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BassApprentice

Why are there so few Musicman Sterlings?

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4 hours ago, sshorepunk said:

This is the classic sterling I mentioned in an earlier post, I think I would miss that 3 position switch! 

E944E471-32A1-4E4D-8BA8-5AB15EBD284D.jpeg

I'd give up the 3 position switch on my Sterling for a bridge with mutes.

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On 02/03/2020 at 22:46, miles'tone said:

I saw the band James a few times years ago and their bass player played a Sterling. Simple basslines but you could actually hear every note as well as feel it. 

He still uses it. I took this photo in March last year 

20200410_183952.jpg

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I weighed my sterling tonight

if I’ve not played it for a while, when I pick it up it feels heavy, but on a strap it’s fine

so I weighed it, 10lbs 🤪

that’s heavy for a smaller body bass!

its sounds and plays great 

Tony

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1 hour ago, sshorepunk said:

I weighed my sterling tonight

if I’ve not played it for a while, when I pick it up it feels heavy, but on a strap it’s fine

so I weighed it, 10lbs 🤪

that’s heavy for a smaller body bass!

its sounds and plays great 

Tony

Gosh that’s heavy! I think mine was about 8lbs

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On the issue of weight. It would have been really cool to see EB release a short scale Sterling. 

The shortie seems to be very decent by all accounts but the shrunk body looks a bit weird, granted I haven't seen it in the wood yet! 

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This may be dumb question, but what is it that makes Musicman instruments heavy?

The stingray is my favourite bass, but I always think of them as being weighty beasts and always hoped the Sterling was going to be getting close to Ibanez weights (I nearly bought one in the late 90's suckered by the look and loving the sound, but it was the heaviest bass I'd played at that point! it must have weighed 10lbs).

 

I digress, but I'm looking at all the ways I can shed weight from my stingray.

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The Special version of the Stingray (post 2018) has lightweight hardware (aluminium) which sheds quite a lot of weight - until recently the bodies were lightweight swamp ash - now poplar or basswood owing to the ash shortage. 

Previously these basses all had, since around 2000, ash bodies -weights varied but I've heard of Sterlings under 8lb - Stingray 4s are generally 9 - 9.75 lbs but there are light ones around. I like the tone of the 9.5 lb or thereabouts ones. 

Prior to that some had ash, some poplar (solid colours or blueburst) and some alder (trans red). Tone is similar but varies marginally - even with pre EB some colours had alder (some sunburst) - the Old Smoothie bass is alder. 

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Very interesting info there @drTStingray

IIRC my Sterling was a little under 9lbs.  Don't know if it's comparable but my SB14 is bang on 9lbs (Basswood body I think).

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Jut checked the date of manufacture of mine from the serial number 

March 8th 1999

didnt realise it was that old

Tony

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, drTStingray said:

...The Special version of the Stingray (post 2018) has lightweight hardware (aluminium) which sheds quite a lot of weight ...

The regular tuners are especially weighty.

I'm in the process of making some aluminium and titanium replacement parts for the standard tuners on my instrument and these will take quite a few grams off the headstock.

Edited by Woodwind

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On 02/03/2020 at 19:42, BassApprentice said:

As a very guilty pleasure I went to see McBusted (I grew up in the 90s/early 2000s) and the bass player there used a Sterling with LEDs. Very cool 😎 

Dougie Poynter is one of only people i can think of who uses a Sterling. Pretty much all of his are in flake finishes with LED's.

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I’ve tried several Sterlings over the years and to be honest prefer Rays. The first time I played a Sterling I expected to like it more; faster(?) neck, lighter(?) body, but it wasn’t and it wasn’t. Generally speaking, it didn’t gel. Every one I’ve played since has only reinforced that view. 

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Posted (edited)

True about the tuners pre the revamp - I fitted Hipshot Ultralites to my Sterling V HH and it’s made the balance perfect - preciously the smaller body and massive tuners made it very neck heavy and rather uncomfortable to play.

Not everyone likes them but when you’re an owner, as opposed to just playing it in a shop, you learn certain tricks. With the exception of the bridge pickup only position you need to tweak the EQ. It’s wired in series and the pickups have quite a lot of mid scoop as a result. Crank the mids and it’s a different beast. Music Mans need the EQ to be worked more than almost any bass I’ve ever owned; the flip side is that the EQ works in almost any setting. 
 

I guess my only gripe is with the HH configuration as the neck pickup is too close to the neck, which make it sound too woolly on the neck only setting and leave very little space for the occasional string pop. I think it would sound so much better pushed 3/4” toward the bridge, but maybe they tried that and it didn’t turn out so well?

Edited by FDC484950

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On 15/04/2020 at 16:40, 4000 said:

I’ve tried several Sterlings over the years and to be honest prefer Rays. The first time I played a Sterling I expected to like it more; faster(?) neck, lighter(?) body, but it wasn’t and it wasn’t. Generally speaking, it didn’t gel. Every one I’ve played since has only reinforced that view. 

Can’t disagree with you on the weight, I’ve had 3 Sterlings and not one has been less than 9.5lbs. But, surprised on your comment on the neck, the narrower profile makes it a fair bit faster for many players (me included) in comparison to the more precision like Ray.

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Guys,

anyone ever play the RAY34 stealths?

Andertons have nice RAY 34 w rosewood roasted maple neck and a stealth at just over a grand.

I have a newer version SUB Ray and the neck profile is lovely and shallow

Thanks

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On 26/07/2020 at 19:57, martthebass said:

Can’t disagree with you on the weight, I’ve had 3 Sterlings and not one has been less than 9.5lbs. 

I've also owned 4 Sterlings (and weighed 2 more belonging to friends) and NONE have been under 9lb 8oz and they have ranged from 2 basses from 1st year of manufacture through to a 2014.  The mystical 8lb Sterling is out there with the Unicorns rooting about for Hen's teeth.  ;)  

If anyone has an 8lb Sterling I'd love to see it on a set of accurate digital scales.  :)

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I have a Ray but the stores don't have so many Sterlings. The metal control plate curved around the edge make the Ray recognizable , like the Jazz control plate and the Precision pickguard . I want a blue Sterling with a maple neck some day ...

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2 hours ago, warwickhunt said:

I've also owned 4 Sterlings (and weighed 2 more belonging to friends) and NONE have been under 9lb 8oz and they have ranged from 2 basses from 1st year of manufacture through to a 2014.  The mystical 8lb Sterling is out there with the Unicorns rooting about for Hen's teeth.  ;)  

If anyone has an 8lb Sterling I'd love to see it on a set of accurate digital scales.  :)

The body might be smaller and more ergonomic but making the bridge out of Osmium probably wasn't the best idea...

 

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On 02/03/2020 at 18:13, dannybuoy said:

I like the idea of a smaller body and slimmer neck, but Sterling's don't quite sound the same.

 

On 02/03/2020 at 18:43, lee650 said:

Sterlings have a ceramic pickup! Stingrays Alnico. My sterling has a Nordstrand vintage pickup,which is Alnico and very warm. Best of both worlds 😁

I'd love to play some side by side, but until then I only have Youtube comparisons to go on. Every time I've head the Sterling next to the Stingray, it just sounded like it had less grunt/growl, more sterile. Yet when I hear comparisons of alnico vs ceramic Stingrays, the ceramic ones still have that certain indefinable something. Maybe the preamp is different as well, or perhaps the body has an influence, or it could just as easily be my visual bias and a lack of quality comparisons out there to watch!

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On 02/03/2020 at 18:43, lee650 said:

Sterlings have a ceramic pickup! Stingrays Alnico. My sterling has a Nordstrand vintage pickup,which is Alnico and very warm. Best of both worlds 😁

I wholeheartedly agree. My old 1990 Stingray 5 had an Alnico pickup as it was made before the change to ceramic. Lovely instrument. But being fretless didn't seem to suit it.

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On 26/07/2020 at 19:57, martthebass said:

Can’t disagree with you on the weight, I’ve had 3 Sterlings and not one has been less than 9.5lbs. But, surprised on your comment on the neck, the narrower profile makes it a fair bit faster for many players (me included) in comparison to the more precision like Ray.

Thing is, I’m not a fan of tapered necks (e.g. Jazz). They don’t feel right to me. Not just on basses; my mate has a couple of Faith acoustics with quite tapered necks and I don’t like those either. I think the only tapered neck I have really liked is the Peavey B Quad 4 (I suspect that may be something to do with it being stiffer, so feeling different). My preference is narrow all the way along, e.g. Rickenbacker, most Alembics. 

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