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Stingrays for the Poor!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by absinthe, Mar 26, 2002.

  1. absinthe

    absinthe Guest

    Jan 20, 2002
    Great Britain
    ....and no, I'm not talking OLP's here.

    I played an OLP in my local music shop and it's a great bass for the dosh - selling at £250. I loved the responsiveness of the neck, although it wasn't as smooth and fast as I'd have liked, but I'm fussy when it comes to necks. (Yes, I even gave this one a quick going over with 600 grit, lemon-oil and wax - although it didn't need much).

    This is a Vintage (Encore/John Hornby Skewes) EST96NA - it's got a solid ash body, maple neck and fingerboard and an active 3 band EQ! Man, oh man....does this baby croon! It's so much better than the OLP - and I got it new for 169 quid! Oh, alright...the shopowner made a mistake and put the wrong price on it and sold it to me as advertised (lucky, lucky me!) but even at its correct price of £199, it's a steal. It could sell for three times the price, easily.

    I pulled the battery out and listened to it without the active EQ and it STILL sounded sweet (I remember the adage of "if it sounds crap passive, it won't sound much better active"). I cannot believe the sound I get, even through my lil' 20W practice amp with this bass! I thought that big humbucker would be loud but not very versatile - wrong, wrong, wrong! Brimming over with wrongability! Matched up with the active electronics, this sweetheart can sound like a Jazz bass, a P bass, a funk bass...whatever tickles your fancy. And it's got a growl like a caged tiger!

    It has all sorts of little extras that speak of a more expensive bass. For instance, the knobs have that "nudge" when they hit mid point so you don't need to have markings to see where you are - you can feel your way. It also has a graphite nut instead of the usual low-price-range poly one. The black 3-ply pickguard is also a refreshing change from the OLP's white-only and makes a striking contrast with the natural wood finish.

    The fingerboard is quite flat (which I like) and it's effortless to play compared to some more expensive basses I've tinkered with. It's solid without being oppressively heavy and it's not neck heavy either. It balances very well and feels .... natural. There's no other word for it.

    The grain on the solid ash body (and yes, I checked when I took the back cover off to insert the battery - it is indeed solid, not laminated at all) is shown off to it's best by being pretty much left alone. The natural finish is drop-dead gorgeous - he's a handsome chappy as well as having an incredible tonal range!

    No, I'm not saying this is as good as a "real" Stingray - but I am saying that this bass is hugely underpriced and if, like me you can't afford to rush out and buy an Ernie Ball, and if perhaps you're wishing the OLP's came with active electronics, the Vintage is something to seriously consider. I can't stress how beautiful this baby sounds! As my old Gran used to say, "It'd bring tears to the eyes of a china dog". ;)

    (Left) - Here's mine. Once again - excuse the crappy camera. It looks a whole lot more wonderful in real life.
    (Right) - This is a publicity shot of the same bass - mine's identical - 'cept I think mine has slightly nicer grain. :p
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
  2. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
  3. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000
    absinthe, do they have a website?
  4. mikgag

    mikgag Guest

    Mar 25, 2002
  5. Zirc


    May 13, 2001
    Los Angeles
    Not fair, I want one
  6. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    I can't seem to find a U.S. supplier... :-(
  7. absinthe

    absinthe Guest

    Jan 20, 2002
    Great Britain
    You can visit John Hornby Skewes (the parent company and distributer of Vintage guitars) at http://www.jhs.co.uk

    I'm pretty sure they sell them in the rest of Europe - drop them an e-mail - I'm certain you'll be able to find someone in your part of the world who deals in them.

    Try your local music shop, Quadzilla. I've heard some American folks talk about getting these in the US - or visit the website above. "Vintage" and "Encore" are the same company and I know Encore deals in the US.

    Good luck.
  8. absinthe

    absinthe Guest

    Jan 20, 2002
    Great Britain
    I've had a number of people contact me privately about this bass, wondering where they can get it, so I thought I'd list a few websites for information.

    As previously listed:

    http://www.jhs.co.uk - John Hornby Skewes, the parent site for Vintage guitars. They not only deal with sales but can also answer your distribution questions.
    http://www.omegamusic.nl (as listed by Mikgag) which might be a good source for Europeans - but I'd still ask JHS who deals in your local area, if I were you. They deal with shops worldwide.

    Other online sources (UK):


    All of these shops sell this bass and some may ship overseas - but if you're not in the UK, do check out John Hornby Skewes first and ask if they deal in your area.

    Hope this helps.
  9. hmmmmm...I had a different experience trying out a Vintage..

    I tried out the 5 string Vintage Musicman copy with active 3 band electronics at the Bass Centre today.
    good build quality- except for a pickup whose polepiece spacing seemed too narrow for the wider than OLP string spacing - I think they use the same pickup as fitted to the OLP, or at least the same size, and also a round string retainer at the headstock that splayed out the strings, and also got in the way of the trussrod adjuster.

    I have to say I was totally unable to get a Stingray sound out of it- or really any clarity- even with the treble control dimed and mids cut on both bass and amp (Eden Traveller + 4X10).
    the guy there said he found the OLP5 much better, and it was like night and day when I tried it out-
    the OLP doesn't get precisely the MM Stingray sound- it can't really, being passive, but sounded a lot better than the Vintage.
    the OLP string spacing is way too tight though.

    I don't know whether it could have been down to a dead battery, but I suspect the Vintage electronics aren't really up to it.
    it still might be worth buying it and upgrading the electronics though.
  10. absinthe

    absinthe Guest

    Jan 20, 2002
    Great Britain
    Either you played a lemon or I got a particularly good one! :cool: (Or, as you mentioned, a dead battery...the one in mine had certainly seen better days.) Then again, you can't truly expect top notch electronics in a bass of this price - and they are always easy to replace, as you say. It's the build which is most important - to me, anyway. Hardware can be replaced as and when. Although, I don't have any complaints about the electronics in my 4 string. But if I ever do, I know someone with a soldering iron. ;)

    But I'm amazed when you say the OLP 5 string is even *tighter* than the Vintage - I thought the Vintage 5 string was a bit squished! (Actually, I was considering it for that very reason....short fingers!)

    Interesting....thanks for the insight. I'll have to hunt down one of those 5 strings and give it a go. Tight string spacing is the only way my lil' hands could ever play a fiver!


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