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Stingray purchasing advice required.


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#1 Dandelion

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 10:40 PM

Over many months I have managed to squirrel away enough spends for a EB Stingray.

My question to you is this, As I already have SB Ray 34, will it really be that much of an upgrade? From my understanding the only difference is the place of manufacture. Both the EB and the SB are quality controlled and shipped from the same US factory I am led to believe. The only difference I can fathom is thay the EB has a compensated nut.

Whatcha think?
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#2 casapete

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 07:48 AM

The EB Stingray will be better all round - build, electrics, sound etc, but as to whether it is worth the difference
is really your call.
Why not go for a s/h USA Sub bass? These are in most people's opinion as good as the USA Stingray, albeit with
some price saving features - slab body with no belly or forearm cutaway / textured finish / painted neck ,
but having USA pickup and 2 band preamp which makes them sound fantastic. ( Just be aware a few
passive models were made, so ensure you look for the active one.)
Rumour was that they were not cost effective for Musicman to keep making them so were discontinued.
S/h ones are starting to go up lately, so expect to pay around £400 for one, roughly 50% of the cost of
an equivalent s/h EB Stingray. Great way to experience the might of a USA Stingray on a budget.

PS.
Just looked on here in 'basses for sale' and there's currently a grey one up for £420.
Cheers.

Edited by casapete, 21 March 2017 - 07:50 AM.


#3 Machines

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 03:42 PM

Soundwise I doubt you'll notice the difference. The Ray34 is now about the same price new as a used USA Stingray though so i'd be going 2nd hand not new (which is extortionate).
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#4 badboy1984

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 04:26 PM

I use to have EB Stingray with 3 band EQ but sold it and then I bought a USA EB Sub bass with 2 band EQ and it sounded pretty much the same but probably better in my ears. The 2 band EQ Ray does sound alot better then the 3 band EQ Ray I had. Don't know why but it sounded just right. the only different is the feel of the bass, the EB Ray feel alot better but it also cost a lot more.

The sub USA Ray second hand is cheap.
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#5 Treb

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 07:25 PM

I've never handled a SUB or a a Ray34. I do have a EBMM Sterling and if you want that oiled neck feel then there's only one choice. Nothing compares to that neck feel IMO.

BTW new Stingrays can be found at nice prices though. Esse Music in Italy has a few left, starting at €1690. That emerald green sparkle is to die for!
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#6 Jecklin

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 07:41 PM

The price of a new US stingray is ridiculous frankly.
They have pretty much doubled over the last 15years.

I echo the advice go for a second hand Stingray if you really want to "upgrade"

Or if you want to tweak your current bass maybe consider a status graphite neck for it?

Edited by Jecklin, 21 March 2017 - 07:45 PM.


#7 Jecklin

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 07:44 PM

Oh and as for a compensated nut, it's the solution to a problem that didn't exist ;)

#8 Pinball

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 07:49 PM

View PostTreb, on 21 March 2017 - 07:25 PM, said:

I've never handled a SUB or a a Ray34. I do have a EBMM Sterling and if you want that oiled neck feel then there's only one choice. Nothing compares to that neck feel IMO.

BTW new Stingrays can be found at nice prices though. Esse Music in Italy has a few left, starting at €1690. That emerald green sparkle is to die for!

I agree with this, I had a Stirlingray35 and an EB SR5 at the same time. I couldn't really hear much difference but there was something that I liked better with the neck of the USA one. I manages to get a 2nd hand US neck for the Sterlingray35 and from then on was as happy with that as the USA one. There is a slight difference. I would go 2nd hand USA or get myself a Status neck.
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#9 mcnach

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 11:50 PM

View PostDandelion, on 20 March 2017 - 10:40 PM, said:

Over many months I have managed to squirrel away enough spends for a EB Stingray.

My question to you is this, As I already have SB Ray 34, will it really be that much of an upgrade? From my understanding the only difference is the place of manufacture. Both the EB and the SB are quality controlled and shipped from the same US factory I am led to believe. The only difference I can fathom is thay the EB has a compensated nut.

Whatcha think?

The person better suited to answer that is yourself. Go and try a few Stingrays, make sure they're well set up, and see what you think.

Some people play the SBMM Rays and say "just like the real thing" and don't see a reason to spend more. Others... disagree.

I like the SBMM basses, I have enjoyed OLPs too which are not quite as good but can be pretty awesome with a little bit of TLC and some upgrades... but to me the Stingray just feels and sounds *right* and if I can afford one, that's what I would go for. But that's just because how it feels to me.

My 2002 Stingray is my number one bass. My preferences vary slightly over time, depending on who I'm playing with and various other things... but it's always there. However, after my Stingray I 'discovered' the EBMM SUB bass, made between 2003 and 2006. They don't have the largest selection of finishes, or the prettiest for that matter... but they're not exactly ugly either, and they are 100% Stingray... In fact, my I prefer the sound of my 2003 SUB. It has the pickup wired in series rather than the usual parallel and it's a beast. If I weren't such a sucker for natural/maple finishes, the SUB would be my #1 bass and I would have sold the Stingray. Those SUBs sell for around £375-425... and they're indestructible. If you want to save some cash but still have the full Stingray experience, see if you can try one of those.
If you're ever in Edinburgh you're welcome to come round with your Ray and play my Stingray and SUB side by side.

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#10 drTStingray

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 01:17 AM

As I understand it, on the SBMM basses the tuners are not the same quality as a US Ray - not sure about the rest of the hardware. The battery box is a cheaper version also.

A major element of the US Stingray is the completion of the neck by hand and filling of the ends of the fret slots. I suspect this is what gives that awesome playability - you will not get that level of quality with the cheaper versions.

Many of the parts are subtly different to prevent people profiting by making up cut and shut jobs with the cheaper parts and passing them off as real ones.

The advantage of buying new is you pick the colour and spec you want and get the feel of a brand new bass. That said there are some cool used basses around as well if you're willing to wait for the right one to crop up.

The 3 band EQ does give more control and allows you to change sound on the fly for specific songs - it can be useful for strange sounding rooms. That said the 2 bands sound great as well.

There is also the choice between maple and rosewood boards, one or two pick ups and the configuration of them. You will need to try some to find the type you want.

Note although the USA Subs are great value and have the US electronics, pick up, similar tuners (without Musicman on them) etc, they also don't have the level of neck hand sanding and fret end filling. That is one of the ways they saved money as well as using less favourable looking wood and painting it. However they do sound and play excellently and although I have a number of Stingrays I also have a US Sub 5 which I think is a cool bass in its own right in bog standard form and gets some play time at times.

Edited by drTStingray, 22 March 2017 - 01:26 AM.

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#11 40hz

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 09:32 AM

I've actually owned a USA Stingray (3-band), a SBMM Ray 34 and currently own a USA SUB (with a Status Graphite neck). The differences between the Stingray and Ray34 were negligible. Tonally they sounded near enough identical. Build quality on my Ray34 was also on a par with the USA Stingray and I preferred the satin finish on the Ray34 neck to the oiled Stingray one.

However the USA SUB is my favourite bass of the lot. Build and finishing is on a par with the Stingray, tonally, my SUB a rare early one with the pickup wired in Series, so it's very ballsy and aggressive with a stronger punch. I preferred it even before the addition of the Status neck, which just focused everything I like about the sound and amped it up to 10, not to mention the unbelievable quality and stability of the neck and slimmer profile.

In short, you can't lose whichever one you go for. It's all much and the same and in reality the differences between the 3 are nowhere near as vast as some might make out (except the recent cheaper SBMM SUB line, which to my ears are not the full ticket).

The USA SUB would get my vote though, stupid good value for money!

Edit - Writing this out has made me realise just how stupid and convoluted the naming is on EBMM products 🙄🙄🙄

Edited by 40hz, 22 March 2017 - 03:55 PM.

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#12 mcnach

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 09:41 AM

View Post40hz, on 22 March 2017 - 09:32 AM, said:

I've actually owned a USA Stingray (3-band), a SBMM Ray 34 and currently own a USA SUB (with a Status Graphite neck). The differences between the Stingray and Ray34 were negligible. I actually preferred the Satin finish on the neck of the Ray34. Tonally they sounded identical. Build quality on my Ray34 was also on a par with the USA Stingray.

However my USA SUB is the best bass of the lot. Build and finishing is on a par with the Stingray, tonally, it's a rare early one with pickup wired in Series, so extremely ballsy and aggressive. I preferred it even before the addition of the Status neck, which just focused everything I like about the sound and amped it up to 10, not to mention the unbelievable quality and stability of the neck and slimmer profile.

In short, you can't lose whichever one you go for. It's all much and the same, the USA SUB would get my vote though, stupid good value for money! (Prices are rising though)

I think that pickup in series suits the 2-band preamp better than in parallel. It's got a lovely punch... yet you can still tame it easily. It makes it (for me) a lot easier to dial in the sounds I want.

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#13 Musicman20

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 11:18 AM

I've tried a fair few of the more budgets versions of a Stingray I found they were not that close to the real thing. There is something in the aesthetics, feel and overall 'quality' that I do not think matches a real Stingray.

I would not buy a budget model new. I would buy a real Stingray second hand or see if a new one can be had as a deal. The £ and price hikes really push them away from normal players now, which is crazy, but it is happening with a lot of manufacturers.

Luckily I got my Musicman fix way before all of this, and I love the high quality and feel/tone they all have. I would buy another 6 string guitar from them if the UK prices hadn't jumped up so much.

Most of the time, you really do get what you pay for.

#14 martthebass

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 11:32 AM

I think if you've set your heart on a 'proper' US of A Ray then nothing else will satisfy you. The Sterling Ball basses are good value for money and tick most of the boxes but if you have the cash then I'd go a used US model. I've got a US EBMM and a US SUB, both good basses and will last a lifetime of playing should you not suffer serious bouts of GAS. The US SUB models are good value for money if you can get past the aesthetics.
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#15 radiophonic

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 12:57 PM

How much are you looking to spend? Bass Direct have a Black / Maple '92 EBMM in right now. I'm pretty tempted myself, but have Spector GAS. Looks to be fantastically good condition. These were built before they started using plastic on the battery cover and trimming down the bridge, but have the 6 bolt neck. Sort of a classic era (not that there are really any duds AFAIK). I have one from the same era and it's the nuts.
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#16 Dazed

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 02:34 PM

I briefly owned a U.S. Sub, a 2 band Ray and a 34. The hands down winner for me was the Sub. The neck finish was quite worn so I sanded it off and oiled it. Lovely. The Ray, after many years of wanting to try one, came up at a really good price when I wasn't looking for one. I have to say it was really a bit of a disappointment even though it was near mint condition. The Sub felt and played nicer to me. Strangely I still get the odd gas pang when I see a natural finish Ray, especially an older pre EB.
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#17 dangoose

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 12:10 AM

I owned a pre-EB stingray for many years and loved it. I regretted selling it on and vowed to get another at some point. Today there is a vast choice between subs, rays and USA stingrays and I guess being a previous owner of the 'real thing' it wasn't as difficult for me to justify the extra wedge for another USA Stingray. I was lucky enough to chance over one that just felt right when i picked it up and played it in the shop last year and I bought it! There is reasonably good churn in the second hand market for quality Stingrays and may be worth considering a late 90's or 2000's Ernie ball stingray if you can find one. I'm sure there are many fine examples of subs and ray34's out there and every bit as good as the 'real thing'. There is some thing nice though about a proper Stingray. For me the build quality, playability, sound and feel of the USA Stingrays are what differentiates them from other models.
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#18 drTStingray

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 12:17 AM

 Dandelion, on 20 March 2017 - 10:40 PM, said:

Over many months I have managed to squirrel away enough spends for a EB Stingray.

My question to you is this, As I already have SB Ray 34, will it really be that much of an upgrade? From my understanding the only difference is the place of manufacture. Both the EB and the SB are quality controlled and shipped from the same US factory I am led to believe. The only difference I can fathom is thay the EB has a compensated nut.

Whatcha think?

Directly on topic, virtually all of what you say is incorrect. EBMM do not have any involvement in the manufacture, quality checking, set up of SBMM basses - a different company does it under licence from EBMM. Some of the parts are similar but some are different and of lower quality.

There are also a stack of options on the US basses you don't get with the cheaper versions.
However you can easily try some to see whether you'll be happy with the extra price over the Ray 34.

Hopefully you'll come back sometime and let us know how you got on.

Notwithstanding that some people have already commented they use a US Sub to scratch their Musicman bass itch, and good value they are too, their finish would be a backward step if you have a Ray 34 - not least their lack of body contour and industrial finish. They are certainly a great sounding and playing Musicman on a budget but that does not meet some people's aspiration for a proper US Stingray - for example my US Sub 5 is a cool and quirky bass (it is white, which is my favourite colour on them) but is completely overshadowed by my natural/maple SR5. It's like comparing a house with very cheap furnishings and carpets with one with more expensive ones - there's actually quite a difference.

Edited by drTStingray, 23 March 2017 - 12:28 AM.

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#19 hiram.k.hackenbacker

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 12:41 AM

I own more USA Stingrays than any other type of bass, but I have played many others types including Sub's and 34's. I can tell you that I have not found one non-USA Stingray that is a patch on the real thing.
The build quality and options on a USA are far superior to anything achieved on a non-USA. I fear we will run around in circles regarding the sound which is subjective, but I would argue the same on that count.

Case in point, this arrived yesterday....

Posted Image

It's a USA Stingray 4HS 'Starry Night' SLO with MHS. I'm fairly particular about my basses as some here will attest to. I would not hesitate one second to send it back if it didn't meet my expectations.
Hand on heart, I can't think of a single way that this bass could be improved.

Not as many basses as I would like, but probably more than I deserve!

Posted Image

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#20 drTStingray

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 01:11 AM

It arrived - wow that is gorgeous - congratulations.
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#21 hiram.k.hackenbacker

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 02:04 AM

View PostdrTStingray, on 23 March 2017 - 01:11 AM, said:

It arrived - wow that is gorgeous - congratulations.

Yes, finally. A little overdue, but well worth the wait :)

Not as many basses as I would like, but probably more than I deserve!

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#22 Lozz196

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 07:47 AM

I had both a real Stingray and a SBMM Ray 34. Not really that much in it between them. The Stingray was slightly less harsh in the sound, but that`s sortable with eq.
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#23 Musicman20

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 09:54 AM

View Posthiram.k.hackenbacker, on 23 March 2017 - 12:41 AM, said:

I own more USA Stingrays than any other type of bass, but I have played many others types including Sub's and 34's. I can tell you that I have not found one non-USA Stingray that is a patch on the real thing.
The build quality and options on a USA are far superior to anything achieved on a non-USA. I fear we will run around in circles regarding the sound which is subjective, but I would argue the same on that count.

Case in point, this arrived yesterday....

Posted Image

It's a USA Stingray 4HS 'Starry Night' SLO with MHS. I'm fairly particular about my basses as some here will attest to. I would not hesitate one second to send it back if it didn't meet my expectations.
Hand on heart, I can't think of a single way that this bass could be improved.

Oh my! That is surely one of their finest limited runs?!?!

I love the HS configuration. Why they aren't more popular i'll never know. It's the exact same Stingray tone plus 4 other great tones including the neck pickup alone which has a very woody and hollow traditional tone which you would not expect from Musicman.

#24 maxoges

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 11:20 AM

The difference has been discussed at the talkbass site.
I hope It's ok to link to the site on this forum.

This is a post from the actual Sterling by musicman company:

"The SBMM Ray34, Ray34CA, Ray35, Ray35CA, and the now discontinued SB14 all have electronics that have been designed and spec'd out for us by Music Man' engineering department to correspond with their USA counterpart models: Pickups, PCB Assemblies, Switches, Wiring Schematics ("Guts"). The same components, as in electrical/electronic values for IC's, Capacitors, Resistors, etc. are used per these specifications. Differences that will be found in SBMM electronics? One obvious one that comes to mind is that Mini-VR's are not used on any of our PCB's. Those have a fixed value component.

The 'guts' are all manufactured for us in Korea, and are then shipped to our factory in Surabaya, Indonesia. All of our SterlingBy Music Man and SBMM SUB Series are manufactured at this factory in Indonesia.

Wood choice depends on the instrument. Ash is the wood for all SBMM basses except for SB14, which uses Basswood.

As far as USA components on any SBMM or SUB Series instruments?
Our JP70D, JP100D, JP170D, LK100D, AX30D, AX40D and Silo30D guitars all use USA made DiMarzio pickups."

Found here: https://www.talkbass....1125076/page-4
Modulus Flea
Clover Slapper graphite neck
Yamaha BB1000s
Fernandes APB4
Edwards LW
Sterling Ray35 with Status neck
Musicman Stingray 5 with Status neck
Vester Platin-1
Warwick Starbass pro 5

#25 Treb

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 11:23 AM

View Posthiram.k.hackenbacker, on 23 March 2017 - 12:41 AM, said:

...
It's a USA Stingray 4HS 'Starry Night' SLO with MHS.

OMG, that's a killer bass in every aspect. Congrats! Clueless; what is "MHS"?
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#26 hiram.k.hackenbacker

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 12:10 PM

 Treb, on 23 March 2017 - 11:23 AM, said:

OMG, that's a killer bass in every aspect. Congrats! Clueless; what is "MHS"?

MHS = Matching HeadStock 😀

Not as many basses as I would like, but probably more than I deserve!

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#27 stingrayPete1977

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 01:16 PM

When I tried an SBMM I thought it was nice but the tuners don't feel as nice to use and the electronics feel different as the pots are cheap nasty ones compared to the proper weighted smooth ones on a US version. The edges of the body were well finished but didn't have that nice rounded hand finished edge that a US one has.

I don't think I could justify paying the same or more for a sbmm as a used EBMM.

As for the finish of a US sub matching a US Ray? Erm nope I'm not having that, nasty stamped pick guard, stippled Matt paint and that nasty black gloop on the neck! Perfectly good bass but my old teal and maple ray was in another league finish wise.

What you really want is a used Classic Ray, now we're talking awesome quality ;)
IMO

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#28 hiram.k.hackenbacker

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 01:57 PM

 stingrayPete1977, on 23 March 2017 - 01:16 PM, said:

When I tried an SBMM I thought it was nice but the tuners don't feel as nice to use and the electronics feel different as the pots are cheap nasty ones compared to the proper weighted smooth ones on a US version. The edges of the body were well finished but didn't have that nice rounded hand finished edge that a US one has.

I don't think I could justify paying the same or more for a sbmm as a used EBMM.

As for the finish of a US sub matching a US Ray? Erm nope I'm not having that, nasty stamped pick guard, stippled Matt paint and that nasty black gloop on the neck! Perfectly good bass but my old teal and maple ray was in another league finish wise.

What you really want is a used Classic Ray, now we're talking awesome quality ;)

+1. I picked up a spotless used Sledge for a decent price and it just oozes quality throughout. The finish, neck dressing, birdseye fingerboard, the sound (it has flats on at the moment), the set up I can achieve and the feel are all just sublime. If you're patient you could probably get a used Classic for similar money to a new USA Standard. Depends whether you want a two or three EQ I suppose. Another can of worms 😀

Not as many basses as I would like, but probably more than I deserve!

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#29 Treb

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 06:27 PM

View Posthiram.k.hackenbacker, on 23 March 2017 - 12:10 PM, said:

MHS = Matching HeadStock ��

<facepalm>Duhhh!</facepalm>
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#30 Treb

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 06:40 PM

View PoststingrayPete1977, on 23 March 2017 - 01:16 PM, said:

What you really want is a used Classic Ray, now we're talking awesome quality ;)

In other words, there's no substitute for the real thing (in either 2 or 3-band).

After 20+ years of StingRay tone lust I bought a new EBMM Sterling. A Sterling because I wanted a smaller body and narrow neck. It's a 2010 3-band EQ and has that sound I wanted for so long. It has the oiled neck and excellent fit & finish. I bought it online (untested) but it was all I hoped for and more. I believe you can buy a new EBMM bass unseen and it will not let you down. These are quality basses.
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