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Surprised by a cheap bass today


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I’m in Dallas with work for the next 3 months and spotted a Guitar Center on my drive back from the supermarket today, so thought I’d pop in.  They didn’t have a huge selection of new basses (although there were a couple of nice vintage P and J basses high up out of reach in their Premium section), but I sat down and grabbed a few to try.
 

First one was a Yamaha  BBP34.  I’m a big fan of Yamaha basses and this is one of their relatively high end models (I think it was $1499).  Played it for a couple of mins and it did absolutely nothing for me - I was quite disappointed.  I couldn’t have told the difference between it and a $250 bass to be honest.  Finish was fine but the setup was lousy, and it just felt disappointing. 
 

Next up was a Fender American Professional II Precision.  This I absolutely loved, and it instantly felt comfortable.  Great sounding too.  Neck was very comfy - slim front to back but traditional P bass but width.  Setup nicely straight out of the box and surprisingly light.  This was up for $1500, and if I was in the market for a P bass (haha, which is pretty much all the time!), I’d definitely be considering one of these. 
 

Finally, and probably the most surprising to me, was a cheapo Sterling by Stingray SUB.  Sticker price was $299, and I had very low expectations from it.  Bear in mind that I’ve owned a couple of “proper” Stingrays in the past and have never really got on with them.   Well, I plugged this in and was blown away.  Build quality was great, it was setup nicely and neck was slim and frets were very well finished.  No dead spots, 2 band eq worked perfectly, and it sounded great!  All for the equivalent of £218, in a choice of a few colours (including a really nice powder blue which is actually called chopping blue for some reason).  Quite taken with it, and I think I might grab one for the time that I’m out here for, and then donate it at the end of the trip to a local music group or something.  Ordinarily I wouldn’t have given a cheapo bass like that a second look.  Just goes to prove something we probably all know - you don’t have to pay a fortune to get a decent bass. 

Edited by tredders
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10 hours ago, tredders said:

I’m in Dallas with work for the next 3 months and spotted a Guitar Center on my drive back from the supermarket today, so thought I’d pop in.  They didn’t have a huge selection of new basses (although there were a couple of nice vintage P and J basses high up out of reach in their Premium section), but I sat down and grabbed a few to try.
 

First one was a Yamaha  BBP34.  I’m a big fan of Yamaha basses and this is one of their relatively high end models (I think it was $1499).  Played it for a couple of mins and it did absolutely nothing for me - I was quite disappointed.  I couldn’t have told the difference between it and a $250 bass to be honest.  Finish was fine but the setup was lousy, and it just felt disappointing. 
 

Next up was a Fender American Professional II Precision.  This I absolutely loved, and it instantly felt comfortable.  Great sounding too.  Neck was very comfy - slim front to back but traditional P bass but width.  Setup nicely straight out of the box and surprisingly light.  This was up for $1500, and if I was in the market for a P bass (haha, which is pretty much all the time!), I’d definitely be considering one of these. 
 

Finally, and probably the most surprising to me, was a cheapo Sterling by Stingray SUB.  Sticker price was $299, and I had very low expectations from it.  Bear in mind that I’ve owned a couple of “proper” Stingrays in the past and have never really got on with them.   Well, I plugged this in and was blown away.  Build quality was great, it was setup nicely and neck was slim and frets were very well finished.  No dead spots, 2 band eq worked perfectly, and it sounded great!  All for the equivalent of £218, in a choice of a few colours (including a really nice powder blue which is actually called chopping blue for some reason).  Quite taken with it, and I think I might grab one for the time that I’m out here for, and then donate it at the end of the trip to a local music group or something.  Ordinarily I wouldn’t have given a cheapo bass like that a second look.  Just goes to prove something we probably all know - you don’t have to pay a fortune to get a decent bass. 

Careful. It could be that the one you played was simply a coming together of all the good components and body/neck in one lucky bass. Try the others if you are after a different colour. Good luck.

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10 hours ago, tredders said:

I’m in Dallas with work for the next 3 months and spotted a Guitar Center on my drive back from the supermarket today, so thought I’d pop in.  They didn’t have a huge selection of new basses (although there were a couple of nice vintage P and J basses high up out of reach in their Premium section), but I sat down and grabbed a few to try.
 

First one was a Yamaha  BBP34.  I’m a big fan of Yamaha basses and this is one of their relatively high end models (I think it was $1499).  Played it for a couple of mins and it did absolutely nothing for me - I was quite disappointed.  I couldn’t have told the difference between it and a $250 bass to be honest.  Finish was fine but the setup was lousy, and it just felt disappointing. 
 

Next up was a Fender American Professional II Precision.  This I absolutely loved, and it instantly felt comfortable.  Great sounding too.  Neck was very comfy - slim front to back but traditional P bass but width.  Setup nicely straight out of the box and surprisingly light.  This was up for $1500, and if I was in the market for a P bass (haha, which is pretty much all the time!), I’d definitely be considering one of these. 
 

Finally, and probably the most surprising to me, was a cheapo Sterling by Stingray SUB.  Sticker price was $299, and I had very low expectations from it.  Bear in mind that I’ve owned a couple of “proper” Stingrays in the past and have never really got on with them.   Well, I plugged this in and was blown away.  Build quality was great, it was setup nicely and neck was slim and frets were very well finished.  No dead spots, 2 band eq worked perfectly, and it sounded great!  All for the equivalent of £218, in a choice of a few colours (including a really nice powder blue which is actually called chopping blue for some reason).  Quite taken with it, and I think I might grab one for the time that I’m out here for, and then donate it at the end of the trip to a local music group or something.  Ordinarily I wouldn’t have given a cheapo bass like that a second look.  Just goes to prove something we probably all know - you don’t have to pay a fortune to get a decent bass. 

I recently bought a red one and am also mighty impressed with it (having also owned an old Stingray). One modification and it sounds just as I remember my old 'ray.

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1 hour ago, mikel said:

Careful. It could be that the one you played was simply a coming together of all the good components and body/neck in one lucky bass. Try the others if you are after a different colour. Good luck.

Exacerry! Never mind the colour, go back and buy it.

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9 hours ago, Steve Browning said:

I recently bought a red one and am also mighty impressed with it (having also owned an old Stingray). One modification and it sounds just as I remember my old 'ray.

What was the mod ?

Edited by steantval
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Just ordered the Retrovibe Stinger kit, hopefully a good £74 well spent to make my Sub sound a bit more like my original Stingray, love the walnut satin look and playability of the Sub, just not happy with the sound it produces, too distorted for me.

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24 minutes ago, steantval said:

Just ordered the Retrovibe Stinger kit, hopefully a good £74 well spent to make my Sub sound a bit more like my original Stingray, love the walnut satin look and playability of the Sub, just not happy with the sound it produces, too distorted for me.

Have you gone for the series/parallel switch? Opens up your options. 

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2 hours ago, BreadBin said:

Have you gone for the series/parallel switch? Opens up your options. 

Just ordered the Stinger kit for a right handed bass, sorry but I don’t understand the bit about series/parallel switch you have mentioned.

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Fitted the Retrovibe Stinger kit to my Sterling Sub yesterday, easy to fit with a few bits of soldering, really pleased with the new sound, pretty close to my original MM Stingray, can’t wait to try it at full gigging volume at the rehearsal next week.

I can now get a nice clean snappy tone rather than the woolly sound of the standard fitted electronics. 👍

 

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Edited by steantval
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