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Stingray Vs Sterling

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by heath_the_great, Apr 4, 2006.

  1. im sure this has been done before, but im bored....are there any advantages of one over the other?...is it just a preference of feel between these two basses?
    i played a sterling for the first time the other day and loved it, felt like a dinky stingray
  2. mvw356


    Mar 2, 2006
    i think the sterling is a better bass, its more expensive and has more features. the main difference is the size of the body and neck. i owna sting ray and i'm very happy withit. love the neck and tone. thats all i can say, never played a sterling. taste is what it boils down to.

    by the way, does the sr5 have identical electronics to the sterling?
  3. yeah i think so....i can remember an article saying that the SR5 is pretty much a sterling...3 band with the coil tap or whatever you call it...and i only just noticed the sterling has 22 frets and the stingray 21
  4. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    Other than the neck shape (Sterling having a more jazz-like width) and the body, the obvious difference is the electronics.

    Stingrays (four strings) have alnico pickups and a choice of a two band or three band preamp.

    Sterlings (and all but the earliest SR5s) have ceramic pickups with a dummy coil that allows parallel/series/coil tap switching with a three band preamp.

    I directly compared the two and ended up buying a Stingray. To my ears, there's more balls to the Stingray's tone. The Sterling is more versatile, but the Stingray got the tone I had in my head without having to look for it.
  5. Greg Johnsen

    Greg Johnsen

    May 1, 2005
    Hickory NC
    neither one of these are the "better" bass, they're just different.The sterling hasa smaller body, and a more jazz like neck, whereass the stingray is a bigger body and neck (just personal preference). Both have a 3 band EQ (unless you buy the 2 band SR). The main difference however, is the pickup. The sterling pickup has a coil tap, and it allows you to switch between the 3 coils (I could be a little off on that, correct me if I am). The switch allows you to go from bright to dark sounds in just a flick. The stingray doesn't have this option, so it's more oldschool and has a very similar tone to the first SRs that everyone fell in love with.

    good luck

  6. ras1983


    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    the sterlings i have played in stores have had considerably less bottom end than the stingrays i have played.
  7. I play a SR5 and a Sterling almost exclusively. The SR5 just has more ass to it. It punches through the mix a little better and comes across as more agressive. That's my best non-technical, no BS sound comparison.

    Feel wise, the Sterling is much smaller and as a 4 string of course has a much thinner neck profile. It's also thinner than the Ray 4. That said, the Sterling feels like a toy after playing the SR5, but I still love it.
  8. steve4765630


    Feb 27, 2006
    It's all subjective. Most guys usually prefer one over the other after they have felt both in their hands. Tone is similar, but not exactly the same. Try both out, you'll see.
  9. nad

    nad 60 Cycle Humdinger

    Sep 22, 2005
    I own both, and prefer my Sterling by a longshot. They are both great basses though, similar enough in tone (though not identical) that it all comes down to feel as to why I prefer the Sterling.
  10. alanbass1


    Feb 8, 2006
    I actually prefer the two band eq system so would go for a 2 band stingray over a sterling. But that's me.
  11. nothing wrong with not sharing the (presumably) majority opinion.


    ps...i like sterlings. it's about the feel and the aesthetics -- i like the smaller body and the lack of control plate.
  12. dgce


    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    Agreed, there is no better bass; its basically apples and oranges. However I could take an educated guess that most people from the Fender Precision camp may likely favor the SR (balls, bigger neck) and most Fender Jazz people (like myself) may be partial to the Sterling (Jazz-style neck, more versitile albeit not as fat pickup options).

  13. I own a 3 band 'Ray, but like Sterlings too. I prefer the 'Ray's wider neck and slightly thicker tone. When I bought my Stingray, I A/Bed 3 Stingrays and 2 Sterlings in the store.

    I'm not sure, but I think the Sterling's pickup is a little further away from the bridge than the Stingray's.

    Does anyone know for sure?

    I'd love to A/B/C a Sterling, Stingray and single pup Bongo.

  14. depalm


    Apr 22, 2004
    São Paulo
    I have both basses and love 'em but I play the Sterling most of the time cause it's lighter that the Ray.

    In my opinion it lacks some bottom due of its stock ceramic pick ups. I replaced it for a (Alnico) Nordstrand MM4.3. Definitely a huge improvement.

    Besides that I always felt the neck a bit heavy due of it machine heads. I replaced them for the Hipshot Ultralites and now it's like I'm dressing the bass.

    So in my opinion Sterling basses need some improvements and upgrades to become a killer bass but once you do that it's exactly what you have in your hands.
  15. rymix


    Mar 14, 2006
    I had to make this decision when I purchased my bass. I went for the Stingray by the tiniest of margins. The Sterling is awesome in every respect, but I just felt 'right' with the Stingray.

    But, like I said, it was the tiniest of margins. It's up to you, I guess.
  16. I tested both Stingrays and Sterlings... in fours and fives, every combination I could get my hands on.. and I bought the SR5.

    SR5 = mas huevos!
  17. jamfree


    Nov 10, 2005
    I went for the sterling..stock..plenty of booty right out of the box. I want another one with a maple neck..and matching Rays to go with em'.
  18. i would love a maple fingerboard sterling. in candy apple red with matching headstock.

  19. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I think it comes down to a feel thing. Skinny neck vs larger neck, smallerbody vs bigger body. Yes the sterling is more tonally versatile, but the largest difference is the aesthetics.
  20. I have a Sterling and although it is physically slightly smaller than the Stingray, mine is much heavier than some of the rays I've tried.
    Where people have commented on tone, I'd be very interested to see how my Sterling would fare. I reckon the weight of the basses must affect their tone.

    I love the neck, and the sound.

    I reckon the main difference is in the versatility of the electronics of the Sterling - something I rarely use.

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