Ernie Ball StingRay HH 4 Fretted Reviews 4

It's a 2006 Musicman and seems to be as well made as any earlier versions. It's in classic burst finish, so it looks very classic. It's got burst on BOTH sides. I am not your usual StingRay player, no slapping, no loud band, etc. Usually I play FL, but I like to have a matching fretted version for the few times I need frets. Since I dig EBMM FL basses, this made sense, to me anyways.

I got it used for about $1k at a local GC. As per above, I see it as a fretted match for my FL Rays, and I figger the extra PU closer to the neck offers some voicings that aren't usually associated with Rays ... likewise with FL Rays, so it all fits together.

I like the playability of a Ray. It feels familiar and 'just right'. I like the added voices that that the neck PU brings, and the simplicity of the 5-way coils selection switch.

The simplicity of the 5-way switch means less personal choice of PU combinations. 'Damnt if ya do and damnt if ya don't.' Thaz the deal with simplification.

It's a StingRay, and far as i can tell, that still means what it always did. OTOH, if you pop the hood, which is on the back side of the dual PU Rays, you will see 'non-classic' circuitry, with some small PCBs and such, unlike the classic point-to-point wiring still used in single PU Rays. So ... the 'chrome banana' is just for looks here, as all dual PU MM's are rear loaded.

There are plenty of reviews out there on StingRays and Sterlings. So the only thing different here is the HH PU config. It's for players who need some heavy, kinda thick tone. Yes you can still play the bridge humbucker alone, like a classic Ray. But unlike a Ray 5 or Sterling, you cannot split that PU and play just a single coil. Of the 5 choices on the main switch, there's 4 that involve various 2-coil configs, and of course the 'full house' 4-coil setting. Compare that to the other dual PU offering, the HS version, where out of the 5 choices, you get TWO very different single-coil configs. So, the HH is for us players with 'less modern' taste in tone. The age-old question: 'Can it do the P-thing ?' Answer: 'Close enuf.' There's a dual coil choice that plays the 'central pair' of coils [one from each humbucker], and tho it will not fool anyone who requires 'authenticity', it will do the job of a P-bass in terms of 'musicality'. Of all 5 choices, the 'Full House' [all 4 coils] hits my ear as furthest from being any sort of 'general purpose' voice ... unless you always lose your place before you're halfway thru every tune and so you want a sooper muddy tone to hide under ! But even the 'full house' can be tamed via EQ to be a useful voice ... it's just that I doubt it's ever anyone's choice for most general purpose. I'm rating it a '4'. I also play both the HS config and the '1H + piezo', both of which offer more useful options than this HH. So in terms of general appeal, the HH is the lesser machine. However, the HH is a better choice if you need a thick, 'deep-soft' bass voice from a fretted bass, especially at low SPL. While that is not the usual playing context for a StingRay, I am not the usual StingRay player. So it works for me.

Golem rated this unit 4 on 2010-06-02.

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