Big Stingray changes by Ernie Ball

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bassbass
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Re: Big Stingray changes by Ernie Ball

Post by bassbass » 18 Aug 2018, 22:05

the parallel wired pickups don't have enough output to be useful without the preamp?
I've read that many times on various forums over the years. But it's not true. With the controls at centre, both the 2-band and the three band have no extra gain. Even though the the coils are in parallel, the voltage is made up by those huge magnets, and a typical stingray pickup is roughly comparable in output to a typical P pickup.

I'd say the main reason is that a big part of the MM tone is the treble response and this is mostly due to the direct coupling of the pickup to the preamp. Virtually all active/passive basses have the vol pot between the pickup and the pre. That's so it will work in both modes. But MM have the vol on the output, and if you bypass the pre, this pot is too low in resistance (25K) and will roll off a lot of treble and kill a bit of output.

In a few of my basses I have modded a dual gang pot to have both low and high resistances, and the bypass switch also switches the volume pot. It's 25K in active mode and after the preamp, then in passive it is 250k. It works very nicely in a MM. The pickups sound great passively. I thought of this many years ago, and for a long time I patted myself on the back for my idea, but a couple of years ago, I saw a 25k/250k dual gang pot listed as a fender genuine part. Turns out this is for a Reggie Hamilton sig Jazz. I'm guessing his tech must have had a similar brain storm as me somewhere along the line.... :/
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aphekgreg
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Re: Big Stingray changes by Ernie Ball

Post by aphekgreg » 18 Aug 2018, 23:06

bassbass wrote:
18 Aug 2018, 22:05
the parallel wired pickups don't have enough output to be useful without the preamp?
I've read that many times on various forums over the years. But it's not true. With the controls at centre, both the 2-band and the three band have no extra gain. Even though the the coils are in parallel, the voltage is made up by those huge magnets, and a typical stingray pickup is roughly comparable in output to a typical P pickup.

I'd say the main reason is that a big part of the MM tone is the treble response and this is mostly due to the direct coupling of the pickup to the preamp. Virtually all active/passive basses have the vol pot between the pickup and the pre. That's so it will work in both modes. But MM have the vol on the output, and if you bypass the pre, this pot is too low in resistance (25K) and will roll off a lot of treble and kill a bit of output.

In a few of my basses I have modded a dual gang pot to have both low and high resistances, and the bypass switch also switches the volume pot. It's 25K in active mode and after the preamp, then in passive it is 250k. It works very nicely in a MM. The pickups sound great passively. I thought of this many years ago, and for a long time I patted myself on the back for my idea, but a couple of years ago, I saw a 25k/250k dual gang pot listed as a fender genuine part. Turns out this is for a Reggie Hamilton sig Jazz. I'm guessing his tech must have had a similar brain storm as me somewhere along the line.... :/
That's exactly what I did. I used a dual gang pot when I tried it and also had a passive tone control. It wasn't a volume problem, but a bland tone. It wasn't all that different. Mainly just a lesser version of the sound with the preamp. The Stingray preamps aren't flat and the colour they add is part of the sound. I was trying a 2 band eq in my '00 Ray and thought i might as well use the otherwise unused third knob as a pull switch to bypass the preamp while I was at it. The dual gang pot was 25k/250k.
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Re: Big Stingray changes by Ernie Ball

Post by ozrider » 19 Aug 2018, 01:26

lownotes42 wrote:
18 Aug 2018, 21:43
I cant see any downside to these changes. People complaining over on TB that the bridge doesn't look as solid as the old one clearly haven't done many four hour shows. If I had to pick, my 2011 HH SR5 would be my favourite all round bass but I see myself trading up to the new version when it comes out.
There's someone always complaining over at TB. I initially didn't like the idea but the weight saving is significant for playing. My 90s SR5 is heavy, but I wouldn't sell it, as I reckon the build/woods quality would be hard to match even by these modern versions. But if I was gigging regularly then the new ones would be on my radar for sure

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Re: Big Stingray changes by Ernie Ball

Post by slowlearner » 19 Aug 2018, 13:20

I admire Sterling Ball's nose for business. He's managed EBMM through a particularly difficult era in instrument production. He's held off the Chinese, kept a legion of fans mostly happy and continued to build quality instruments. I do think it's ironic that he is 're-voicing' the stingray with 18v and finally dealing with the weight issues after owning the company for 33 years.

But then who am I to talk, most of my basses have MM PUs in them.

P.s. I was at the Fullerton museum a few weeks back and saw the Stingray prototype in the flesh. Really cool stuff. I'll post some pics when I get home.
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Re: Big Stingray changes by Ernie Ball

Post by bigswifty » 19 Aug 2018, 22:29

slowlearner wrote:
19 Aug 2018, 13:20
I admire Sterling Ball's nose for business. He's managed EBMM through a particularly difficult era in instrument production. He's held off the Chinese, kept a legion of fans mostly happy and continued to build quality instruments. I do think it's ironic that he is 're-voicing' the stingray with 18v and finally dealing with the weight issues after owning the company for 33 years.

But then who am I to talk, most of my basses have MM PUs in them.

P.s. I was at the Fullerton museum a few weeks back and saw the Stingray prototype in the flesh. Really cool stuff. I'll post some pics when I get home.
I think Sterling does pretty well too all things considered. Also how many bosses of a musical instrument company like Ernie Ball actually play at a professional level? Using their own stuff? I always thought that seemed pretty cool.
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Re: Big Stingray changes by Ernie Ball

Post by Slapfest62 » 20 Aug 2018, 08:12

many of the ORIGINAL SUB "made in USA" basses had the same "Ray pickup, no preamp.
as mentioned previously, they sound very similar, just without the steroids, tonewise

on a personal rant/note-
Yes, Stingrays ARE my favourite bass, bar none,
and so lets give the man the credit he truly deserves.

I'm talking about Leo Fender.

Leo was the one that designed this ground-breaking instrument and
introduced the key features that have given this bass its signatrure sound.

And sure, credit should be given to Ernie Ball for recognising what a monster bass it was,
and then buying the rights to the patent for it, so they could make them by the shipload
And lets face it, THAT alone turned them from a string and accessory maker ,
into a successful instrument manufacturer.
Sure, they added a couple of neck screws, and stuffed the preamp up (sorry, changed it)
and got rid of the string mutes and through stringing,
but thats hardly ground breaking stuff, compared to the way they carried on about their "innovations" with the bass.
Not only that, but after many years of denigrating the original design AND designer
they do a complete backflip, with the 'classic' series.
(the latest jab at Leo I heard from them, was that his hearing wasnt very good toward the end, so the "Ray preamp Leo designed had too much top end because of that. . . )
I use to try and sing the praises of the original design, the preamp and designer, over at ernie ball forums
and eventually, a mod there basically told me that they werent interested in conversations about the original stingrays and that I should get lost, which I was happy to do, as it all seemed to be a back slapping brainwash, to me
I wasnt trying to put their version down ,
but I could not understand why they would try and pretend the originals were so bad,
when clearly Ernie Ball were the ones that benefited greatly from its design
If the original design was so godawful, why did they buy it, produce it and sell squillions?
The EB empire has stood on the shoulders of the "Ray,
and yes, they have produced many other instruments since then
but most of them have a big name musician solidly attached, in signature instruments
I have tried hard to like Sterling Ball.
The guy can play, and I know he was young and hanging around when the 'Ray was being prototyped etc
but the things I have heard him say about Leo Fender and the original Stingray
have made that very difficult for me.
IMO, a smart operator would have done the exact opposite
and instead, put Leo on the pedestal he absolutely deserves
and marketed the EB Stingray as a legacy type instrument .
it would have been so easy, and have given the instrument great continuity to have used an
"its our privelege to try and continue this great man's legacy" - type of thing
You know - the truth
why try to taint that history to try and make yourself look better?
I cant say I've ever heard say, Roger Sadowsky put the Boot into Leo,
or PRS trash Les Paul . . . it doesnt make sense, and lacks humility
and musicians are into the history of their instrument as well,
and a smart operator would celebrate it with pride

So lets hear it for Leo, if ever there was a champion for bass players, he's our man !
where would we be without the P bass, Jazz Bass and the Stingray?

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Re: Big Stingray changes by Ernie Ball

Post by Juan Lauda » 20 Aug 2018, 09:17

Leo did a sterling job on the original ‘Ray and I agree that it’s a shame he wasn’t even mentioned in the video, but the weight has always held me back from buying one. I remember when they first came out and was excited at the prospect, but at the time I was gigging constantly and after trying one out for a fortnight of touring I returned it and went back to my trusty Jazz... even though the Ray had a meatier sound.

These days my older bones would find the weight even harder to bear if I were to go on a similar schedule, although that’s highly unlikely ;)

The revised weight and increased headroom does make the new model sound very appealing, but as Slapfest62 said: give Leo some credit.

And bring back the string mutes, FFS!
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Re: Big Stingray changes by Ernie Ball

Post by lownotes42 » 20 Aug 2018, 09:34

To me his legacy will always be the Stingray5. The BB5000 might be the first production 5er but the Stingray5 was so important to the legitimacy of extended range basses in a popular context. It was designed ground up to be what it is and it works. I Even think it should have been called the Sillouhette. The SR5 is damn near the perfect production 5. in my opinion. It looks like with these changes they have finally fixed one of the main problems.
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Re: Big Stingray changes by Ernie Ball

Post by blizzard » 20 Aug 2018, 11:35

I am not a massive Stingray fan but it seems to me like the Classics have been the more popular model for the last few years. I think it's good that the updates bring a more modern take to the Stingray (and correcting some deficiencies with the previous model) while retaining the Classic for traditionalists.

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Re: Big Stingray changes by Ernie Ball

Post by slowlearner » 20 Aug 2018, 12:46

Slapfest62 wrote:
20 Aug 2018, 08:12
...on a personal rant/note-
Yes, Stingrays ARE my favourite bass, bar none,
and so lets give the man the credit he truly deserves.

I'm talking about Leo Fender.
Amen. :thumbup:
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Re: Big Stingray changes by Ernie Ball

Post by bassbass » 22 Aug 2018, 08:34

a bland tone.
Yeah, I'm not really a passive bass kinda guy, but I don't mind it. The passive switch just offers another option I guess. I've recorded with a passive stingray pickup a few times, but ended up boosting the upper mids/low treble in the mix to get it a bit more growly. Those pickups really have treble that is only unlocked because of that direct coupling to the preamp.
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Re: Big Stingray changes by Ernie Ball

Post by ozrider » 30 Aug 2018, 23:26

Another vid with the new ray, first improvement he mentions is the weight :rolf:

Personally, I like the voicing of the pre and new pickups. Very tempting


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Re: Big Stingray changes by Ernie Ball

Post by slowlearner » 31 Aug 2018, 09:18

Serious question... from this side of the world, with only a few youtube vids to go on... How can we really tell the "new voicings" are better than the old ones?
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Re: Big Stingray changes by Ernie Ball

Post by ozrider » 31 Aug 2018, 11:08

slowlearner wrote:
31 Aug 2018, 09:18
Serious question... from this side of the world, with only a few youtube vids to go on... How can we really tell the "new voicings" are better than the old ones?
I'm comparing the sound of the bass to my 90s ray with the ceramic pickups. Mind you the ceramics don't sound like alnico anyway, but I noticed on the recent anniversary model that it seemed more polite, warmer. You are right though, until I'm a/b'ing them, I'm only making a best guess.

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Re: Big Stingray changes by Ernie Ball

Post by drbass » 31 Aug 2018, 14:27

slowlearner wrote:
31 Aug 2018, 09:18
Serious question... from this side of the world, with only a few youtube vids to go on... How can we really tell the "new voicings" are better than the old ones?
They’re probably “new” because of the loss of weight ;) .

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