Monday, February 27, 2012

Ernie Ball MusicMan Classic Stingray 4 Bass Guitar Review


Since the 1970s, the Stingray bass has evolved to become one of the best bolt-on neck production basses you can buy. This meant that some of the original features were left behind, and of course some players were unhappy about the changes. In 2009, the Ernie Ball Company gave players the opportunity to put their money where their mouth is and offered up the Classic Stingray 4, which has some really neat retro features.

The major differences between the Classic Stingray and the Stingray (which is still available) are: • String-through bridge and body (yay) • Mute kit added to a larger base plate bridge (meh) • Uncompensated nut (boo) • Poly-finish birdseye or flame maple neck(yay) • 7.5-inch neck radius (yay) • 2-band equalizer only (no 3-band available) • Pretty chrome battery compartment cover instead of a more functional plastic battery box • Classic color selections (yay)

Other than these items, these basses are standard MusicMan fare. They have ash bodies with a thick poly finish, and fortunately they stayed with a 6-bolt neck joint instead of going back to a 4-bolt or (gasp) 3-bolt microtilt design.

The necks are beefy with 1 5/8-inch wide nuts and are 34-inch scale with 21 frets. Again, I am glad they use the modern truss rod wheel (now chrome!) instead of the crummy old bullet truss rod ends.

The hardware is first rate, too. The bridge has stainless steel saddles, and standard Schaller BM tuners with tapered posts are installed in the 3+1 headstock configuration. An alnico humbucker rounds out the 2-band electronics package.

And I have been sucked in with the rest of the crowd and love these basses. The 2010 Coral Red one that you see here is a monster of a bass. I swapped out the 0.045 to 0.100 standard strings for some Hybrid Slinkies (0.045 to 0.105) and it is one of the best Stingrays I have ever owned.

Of course it sounds like a Stingray, and can be very edgy or smooth, depending on how it is eq’d and how much the strings are dug into. But the real magic is the neck on this thing.

The 7.5-inch radius fretboard suits my playing style much better, and I prefer the poly finish to the gunstock oil that is found on the standard Stingrays. It feels better to the touch and it cleans up much easier. Win-win.

It is not horribly heavy either, coming in at around 9 ¾ pounds on my digital scale. It is a real peach, and I hope that I can keep this one around for a while.

The price of nostalgia will cost you a bit for this one. A new Classic Stingray 4 has a list price of $2570 and a street price o f $1799, so you had better start saving now.

By the way, there are also Classic Stingray 5 and Classic Sterling models available too, in case the Stingray 4 is not your bag. As long as you do not want a lefty, as they are not selling any of these for southpaws.


No comments:

Post a Comment