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What is it that feels so great about my EBMM?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by rage941, Jul 30, 2012.

  1. rage941


    Sep 11, 2011
    I've played plenty of basses and I never realized how much I disliked them til I picked up my Music Man Sterling Classic. I had owned a p bass and played a jazz as well as some other misc. basses. One day I picked up the sterling classic at a music store it was over. It fit my hand better than a glove, so I got it.

    The problem now is I don't think it fits my bands style so I've been looking at fenders again since I have the flexibility of so many different set ups, if I could just find a neck I like. (it also doesn't hurt that this could potentially be cheaper than the MM).

    I know I like the nut width of the Sterling, it's 1.5 vs the bigger p bass neck (I have small hands so I noticed that right away). But when I play a jazz bass which is also 1.5 it doesn't feel nearly as well. So then I thought maybe it was the radius since the MM is quite different from a standard jazz bass (7.5 vs 9.5). While looking at the store though, the salesman assured me that just makes for easy bending and it wouldn't make it feel any better. So then I thought maybe it's because it is all one piece (the neck and the fret board) and the edges are rolled and Fenders have sharper edges. Do you think I could just find a 9.5 jazz neck and have a pro roll the edges? Or if you think the radius does make it feel better I could find a vintage spec neck and have the edges rolled?

    Or do you think I'm SOL and they just have different profiles over all and I have to stick with the MM if I want that feel?

    What is it about that neck that I like so much?
  2. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    I can't think of a style of music into which a Sterling wouldn't fit. Is it a sound issue?
    I think it will be easier to fix this part than changing the whole bass.
  3. 73jbass

    73jbass Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2004
    What is it about the Sterling sound that you think wont work? I play in a variety/dance band and I use the Sterling 5 in one setting for the entire gig. There is nothing it won't do. Give it a chance.
  4. rage941


    Sep 11, 2011
    Well another thing I don't like is it just feels awkwakd as far as my right hand goes. Like the position that I hold my arm to strum the strings. My forearm always hurts after words. It's like instead of just letting my arm hang down where it naturally falls (how it feels with my p bass) I have to hold it slightly in an unnatural and awkward way which causes the pain in my forearm. I mean it's more of a discomfort than pain, it's not like I'm dying, but I do miss the comfort of the fender as far as my right hand goes. Could the scale lengths be different and that be causing something? I don't know anything about that and haven't read into it yet.

    But as far as the sound of the music man, I don't know, I always felt it was too funky sounding...kind of too wet if that makes sense. Sometimes too honky too. I play in a rock and roll band.
    On this recording I think it sounds too honky(recorded direct). The sound engineer agreed but told me it was the best he could do and begged me to record with something different next time.

    I mean sure I could probably get it to work, maybe search for the right amp, maybe buy a pedal or two, but for $1800 I want it to be perfect for me. Right now there's an american standard jazz bass for $550 locally. I could probably sell the music man, get that and have almost a grand left over to buy pedals and different amps if I wanted to go that route. Plus if the MM isn't perfect for me, I'd prefer to gig a fender than the Music man (especially it being a "classic" vs the standard) and let it retain it's value. If it were perfect for me I wouldn't care a bit but if it's not, why ruin it?
  5. JimB52

    JimB52 User Supporting Member

    May 24, 2007
    East Coast
    The Sterling neck is great. However, I wasn't in love with the single H tone either, and sold it. Then I tried an H/S configuration and it solved the tone issues I had.
  6. cfsporn


    Aug 20, 2011
    New York City
    The forearm discomfort is probably caused by the lack of contours on the Sterling Classic's body. I am not sure why Leo Fender decided to do away with the contours when he first started making MM basses, but he did. Afik, the only MM basses without contours are the classic series.

    As for the tone, you could try stringing it with some flats or tapes, or just play with the EQ until you find a tone that suits the band.
  7. 73jbass

    73jbass Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2004
    Mike LePond of Symphony X played a Sterling H for years. Hardly funky sounding at all. Killer chops too.
  8. jlepre

    jlepre Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2007
    Parsippany, NJ
  9. While a Sterling and a Jazz are both 1.5" at the nut, the profile of the neck (depth from top of fretboard to the back of the neck) is chunkier on the Sterling. I have both. I like both, with the advantage going to the Sterling for me.

    Like you, I find the neck perfectly sized. I also find the whole bass is ergonomically better for me. I have a non-classic, and it is contoured.
  10. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I think the bass sounds awesome in the first clip. And I like it better than the sound of the bass on the other songs. I therefore can't help you here. Only suggestion I could make is get a Sterling HS. If you're playing fingerstyle it will give you another thumb rest for your right hand, which alone will change your sound a lot. The added pickup on MMs open up a whole new world.
  11. jlepre

    jlepre Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2007
    Parsippany, NJ
    Thumb rest? What's that? :)
  12. JimB52

    JimB52 User Supporting Member

    May 24, 2007
    East Coast
    What makes the lack of contours even more baffling is the fact that the Sterling was introduced many years after Leo left Musicman.
  13. DeltaPhoenix

    DeltaPhoenix Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2011
    Get a Big Al SSS, Sterling Neck, contours, Tons of Tones.
  14. IMO, don't sell it for a Jazz. Maybe save for the Jazz and try it out?

    The Sterling neck, again IMO, slays the Jazz neck. Pretty skinny but there is something more 'robust' and comfy about it for hands.

    Here is an idea, to reduce the honky mids (a Sterling is quite an aggressive middy bass):

    Parallel Humbucker mode (ok, don't think you can do this on the Classic version(
    EB Group III flats (wear them in!)
    Boost the bass
    Drop the mids a touch on the amp (if its a Classic Sterling)

    Worn in flats really do 'tame' a Stingray or any EBMM, in a good way. If you want the zing back, whack on some different strings.

    What you might find with a Jazz is that you miss the mids and end up with the more hollow tone, which is nice, but not as good in a band IMO.

    I like Jazz basses by the way, but a P, Ray or Sterling work easier for me.
  15. boristhespider9


    Sep 9, 2008
    I actually understand this. I own two Sterling 4 HS and a Sterling 5 HH. Wonderful basses. The neck rules and destorys my MIA Fender Jazz Basses. By the way, in addition the radius and width, what makes the Sterling neck so comfortable is a few other things. First, the thickness at the 1st and 12th frets is perfect. Second, the gun oil/wax finish on the back of the neck kills the gloss and "heavy" satin that Fender uses (although you have a classic and that has gloss, right?). Third, the scale of the bass is extremely comfortable. Yes, it's 34", however, it has more frets (22) than both the Fender and even a Stingray. More frets = closer together making it easy to move on the fretboard.

    I think I can tweak the sound of a Sterling for any situation.

    All that being said, I do think the body style and small headstock makes it look like a more modern bass. Sometimes, it really looks like a guitar. More than one bass player has said to me "I didn't know MM made short scale basses." Sometimes it doesn't seem to fit with a band that plays roots rock, southern rock, classic rock, and soul styles (originals or covers).

    So, I tried my Fenders, but they don't have the same comfort level or punch. The answer for me has been two basses. The Stingray SLO Special since it has a Sterling neck profile on a more classic style body and retains the Stingray's headstock size. Feels comfortable like a Sterling but has the old school look and sound with Alnico pickups.

    I also play a Lakland USA Joe Osborn Jazz Bass. Expensive, but the most luxurious bass I own. Has the classic Fender look, but with a neck that feels just perfect. Really thin at the 1st and 12th frets, perfect finish on the back of the neck and everything a passive bass should be. Nothing like a Fender neck and near the comfort level of a Sterling neck. As a result, I'm also getting a Lakland USA Glaub P-Bass with a Joe Osborn neck. Expensive, but worth every penny to me.

    So, as much as I love my Sterlings, sometime they just don't look right on stage to me. I've found the USA Joe Osborn and Stingray SLO Special fit the bill for the classic look and sound with comfort similar (although not totally equivalent to) the Sterling.
  16. jlepre

    jlepre Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2007
    Parsippany, NJ
    I can attest to the flats argument. I have Group IV EBMM flats on my SR5, and it really tames that powerful Humbucker. Still allows it to shine, but takes the edge off.
  17. the classic doesn't have the pickup coil switching that stock Sterlings have (WHY?!). I would check out one of those. I can get every sound I need with my sterling. The various coil arrangements and eq do it all for me.
  18. king_biscuit

    king_biscuit Supporting Member

    May 21, 2006
  19. PotsdamBass8

    PotsdamBass8 Supporting Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Long Island, NY
    Personally I think your sound is great. However I dig that cutting sound. It sounds like you would do best with a standard sterling with a second pickup. That'll probably solve the arm soreness, and I think you'll find a sound that's a little mellowed out compared to your classic.

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