StingRay HH Review

manufacturer: Ernie Ball / Music Man date: 03/06/2008 category: Bass Guitars
Ernie Ball / Music Man: StingRay HH
The Stingray HH is a beautifully crafted edition to a time tested modern classic.
 Sound: 8
 Overall Impression: 8
 Reliability & Durability: 8
 Action, Fit & Finish: 9
 Features: 7
 Overall rating:
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overall: 8
StingRay HH Featured review by: UG Team, on march 06, 2008
6 of 6 people found this review helpful

Features: 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! // 7

Sound: 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. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: 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. // 9

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 8

Overall Impression: 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. // 8

- Nicholas Cole-Klaes (c) 2008

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