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Frantic

how does a MusicMan "StingRay" Bass sound passive with bypassed electronics?

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Posted (edited)

Hello dear bass community,

on my first attempt to create some youtube content with halfway valuable information, I created this topic. 

I had my early 80's StingRay customized with a passive bypass switch back in the 90s and never regretted it.

What are your thoughts?

 

 

Edited by Frantic
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My opinion m8 & it's crap...trust me i've tried a jazz & precision loom...if you wanna give it a go i've got a 2 holed control plate you can have. I've got an East pre comming 

15924069001052162761147799380214.jpg

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Posted (edited)

Presumably like the Joe Dart signature model.

Now I've listened to the vid - yup. Just like Joe Darts. I quite like it.

Edited by fretmeister

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@Frantic sorry bud, never seen the video. I thought you were going to try it, mine never sounded like that mind you it was a Ray 34 even at that it didn't sound like your's..i'll just shut up now

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6 hours ago, Dov65 said:

My opinion m8 & it's crap...trust me i've tried a jazz & precision loom...if you wanna give it a go i've got a 2 holed control plate you can have. I've got an East pre comming 

15924069001052162761147799380214.jpg

Just had my Vintage Stingray copy converted to passive and just have the other 2 pots left as dummies.

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You can have the plate if you want bud, i've got another one cut out & ready to drill..

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Maybe you could look for reviews on youtube at the new short scale Stingray which is passive!

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I'd like to make my Stingray passive since I wouldn't miss the EQ at all and it's a minor annoyance having to unplug it after each play to save batteries.

I'd have thought it would be too quiet to be useful when bypassed though - how do you make it loud enough without the preamp?

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6 hours ago, thegummy said:

I'd like to make my Stingray passive since I wouldn't miss the EQ at all and it's a minor annoyance having to unplug it after each play to save batteries.

I'd have thought it would be too quiet to be useful when bypassed though - how do you make it loud enough without the preamp?

As you can see/hear in my video, the volume difference between active and passive is marginal. The pickup itself has quite a high output. In the video when switching between active and passive I only had to roll off the volume a tiny bit to make both sounds equally loud, but also depends on the setting of the EQ while active. You could try and have a bypass switch installed like I did. However, this is an early 80s model. I am not sure if they significantly changed the pickup since then. It worked perfect for my bass.

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8 hours ago, thegummy said:

I'd like to make my Stingray passive since I wouldn't miss the EQ at all and it's a minor annoyance having to unplug it after each play to save batteries.

I'd have thought it would be too quiet to be useful when bypassed though - how do you make it loud enough without the preamp?

The Joe Dart is passive, and there is a new limited signature that is as well - but with dummy controls.

I have no idea if the pickup itself is changed at all - or whether it has the dummy coil on it that some models do.

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A simple way to try "bypass" on any bass, all passive,  2 tone caps to choose or bypass and a kill, in one switch.
 

 

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Nice video - thanks @Frantic - I'm always interested in the passive sound of active basses.  Nice to hear a stingray played in earnest!

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On 18/06/2020 at 10:30, Frantic said:

As you can see/hear in my video, the volume difference between active and passive is marginal. The pickup itself has quite a high output. In the video when switching between active and passive I only had to roll off the volume a tiny bit to make both sounds equally loud, but also depends on the setting of the EQ while active. You could try and have a bypass switch installed like I did. However, this is an early 80s model. I am not sure if they significantly changed the pickup since then. It worked perfect for my bass.

So on your bass did you have the passive switch added but didn't change the pickup or do anything else electronically to compensate for volume?

 

On 18/06/2020 at 11:41, fretmeister said:

The Joe Dart is passive, and there is a new limited signature that is as well - but with dummy controls.

I have no idea if the pickup itself is changed at all - or whether it has the dummy coil on it that some models do.

I know the Joe Dart bass is passive (love him) but I assumed, or at least suspected, that they used a different pickup that was a lot hotter than they'd use with their active basses.

To be honest I don't dislike the sound of my bass as it is in any way, it's just that I have only ever used the EQ because it's there but prefer to have it set flat so it seems a bit redundant having an active bass (and having to worry about battery life) when I don't use any of the activeness.

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, thegummy said:

So on your bass did you have the passive switch added but didn't change the pickup or do anything else electronically to compensate for volume?

 

I know the Joe Dart bass is passive (love him) but I assumed, or at least suspected, that they used a different pickup that was a lot hotter than they'd use with their active basses.

To be honest I don't dislike the sound of my bass as it is in any way, it's just that I have only ever used the EQ because it's there but prefer to have it set flat so it seems a bit redundant having an active bass (and having to worry about battery life) when I don't use any of the activeness.

yes, it is a simple added switch. There is hardly any volume change between just the pickup and the added active  electronis. With both of the EQ controls full up (particularily the bass, because that's boosting the output) the active is slightly louder than just the pickup, so I roll off the volume a notch to match both sounds (active and passive) and it works great. 
 

I honestly don't know unfortunately how much Ernie Ball has changed the pickups ever since the 80s and also not about te Joe Dart signature bass. It might be just a stock StingRay pickup, it might be slightly hotter. If I ever get a chance, it would be interesting to A/B compare my bass with the Joe Dart... but I doubt that will ever happen.

I have to add, that if I roll off both EQ controls on my bass by 50%, the sound almost 100% matches the passive sound

Edited by Frantic
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On 17/06/2020 at 15:51, Frantic said:

Hello dear bass community,

on my first attempt to create some youtube content with halfway valuable information, I created this topic. 

I had my early 80's StingRay customized with a passive bypass switch back in the 90s and never regretted it.

What are your thoughts?

 

 

 

I can't listen to the clip right now, but as a fellow bypass-switch-installed Stingray owner, I agree that a passive Stingray sounds pretty damn good.

In my case, it sounds much like the active one... it seems that I normally set the controls to pretty much flat normally, perhaps cutting down treble a bit. That onboard EQ sees very little action on my bass :)

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On 18/06/2020 at 03:18, thegummy said:

I'd like to make my Stingray passive since I wouldn't miss the EQ at all and it's a minor annoyance having to unplug it after each play to save batteries.

I'd have thought it would be too quiet to be useful when bypassed though - how do you make it loud enough without the preamp?

 

It's a common misconception that the MM pickup is low output. It isn't. The preamp, when set flattish, does not really increase the output level in any significant form. Of course, you *can* boost it... a lot! But not everyone wants or needs that. Anyway, yeah, that passive pickup is comparable in output to any other passive pickups. The built-in EQ on that preamp just allows you get get to a number of 'classic' Stingray tones easily, while on passive form you get access to a different set of sounds.

I wish the Stingray came by default with a passive tone control in addition to the active EQ.

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@mcnach does your tone controls work as per normal when the bass is in passive mode then ? 

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Dov65 said:

@mcnach does your tone controls work as per normal when the bass is in passive mode then ? 

 

No, they don't. The EQ is part of the preamp and it's bypassed entirely. The bypass switch (pull on the volume knob) is only really there as an emergency button in case I forget to replace the battery or something. 

There is no room to add a passive tone control without reorganising the whole preamp, otherwise I'd have added one.

If I was going to remove the whole preamp, then I'd put a passive tone control for sure. In fact, maybe I'd try a Tonestyler control with an additional pot to control the 'depth' of the Tonestyler. They're really cool alternatives to standard passive tone controls. 

Edited by mcnach
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Cheers for the info bud, i've got an East comming and a Nordy sitting ready to go in. Maybe the Ray34 pickup aint hot enough for a passive version..i dunno..anyway cheers

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4 hours ago, Dov65 said:

Cheers for the info bud, i've got an East comming and a Nordy sitting ready to go in. Maybe the Ray34 pickup aint hot enough for a passive version..i dunno..anyway cheers

 

A Nordstrand MM4.2 by any chance?

 

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The only production Stingray with switchable passive/active was the Gilded Ltd Ed, one of which up until recently I owned.

 

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Nice bass that - I didn't realise you had one of those! 

They did some 2 band Stingrays with that electronics arrangement for Guitar Centre around the same time - I can't remember if they were standard Rays or Classic series but you're unlikely to find one in the uk. The ones Ive seen were black. 

Whatever, that passive sound is very cool - and Musicman's passive tone circuits have always been really good, appearing on the Big Al and Reflex basses and of course, the short scale Stingray.  The Joe Dart only has a volume control.  

Some of the original US made Sub basses from 2003-6 also were available as passive only instruments. 

So there are plenty to choose from!! 

 

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