Musicman is one of the few brands that can be really be named classic in the history of the electric bass.
When Leo Fender was mistakenly diagnosed from a terminal desease, he sold his company to CBS. When he found out he was O.K. he went back to desgining and building instruments and amps and he started the Music Man Company in the early 70's. The Stingray was his first design and even though it was based on his own Precision Bass in many aspects, this new bass boasted a humbucker pickup located at the sweet spot plus active electronics. This created a completely different sound that soon became one of the most sought after. When Ernie Ball took over Musicman in the early 80's they continued the tradition and have been adding improvements and refinements here and there throughout the years while also adding new models.
This the Sterling model. Not to be confused with the Sterling series which are affordable instruments made in Indonesia. This is a 100% made in the USA bass.
The Sterling bass was launched back in 1993. These are some of the specs that set it apart from the Stingray model:
- Smaller (hence lighter) body
- Narrow neck
- Ceramic pickup instead of Alnico
- 3 way switch for Series-Parallel-Single Coil (this feature was only present on the Stingray 5 bass back then)
The 5 string Sterling model was created in 2008 and it basically just adds one more string while keeping the classic pickguard and lever switch.
This particular model comes with one pickup and 3 way switch apart from the 3 band active EQ. The 3 way switch lets you choose from these possibilities:
1. Humbucker mode in Parellel (pure Stingray)
2. Single Coil mode (coil closer to the bridge + Phantom Coil)
3. Humbucker mode in Series (hotter output, more low-mids, less highs)
All 3 sounds are excellent and completely noise free. Even the singlecoil mode is noise free thanks to the Phantom Coil that removes the hum. The output signal is clear and strong and all the notes ring like a bell. That's one of the reasons why Music Man basses are still the #1 choice for so many players worldwide.
The neck feels like a dream and the perfect fret job allows you to set a low action with no fretbuzz. We love the 44mm nut and 17mm string spacing at the bridge. This bass plays incredibly easy.
The classic Musicman truss rod adjustment system is still one of the best ideas in the industry as you can adjust the neck with just about any tool that fits into the spokewheel. Cool! There are also modern appointments such as the new compensated nut that improves tuning at the first frets.
To sum up: a solid bass that will withstand the test of time and will give you many years of joy no matter whether you play Rock, Pop, Jazz, Funk or Punk.
Music Man Sterling 5 H Natural Ash (USA)