Wednesday, October 10, 2012

2010 Ernie Ball MusicMan Stingray 4 Bass Review

Hi there!

I don’t think there has been any time over the past ten years that I have not had a MusicMan Stingray bass around the house. So, without any further ado, today we are looking at a gorgeous 2010 Stingray that I picked up from my friend Tom a while back.

The Stingray bass was designed by Leo Fender and Tom Walker, and it was introduced in 1976. It was originally available only as a 4-string with a single humbucker pickup, a two band equalizer, and active electronics. This was one of the earliest productions basses with an active pre-amp, if not the first. This gave it more output and a more aggressive sound than the competition.

Ever since Ernie Ball bought the MusicMan brand in the 1980s, there has been a constant improvement in features and options available for the Stingray, including: contoured bodies, improved neck joints, better truss rod ergonomics, and oodles of electronics and pickup configurations.

But I am a simple man, and I still prefer a plain-old Stingray with the original 2-band equalizer. And that is why this bass appeals to me so much, because it is pretty close to the way it was originally intended to be.

As I said before, this Stingray was built in 2010, and it is finished in a gorgeous vintage sunburst poly. And I must say that Ernie Ball is spraying one of the most beautiful sunbursts on the planet these days. This one has a contoured ash body with a six-bolt neck joint (for extra special sturdiness and sustain).

The neck is a peach. It is true, and the truss rod works freely. You have to love the easy to adjust trussrod wheel. It has a nice-looking rosewood fretboard, and the 21 high-profile frets are still in great shape. The back of the neck is finished in gunstock oil and wax, which always feels as smooth as silk. This one has a compensated nut, which I am unable to hear an intonation difference from, but someone with a good ear might…

The original hardware is all there, which includes the Schaller BM tapered post tuners and the high-mass bridge. I love the way the bridge bolts so solidly to the body on these basses. It is not a Classic model, so it does not have the string mutes, but I am not sure how many people actually use those things anyway.

The electronics are also unmolested, with the original single humbucker pickup and 2 band equalizer. The bass and treble knobs are boost and cut, not boost only, as some maintain. I think this misconception came about because there are no center detents.

This is a well-made bass. The finish is perfect and the frets are simply gorgeous. I strung it up with some new Hybrid Slinkies and dropped the action a little and It plays well and sounds magnificent, just like every other Stingray I have ever owned. As a bonus, it is very light (for a Stingray, that is), coming it at a little under 9 pounds. I know I have said this before, but this one might be a keeper…