1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
     
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Thinking of trying a Music Man Sterling.....

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by mmbongo, Jul 27, 2012.


  1. mmbongo

    mmbongo Dilly Dilly! Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    A REAL Music Man Sterling, that is.

    A Sterling is something I've wanted to try for a long time, and I just never did. I keep finding myself never 100% satisfied with my 4 strings, and a Music Man Sterling just keeps popping up in my head. I think I need to at least try one before I can satisfy myself.

    What I need is advice on the pickup arrangement. I'm not looking to emulate a Stingray, I'm looking more to emulate a Jazz I think. I want deep, rich, punchy low end with that bright snappy high end.

    I'm leaning towards the HH configuration, as I think one of the settings is the outer single coils which should deliver that. But I'm not sure, which is why I'm here! I'm worried that the HH wouldn't have much room for slapping/popping though.

    For info, my gold reference is my Spector NS-5 with a single Bartolini MM humbucker. Ideally I'd like to get something close to that in a 4 string but with a little more scooped sound, but getting another $3500 Spector is not an option.

    Also thought about a Spector Euro which I can get for about the same price as a Sterling. But I'd rather have a USA made bass, and I'm not a big EMG fan.
     
  2. 73jbass

    73jbass Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2004
    Ellenwood,Ga.
    You can get the traditional MM tone with the H or HS. The H will give you parallel,single coil,and series. The HS gives you parallel and single coil only on the humbucker. The HH model is series on the HB's by themselves. Either way,the Sterling is going to be a bit more agressive.I prefer position 1 for the rear pup,or position 3 which is all 4 coils. I just got my old Sterling 5 HH back yesterday and couldn't be happier. Check out Ed Friedlands review of the Sterling HH.
     
  3. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005
    I have a SUB Sterling, and a Sterling 5 HS, and think you could accomplish your goals with either, but the HS offers up a TON of tonal variations... I traded a Stringray 5 HH with 73jbass for his Sterling 5 HS, and am happy with the deal - the Sterling 5 HS is more aggressive in the mix, and I find 4 out of the 5 switch positions to be useful to me, whereas I only used one position with the SR5 HH...

    The Sterling is going to have ceramic pups - which are more mid voiced - as opposed to the alnicos in the Stingray - which are more scooped sounding...

    Seriously - try a Sterling HS - I think it'll get you where you want to be...


    - georgestrings
     
  4. I have a EBMM Sterling and fricken love it. Unfortunately it's just a H. I will say in single coil mode it doesn't sound like a Fender but it does have the right sound to play a song which youd normally use a dimed bridge J bass. It's not better or worse, just different.

    The switching just on the H model is very versatile. All the way towards the neck (I believe series mode) can really give me some aggressive sounding bass (especially through my overdriven TBP-1 pre) that mates well when my guitarist plays Fender or MusicMan guitars, the single coil mode sounds great when he plays Gibson guitars (gives you that raunchy single coil sound with some very interesting stuff going on in the hi mids) and the parallel mode has a Stingrayesque sound (though with a ceramic magnet rather than alnico). I use that mode for the rare occasion I want a "hi-fi" tone.

    Ed Friedland reviewed the HH and described the neck picked as a "P killer". I don't think that's the case, and I haven't tried the HH or HS in person yet, but my gut tells me you could approach a P/J tone though with a Music Man twist. I'm in the market for an HS right now. I have the same concern about slapping as you so hopefully it won't be too bad. If it is I can just use my H for slap songs.
     
  5. mmbongo

    mmbongo Dilly Dilly! Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    Yeah what concerns me is that even though it will do single coils for each pickup (every setting except the outer two on the switch), there is no pickup pan. Both are always on 100%. This is why I need to try one I guess.

    I'm not opposed to Stingray either, I just always figured a Sterling is more Jazz-bassy.
     
  6. Yeah, a pan would be amazing. When I play a J bass I dime the bridge and put the neck at 40-75%. There's no way to do that with the Sterling's stock electronics.
     
  7. jlepre

    jlepre

    Nov 12, 2007
    Parsippany, NJ
    The Sterling has a neck similar in feel to a Jazz, whereas a Stingray is like a Pbass neck. I would look at the HS config as well.
     
  8. mmbongo

    mmbongo Dilly Dilly! Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    Good points are brought up about series/parallel.

    While I always prefer a single humbucker in series mode, I think in this case I'm looking for more of a 'two pickup in parallel' sound, no? Deep, punchy, scooped.

    Perhaps I should be leaning towards a dual pickup Stingray? Maybe even an SLO.
     
  9. jlepre

    jlepre

    Nov 12, 2007
    Parsippany, NJ
    There ya go. If you can get a SLO SPECIAL you would get that SR sound with the thinner STERLING neck. Still won't get the pan option. The only EBMM with that would be a BONGO.
     
  10. I've had several Sterlings and they were all single H models. The one thing I found lacking was the low mids. The tone just got lost in a band mix no matter how I EQ'd it. Sounded great on it's own though. So I would imagine that you would need the extra pickup. I know if I ever buy another one, it'll have either the second H or the S.

    On another note, the Sterlings were the best balanced basses I've ever had. Just something about the feel is just perfect. The neck is great and the bass actually doesn't feel like 34" scale when you've got it on a strap. Feels shorter, which to me, is great.
     
  11. mmbongo

    mmbongo Dilly Dilly! Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    BONGO??? What a dumb name!

    I'm thinking a Bongo might not get that scooped sound though, since the pickups are basically either bridge or neck, full on humbucker. In other words, no coil mixing between the pickups.
     
  12. jlepre

    jlepre

    Nov 12, 2007
    Parsippany, NJ
    Hehehe...
    I just noticed your name DUH!

    You do have a point though.
     
  13. aasti3000

    aasti3000

    Jul 18, 2012
    mmbongo - I finally got my basses last night and one was the Stringray 5HH. I tried the Sterling H and HS and (at least to my ears) didn't give me that low end I like to hear. More on the high end. I guess test them both out because as everyone on this site has told me.."only you know what you like."

    jlepre - what is an SLO Special? If you don't mind explaining.
     
  14. mmbongo

    mmbongo Dilly Dilly! Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    Yeah that low end punch is what I'm looking for!

    An SLO Special is a Stingray with a Sterling neck.
     
  15. aasti3000

    aasti3000

    Jul 18, 2012
    mmbongo - oh...whoa...wonder what that sounds like. Too late now, but still curious.
     
  16. jlepre

    jlepre

    Nov 12, 2007
    Parsippany, NJ
    aasti3000 - Basically would sound like your SR5 but with a Sterling 4 neck.
     
  17. boristhespider9

    boristhespider9

    Sep 9, 2008
    I strongly recommend the HS. It gives you a place to rest your thumb but allows more room for slap/pop than the HH.

    PM me if you're serious. I have two HS Sterlings which are mint and I want to sell one as I don't need two (plus I have a Sterling 5 String and a Stingray Slo Special, so I don't need them all). One is Vintage Sunburst/Tort PG/Rosewood Fretboard/Matching Headstock and the other is Natural/Vintage White Perloid PG/Maple fretboard. Both in new condition.

    Sterlings have the most incredibly comfortable necks out there. To compare it to a "Jazz" neck simply because it is 1.5' at the nut is insulting to the Sterling. It's shape, feel, and playability is MUCH better than a Jazz neck in every way in my opinion. Buy one from me so you can find out.
     
  18. jlepre

    jlepre

    Nov 12, 2007
    Parsippany, NJ
    ...now back to our regularly scheduled program...
     
  19. boristhespider9

    boristhespider9

    Sep 9, 2008
    I own Sterlings and the Stingray Slo Special (which is the same as a regular Stingray except for a near-Sterling neck).

    Actually, the Sterling has more low end than my Stingray. The ceramic pickups in the Sterling are much more powerful than the alnico ones in the Stingray and the when I crank the bass and mid knobs on the Sterling the difference is huge while on the Stingray, there's just a mild boost. I love them both, but the Sterling has a wider variety of sounds and is a heck of a lot lighter than the SR!
     
  20. aasti3000

    aasti3000

    Jul 18, 2012
    @jlepre - ??? Are you serious? So it probably cost less, I assume. Awwwww Daaammnnnn! I didn't know anything about the SLO. Oh well, I'm happy with the Stingray (just wish I would have known about the SLO.) Thanks for the info mmbongo and jlepre.
     

Share This Page