StingRay review by Ernie Ball / Music Man

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.2 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.1 (48 votes)
Ernie Ball / Music Man: StingRay
2

Sound — 10
Now the Stingray has been phenomenal for the distinct sound it has, people like Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers have made this bass famous. I usually play rock music like Stone Temple Pilots and the Foo Fighters. When I play with my bass I use a mixed setup that consists of a Mesa Engineering M-Pulse 360 and a Kustom 410H cabinet filled with Eminence speakers. I get a very punchy growling sound with my bass. I can also get a very midrangey sound with the basses midrange dimed, I can also get a scooped sound that gets rid of the Stingray's killer bite. You can get a super bright sound and a punchy sound. I sounds great when played pickstyle but I don't really care for it Fingerstyle, there isnt much low end there and it doesnt't sound good to me. However the Stingray's shining sound is when it is slapped, the thing sounds like a freaking monster especially when I use DR Hi-Beams. Some people might not like the aggressiveness of the Stingray so it's a acquired taste. I give it a 10/10 for my uses.

Overall Impression — 10
I think this bass kills for rock but of course there are probably better basses. I've been playing for 2 years and I'm going to get a Musicman Sterling soon so I might get rid of this bass or put in Bartolini pickups. If it were stolen I will find the person Who stole it and personally hurt you. I think it's great there are so many things that great about it, however I don't like how the paint cracks easy and doesn't look good when that happens, I would prefer Nitro Cellulose over the Polyurethane they used. I actually had a American Jazz Bass that I'm selling because I love the sound of this bass. I wish I could send it to Musicman to put in another Humbucker and make this a HH Stingray.

Reliability & Durability — 8
Hell yes it will survive! It's built like a freaking bunker, I cannot imagine this thing falling apart. The bass has already seem to been through live shows as it has a lot of dings and it was dirty all over the neck, it seems like the previous owner loved this bass a lot. I think the hardware is topnotch as it has Schaller BM tuners and a great bridge. The bass had Schaller strapbuttons on it but I know they do not come stock with any Musicman. I absolutely despise Schaller Straplocks, they have ripped out of a previous bass I had. I use Dunlop Dual Designs exclusively and they rock. I think no bass is safe from problems, there can always be something that goes wrong. I'm getting a Musicman Sterling soon and this bass will become my backup. The finish is pretty thin so becareful because the previous owner put some dings on it. I'll give it a 8 because of the fragile paint.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
When I got my Stingray it had these super old Rotosounds on it, I immediately put on DR Black Beauties (I no longer use these) and it sounded great. I can't comment on the factory set-up but from what I have heard it's pretty high and the come with Ernie Ball Super Slinkies (.45-.100). I love how the Truss rod adjustment wheel is so freaking easy to adjust, it is a dream. The Bridge on this thing is amazing, I could not imagine anyone replacing it. I did have to clean it up a lot though because the previous owner neglected this thing. at it's current state I give it 9/10 but for a new one I'm not so sure.

Features — 9
I bought my Stingray about one and a half years ago, it's got the made in San Luis Obispo, California. It seems very well made even though the previous owner put some dings on the bass, it doesn't detract from the feel of the bass. It's got 21 frets and a Rosewood fretboard that unfortunately gets dirty very fast. The neck is very fast and has the feel of a P-Bass neck, it's unfinished so it does get dirty pretty fast. It's a little heavy because it is made of Ash but that's nothing a Wide Levy strap can't fix. Some people think the Stingray is a ugly bass, that's because of the egg shaped pickguard, with that pickguard comes the famous MM humbucker. The massive polepieces are much larger than the Seymour Duncan Quarter Pounder pole pieces. My only gripe with the exposed poles is that they tend to hit your fingers and the edges are a bit sharp so it might hurt after a while. The 3 band avtive EQ adds a a lot of variety to the tones you can get with this bass, Ernie Ball makes Stingray's with pickup options now so I can't really say how those are. Ok I've probably said too much, lets get to the sound.

22 comments sorted by best / new / date

    1337_bass
    I bought mine for $1350 in August of this year, and I don't regret it at all. Black cherry burst, rosewood neck, black pickguard. No flaws on the body and the sound is quite possibly the best on the market for the price you pay. Well worth the investment if you have the means to grab one.
    Skridbjorn
    I have just bought a brand new cherry sunburst Stingray 4, and absolutely love it!! Ive been playing bass since 1983 and have owned tons of basses! This one is the one for me - 27 years, but I FOUND her :o))))) It plays just anything!! Its snarling and roaring is - YES! GET ONE!
    HughcumberMMSR
    I bought a 2001 Musicman Stingray 3 EQ second hand in Boston for about $800. I live in Ireland and if I bought it here it would cost about 1200 euro which is about $1400? I would definately advise going abroad to buy. As for the bass, I'm 17 and got the bass two years ago. I will never need to buy another. It is ****ing fantastic; gorgeous looking, versatile sound, punchey AND boomey, fast neck, easy action, great build quality...what more could you want? I use an Ashdowne MAG300 head/cab combo and they really compliment each other. Old school sound that can be modified to my liking. I really recommend Ashdown as they are cheap and have a lovely warm sound that is studio quality! That's pretty much all I can think to say anyway...BUY A STINGRAY
    higherworlds
    i got the sub sting-ray on craigslist for 500 bucks, and it rocks hardcore tone, i will never buy another brand bass again. i play stoner and post rock, and man this thing is sick!!!
    slayer457
    im making a bass based around the stingray, anyone know where i can find a fretless fingerboard but the the frets painted on with dot inlays, i saw one on a fender jazz bass and it was so fast but dont know where to get one
    Dback139
    Ampeg SVT wrote: bassplayerwilly wrote: Cliff Williams uses a P-Bass...he has used a Stingray before, i even saw a vid of him playing a sunburst Stingrat without a pickguard.
    He has been using the Stingray since the Ballbreaker tour in 1996. He uses a stock pre-ernie ball musicman stingray. So he's going on 13 years using the musicman, longer than he's consistently used any other bass.
    Claypool5667
    I bought mine used from Guitar center in August of '07 for $550. The finish had some cracks and a few small chips in it, but it still sounded amazing. For the price I paid i didnt care one bit about the blemishes. Amazing bass!
    luke-bassist
    hopin to get one! i saw a tribute band the other day and they had a stingray! They make the best sound ever. can't afford on atm, but i've got an epi thunderbird.
    terb
    I love my MM Stingray. I just wish I had bought the maple fretboard.
    Propman
    Tried the Bongo, wasn't too impressed. But the Stingray, blows my mind.
    Doctor Now
    To set the record straight. Back in the late seventies. The orignal maker of this bass design this bass. And with the help of a well known bassist named Louis Johnson THE Stingray became famous and a lot of cats used it for playing Funk. Hell it is one of the reasons I started playing bass. And at tht time the price was at a good point. Now the price is too hi but isn't gas also?
    Jawshco
    I play in a metal band and I have the Ernie Ball Stingray. It does sound great and it is versitile, but I find it difficult to get a decent lowend sound when I'm finger picking. It tends to get very boomy rather than punchy and in metal, punchy is a must. Also, the superpowered pick-up can be really annoying if you have ANY finger noise it steps all over your sound. I've played other basses that didn't pick up any of my finger/picking noise, but you hear everthing with the MM Stingray. Now, I've managed to minimalize this by adjusting my playing style, but it is a concern. I don't slap often in Metal, but when I do- there is no bass I can think of that sounds better than this one.
    Jawshco
    I play in a metal band and I have the Ernie Ball Stingray. It does sound great and it is versitile, but I find it difficult to get a decent low end sound when I'm finger picking. It tends to get very boomy rather than punchy and in metal, punchy is a must. Also, the superpowered pick-up can be really annoying if you have ANY finger noise it steps all over your sound. I've played other basses that didn't pick up any of my finger/picking noise, but you hear everthing with the MM Stingray. Now, I've managed to minimalize this by adjusting my playing style, but it is a concern. I don't slap often in Metal, but when I do- there is no bass I can think of that sounds better than this one.
    the metal bassi
    Hey if anyone has this bass, and plays kinda metal/hard rock on it could you pm me n tell me how it is
    funkybassinator
    i Have one with a piezo, shes rockin and totaly versitle. playeed thru GK backline 210. sounds like flea
    WilliamVStankie
    I have lusted over the StngRay Bass for a few years...now, I'm saving my pay from gigs , and I WILL have a new MM SRB very soon! Have owned a few nice basses...and the SRB plays better than a Factor or Fender P Bass