NBD! Stingray HH and review

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T-Dub
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NBD! Stingray HH and review

Post by T-Dub » Tue May 01, 2012 11:39 am

Well, I've gone a bit mental in the bass department, and now have one of each of Leo Fender's designs, a Jazz, a Precision, and a Stingray.
I remember my first experience with buying a good quality bass, it was between a Warwick Streamer LX and a Musicman SUB bass.
The Streamer was a better bass in terms of feel at the time but the SUB had the tone. I chose the Warwick, and it was a great playing bass, but I could never get it to sound how I wanted, even thought I ripped the guts out of it and made it passive. The tone of that SUB has always stuck with me, and I've finally chased down a Stingray to get it.

This is my latest addition, a Stingray 4 HH.
Image
Two big ass humbuckers and a 3 EQ preamp, on a black body with a maple neck.
The switching options are really interesting. I thought it'd just be a 3-way Bridge-Both-Neck affair, but they've been a bit more clever than that. It's got a 5-way switch that selects between pairs of coils, so in addition to the Bridge-Both-Neck options, you get the two outer coils of the two humbuckers, and then then two inner coils of both humbuckers. This gives it crazy amounts of good tones, as well as the classic Stingray bridge tone. I'll just go through my observations of the 5 different settings.

Position 1: Bridge
Just a normal, fat sounding Stingray in this position. Some have said it's a little smoother on the HH as opposed to H but I don't agree, I think it sounds just the same, which is a good thing. Fat and growly, really the tone I keep wanting to get out of Jazz bass bridges but can't.

Position 2: Outer coils
So this position turns on the coil closest to the bridge and the coil closest to the neck. This has quite a scooped, trebly tone, and remarkably like a Jazz bass with both volumes wound up. Scooped and deep.

Position 3: Both Humbuckers
Should sound like the end of the world, but doesn't. This has a similar scooped tone to the previous setting but more murky, and with a mid-range grind that I wasn't sure I liked. It's not a bad sound but just doesn't ring my bell.

Position 4: Inner coils
Now this sounds great! This setting covers most of the sweet spot on a bass. Fat bass with a great lower midrange, nice and growly without being in your face.

Position 5: Neck
This is as close to a P-Bass as I've heard without actually being one. It sounds like a P-Bass crossed with a Stingray, a smoother, darker tone but with a bit of that 'bouncy' mid range a P bass has going on but with less of the upper harmonics. Really cool tone.

The different switching positions make the Stingray remarkably versatile. It's like you have a Stingray at the bridge, three different Jazz bass settings in the middle, and a P Bass at the neck. My favourite settings are the Bridge and Inner coils, and I'd see myself using those two most of the time.

The HH Stingrays only come with a 3 band EQ. I'm not the biggest fan of the 3 EQ, as I find it tends to inherently boost treble settings that I don't really like, and the treble is noisy as hell when you wind it up. That being said, it can be set up to sound great, it just takes a bit more adjustment to get it there. I tend to knock off quite a bit of treble, take a little bit of mid off and boost the bass slightly and I'm in business. I would much prefer the 2 Band EQ in this bass. I gave the 2 Band EQ board I had kicking around a whirl, and it sounded great, a much more intuitive preamp. I had a problem with the treble pot; the taper seemed to be bunched up at the very end, to such a degree that it acted like a hyper treble off/on switch. A shame, because it sounded great! I'm just waiting on a pot or two to come in so I can get it working properly but I might get an John East to chuck in there, as it's based on the 2 band EQ but with a stacked Mid/Mid Frequency knob that's neutral when not engaged. That would use all the available pot holes so I don't have to wonder what else to put on. I didn't like the strings that came with it, some dead, thin rounds that weren't doing much for the sound as they emphasised the ganky weird treble the 3 EQ has so I chucked on a set of D'Addario Chromes I had kicking around and it really made quite the improvement. The edges on the tuners are really sharp and have a tendency to strip flatwounds so I had to double wind the flats around the posts so they took hold in two spots on the tuner. I noticed that the tuning kept slipping and the silk wrappnig was coming off so I quickly sorted that out. The compensated nut is a pretty sweet feature too.

The neck is AMAZING. It's a bare neck so requires a little upkeep with gunstock oil and wax. It has the dimensions of a current American Standard P Bass but it sure doesn't feel like it! It feels like it would fit between a Jazz bass neck and a P Bass neck. I'm trying to figure out whether I like the feel of a finished neck more; in some ways these oiled and waxed necks feel a bit toy like to me, but I prefer them over an overly sticky gloss finished neck.

Part of me is still wondering whether a Stingray Classic would be a better fit for me instead of the Jazz bass I own. I think this Stingray HH is a good replacement for the Jazz in terms of versatility. I think an HH 3 band and a Classic 2 Band would be different enough to bother with.

Overall, I'm very pleased with the Stingray HH and it feels like 'home'.

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john
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Re: NBD! Stingray HH and review

Post by john » Tue May 01, 2012 4:36 pm

Awesome bass t-Dub. Great review.

miked
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Re: NBD! Stingray HH and review

Post by miked » Tue May 01, 2012 8:23 pm

Envious,

Oh, by the way - you WILL be bringing this instrument to the CHCH bass player meet & greet?

Mikr

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Re: NBD! Stingray HH and review

Post by miked » Tue May 01, 2012 8:25 pm

Sorry,

That should have read Mike not Mikr

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joppo
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Re: NBD! Stingray HH and review

Post by joppo » Tue May 01, 2012 8:53 pm

Stunning bass Tony :D

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Re: NBD! Stingray HH and review

Post by Fenderfan » Tue May 01, 2012 9:58 pm

Wicked. Nice lookin bass and sweet review too. Always loved the stingrays.
Fender MIA Precision, Squier Jazz, Genz Benz Shuttle 6.0, Ashdown ABM 1x15, 2 x DIY Jack 112 now complete!

T-Dub
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Re: NBD! Stingray HH and review

Post by T-Dub » Wed May 02, 2012 10:37 am

miked wrote:Envious,

Oh, by the way - you WILL be bringing this instrument to the CHCH bass player meet & greet?

Mikr
Yep, absolutely! I'm bring all my crap down, it's 5 minute walk from my house :D

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