StingRay HH review by Ernie Ball / Music Man

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Features: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.7 (55 votes)
Ernie Ball / Music Man: StingRay HH
7

Sound — 8
This new twist on the time tested Stingray, sonically surpasses its older brother in every aspect. Take the sound of a Stingray, the thick rich, heart thumping, gut wrenching sound, and multiply it by two. You now have a Stingray HH. The 5-way pickup selector offers excellent sonic versatility. The bass sounds decent in the context of a muddy tone. It also sounds decent in the context of an overly bright metal sound. However like its older brother, this bass really shines when slapping, or aiming for a very punchy tone. The Stingray's have a legacy for sounding good when slapped, this legacy holds through. Its slap sound is unbelievably thick and deep, while still crystal clear. When playing finger style its sound is equally impressive. It is low, punchy, and deep but still maintains its clarity.

Overall Impression — 8
The Stingray's classic design meshes perfectly with the two humbuckers. The 5-way Switch combined with the incredible onboard EQ makes for infinite sonic possibilities. The thickened tone is enough to keep just about any player happy. In their July 2006 issue Bass Player Magazine said; I've always loved the power and thickness of the Stingray's sound, but with its single pickup, it sometimes felt like a one-trick thoroughbred and I really couldn't agree more. This bass is the perfect solution for that.

Reliability & Durability — 8
This bass is really built like a tank. The one piece neck/fretboard combination surprised me, but is very solid. However the design of the neck does offer some structural worries. Most notable found at the fifth, seventh, ninth and twelfth frets. There are two small lines on the wood on either side of the aforementioned frets. While this is not an issue right now, it could be possible cause for concern later. The Schaller tuners are incredibly stable. This bass arrived in tune after being across the United States. This is remarkable, especially considering the climate change. The simplistic design of this bass keeps it rugged and sounding great.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The most outstanding quality of this bass is of its fine craftsmanship. One of the first things that I noticed when starting to play this bass was that the action was actually how I liked it; low and buttery. This is the kind of bass that practically plays itself. However if the action was ever to float up, it would be an easy fix. The bridge has plenty of play left in it and the access for the truss rod is conveniently located just above the neck pickup. Beside the large pick guard, the finish and look of this bass are incredible. The dark red stain really sets off the chrome hardware. This bass is very pretty except for the aforementioned pick guard and the point where they stopped the lacquer. The headstock has a clear lacquer coat on it so that they could stain it the same color as the body. However it is very obvious on the neck where they stopped using the lacquer and went to unfinished wood. While this is fairly ugly, it doesn't effect the playing of the bass and the only person Who could notice it would be the player. Overall; beautiful Vintage look stain combined with the modern look of the pickguard and humbuckers really make this bass a keeper.

Features — 7
The Stingray HH is a beautifully crafted edition to a time tested modern classic. Despite limited features this bass really comes together for beautiful sound and feel. its body is made of Ash. This is really an ideal wood for basses, because it is light enough so that you don't have to ice your shoulder after a gig, but solid enough to let you know it's there. The neck on the model I had was quite unique. Both fingerboard and neck were made out of the same piece of flamed maple. However the way that it was cut and sanded doesn't reveal the flamed grain until further up the neck. The other unique thing about the neck construction is that it doesn't seem to be sealed, clear coated or stained in any way. This creates a very fast, smooth playing bass. As remarkable as the craftsmanship is, so are the electronics. This bass features two of the remarkable MusicMan humbuckers with softened edges. These sloped edges work perfectly as thumb rests. The pickups are wired into a five way selector switch. This switch is then fed into a 3 band EQ. The onboard EQ is one of the highlights of this bass. The high control blends in a perfect high; mellow yet present. The bass control seems to blend in punch, not mud. A perfect 10 for the EQ!

35 comments sorted by best / new / date

    sinogaya
    last bass i will ever need to buy,, unless someone buys me one hehe... but 1 pickup stingray or sterling will do
    xXmikeoffawfXx
    i would rather save bout $1000 and get an OLP mm-5 its like a remake but if u got the money go with a fender
    alexw1020
    I went to a store looking to buy a Stingray. I ended up buying a Fender Jaguar instead. These are pretty good basses but I'd rather pay half the money and get a Fender. They're awesome.
    Seidenschnur
    Check out the OLP (Officially Licensed Product) rip-off of the HH Stingray. I own one and it costed me 400 bucks and it's awesome. Obviously, it's not the same thing, but who wants to pay $2,000 (or should I say who has $2,000)? I just sanded the logo off of the headstock and I'm fine with it. Plus, it's really loud.
    DP_SF_DTX_RATM
    red_hot_chili18 wrote: Filip413 wrote: Dude how did you get this thing for only &1732, thats super value is that a currency? fantastic bass.
    lmmfao
    Deliriumbassist
    hiimwilson2010 wrote: y bother having a pickguard on a bass? i personally think they dont belong on basses, but it makes it look kool, so w/e
    In the event of... I don't know... you use a pick? Then again, if you're technique is good enough you don't need a pickguard, so what's the point in them at all?
    Megallica666
    musicology wrote: As soon as you said a body made of Ash, I knew right then it was crap. Ash is a terrible wood for guitars, only used by assembly line companies that cut corners and try to maximize profit.
    wrong. they play like a ****ing dream. musicman make some of the best basses
    hiimwilson2010
    Deliriumbassist wrote: It's the pickguard that puts me off buying one, lol. And the price of the 20th anniversary model, which doesn't have a pickguard.
    y bother having a pickguard on a bass? i personally think they dont belong on basses, but it makes it look kool, so w/e
    VALISICUS
    musicology wrote: As soon as you said a body made of Ash, I knew right then it was crap. Ash is a terrible wood for guitars, only used by assembly line companies that cut corners and try to maximize profit.
    Yeah, really. What is wrong with you?? Ever heard of Warwick??
    Selvinator
    alexw1020 wrote: I went to a store looking to buy a Stingray. I ended up buying a Fender Jaguar instead. These are pretty good basses but I'd rather pay half the money and get a Fender. They're awesome.
    Fender actually designed the Stingray.
    Selvinator
    VALISICUS wrote: musicology wrote: As soon as you said a body made of Ash, I knew right then it was crap. Ash is a terrible wood for guitars, only used by assembly line companies that cut corners and try to maximize profit. Yeah, really. What is wrong with you?? Ever heard of Warwick??
    Sorry for the double-post, but I had to throw this in there: Warwicks are so sexy. I've had a Corvette Double-Buck for about a year now, and I love it; my only complaint is that there's no mid-control knob :[
    the_underling
    I would hasten to observe that although Warwick use swamp ash bodies on their low-mid range basses, they're generally known for using exotic woods like ovangkol, wenge and zebranol. I agree with the sentiment though, there is nothing crap about the vast majority of ash (or alder) basses out there. Fender would be a case and point all on its own, as they almost exclusively use ash/alder. Re: pickguards. They were introduced when plastic was the in-thing, and it was deemed more visually interesting to have a sheet of plastic on a guitar than have the wood showing. Since the guitars at the time defined the aesthetics of the bass as we know it, the trend has continued. Vis a vis the Stingray itself, its a fantastic instrument. The upgrade from single to double humbucker is in the region of 50-100 sterling, and literally triples your tone potential. In my mind, it is a far better upgrade than the more expensive piezo bridge upgrade, which seems to add very little of the warmth and thickness that might be lacking from the original Stingray and that one might want to expand upon with an upgrade. With HH, virtually any tone is available to you. I disagree completely with the 'limited features' comment. More features would probably require a four-band EQ w/variable mid-range, series/parallel switching and from then on you're in the realm of 'bright' switches, blend knobs and other things that aren't necessary. The 3-band EQ gives you everything you need, the 5-way coil provides that extra degree of tailoring. At this price bracket (my S-Ray 4 HH was 1,000 sterling from Andertons, Guildford, UK) it has all the features you'd expect. There are probably are 4-band EQs available at that range, but they are not the majority. The 20th Anniversary model, I would expect to have a 4-band EQ, because it is so much more expensive, but thats a different bass, and the reason why I have a SRay HH, and no 20th Anniversaries.
    Felkara
    the_underling wrote: I disagree completely with the 'limited features' comment. More features would probably require a four-band EQ w/variable mid-range, series/parallel switching and from then on you're in the realm of 'bright' switches, blend knobs and other things that aren't necessary. The 3-band EQ gives you everything you need, the 5-way coil provides that extra degree of tailoring. At this price bracket (my S-Ray 4 HH was 1,000 sterling from Andertons, Guildford, UK) it has all the features you'd expect. There are probably are 4-band EQs available at that range, but they are not the majority. The 20th Anniversary model, I would expect to have a 4-band EQ, because it is so much more expensive, but thats a different bass, and the reason why I have a SRay HH, and no 20th Anniversaries.
    I concur entirely - my 4HH has served me well for 4 years and I haven't had a single problem with it. Having said that, my technique and what I look for in a bass has changed considerably since then, which is why my next purchase will be a Sandberg California 5JM. Also, nicely done for getting yours for 1000 too.
    ibanezjimjim666
    I played a StingRay at GC last October and the only reason I did not buy it right on the spot then was because of the awful sparkly black finish. No $1600 bass of mine will ever have a sparkly finish! My October Bonus at work will yield me a Natural or Sunburst finish StingRay HH with maple neck and fretboard .....Now if I could only get one with a reverse headstock! God! October is too far away!
    red_hot_chili18
    Filip413 wrote: Dude how did you get this thing for only &1732, thats super value
    is that a currency? fantastic bass.
    Deliriumbassist
    It's the pickguard that puts me off buying one, lol. And the price of the 20th anniversary model, which doesn't have a pickguard.
    terb
    good review, but "despite limited features".... you gave features a 7 but did not list the limited features. 3 band eq, 5 way pup select..what more did you want? This is the only bass i would consider trading my current Stingray in for!
    turkey3202003
    Deliriumbassist wrote: It's the pickguard that puts me off buying one, lol. And the price of the 20th anniversary model, which doesn't have a pickguard.
    yea the pickguard is weird but its only like that for the five string model the four string looks better.
    brazen
    i think the pickguard looks awesome. i would DIE to get a stingray but i dont have the money for it. crazy awesome basses
    albinokrikit
    i have the olp knockoff n its pretty kool but i tryed these laguna basses at GC n they r so much better but cost alot
    WhyLater
    Pingis_Or_Death wrote: I think the pickguard looks awesome...
    Oh great, I was about to comment on how everybody always bashes the Stingrays' pickguards, and how I've always liked'em... Then again, I also like the way that Bongos look. Guess I have a taste for the odd...
    musicology
    As soon as you said a body made of Ash, I knew right then it was crap. Ash is a terrible wood for guitars, only used by assembly line companies that cut corners and try to maximize profit.
    will42
    my friend has this bass frankly i dont like it its very good for slapping but weak on plucking