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What gives a stingray it's "chirp"?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by sing-modulator, Jan 16, 2017.

  1. sing-modulator


    Nov 23, 2014
    Whenever I hear a stingray bass, especially if it's being slapped, it sounds like a bird chirping. I was wondering what about the bass/setup/electronics give this bright sound? It seems to be characteristic of stingrays. I could find video examples if I sound like a crazy person...
  2. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    I don't know what chirp you're referring to but I do recognize the characteristic stingray sound. Pickup type and placement and big ol frets are what do it, IMO.
  3. sing-modulator


    Nov 23, 2014

    Here's a video that shows kind of what I mean... The stingray sounds really scooped in the mids with a ton of high-end presence. Is this mostly due to the preamp sculpting?

    @Gorn how do the size of the frets affect sound?
    REV, Clark Dark and Ken J like this.
  4. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    Oh I don't know. Just how it sounds to me. Very fretty, but in a good way. They might not even be big frets.
  5. I think it's mostly the voicing of the preamp, especially the high freq.
    Tbone76, tekhedd, arbitrary and 4 others like this.
  6. MobileHolmes

    MobileHolmes I used to be BassoP

    Nov 4, 2006
    I think it's a combo of the pickup, pickup
    Placement, and a baked in tone to the preamp. The construction of the bass is well executed, but quite ordinary
  7. SpazzTheBassist


    Jun 20, 2006
    the signature Stingray voicing is a little more complicated than other basses sig voicings....thats because there are two crucial factors:

    1) The pickup must be wired Parallel and mounted in that position
    2) The proprietary nature of the EB/MM preamp

    this is why just putting in any MM-style pickup (especially if wired in series) in that spot or using any arbitrary preamp wont do the trick .... those two criteria must be met, especially the pre-amp (and, yes, there are some after-market/ third-party alternatives that mimic the preamp to get that 'chirp' you describe....I heard a Maruszczyk bass nail that tone to the letter - I mean an almost perfect Stingray clone, plus it could also be reconfigured to a decent Jazz bass -- smokin! Conversely, my Carvin BB75 had the MM pickup in that position but it had Carvin's preamp and I think its MM was wired in Series -- soloing that pickup wasnt even remotely Stingray-ish

    contrary to this is the Fender Precision, whos signature voicing is very simple: a mid-mounted humbucking pickup or phat single coil in that mid position on a solid-body instrument....thats all that is needed for that signature P voicing. Different pickups and electronics will effect the tonality of that voice but the voice will still be the same.......I discuss this aspect about P-basses to death here on TB :D
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2017
  8. Dbassmon


    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    Voicing of the pre... placement of the pickup and ceramic magnets all contribute to the String Ray tone.
  9. Stingrays are alnico. Sterlings are ceramic.
  10. blueacid4l

    blueacid4l Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2006
    I believe he meant because this is an older looking SR5 which had the Ceramic pickups (basically what the Sterling has been sounding like the last several years)

    I have to agree with the spacing, coils in parallel, and the "baked in tone" of the pre.... listen to a single H Bongo and Reflex and they won't 100% nail that "chirp".... first time I've heard it described as that though. Interesting sonic perception.
    1954bassman likes this.
  11. Grumry


    Jul 6, 2016
    That's the first time I've heard something described as chirpy.
    Mastermold and Honch like this.
  12. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    My Rays don't chirp. They growl.
  13. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather Supporting Member

    Yeah dunno about the chirp thing but Stingrays growl like a mutha! They have a very aggressive, biting sound!
  14. sing-modulator


    Nov 23, 2014
    The "chirp" I mean is on the g string when using a strong attack. It seems to change from the "growl" of the lower strings.
  15. SpazzTheBassist


    Jun 20, 2006
    That "biting sound" youre describing, dwalmz - which Stingrays emphasize right around the ~8K region - is what I believe the OP is referring to as the "chirp".....FWIW, I understood what the OP was saying....but, then of course, Im weird
    Zane DeBord likes this.
  16. alaskaleftybass

    alaskaleftybass Will Hanbury, Jr. Supporting Member

    Mar 21, 2012
    Sitka, Alaska
    I always associate a Stingray with a growly mid. Never thought of a chirp.
    Killed_by_Death likes this.
  17. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Ah, which explains why Rays are somewhat lost on me lately, they just don't sound like they used to - 8K is right around where I start having major hearing loss...
  18. /\/\3phist0

    /\/\3phist0 Life: It's sexually transmitted and always fatal Supporting Member

    it has a lot to do with, as has been said the pickup, type, placement and preamp.
    that said, there is often the complaint of a weak G on the MM designs, this is a side effect / trade off of the above design concepts.

    String type also plays a roll.
    My Warwick FNA (not jazzman) copped a SR5 tone with a little more meat on the bones.
    My Dolphin also can do an "impersonation"

    Most of it resides in a careful boosting in the upper midrange and the AlNico fat coils in parallel, large pole pieces.
    Badwater likes this.
  19. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis

    A lot of Stingray tone comes from a high output pickup and the sweet spot location of the pickup. Hear how close my passive Atlas 4x comes to the Stingray tone. The next clip is German reviewer from Session music.

    sludgetail and birminghambass like this.
  20. Badwater


    Jan 12, 2017
    I agree, it's the position of the pickup the low output alnico humbuckers, and the powerful preamp. It also depends on the era and style of stingray, early ones had 2 band EQ with very simple premp desing. After EB era, they started making 3 band eq, and more complex preamps. And of course string type make a huge difference in articulation on the higher frequencies.

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