What is so special with Musicman Stingray 5 basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bassman74, Dec 15, 2015.

  1. bassman74


    Jan 2, 2007
    Many session bass players used them.
    Many artists prefer them over their 4 strings counterpart.

    I heard one two weeks ago and it did not sound like a stingray 4.

    I would not say that it was vintage sounding but not a standard stingray tone.

    Help me understand what is so special about them please....
  2. mouthmw


    Jul 19, 2009
    They're more like Silhouette basses than Stingrays IMO, different preamps and pups (and pickguards like Silhouette guitars). I'm personally not a fan of their pickguard shape compared to the regular Stingray, but they do sound awesome.
    Well, they're popular because people like em, and from what I've heard, they have great B strings. The Classic Stingray 5 though, is the Stingray through and through.
    The only downside that's often mentioned is the tight string spacing, and the G string sliding off the fretboard because it's all so tight.
    If I was to ever play a 5 string (reaaaly doubt it), I think the first thing I'd opt for would be a Stingray 5, but a Classic one for sure.
    Admiral Akbar and Leaux-b like this.
  3. Geri O

    Geri O Endorsing Artist, Mike Lull Guitars and Basses Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    Such an obtuse question...

    Not because you asked it, or you are wrong to, I don't mean that at all...

    It speaks to me as it does those artists you mention. And the only way to experience that is to play one and see if it speaks to you. I can't imagine how to otherwise describe what you are asking.

    It's the same thing as Jazz basses speak to Marcus Miller, Precisions speak to Michael League, Mayones speak to Federico Malaman, Sadowskys speak to Tal Wilkenfield, and Mattisons speak to Henrik Linder.

    I certainly get it. I've had two SR5s in the last 2 years, still have the second one and I swear, I'll never, ever let it go. I dearly love it and it's my main go-to instrument.

    There are tonal variations available, but I'm not up to speed on which models do what. My SR5 has the 3-way switch, but I keep mine in the toward-the-bridge position. Of course, the HH and HS models have even more variations, but I don't need those. I want the typical scooped MM sound.

    I'm not sure about the preference for the 5-strings over the 4-strings. I think that those players play 5-strings regardless of which bass they prefer to play.
  4. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Go play a bunch. If you don't think they are special then they aren't - for you. I tried several when I bought mine; one was " meh" the others were great.

    I would never make a judgment about a whole line of basses after hearing just one. IMHO it's another one of those "there is nothing to get" questions. If you don't like them, who cares what everyone else thinks?
    bucephylus likes this.
  5. Mantis Tobaggan

    Mantis Tobaggan Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2015
    Tampa, FL
    I don't really like five strings and so I guess I dont get them either but I have heard some good bassists play the **** out of them!
    Quantized Harmonic likes this.
  6. bassman74


    Jan 2, 2007
    I meant that there must be a reason for those artists to chose a Stingray 5. I watched and was forced to watch some DVDs :) from different artists, and most bassman were using SR5 in large bands.

    A lot of engineer loves precision bass because of the way they sit in the mix. Maybe it's the same for SR5 in a large band?

    What struck me the most is that their SR5 didn't sound like Stingray basses. They did not sound clicky, zingy at all.

    I am just curious and I have to admit I found in love with one locally.

    I tried it through a Fender Bassman 100t and loved it, but I hated it through a GK 700rb and 212 cab...
  7. Ulf_Hansson


    Apr 15, 2014
    They are not very common around here, but if you found one you really like just go for it. If you love the bass you will find use for it, no matter what others may think.
  8. My guess would be that they have the switch in the neck position (series mode) which gives you more mids and less highs (speaking from my personal experience - I've been an SR5 player since 1992).
  9. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    I have an old OLP 5 string and I was looking at a Classic 5 is it the same spacing?.
  10. Fondsdale


    Sep 30, 2015
    Nothing is particularly special about them. That being said they are well made and are amazing value used. They sound more like a Sterling than a Stingray (the older ones at least, they have a ceramic pickup whereas the SR4 is alnico). I don't particularly like the string spacing (17.5mm) and the B string isn't quite as tight as I would like being 34" scale but they a nice basses for sure.
  11. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    B, C, Db, D, Eb
  12. TMARK


    Jan 10, 2012
    Richmond VA
    No Ray is clanky in my hands. Clank is in set up, technique and EQ. Whenever I hear a clanky Ray the action is too low, the player has a heavy hand and has other plucking hand issues, the strings are bright and the EQ on amp and bass is not right. I can take a Ric or a Ray and make it clank, which can be cool, or make it all deep tone fundamental.

    A long way of saying that the SR5s you've heard on those DVDs are probably being played by experienced hands.
  13. Nomogram


    Sep 30, 2015
    Central Illinois
    I have four different Music Man basses, from four different years. Build quality on all of them is excellent, and I love the oiled necks, wheel truss rod adjusters, playability, etc. I don't play 5ers, but if they are as consistently great as the fours, it'd be an easy pick.
  14. rufus.K

    rufus.K Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2015
    I have an sr5. Love the tone, sounds Stingray all the way. I dislike the string spacing, too tight for my comfort.
    zortation likes this.
  15. Geri O

    Geri O Endorsing Artist, Mike Lull Guitars and Basses Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    You are right, it's very tight. And with my short, fat fingers, it was a challenge at first, especially playing slap stuff.

    But as with anything you really like, you can persevere and overcome the spacing problem.

    But occasionally, I'm in the mood to take my Jazz V out just to get it out of the house. Its spacing is a little wider and easier to play, so going back to the SR5 would be a challenge. Soooo...

    I spent a few days just swapping those two basses back and forth during my practice sessions so I'd get accustomed to the difference. And for me, it worked out great. I now go back and forth (when I want to, which isn't often) between the two basses pretty easily.

    I'm certainly not saying that anyone else could and should try this, but if anyone is facing the challenge I did, just know that it can be overcome if you want to.
  16. jim nolte

    jim nolte

    Oct 26, 2006
    It's considered a classic because it was one of the first 5 strings to be accepted and played by many bassists in the mid to late '80s. I always thought when Ernie Ball designed it though he was concerned that 4 string players would have a harder time adjusting to a 5 string bass with wide spacing so he kept it pretty narrow. It was my main bass for 5 years and the neck always felt like a P neck with a 5th string! Jim
    bassman74 likes this.
  17. cthomas5200

    cthomas5200 Supporting Member

    Jun 27, 2011
    Atlanta, GA
    I was a diehard Lakland 5 player and loved their necks, but always jonesed for the stingray tone as I loved my Ray. Found the perfect SR 5 2H and won't go back. Tone is spot on, and I have found that even with my big hands the string spacing feels great. Sound guy told me to never get rid of this one as it just sounds perfect in the mix. I can adjust the selector switch for different tones and almost never touch the eq. Total SR convert here. I am home.
    makaspar and bassomane like this.
  18. jjk2007

    jjk2007 Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2008
    Austin, TX
    I miss my mid 90's SR5 every now and then. I had the honey sunburst/maple neck and bought it at a GC in downtown Chicago. The setup was perfect and I loved the tonal authority it had. Wasn't too heavy for me and it was one of the few basses I owned that I felt like I could throw it down a flight of stairs and nothing would happen to it. Just a solid instrument all the way around.
  19. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    "What is so special with Musicman Stingray 5 basses"

    Dunno - you tell me.
  20. blowinblue

    blowinblue Kind of not blue. Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2006
    SoCal USA
    I had one around the house for about a month. A guitarist buddy of mine played this bass in a worship band for a couple of years. Offered to sell it to me for a good price. It was in absolutely like new condition. I spent a lot of time with it but as hard as I tried there never was a 'connection'. I was able to set it up with the same action as my other basses but it simply wasn't in the same league. :meh: Even my imported MTD Kingston was more fun and inspiring and had a tone and feel that I preferred. So very sorry that I couldn't give a more upbeat response. :sorry:


    M. M.
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