Stringray HH always this harsh?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by lavaxtris, Jul 18, 2021.

  1. lavaxtris


    Feb 3, 2009
    I recently picked up two new basses in the past year.
    Both are Sterling by Musicman stingray basses.
    One is a 5 string with one pickup. The other is a 4 string with two pickups.

    The 5 string sounds as I think it is supposed to, but some strange reason the 4 string HH has this nasty midrange that you can't even get rid of with EQ.
    At first I thought it was because it had cheap pickups in it, but the site says it uses the same type they put in US made stringrays.
    Maybe its the wiring? I can't find any concrete information on how one is wired compared to the other.

    Any info on this you guys have will help me. Schematics, experiences, audio clips, etc. Both basses are currently strung with Ernie Ball regular slinky strings. I can make sound clips if needed.
  2. MattZilla


    Jun 26, 2013
    with both basses, both with their eq controls centered.
    BrentSimons likes this.
  3. cataract

    cataract Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2007
    Columbia SC
    Not exactly the same predicament but I had to yank the stock Ernie Balls off of my new Schecter Model T and replace them with Sunbeams— the T’s got that kinda sharp / middy tone going on with the EMG pre + ash / maple on maple neck, the ‘Beams tamed the trebly harshness instantly
    One Way likes this.
  4. lavaxtris


    Feb 3, 2009

    Here is a clip of the 5 string H first and the 4 string HH second. The 4 string just seems to completely lack the presence of the 5. Same strings are on both, EQ in the middle, bridge pickup setting on both, the 5 has slightly older strings on it. Batteries are decently fresh.

    Using a Radial DI into the front of a focusrite 4i4. No amp sims or colorization of any kind.
  5. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I have no problem the “harshness” (I think of it as aggression,) out of your Stingray HH. Just turn off the treble work with the bass and mids, and maybe add back treble as needed.
    BrentSimons, Mili and danielnorris like this.
  6. lavaxtris


    Feb 3, 2009
    But I do. There is no treble and its all mids coming out of this thing. There is no way to make it sound "normal"
  7. Dub56

    Dub56 Supporting Member

    May 28, 2005
    It’s hard to tell, but it almost sounds like bass #1 in the clip above is running the pickup coils in parallel while bass #2 sort of sounds more like it’s running in series.

    If you flip the 3-way switch to the series position on your single-H 5 does the tone character sound more similar to what you’re getting on the 4HH?
    Ampslut and dralionux like this.
  8. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    What is normal to you? If your notion of normal is a Fender, Music Man may be a bad choice for you. Personally, I posted a number of videos where I think I am getting a pretty Fender sort of tone. For whatever reason, Rays and Sterlings just work for some better than others.
    Mili and tindrum like this.
  9. lavaxtris


    Feb 3, 2009
    I made another test and this sounds the closest to what is happening, even though the sound has a tad bit more bite to it (first one is HH, second is 5 string H 3rd position). Aren't HH Music Mans normally ran in parallel?

    I just want it to sound more like my 5 string.
  10. Dub56

    Dub56 Supporting Member

    May 28, 2005
    To my knowledge, yes. I was confused about that too if that happens to be going on with your 4HH.

    I also agree that it sounds closer in the second clip, but there’s still something a little different going on with the 4HH to my ear. If setup is similar between the basses (action and pickup height maybe?), I might think there could be something going on with the wiring. It does seem a little weird.
  11. P Cheen

    P Cheen Chelsea Blue is the colour! Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2015
    Sacramento, CA
    Are these the Ray4 and 5? Those basses have ceramic pickups which to me sound “harsher” in the treble spectrum than traditional StingRay alnico pickups. Slap-style, the ceramic pickups also sound more hi-fi. I should know, I have a Sterling that sounds harsher than the previous Rays I’ve owned. Thank goodness my Sterling has a series/single coil/parallel switch so I can opt to add more balls to it if need be.

    If you’re a pick player, try picking further away from the bridge.

    Eventually if (or when) you get sick of the harshness, maybe alnico pickups can even it out for you.
  12. Smooth_bass88

    Smooth_bass88 vaxx! Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2006
    North AMERICA, USA
    The tone of this bass just isn't for everyone.
    Mili and Peter Torning like this.
  13. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    That is true of any bass. I think anyone who buys a bass should like the basic tone available with minimal tweaks.
  14. Carl Hillman

    Carl Hillman Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2010
    That sounds like some kind of out of phase, or phasing thing going on. Have a competent tech check the wiring on those pickups and the pickup selector.
  15. Gustopher

    Gustopher Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2018
    Personally I like the sounds on that clip. Both of them.
    Mili, Beheroth and Peter Torning like this.
  16. Smooth_bass88

    Smooth_bass88 vaxx! Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2006
    North AMERICA, USA
    true. I’ve had several StingRays over the years and I simply struggled to get the tone I wanted from them. They’re great basses though.
    FRoss6788, Dr. Cheese and Luigir like this.
  17. waynobass


    Feb 27, 2008
    I agree the HH sounds bad, like there's a chorus pedal on it. Are you sure you're using only the bridge pickup? Do any of the switch settings sound better?

    Also, could the pickups be too close to the strings? Try lowering them.
    danielnorris and Ricky Rioli like this.
  18. lavaxtris


    Feb 3, 2009
    That might be the pickups being too close to the strings.

    I think the bass is wired in series. Idk why. I think I want to wire it in parallel. Now I just have to figure out how to do that.
    Goatrope likes this.
  19. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    At the very least any Stingray leans more toward high mids than any P Bass.
    Mili, Dr. Cheese and FRoss6788 like this.
  20. Are your pickups the same distance away from the strings?
  21. Primary

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    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jul 30, 2021

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