a bass since about 1978. I'm fairly certain that I'm too stupid to absorb the nuance that I'm missing out on, but I keep plugging away, oblivious to how badly I'm embarrassing the whole of bassdom.

    On the topic of P vs. Stingray: IMO one can pull off any style with either. It's maybe easier to get an 80s funk tone out of a Stingray: It's a bigger, boink-ier more edgy tone. I suppose.
  18. lpdeluxe

    lpdeluxe Still rockin' Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Deep E Texas
    Well, I use Thomastik-Infeld Jazz Flats on all my basses, including the Precisions (both single-coil and split-coil) and the SR5. TIs have a livelier tone than the "dead" stereotype flat wounds.

    If you spend a few minutes playing them, you will be able to easily distinguish their tones, even if it is hard to verbalize the differences. The MusicMan seems to work really well with '70s material while the P fit right into the country top-40 band I was in.

    I wouldn't hesitate to use either one in a gigging band setting -- they might be different, but each is a fine sounding beast.
  19. Geri O

    Geri O

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    Guess I gotta agree somewhat. Man, that guy runs the tone gamut, doesn't he! I agree with the 'scooped" sound, that's what I love about the Ray. I keep the pup switch switch all the way to the right , the volume all the way up, and the tone control flat. I do the tone controls at the amp.

    It really is about the character of the pups.

    I suggest going to a store where it's possible to do so and play both of them to decide for yourself. If I had a P, I'd post Soundcloud files of both. In fact, I'll bet you can do this on YouTube.

    Happy listening,
    Geri O
  20. Flats = Bass

    Rounds = Bass guitar