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Stingrays - ok, I give up.


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3 hours ago, Beedster said:


Fair enough, missed the tongue in cheek element, and there’s of course a whole lot of truth in the Nashville thing, although it was as much about ‘that’ C&W Precision tone and the ease of achieving it without messing about as the instrument itself.
 

The Precision I was referring was a pretty outstanding and modified instrument by comparison with some, but I stand by my original comment; setup, strings, EQ, amplification and technique account for a substantial if not definitive percentage of how a bass sounds in a noisy band mix, the SR was too brittle even when tamed and the Flea just a bit too prominent and unforgiving, I just think the Precision was the best bass for the job - maple board, lively rounds, Badass, very low action, P-Retro and IIRC a Nordy PUP all helped for sure. 
 

Like the O/P I always wanted a Stingray to do the job and I certainly tried more than a few, the one I loved the most was a Pre EB with a rosewood board, very mellow and toneful but capable of really monstrous tone when needed. 
 

And don’t even ask about the Sonic Hammer 🤔

As we all know from the countless threads on the subject, wood type makes no difference on electric instruments….

 

Except it does - the sound of an ash bodied Precision with a maple neck, or a Stingray with a rosewood board are subtly different, compared with the tone of an alder/rosewood Precision of an ash/maple Stingray. Lively rounds is another thing - I’m afraid I absolutely love them (having dallied with dead sounding stuff both in the early 70s and recently). 

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I've also been through a few Stingrays, always loved the necks, but not the preamps :)

Been using the P type Cutlass for a while now and hands down my best playing and feeling bass. The feel of a Stingray with all the goodness of a P bass, good for me.

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Whilst the pre-eb basses are often more expensive, they hold their value (and seem to be rising quite a bit) - and I think they have the best necks. Sound wise I thing stingrays are massively consistent over the years but the pre eb necks are quite thin front to back, around a P bass but width and really rounded at the edges. Some later rays I’ve tried have been different all over but I’m not sure if the specifics. 
 

The built in mutes are great too, though the G string deadens too much; maybe I need less dense foam but I tend to leave the G open anyway for accents.  

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I kinda laugh and take the fosters a wee bit about P basses as everyone seems to say you can play everything from Abba to ZZ Top with a bit of Dream Theater in between but do love the sound of a P with a pick, tone fully on of course. They are great instruments, I will probably own a jazz, Ray and P at some stage

 

That being said, if I ever buy a Sunburst P with rosewood/tort and put flats on it, take me out the back and shoot me :)

 

Edited by horrorshowbass
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18 minutes ago, horrorshowbass said:

That being said, if I ever buy a Sunburst P with rosewood/tort and put flats on it, take me out the back and shoot me :)

 

Kinda putting a sell by date on yourself there, Old Yeller ;)

 

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34 minutes ago, horrorshowbass said:

I kinda laugh and take the fosters a wee bit about P basses as everyone seems to say you can play everything from Abba to ZZ Top with a bit of Dream Theater in between

 

 

But you can - in the way you can with any bass.

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40 minutes ago, horrorshowbass said:

I kinda laugh and take the fosters a wee bit about P basses as everyone seems to say you can play everything from Abba to ZZ Top with a bit of Dream Theater in between but do love the sound of a P with a pick, tone fully on of course. They are great instruments, I will probably own a jazz, Ray and P at some stage

 

That being said, if I ever buy a Sunburst P with rosewood/tort and put flats on it, take me out the back and shoot me :)

 

 

Could you leave it to me in your will, please?

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9 minutes ago, Steve Browning said:

 

Could you leave it to me in your will, please?

That's gonna raise some eyebrows with the 5-0, tho, surely? 'Yes Boss, bloke shot through the head, no obvious motives...tho he's left his bass in his will to someone he met on the internet...' 'Oh, really? Fire up the Quattro...'

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1 hour ago, ped said:

Whilst the pre-eb basses are often more expensive, they hold their value (and seem to be rising quite a bit) - and I think they have the best necks. Sound wise I thing stingrays are massively consistent over the years but the pre eb necks are quite thin front to back, around a P bass but width and really rounded at the edges. Some later rays I’ve tried have been different all over but I’m not sure if the specifics. 
 

The built in mutes are great too, though the G string deadens too much; maybe I need less dense foam but I tend to leave the G open anyway for accents.  

 

My '80 was oddly Precision-like for a 'Ray, very different to all the later models I played, much mellower and woody

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13 minutes ago, Beedster said:

 

My '80 was oddly Precision-like for a 'Ray, very different to all the later models I played, much mellower and woody

 

I think sometimes people view Stingrays as a modern hifi bass and tend to treat them like it - but in my opinion they sound best with the bass and treble backed off (I. have treble at 30% and bass at 50%). Some of my fave stingray players have a mellow sound which cuts through the mix as effectively and surgically as a slapped bass. It took me a while to come to that realisation after growing up listening to RHCP and so forth. For me, the beauty of the Stingray sound is in the finer details, not it's out and out slapping sound it's usually pigeon holed for. I tend to prefer a 70s jazz for out and out slap.

 

The Stingray sounds amazing with a smooth baseline with the occasional 'pop' thrown in. Perfect example at 2:35 onwards:

 

 

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3 hours ago, Beedster said:

 

My '80 was oddly Precision-like for a 'Ray, very different to all the later models I played, much mellower and woody


Possibly combination of alder or poplar body and rosewood board. 
 

I have a mahogany bodied Sabre - makes quite a difference to the detailed sound in my view. 
 


 

 

Edited by drTStingray
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4 hours ago, ped said:

 

I think sometimes people view Stingrays as a modern hifi bass and tend to treat them like it - but in my opinion they sound best with the bass and treble backed off (I. have treble at 30% and bass at 50%). Some of my fave stingray players have a mellow sound which cuts through the mix as effectively and surgically as a slapped bass. It took me a while to come to that realisation after growing up listening to RHCP and so forth. For me, the beauty of the Stingray sound is in the finer details, not it's out and out slapping sound it's usually pigeon holed for. I tend to prefer a 70s jazz for out and out slap.

 

 

Yep, I used to feel short changed if I didn't have bass and treble at least most of the way up for that very hifi scoop reason. As was also been said above, flats can also really change/improve the vibe of a 'ray (or a Flea, oddly enough my first Flea came strung with flats, I took them off with a look of disgust and replaced them with zingy rounds, found that the latter were way too bright for the instrument and slowly worked my way back to the flats which stayed on for a few years), although I still think flats find their most effective home on a Precision 👍

 

Big thing for me which I had to learn to get over was my habit of playing certain types of bass a certain way. I might be overstating what were some relatively minor differences but I know that for many years I approached basses as follows:

 

Precision: Dull and uninspiring workhorse, sits in the mix and gets the job done in a reliable and safe manner. 

Jazz: For those gigs when I wanted to stand out a bit from the band, show some some chops, hit a few chords and get up the dusty end, and find tonal nirvana wherever possible

Stingray/Flea/Hammer: Wouldn't go on stage with it unless I really meant business and was gonna be front of stage foot on monitor giving it large. No ballads, no root notes

 

Of course, I got over it and realised as per the post above that you can do pretty much anything on any bass, but even then it often felt more 'right' to play a Jaco line on a fretless Jazz than a fretless Precision (even with a J-PUP at the bridge), and even mid-gig I would occasionally look down at a Precision and think "I shouldn't be slapping this, where's my Flea"

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I had a passive Stingray copy very early when I started playing. 

 

Bought my first 'real' one last week.....a black/maple 4H.

 

Love it. Great neck, tone, everything. And I'm a pick player.

 

After years of Rics and the odd Fender, I wanted the treble vibrant, but some bottom kick as well. I did a gig some years back, and our opening band had a Stingray bassist. It was an ephinanny moment....that presence! 

 

And then I plugged in.....😱

Edited by spongebob
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Bought a Ray back in 79 and had it ever since... absolutely love the bass....neck profile is lovely as ped mentioned....I will say though, full bass and treble is a no go!!.....I back the bass off to 7ish and treble to around 5.....works for me.

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Only dial up the bass and treble to full if you’re going for a slap solo or something and you really, really want that scoopy thing.

 

Otherwise, keep the treble flat and bump the bass a tiny bit. If you’re on a 3-band, bump the mids just a little bit too. That’s a good all-purpose tone right there. Personally, on my MMs, I go for the Levin tone, with lots of compression and the bass turned most of the way up, with just a little additional treble.

 

Everyone, when they first get a Stingray, turns everything up to full, and then promptly forgets that there’s a ton of other tones in there! :D

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10 hours ago, Cairobill said:

With a strict rule on 2-band EQs.


Each to their their own - I have both 2 and 3 bands - I generally follow the Levin approach with the 3 band - mid cut significantly and bass and treble boosted a bit. This gives a good approximation of a 2 band tone - the mid range can be increased if needed. 

 

The major difference between the 3 and 2 band is the high pass filter (which restricts the boomier frequencies - which the 2 band can produce on full bass), and the mid range control - the centre detent does not equal the 2 band mid range - needs cutting to do that - but having it available to boost can really help in some mixes and live rooms. 
 

I love those two later 80s Stingrays. That 2 band fretless in trans red very likely has an alder body, and the black possibly a poplar body - both of which will probably contribute to quite warm sounds. 

Edited by drTStingray
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7 hours ago, drTStingray said:


Each to their their own - I have both 2 and 3 bands - I generally follow the Levin approach with the 3 band - mid cut significantly and bass and treble boosted a bit. This gives a good approximation of a 2 band tone - the mid range can be increased if needed. 

 

The major difference between the 3 and 2 band is the high pass filter (which restricts the boomier frequencies - which the 2 band can produce on full bass), and the mid range control - the centre detent does not equal the 2 band mid range - needs cutting to do that - but having it available to boost can really help in some mixes and live rooms. 
 

I love those two later 80s Stingrays. That 2 band fretless in trans red very likely has an alder body, and the black possibly a poplar body - both of which will probably contribute to quite warm sounds. 


Yep, the trans is definitely alder. Very warm and punchy. It has a converted ebony board with lines which matches very well with the whole package. 

Not sure about the black - could be poplar, could be ash. But yes, a full sounding 2 band with a great aggressive sound but not ear splitting highs (though that could be the 2 band). 

I toured and recorded with a black/maple 1994 back in the day. That had a three band and was a clicky mess a lot of the time. I only ever fully embraced the Stingray again when I picked up a classic with a 2 band and found it much more of an appealing sound for what I like to do.

The necks on those two '89s are slimmer than the 1994; extremely playable, almost jazz like but with a tad more heft. Both pretty light too. I found the '94 neck a completely different ball game. Sharp edges and tubby...was not great!

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