Musicman bass-Stingray or Sterling?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by bforest4, Aug 16, 2006.

  1. bforest4

    bforest4 Supporting Member

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    Has anyone played both the musicman stingray and sterling basses and which do you prefer and why? Also, maple or rosewood fretboard? Will use it strictly for recording direct.
     
  2. Funky Chicken

    Funky Chicken Member

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    I've owned both.
    I eventually sold both a regular StingRay and a 20th anniversary model with a curly top.
    I still have the Sterling I bought used in 1994. It has been everywhere with me, and I'll never part with it.
    The best explanation I can give for the difference between the 2 is that
    StingRay=Fender P-Bass
    and
    Sterling=Fender J-Bass
    The Sterling is a touch lighter and smaller. Its neck is smaller. It's just easier to get along with. I'm a big guy with small hands, and it's a perfect fit. It does everything a StingRay does that I need, and then has a much better slap tone to boot. I can play 3 long sets with it and it never gets heavy.
    Buy used. They're easy to find and cheap. If you want to go new, check out Vintage Bass Trading Co. or Bass Central.
    I have maple boards on all of my basses. The rosewood tends to smooth out the top end for fingerstyle playing, but it's just not my preference.
     
  3. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    I'd highly recommend the Stingray 5. It was my main gigging/recording bass for several years and was quite versatile. I'm lusting after one of the new dual humbucker versions. Mine had a rosewood fingerboard and an ash body - sounded great and had a nice low B.

    Between the Stingray and the Sterling, I would probably go with the Stingray (I've liked the necks better, though I'm not sure about all of the differences between the two models), but I don't think you can go wrong with either.

    Bryan
     
  4. mybusinessmy

    mybusinessmy Member

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    Are you just talking about the neck differences? because as far as sound the Musicman sounds nothing (to me at least), like a P or J bass.

    The Sterling is more versatile, as you have a selector (similar to a strat lever) to split the pickup. The Stingray is better at nailing that midrange sound it is known for. I have played both, owned 2 Stingrays in the past. I preferred the Rosewood fretboard,(a bit warmer), but that is a personal thing.

    Since they have different necks, and different sounds, I really think you need to play both, compare and decide for yourself.
     
  5. The Golden Boy

    The Golden Boy Member

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    Is there a reason you're only looking into the Music Man basses?

    I've found the Music Man basses (I've had experience with the Stingray and Sabre) tend to do more of what they do, rather than what you want them to do.

    I was about to type something, and it reminded me of a signature I'd seen on TB. With my G&L and my Jazz, I sound like me playing bass. When I play a Music Man, it sounds like me playing a Music Man. YMMV
     
  6. Funky Chicken

    Funky Chicken Member

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    I wasn't implying at all that MMs are anything like Fenders. If you look at the difference between a Precision and a Jazz, it comes down to neck shape, body dimensions, and the fact that a Jazz bass tends to sound brighter due to the second pickup. A Jazz tends to be a faster playing bass than a Precision.

    If you compare the StingRay and Sterling, the same differences apply-a Sterling is smaller and lighter, with a narrower neck, a brighter sound, and faster playability.
     
  7. JoeYello

    JoeYello Member

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    I have had several of each and currently have a Sterling/maple board and a 20th Anniversary with maple board. I prefer the tone and feel of the Sterling. The Stingrays have a clanky-ness to their tone that can't be dialed out. I find it annoying, the Sterling sounds much smoother.

    If I were you I would just get a used American Fender P-Bass, especially for recording. It'll sound great.
     
  8. stratzrus

    stratzrus Philadelphia Jazz, Funk, and R&B Supporting Member

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    For years I had been looking for just the right Stingray for recording, particularly one that sounded good doing funk/slap bass.

    One day, Rich at Bluebond in Philly suggested that I try a Hotrodded P-Bass. It's basically a Precision with a Jazz pickup added giving you the best of both worlds, and the neck is killer. One volume knob for each pickup yields a wonderful tonal variety, and it has much more bottom end and punch than a Stingray.

    It gives you the option of string through the bridge or string through the body, and I think I also heard something about a graphite reinforcement rod in the neck that increases sustain. I don't know if it's true or not, but the bass really sings so I bought it and couldn't be happier.

    They're definitely worth a try, and are reasonably priced well under $1,000 used.

    stratzrus
     
  9. jerseydrew

    jerseydrew Member

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    I went through this exact same thing a couple of months ago. Stingray, Sterling, what to do???? The Sterling's body was smaller and the neck was slimmer. The Stingray sounded better to me.


    So what did I get??

    My Bongo. I love it :dude
    [​IMG]









    Check out the Ernie Ball forum too
    http://www.ernieball.com/forums/index.php
     
  10. NuSkoolTone

    NuSkoolTone Member

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    My Bass player has a 5 string version of these. It sounds good, not sure if I'd say it sounds like a traditional music man though.

    They really don't seem to photograph well. In person they look cool and sleek, but in pictures always look like a toilet seat to me.:messedup

    Did they ever release that two pickup stingray?
     
  11. Bassomatic

    Bassomatic Silver Supporting Member

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    Isn't that more or less what the Sabres were about pre-EB?
     
  12. The Golden Boy

    The Golden Boy Member

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    Yeah, with the pickups in the wrong positions and a club for the necks. Great idea on paper...
     
  13. Darth Tater

    Darth Tater Supporting Member

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    I was gonna suggest the Bongo, drew beat me to it!

    Bongo, baby. Can't be touched for the price.
     
  14. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    Yes. You can get them with either a single coil or a humbucker in the neck position. A Stingray 5-string with two humbuckers would suit me really well.

    Bryan
     
  15. cmatthes

    cmatthes Member

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    Definitely cool basses, but I'm partial to the Sterling. So much so that I won't even look at a Stingray now. Purely a personal opinion, but I dig the balance, shape and overall "feel", but also really like the sound of that bass.

    I'd own one by now if they hadn't discontinued sparkle finishes (ha ha!!). I probably will snake one eventually.
     
  16. bforest4

    bforest4 Supporting Member

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    Thanks for all the replies. Since I already have a Fender P-Bass reissue with Rosewood board, and I prefer smaller necks, I will probably go for a used Sterling with Maple neck. Can the Sterling get very close to the sound of a Stingray(in addition to the other pickup settings) or are they quite different?
     
  17. smallbutmighty

    smallbutmighty Supporting Member

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    Another nod to teh Sterling here. I far prefer it to the Stingray.

    A
     

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