A Bit of History
MusicMan is the company that Leo Fender founded on his return to the music
business after he sold his own company due to failing health.
This happened several years after he sold Fender to the
giant corporation CBS and he subsequently made a great improvement
in his health.
The MusicMan StingRay
has been the de-facto standard workhorse bass for the last
30 years, that it is still relevant in today’s techno hungry
music world shows, how was far ahead of its time it was
when introduced in 1976.
Instantly recognisable for it 3+1 tuning key
arrangement, the StingRay was the first production bass
to feature active electronics that shape the basses tone
to the players needs.
Over its production cycle many improvements
have developed, such as a six-bolt neck attachment for no
shifting, contoured body for comfort, improved neck truss-rod
system, a better bridge and quieter electronics.
particular model we are reviewing is the StingRay 4 with
the optional 3-band active preamp. It is finished in sapphire
black, with gunstock oil and is hand-rubbed with a special
wax. This is adorned with a moonstone pickguard
in the traditional StingRay oval shape.
The neck is
satin finished (except for the back of the headstock) is
34” in scale length and executed in maple with an optional
matching painted headstock. It is attached via a 6-bolt
join for no movement. As for the tuners these are in a 3
+ 1 configuration, are made by Schaller and have tapered
are comprised of the optional 3-EQ active preamp – with
volume, treble, middle and bass, whilst the pickup is a
MusicMan humbucking located towards
of this instrument is simply superb. Everything fits nicely
and is done professionally as one would expect from a top
manufacturer. The bass is also well setup and plays perfectly
out of the box. The neck requires a special mention as it
is just the right balance between chunky and playable and
also the satin back makes it feel very smooth to play.
this bass can sound like whatever you want it to, thanks
to its active preamp. It impressed tremendously at the first
gig we used it at, and certainly proved its worth. Roll
off the treble and you have yourself a mellow smooth sound,
boost it for a slaphappy tone. The bass and middle can be
adjusted to each player’s particular taste. The maple neck
option obviously makes it sound slightly brighter and this
can be appreciated in the upper registers especially when
well finished instrument, whose superb electronics are versatile
enough for most styles of music.
By Ernest H