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Stuck between a bongo a sterling and a hard place

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by MCBTunes, Apr 9, 2005.

  1. Well I have an interesting situation. Actually it isnt very interesting itspretty normal but I need your help.... And I'm one of the guys that always tells people its up to them to decide.... geez...

    Anyways. I cant decided between a bongo and a sterling... this is what I like about each:

    2 pups! Versatility like crazy
    damn HUGE bottom
    wicked wicked low mid punch
    very cool look

    1 pup easy pick playing
    will cut through anything
    Plays so so quick and easy

    Ok when I tested them the bongo gives me a metal clank on the E and A strings. Can I assume that that is the setup or do the bongo and sterling play differently? I like to play aggressivly often with both fingers and pick. And really a clank makes bass no fun right?

    Right now if they wereboth in front of me I would say BONGO but what is keeping me from buying one is the playability issue... The guy at the store seemed to think it was my technique and not the bongo that clanked.... but the sterling didnt clank... soooo?

    I'll also be buying used, ebay, TB classifieds... somewhere, so I wont be getting these exact basses.

    Edit: a liitle about me: with the band, I do a lot of picking its a punk band. But at home I play a lot of finger funk/rock to go with my punk style.

    And sorry for another musicman thread.
  2. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I love my sterling and all sterlings.... the playability, mmm
  3. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Why, I do believe that clank'd be your technique. You could easily lower the pickup/raise the strings and continue to play that aggressively without clankin' though.
  4. Fred312b

    Fred312b Proof that gear doesn't make you a better player Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2002
    Chicago, IL
    while i am not a fan of the bongo's looks, i do like the feel of them. but i thought that the bongo's neck was thicker, like a stingray, as opposed to a sterling's neck, which is more jazz like and thinner? there's plusses and minuses with either aex- why not just save up and get both? ;) ah, if only it was that easy... i am afraid i'll be in the same quandry soon, since i'm hoping to catch gc's musicman blowout (mine will be between a bongo and a stingray though) before i come to my senses and realize i'm already in too much debt :rollno:
  5. bongo has a 1 5/8 @nut, sterling is 1 1/2, stingray has 1 3/4....

    the bongo neck isnt nearly as chunky as a ray neck. As far as my fingers can tell me but it wasnt as nice of aneck as the sterling.

    What would lowering the pup do to stop a clank? I think the clank was the string banging on somehigher frets, I know action raising would probably fix this. but I dont really like a high action. maybe tighter strings?
  6. was the clank coming though the amps as well.... my action is very low on my basses and the clank a bit when playing without an amp, but plugged in they don't clank at all. for me it was just finding the balance beteen pickup height, action and right hand position.

    edited to ad that i tune down to Eb for my band which made the clank a larger issue, but still one that was easily worked out.
  7. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Could've been the string hitting the polepieces.
  8. oh thats right.... good observation, i dont think that was it though. I cant see my technique causing it though... clanked with both pick and fingers and the sterling had no sign ofclank no matter how hardi played it.

    And yeah, i get the sound plugged in too.
  9. FireAarro


    Aug 8, 2004
    It's probably the setup...

  10. apollo11


    Aug 19, 2004
    New York
    I have a Sterling and can say it is a fantastic instrument, and the playability is really hard to beat. The neck is extremely fast and very comfortable. Mine has the piezo bridge, and the overall sound is probably just as versatile as a Bongo's. You mention the Bongo as being able to play really low---my Sterling is the deepest sounding low end over my Ric and two American Fenders. E through G on the E string is unlike I've ever heard on another bass. The G will just about knock your socks off. Absolutely phenominal.

    The Bongo, from all reports, is supposed to be about the best production bass out there today. I have played one in a store and it felt really good. The neck was really nice, but the Sterling neck is better for me. Besides the thinness, I love the unpainted necks of the Sterling and Stingray.

    Don't worry about making the wrong choice, because there isn't one, really. Anything made by Music Man will feature great sound, incredible build quality, top-of-the-line electronics and hardware. Bongo or Sterling: you'll be happy with either choice.
  11. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    i know i responded about this already but i can't resist blabbing again when it comes to sterlings and bongos. dont' remember or not whether you go here, if not i recommend it www.ernieball.com/forums.

    i played a sterling for 5 years straight and rarely touched any of my other basses which included a warwcik, an American P-deluxe, and some other neat things. since I've gotten my bongo (roughly 30 gigs ago) my sterling has been sitting next to my bed.

    there are a few things i like more about the sterling, but the advantages of the bongo far outweigh it. the sterling neck and body are better contoured for my body (or i'm just more used to it after using it for so long). the neck is thinner and faster, but again, not enough so to have me use it instead of the bongo. the sterling has a sound of it's own that the bongo gets close enough to to make me happy, but hasn't been able to entirely nail. i still believe it lurks within the bongo - i just haven't found it yet.

    the bottom, cut and versaitility of the bongo however destroys all on the sterling - and as soon as i felt the clear rumble that thing put out i was hooked. a lot more bottom and a different kind of cut. almost like the sterling cuts like a razor and the bongo cuts like an axe. Jeez... I think I just came up with anuther T-shirt idea for bovinehost. :)

    there may be another sterling in my future - a fretless. if I get onte though its' gonna have the piezo.

    both great basses. me thinks if you get a sterling though, you're eventually going to want to get a bongo. then again again, if you get a bongo.... hey, just flip a coin, get one and then save for the other. my $.25

    almost forgot - the pick thing - i'd almost guarantee it was the setup or strings. may have been newer strings on the bongo. if anything were going to clack on me i'd suspect the sterling before the bongo. there are so many more options to dull the clack on th bongo if it did.
  12. Yeah I think the bongo is the one....

    Now, Lava pearl or candy apple red :)

    cant forget the black ice pickgaurd too :)

    sterling a little later down the road to compliment it maybe.

    And yeah, Joe I get to spend a lot of time cruising through the Ernieball website :)
  13. The Ernie Ball web site says the Stingray is also 1 5/8 at the nut, like the Bongo. The Stingray 5 is 1 3/4.
  14. my bad, sorry
  15. Zirc


    May 13, 2001
    Los Angeles
    The only thing keeping me from playing a Bongo is the fact that it looks like a spaceship. Since you like the looks, go for it.