Ernie Ball Classic Version StingRay Reviews
This will be an odd review. I do have reason to own and play such a bass as this, and have the money to buy it, and find it to be an excellent bass. And it's one of my faves to grab in the music shop for trying out an amp or cab ... but I already own this sort of StingRay, and used to own a pre-EBMM [Leo era] MM as well ... so this is more of a comparison.
The Classic version Ray costs about $1750 and can be acquired almost anywhere. A used EBMM S.U.B. will cost about 1/3 of that. If you found a used Classic, figger you'd pay 2/3 ... so the S.U.B. is 1/2 price or less. A truly verrrrry classic version would be a pre-EBMM. I've owned and gigged one and at the current semi-collectible prices you'd be better off, as a player, to pony up for a new Classic if you can't find a good used S.U.B. Also, this ''review'' will get old, and so will the classics ...IOW, used classics are not common as I write this in 2010, but later on they will be ... and S.U.B.s may bt then have found permanent homes, not changing hands very often.
What I LIKE about the Classic is that it's very similar to my S.U.B. and even somewhat better, altho money matters, so I'll keep my S.U.B., thank you ! Both models feature the old 2-band EQ with the jack on the control plate, and a slab body with no contour cuts, front nor back. If you do spring for the Classic you get certain upgrades over settling for a S.U.B. Instead of a glossy painted neck you get an oil finish figured maple neck. Some of the Classic colors may turn your crank ... or your stomach ! Subjective, y'know ... and the Classic has an ash body compared to the poplar body of the S.U.B. If you find a used Classic, expect to pay about $1250 while a good used S.U.B. runs about $550. Of course if all you can find is a NEW Classic, that $700 difference jumps to $1200 .... time to say ''Ouch!'' and move from this ''like about'' section to the ''don't like about section'' of the review.
Simply put, what's to like about paying more and getting less ... and here I am NOT comparing the Classic to the S.U.B. ... You can forget the S.U.B. in this ''don't like'' rant. It's all about the regular production StingRay vs the Classic. ... A brand new bare-bones base model Ray is about $500 cheaper than a Classic. You'll lose the fancy figuring of the Classic's neck, and the unique finish colors. However, you get gain the body contouring front and back, not to mention the $500 in your pocket ... unless you've found a clean used base model Ray, and then you'll have about $900 in-pocket. ... If you have the $1750 for the classic, but instead choose to buy are standard Ray ... standard but well above 'base model' ... you should expect a burst or natural finish, perhaps a matching headstock ... a 3-band EQ ... and even a piezo bridge or a second magnetic PU. Your standard Ray in natural or burst will look cool to the audience, but the audience will never know that it lacks the fancy figured maple neck of the Classic ... unless you turn your back to them. Uh huh.
I shoulda mentioned that the Classic has string mutes and thru-body stringing while no standard versions offer either of those. Any other comments on ''construction and quality of the unit'' can be capsulized as '' It's an EBMM -- nufsedd ! '' ... Which brings us back to my old, pre-EBMM [Leo era], MM Sabre. It was a fine ax, but the new ones are built even better. BTW, despite the non-contoured body and pre-EBMM bridge design, the Classic thankfully retains the modern truss rod wheel. Even when EBMM is being silly, at least they're not being stoopid !
I'm rating it a '3', cuz I've reviewed several other EBMMs that I actually own and play ... and nearly all of them got a '4'. I rated my S.U.B. a '4', and the Classic is very similar. I'd rate a Plain Jane, base model Ray a '4', cuz it's also similar ... but I hadda drop the Classic to a '3' cuz it's simply waaaay overpriced compared to it's own IN-HOUSE competition ! Abstractly, it's worth a '4' but in the open marketplace it rates a '2' ... so average out those and it's a '3' ... the lowest rating I ever gave an EBMM [I've done several].Golem
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