EST96 5-String review by Vintage

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  • Sound: 7
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.4 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.5 (6 votes)
Vintage: EST96 5-String

Price paid: £ 235

Purchased from:

Sound — 7
I've been a bassist for a very long time, around 6 years. I play in a progressive metal group and this bass surprisingly fits in with the rest of my group but at the same time I play a lot of stuff such as funk, rock, nu-metal but I mainly focus on progressive bands like Dream Theater, Nevermore and Symphony X. This bass also blends in with the bands when I jam along to them. However I have to say though that the 3 band EQ is absolutely pants, and speaking to many other people who use this bass I can say this is not just a problem I am only suffering. The bass seems to be able to provide way more than enough volume, mids and lows - yet that control knob for the highs/treble is almost a joke. Unless you crank the treble on your amplifier all the way up then the treble control on the bass will do almost nothing. It's such a shame that is a problem, but if you ignore the preamp and focus more on your actually amplifier and effects then you'll be quite pleased hopefully. Also, in my band there is a lot of complex things we play, and I am very talented at tapping and slapping, however the pickups fail to pick up tapping and even slapping for that matter - and let's just say; when you think of Stingray's, you usually think of the funky slap tone they give...So they should have thought about that! Because the volume is hardly picked up when I slap, I've recently had to purchase a cheap compression pedal, and that's doing me just fine.

Overall Impression — 8
You'll be wanting to know if to get this bass or not, and for the price (190 for 4 strings and 235 for 5) I would say it is worth it if you are going for a beginners instrument, but then again if you want a cheap and pretty good instrument, then in my opinion it is worth it. After playing for 6 years I can say this bass is infact very good and decent. It DOES have problems, however most can be easily fixed except for the preamp; but you're best just leaving the preamp flat or all settings midway. I would rate this bass around 9 or 10, but they could improve the preamp, but other than that everything else seems to be built very well. It also has one very easy bridge to adjust to your preference. I play a lot of things, ranging from bands like RHCP to Job For a Cowboy and Black Dahlia, and also a lot of 5 string progressive metal. Overall I give it an 8. This is just my opinion, if anything I recommend you try this instrument out, because all my friends who are bassists have had different opinions.

Reliability & Durability — 9
After having this bass for almost 2 months now I can say it's so far been very reliable, and asides from the preamp I mentioned before it's hard to find any major flaws that cannot be easily fixed in this instrument. I play this bass live sometimes and switch between my Ibanez SRX595, giving that these two basses are almost completely different I am not going to write a comparison about them right now - but at band practice and live shows it seems to hold pretty well and play very well.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The guitar was set up very nicely in the factory. I got a brand new one and there were only a few small errors such as fret buzz on the 7th fret of the G string, and the B string was way to low on the bridge; however that has been adjusted slightly and now is not a problem at all. The pickups are also set into place nicely and everything else seems to have been nicely placed.

Features — 9
Just by looking at this bass you'll instantly be able to pick up that it's a very cheap copy model of Ernie Ball's popular "MusicMan Stingray" bass guitars. This bass has got 21 frets, a 34" scale, black inlays and a maple fingerboard. The bridge is sturdy and easy to adjust and then tuning heads are made by Wilkinson which are actually very good at keeping your instrument in tune. The pickups are also from Wilkinson and can give a very aggressive sound but at the same time provide a nice, warm and funky tone. There is a 3 band EQ and a volume control knob.

12 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Reaper-Man wrote: kene89 wrote: yea way to go on showing a pic of a 4 string really nice lmfao LMAO, I thought this.
    Learn to read please buddy!
    chrismorphet wrote: nevermore rules !
    Haha, good music taste brother.
    So, do you mean the problems are in the onboard EQ? Because the bass doesn't actually have a pre-amp.
    ^sting rays are normally active so have their onboard EQ built into the pre-amp You seem to say it's not very ray like in terms of slapping tone, but then still rate it high. Why would i buy a stingray if it doesn't do stingray tone well?
    Not to hate or anything, but the pictures you posted are of a four string bass. Oh wait, I do mean to hate.
    RHCP to Job For a Cowboy and Black Dahlia
    I lulzed. Nice bass, but too good for claptrap like that.
    yea way to go on showing a pic of a 4 string really nice lmfao
    Firstly I didn't upload the photos. And I was saying that the bass EQ is poor. Doive, I admit a mistake there and kindly thankyou for corrections. I have not played a real Musicman Stingray in about 4 years, but then again it's not really a comparison it's just a review on this bass. Thanks for the comments. I am not bothered if they are negative, as long as you give your honest views then I'll be happy no matter what.
    kene89 wrote: yea way to go on showing a pic of a 4 string really nice lmfao
    LMAO, I thought this.
    You pay for what you get, i believe rameses the great had it in hieroglphs in his tomb, Vintage are an entry guitar, id of hung on an got somethig decent second hand or up grade in time. The wilkinson h-ware doesn't garauntee much cos he'll be dancing to there tune. Get some credit They were so helpful or so the ad goe's
    I got a good chuckle over the reviewer's statement that he's been playing for a LONG time (6 years), as I've played since 1971 and professionally since 1973, and it doesn't seem all that long! (Don't have a lot to show for it, either, aside from numerous basses, amps and music gear.) That said, this was a very useful review and satisfied my curiosity quite well. Won't be buying one, but I can now recommend it to students in good conscience.