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Stingrays - ok, I give up.


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Yonks ago I had an early Stingray (they hadn't been around long at the time, so it wasn't early then). Being a dyed-in-the-wool Pbass man I never really got on with it. I sort of liked the sound but didn't enjoy playing it - the ergonomics were all wrong for someone used to anchoring their thumb on a Pbass pickup.

 

Anyway, time passed and I thought I'd dip my toes in again. I bought a Sterling SUB and an OLP. Both have ended up with Nordstrand MM4.2 pickups and Retrovibe Stinger pre-amps. They both play and sound great. Of course, the old niggle returns and so away they will go.

 

I'm sure I'm not alone. Every so often I'll give something that didn't work, in the past, another go, only to find it still doesn't work. I will be getting back into supporting mode and moving them on. It's a pity as both are very nice basses. The OLP is really superb.

 

Oh well ...

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Yeah often a problem for 4 string players of all persuasions (though I got a Stingray early on and always anchored my thumb at the pick up - much as P bass players do - I was playing disco/soul/funk so this suited the sound (through an Acoustic 371 set up). 
 

However as soon as I played 5 string I was forced to change my technique to avoid the low B droning when I wasn’t playing it (much like a set of bag pipes do, as a natural characteristic). So I always anchor my thumb against the lowest string whether it be a 4 or 5 er - I found I could then vary where I’m plucking the strings for a huge variation in the sound and soon learned the floating thumb technique as well - almost naturally. 
 

So my advice @Steve Browning is to use the E string to rest your thumb - not the pick up (except when plucking the E). Also, take a look at Bernard Edwards playing live - he plucked his Stingray almost at the bridge, and very hard - Louis Johnson always smacked hell out of his Stingray as well!!  
 

Mr Jameson didn’t rest his thumb on the pick up either - most pics I’ve seen have him playing near the neck joint!! 

Edited by drTStingray
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@Steve Browning I am exactly the same. A 100% P bass player, had lots of rays and I love the look of them but can never get on with them. Pre EB, brand new etc and it just doesn’t matter I just can’t get away with them. However every time I hear someone else play one I’m blown away at how great they sound and wonder if it’s worth another try. It never is 😂

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13 minutes ago, walshy said:

@Steve Browning I am exactly the same. A 100% P bass player, had lots of rays and I love the look of them but can never get on with them. Pre EB, brand new etc and it just doesn’t matter I just can’t get away with them. However every time I hear someone else play one I’m blown away at how great they sound and wonder if it’s worth another try. It never is 😂

 

Yeah., Exactly my position. I had thought of a Status fretless neck for the OLP but it's flogging a dead horse, in my hands.

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Back in 1996, my first 5 string bass was an MM Stingray 5. I liked it but it never became a favourite. My next was a Lakland 55-94 and that was it, we were joined at the hip for the next 14 years.

 

These days the SR HS models might be closer to the sound I prefer, dunno, I've only seen pictures, never played one.

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SR5's and SR4's are totally different basses to me and if they weren't both called Stingrays I'd never suss they were related.
 

I love SR5's and even like the teardrop shaped pickguard. To me, they're the best 5 strings I've played and I really like the sound from them too. 
 

SR4's should be a slam dunk but I struggle with 3eq SR4's and I've never quite gelled with them. The thumb position thing doesn't concern me as I've always played with a floating thumb or thumb on the string above. Sound-wise though, I just can't get them to work but funnily enough I really like the sound of the SR5 🤷‍♂️

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I used to anchor the thumb on the pickup but have worked to use a floating thumb technique.

it really didn’t take long at all to become muscle memory and now the pick up anchor feels odd. 
it’s also opened up a whole world of tone as I play up and down the plucking area on the fly with ease.

The thumb now mutes the strings and noisy droning or ringing has gone completely.
 

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They never really appealed to me. My subconscious kept me from trying them and I only recently began realising why:

 

I don't like bridge pickups AT ALL (yes one can get an HH or HS model but does anyone have/play such a bass and ONLY use the neck pickup?)

 

I've gone off active electronics in a big way. Only one of my basses is active and next year I am seriously considering making it passive again.

 

I don't really like how they look. If I could describe P basses unkindly as the "agricultural" bass then in my world the Stingray similarly would be described as the "agricultural" active bass.

 

No disrespect intended to Stingray fans, you're not wrong - this is just my personal opinion.

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I love Stingrays, they just fit me so well, and play like a dream, the downside is that I don’t make them sound very nice, unlike seemingly every other bassist who plays them.

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1 minute ago, Lozz196 said:

I love Stingrays, they just fit me so well, and play like a dream, the downside is that I don’t make them sound very nice, unlike seemingly every other bassist who plays them.

I’m sure to every other bassist you make them sound like a stingray 😄

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5 hours ago, Steve Browning said:

Every so often I'll give something that didn't work, in the past, another go, only to find it still doesn't work.

FSOs and Stingrays. Never got on with either, never going back now.

Edited by crazycloud
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6 minutes ago, ezbass said:

You could always add a ramp, Tim Commerford style.

 

image.thumb.jpeg.4e91140384e8681a42d25968ff255c45.jpeg

Yeah been there done that, plastic ramp, worked OK but not quite natural. Zero mod thumbrest was same. Maybe an angled tug bar like a Fender might be the ticket?

I'm used to anchoring thumb on neck pickup of jazz.

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I've had three and a half (I'm counting a USA Sub as the half here, possibly unfairly...maybe 3.75?), great basses, and, not unlike other folk above, I love everything about them, apart from the way I sound playing them*...everyone else sounds great, I just don't.

 

I kept selling and buying them (when they were about £650-800), hoping for some kind of epiphany or 'the right one', but no, they were all consistently great basses. Just not for me. Then they started topping a grand, so I gave up, too...

 

If I had enough spare money, tho, I'd buy a Starry Night like a shot...

 

 

* When were in the studio about ten years ago recording an album (long-since sunk into oblivion, natch), I took my Bitsa P and a Stingray. The BL/Singist/Geetard loved the Stingray, and insisted I use it on one of the first tracks. When he went to the pub for lunch, I stayed behind, re-recorded my track on the Bitsa, and swore the engineer to silence. Later in the afternoon he raved about how good the Stingray sounded, and how I should use it for all the other songs...

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I love them! Slab bodied especially I find reall comfortable. I’m used to playing a Vigier with pickups quite far back so it’s natural to me and playing over the pickup the strings feel nice and taught. When I go back to a jazz the strings feel really floppy up there. 
 

I like a ‘classic’ bass like that to make me play differently and I try to adjust myself to the bass. I really like them with flats where you get a beautifully even and ‘plasticy’ sound, and with rounds too for a great live sound that brings out the best in my pedals too. Stingray + Mutron is orgasmic!

 

I go though phases where I swing between a P/MM/J for a month or so at a time. It’s good because every time it feels like getting a new bass! 

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12 minutes ago, ped said:

I love them! Slab bodied especially I find reall comfortable. I’m used to playing a Vigier with pickups quite far back so it’s natural to me and playing over the pickup the strings feel nice and taught. When I go back to a jazz the strings feel really floppy up there. 
 

I like a ‘classic’ bass like that to make me play differently and I try to adjust myself to the bass. I really like them with flats where you get a beautifully even and ‘plasticy’ sound, and with rounds too for a great live sound that brings out the best in my pedals too. Stingray + Mutron is orgasmic!

 

I go though phases where I swing between a P/MM/J for a month or so at a time. It’s good because every time it feels like getting a new bass! 

Yeah I must try flats on the next one :)

I will more than likely get another soon but the price tag means it needs to be the one and only :)

it is the tone I have in my head, that Flea mid grunt (i know he played Modulus etc also). Its so addictive. I will find one i can play.....

 

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2 hours ago, ped said:

Stingray + Mutron is orgasmic!


I’ll second that - I’ve been out providing bass in a jam session tonight and had my pedals with me - not intending to use them on the likes of Eagles songs etc etc but someone wanted to play Word Up - and later a medley of Superstition and Play That Funky Music - so I thought what the heck and set up my octaver and EBS Bass IQ (the latter set to quack at will)!! Great fun and the EBS pedal was orgasmic!! Coupled with the EH octaver was delicious!! I’ve found the key to getting the Flea sound with envelope filter (as per his instructional DVD) is to play quite hard giving a very pronounced quack!! 

 

Im going through a use every bass you own phase currently so am pulling out some less likely basses - I took this Stingray H (3 band) - I have barely used it for three or four years and only once at a gig - tweaked the action, tuned it and cleaned it before going out - played through my Markbass LM3 and Traveller 2 x 10 (with the tweeter on full) on around 1/4 to 1/3 input and output volume. Amp set largely flat, bass set with the mid range almost fully cut, bass and treble boosted a tad (largely aping a 2 band sound). Brilliant sound all night - and able to boost the mid range to get more presence in the upper register at will if required at times. The bass worked for every genre played - including some quite loud rock and bog standard country and western. No call for a P bass here, folks 😉😀😀
 

24E9F786-7B4C-4B62-8553-0FEDD60D108C.thumb.jpeg.01febb64eaab19f80f23b2af1d858b42.jpeg

Edited by drTStingray
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7 hours ago, drTStingray said:


I’ll second that - I’ve been out providing bass in a jam session tonight and had my pedals with me - not intending to use them on the likes of Eagles songs etc etc but someone wanted to play Word Up - and later a medley of Superstition and Play That Funky Music - so I thought what the heck and set up my octaver and EBS Bass IQ (the latter set to quack at will)!! Great fun and the EBS pedal was orgasmic!! Coupled with the EH octaver was delicious!! I’ve found the key to getting the Flea sound with envelope filter (as per his instructional DVD) is to play quite hard giving a very pronounced quack!! 

 

Im going through a use every bass you own phase currently so am pulling out some less likely basses - I took this Stingray H (3 band) - I have barely used it for three or four years and only once at a gig - tweaked the action, tuned it and cleaned it before going out - played through my Markbass LM3 and Traveller 2 x 10 (with the tweeter on full) on around 1/4 to 1/3 input and output volume. Amp set largely flat, bass set with the mid range almost fully cut, bass and treble boosted a tad (largely aping a 2 band sound). Brilliant sound all night - and able to boost the mid range to get more presence in the upper register at will if required at times. The bass worked for every genre played - including some quite loud rock and bog standard country and western. No call for a P bass here, folks 😉😀😀
 

24E9F786-7B4C-4B62-8553-0FEDD60D108C.thumb.jpeg.01febb64eaab19f80f23b2af1d858b42.jpeg

Shes a beaut

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Each to their own but I LOVE my Stingray.... And what's more it's the dreaded 3 band EQ version. But before anyone calls me a heretic for liking the 3 band EQ my explanation is simple: I usually cut the mids, max the bass and have the treble a tiny bit past middle. When I need to push the bass forwards more I go just past the middle with the mids and it changes the sound a lot. I also find the neck (2018ish US Stingray) the most comfortable and best feel ever, also the string spacing is perfect for me. I also enjoy a P bass (had an MIJ Special edition for a few years) and I think one would really suit as a backup for me but the Stingray is the sure fire winner. The body is different to a P with the bridge being a bit further towards the butt so that may also throw some people off a bit, but I honestly couldn't tell you where I anchor my thumb, I'm all over the place! Also I use a pick a lot now, not that my blistered fingertips give that away!

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I love Stingrays. I haven’t played 4 strings for a long time but had a 3EQ model when I did, as well as a US Sterling. I’ve never understood why people think a Stingray can’t fit in with any style of music. The EQ is about he most usable of any bass I’ve played and can make some quite dramatic changes in tone. It is an active only bass, however, so people for whom it must be passive may not get along with it. This thread is probably more about people who are comfortable with things being just so on a bass and can’t/don’t want to adapt to something different. Nothing wrong with that of course - but also nothing wrong with a Stingray :)

 

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