Wednesday, May 21, 2014

2000 Ernie Ball MusicMan Stingray 5 Bass Review


Today we are looking a fantastic bass I found on the wall at my local Guitar Center, and at a really good price – a 2000 Ernie Ball Musicman Stingray 5.

Ernie Ball started building fivers in 1988, and they have gone on to become the best selling 5-string basses ever made. It seems like every country bassist I have ever seen on stage has a one of these. They have a relatively narrow (17.5mm) string spacing, so the neck is not too wide. Originally only available with a single humbucking pickup, Stingray 5s can now also be had with 2 humbuckers or a humbucker and a single coil. You can even throw in a piezo bridge and go fretless if you want to.

This one is a plain-Jane single humbucker bass, and it rocks. It looks to have been hardly played at all over the past 14 years, and the glossy Trans Teal poly finish is in great shape.

It is all original, including the kick-ass hardware, which includes a six-bolt neck joint, a high mass bridge (bolted AND screwed to the body) and Schaller tuners. This was made before the age of compensated nuts, so it did not get one. Do you really need a compensated nut on a bass?

The electronics are the stock ceramic pickup (alnico was used until 1991 and after 2008), with a 3-way selector switch. The positions are: series, single coil (closest to the bridge) and parallel. I am a big fan of the parallel mode. The knobs include the volume control and a three-band equalizer.

After I got it home, I cleaned it and installed new strings and it is a fantastic bass. After more than a decade the 22 frets are still level and the finish shines like new. I like the feel of their gunstock oil necks and this one is no exception. The electronics have no hum, and I really like the tone of this instrument, as it really cuts through the mix. It is pretty much a winner! It is a tad heavy at 10 pounds, 8 ounces, but that is the way it seems to go with these.

Ernie Ball is a fabulous company that still makes their instrument in San Luis Obispo, California, so you are going to pay a bit more to get the Cadillac of 5-string basses. The cheapest ones available have a list price of $2350, and a street price of $1645. Shop around a bit if you want to pick one of these up new.

Of course, my track record with 5-string basses has been terrible. Most do not stick around for more than a month or two, but I am going to give this one the old college try, and it is a great playing bass. We’ll see if this one makes it until my 3rd quarter inventory update.


No comments:

Post a Comment