Ernie Ball retros the Sting Ray
(Dave Molter | Posted 2010-02-07)
The music industry was abuzz in 1976 when Leo Fender introduced the Sting Ray bass. It was an instant winner -- new pickup design and placement, new 3+1 headstock, active 2-band EQ, a familiar, yet different, slab body, a distinctive teardrop pickguard and individually adjustable string mutes. I loved the SR4, but was disappointed in 1987 when Ernie Ball, which had acquired Music Man in 1984, chose to released an Sting Ray five-string with a restyled, contoured body without mutes. Although the SR5 sounds great and was quickly adopted by many high-profile players, such as Tony Levin, I just never liked its looks and hoped for a slab-bodied SR5 someday. Apparently, I wasn't alone.
Perhaps the biggest news out of Winter NAMM 2010 was the release by Music Man of the new Classic Sting Ray in both 4- and 5-string models. It's deja vu all over again: slab body, string mutes, teardrop pickguard and 2-band EQ and some very interesting pastel colors.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the Classic SR5 will be one of EBMM's bestsellers. The buzz from my fellow bass players all over the Internet is high. We love the look and the return to 2-band EQ, and the re-introduction of string mutes will appeal to many players who like the old Motown thump that was available from classic Fender basses that had a rubber pad under the bridge cover. About the only downside I can see is that the estimated weight on the Classic 5 is almost 11 pounds.
The new Classics are available for order now from your favorite EBMM retailer at MSRPs of $2,570 for the 4-string and $2,820 for the 5. Look for them to arrive in spring.
Some specs on the Classic 5:
Size: 13-1/2" wide, 1-5/8" thick, 45-1/2" long (34.3 cm wide, 4.1 cm thick, 115.6 cm long)
10lbs, 12 oz (4.87kg) - varies slightly
High gloss polyester
Music ManŽ chrome plated, hardened steel bridge plate with "Classic" stainless steel saddles and adjustable mute pads
White only, teardrop shape. There are no pickguard options
34" (86.4 cm)
7.5" (19.1 cm)
Only 9" (22.9 cm) long
21 - High profile, narrow width
1-3/4" (44.5 mm) at nut 2-11/16" (68.3 mm) at last fret
Select maple neck
Fretted - maple (your choice of figured or flamed maple) or rosewood
Natural aged yellow finish
Schaller BM, with tapered string posts
Adjustable - no component or string removal (chrome wheel at body end)
6 bolts - perfect alignment with no shifting
Chrome plated brass control cover
Controls: Single Pickup, 2-band active preamp; vol, treble, bass
Standard - Music ManŽ humbucking with Alnico magnets
Colors: Black, Classic White, Powder Blue, Tobacco Burst, Coral Red and Mint Green