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ped

NBD: 1983 Musicman Stingray

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Hi folks

Call it what you will but after passively looking for a Stingray for a long time I was delighted to see a birth year ray come up on BC. Now I don't go in for YOB basses and think it's borderline weird but a bright white pre EB was always going to pique my interest. I know there has been quite some discussion here recently regarding the values and relative bargains of the EB Stingrays and I know all too well that the pre EB rays to some may seem over priced - the thinking here though is that the instrument will hold it's value better, whether that is based on a ill judged notion of pre-EB rays sounding better/different is not for me to say!

Having tried many Ray's in the past (mostly 5ers) and finding my favourite of them all was in fact an OLP with a status neck I have an open mind about what I think sounds good and judge each bass on it's sound (and I guess visual appeal too).

This one just sounds very 'full' and 'chunky' - with that 'slapping a power line' kind of taught attack to the sound which to my ears sounds quite different to others. The treble control in particular sounds very nice and adds a great 'click' to the sound which seems to affect frequencies above the norm, even the enhance setting on my pre.

I rarely find a bass arrives to me setup to my liking (super flat neck, super low action) - but after slapping on Elixir 40-95s and loosening the rod a bit to compensate, I only had to drop the G saddle a tiny bit and adjust the intonation on the low E (Which I always tune to D) and it was spot on and I played it happily all through a zoom meeting just now (camera off!)

For an instrument the same age as yours truly I can say it's worn the years better than I have - a couple of small bashes here and there and some wear to the scratch-plate but the white hasn't faded one bit (I think they used a different paint latterly which doesn't yellow like before?) and the neck is great, exhibiting that nice balance between chunk and manoeuvrability.

Of course the Basschat strap locks look fabulous on it too!!

Cheers and thanks to the seller who was great to deal with and UPS who although a day late didn't lose it and/or smash it up.

ped

 

IMG_5138.jpegIMG_5139.jpegIMG_5141.jpeg

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Looks like Ped Junior's college fund is taking a bashing and poor old Sybil will be on kibble and water for the foreseeable future. 😂

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Yes, like busses everything has come along at once - and I don't think Fred is college material tbh

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12 minutes ago, ped said:

 I don't think Fred is college material tbh

Whoa! Harsh daddy! 😱 Well, you gotta call it like you see it. More basses! 😂

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1 hour ago, ped said:

IMG_5141.jpeg

Product placement shot... 

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That is indeed a lovely looking instrument.

Whats the deal with those strap locks again?  Colour me interested.

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15 minutes ago, Pea Turgh said:

That is indeed a lovely looking instrument.

Whats the deal with those strap locks again?  Colour me interested.

Thanks! The strap locks will be up for sale on BC soon - I held a press sale to find the production run and will be sending those in about a week so they should be in general sale shortly after that. All the cool people will have them 😂

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4 hours ago, ped said:

Hi folks

Call it what you will but after passively looking for a Stingray for a long time I was delighted to see a birth year ray come up on BC. Now I don't go in for YOB basses and think it's borderline weird but a bright white pre EB was always going to pique my interest. I know there has been quite some discussion here recently regarding the values and relative bargains of the EB Stingrays and I know all too well that the pre EB rays to some may seem over priced - the thinking here though is that the instrument will hold it's value better, whether that is based on a ill judged notion of pre-EB rays sounding better/different is not for me to say!

Having tried many Ray's in the past (mostly 5ers) and finding my favourite of them all was in fact an OLP with a status neck I have an open mind about what I think sounds good and judge each bass on it's sound (and I guess visual appeal too).

This one just sounds very 'full' and 'chunky' - with that 'slapping a power line' kind of taught attack to the sound which to my ears sounds quite different to others. The treble control in particular sounds very nice and adds a great 'click' to the sound which seems to affect frequencies above the norm, even the enhance setting on my pre.

I rarely find a bass arrives to me setup to my liking (super flat neck, super low action) - but after slapping on Elixir 40-95s and loosening the rod a bit to compensate, I only had to drop the G saddle a tiny bit and adjust the intonation on the low E (Which I always tune to D) and it was spot on and I played it happily all through a zoom meeting just now (camera off!)

For an instrument the same age as yours truly I can say it's worn the years better than I have - a couple of small bashes here and there and some wear to the scratch-plate but the white hasn't faded one bit (I think they used a different paint latterly which doesn't yellow like before?) and the neck is great, exhibiting that nice balance between chunk and manoeuvrability.

Of course the Basschat strap locks look fabulous on it too!!

Cheers and thanks to the seller who was great to deal with and UPS who although a day late didn't lose it and/or smash it up.

ped

 

IMG_5138.jpegIMG_5139.jpegIMG_5141.jpeg

Wow that's really nice - presumably 4 bolt neck attachment? 

Ive used 125-40 on my SR5 (though EB nickel strings) Stingrays sound great with that gauge. 

If you haven't had one before, a tip on the EQ settings, I tend to use my 2 bands with full bass and nearly full treble - move the controls back towards the centre to further boost the mids where/when you need to - and they are both boost and cut!!

I also up the upper mids on the amp slightly to taste (and especially dependent on the room). 

Im sure it sounds great - like other wooden construction basses, they seem to improve as they get older, somehow. What sort of weight is it?

The white does change to cream on all of these (the clearcoat is affected by UV) - those which have not seen as much UV tend to look whiter (eg those not in a case much when not in use). I've seen 10 yr old EBMM basses change towards cream - if you look under the pickguard you may see a difference 👍

 

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Thanks, yes it's a 4 bolt. Luckily the neck is dead flat and doesn't require a shim (I've always quite liked the micro tilt system). 

Thanks for the Eq tip. I have found my favourite sound so far (need to come back tomorrow with fresh ears) to be a slight treble boost and a bass boost about 1/4 of a turn more than the treble and backing off the volume slightly.

It sound great with some 5:1 compression at a high threshold so you get all the dynamics but a really clear fundamental. It's a very rich sound. I keep touching the pickup pole with my thumb so may have to use my usual trick of covering it with tape!

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Oh the seller said it’s 4.39kg - I haven’t weighed it but it feels fine. 

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That's a reasonable weight for a pre EB - that one will be assembled from Charvel made body and neck.

Glad you have found a good sound - I have found resting my thumb on the E string (like when playing a 5 string) reduces the possibility of hitting the pole pieces - the E side of the pick up should be set a bit lower than the G side and that might also help - but tape is a possibility. 

You should try the mutes if you want a really thumpy sound. 

Edited by drTStingray

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5 minutes ago, drTStingray said:

That's a reasonable weight for a pre EB - that one will be assembled from Charvel made body and neck.

Glad you have found a good sound - I have found resting my thumb on the E string (like when playing a 5 string) reduces the possibility of hitting the pole pieces - the E side of the pick up should be set a bit lower than the G side and that might also help - but tape is a possibility. 

You should try the mutes if you want a really thumpy sound. 

Yeah the mutes are fun. Thanks for the info re the body. When did they stop doing slab bodies?

I tend to also rest on the E string but on the pickup too, and I’m used to having a ramp so occasionally I hit the protruding poles on the A and D strings but just a matter of adjusting a bit.

Volume across the strings is very even!

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Haha! Yes inter string volume is an off debated point!!

The slab bodied Stingrays stopped when the original Musicman company went out of business - Musicman was bought by the Ernie Ball company in 1984 and amongst other changes, introduced contoured bodies.

However the Musicman Sabre, introduced late 78/early 79 had a contoured body from the start. 

Charvel were contracted by Musicman to produce the bodies and necks after they stopped using CLF - CLF had produced hundreds of incorrectly manufactured necks, discovered early in 1980 when the Japanese distributor took one to pieces owing to not being able to adjust any truss rods from a whole batch. It cost Musicman large amounts in rectification (which didn't help their finances). An interesting exchange of letters is reproduced in a book I have. They, at that time, also invested in Modulus to produce the necks for the Cutlass basses. 

Yours must be one of the last pre EB basses - they closed at the end of 1983. 

Edited by drTStingray
Apple induced spelling and sense error
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Thanks @drTStingray I have hoovered up all the information from the musicman.global site now - that’s something I live about getting a new bass, researching the history and minor details. I’ve ordered a white scratchplate for it too which will be interesting to try, although the black and white matches the headstock puppet and it’ll be known as my ‘panda’ bass! 

Is there any way to ascertain the exact build date from the serial or do I need to take the neck off or something? 

I think the slab body looks great - I’ve had one in the past but the corners weren’t even rounded so it was quite painful on the forearm. There’s something about the chunky body that just suits the character of this thing, another reason to call it the panda! 

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10 minutes ago, mcnach said:

You can find the date from the serial number here:

https://www.music-man.com/serial-number-database

 

edit: Boo! It doesn't work for preEB instruments :(

 

Yeah unfortunately you're right - I have found serials above and below mine from '83 but it would be interesting to know the date (although I assume different parts will be made any time from 1974 onwards!)

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11 hours ago, drTStingray said:

An interesting exchange of letters is reproduced in a book I have.

Which book is that? I really want to find a book covering Leo's adventures from Fender to CLF, Musicman and G&L. 

@wateroftyne recommended this one https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fender-Inside-Forrest-R-White/dp/0879303093/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=Leo+Fender+book&qid=1603446259&sr=8-3

The reviews are a bit mixed and it might be a bit Fender focused?

Then there's this one which sounds a bit touchy feely https://www.amazon.co.uk/Leo-Fender-Quiet-Giant-Around/dp/0996793143/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Leo+Fender+book&qid=1603446259&sr=8-1

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35 minutes ago, ped said:

Yeah, skipping back through it, it's Fender focused. It covers the behind-the-scenes stuff which led to the split with Leo and a bit of what went on afterwards.

Because it's just as much about the business side of it than the instruments, I can see why some might see it a bit dry... but I like it for the same reasons.

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Yeah I'm more into the business side - Mind you I did just read quite a good thread on the Ernie Ball forums - with 'Big Poppa' being pretty abrasive in parts.

http://forums.ernieball.com/ernie-ball-music-man-basses/7512-music-history-george-fullerton.html

This book was recommended as a good source of info

https://www.abebooks.co.uk/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=30626357258&searchurl=isbn%3D9781574242164%26n%3D100121501%26sortby%3D20&cm_sp=snippet-_-srp1-_-title2

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