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MusicMan pickups...how do they work?


Gruuve

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Hey folks:

 

This may be a silly question, but in the 10 years or so I've been playing bass, I've never actually known the answer to this question.

 

I've a got an Erie Ball MusicMan Stingray5. I really like how it sounds, and the pickups are key to that. I've found that I get a finger-pick tone that I really like with the switch in the far right position, and a slap tone that I like with the switch in the far right position (I hardly ever use the mid-postion). I generally run the on-board EQ with the lows cranked all the way up, the mid and high flat. (I like gobs and gobs of low-end but still some mids for growl and highs for the "hi-fi" ness of my bass tone).

 

Anyway, I think of the switch positions as bridge, neck, and combination, but I don't think that's actually correct (I there's only one pickup, although I believe it has multiple coils). Can anyone explain to me how it's actually constructed, what the switch actually does, and why?

 

I guess I already know the most important part...how to get the tone that I want out of them, but it would still be nice to understand why it actually works.

 

TIA!

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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Originally posted by Jimbroni:

After you change your strings try the middle for a killer slap tone. ;) Unless you like that Les Claypool honk to your slap sound.

Really? Hmmm, I kinda like the third (parallel) position for slap.

 

Different strokes for different folks?

Steve Force,

Durham, North Carolina

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You know what I my Musicman has two G&L humbuckers. I think they're a bit hotter. The Bridge position in parallel is nice, but the mid position with a real second coil not a phantom coil is round and fat. Also, I have the ability to switch between series and parallel independently of pickup position. So you guys with a real stringray with only one pickup are definetly more qualified than mwah and my Musicman frankenbass.

Together all sing their different songs in union - the Uni-verse.

My Current Project

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Originally posted by II Cliff Burton II:

The musicman looks like a cool bass...I need to go check one out...

Good idea!

 

I own two:

 

1. 1975(?) (Leo Fender-era) Stingray 4 fretless string (active, one of the first).

 

2. 2003 Ernie Ball Musicman Stingray 5 fretted (natural finish, maple)

 

Really dig both of them!

Steve Force,

Durham, North Carolina

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My Professional Websites

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Originally posted by II Cliff Burton II:

The musicman looks like a cool bass...I need to go check one out...

I totally agree. I bought this bass ?? years ago, right after the 5-string shootout review in Bass Player (I don't remember what year, but it must've been 1994, 1995, 1996?). If I remember correctly, BP rated this guy as one of the all-around best basses made by mass-production means. It rated it better than some of the hand-made basses costing 2-3X as much.

 

Ratings are of course only one part of the puzzle. I tried all the 5 strings that BP rated well...an Alembic, a certain Fender model, a Modulus Graphite, one of the hand-made basses by a company in Greensboro, NC (can't recall the name...sorry!)...I actually liked how the Fender played better (the string spacing was exactly the same as a 4-string), but I liked everything else better about the Stringray (the string spacing is just a tad under that of a 4-string...I was able to adapt), so I bought it. I actually couldn't find a 5-string MM locally, but I tried out a 4-string MM and I really liked how it sounded, so I took a chance and ordered a 5-string. I've been very happy with that decision. I've never been able to justify adding another bass...I feel like the Stringray does every kind of music I've done well. The only drawbacks I can think of are:

 

1) The slightly closer string spacing (like 1/32" - 1/16" or so closer than on a typical 4 string) occasionally still makes me miss a string while slapping/popping. It happened a lot at first...now it's so seldom that it hardly ever happens...but on a normal 4-string spacing, I don't think I ever missed a string while S&P'ing. That 1/16" seems to make a big difference in me getting my finger underneath the string.

 

2) It's heavy...I think it weighs around 10 lbs or so...that'll make the shoulder hurt after a while!

 

The only other basses that I've always had an interest in are the Fender 5-string I mentioned above (sorry, can't remember the model...perhaps I'll try to dig up that old BP review), one of the 5 string Warwick basses (I think it was the Fortess? It had passive pickups, but they almost sounded active), and I've always wanted to try out one of the Steinbergers that has a more conventional body (not the renowned "broom" model, although that might be interesting too).

 

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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I play an american Jazz right now, early 90s model, that I absolutely adore. I bought it used for around 750 bucks. Actually I traded a Fender Highway Strat for it...I'm still feelin that one but my duties now are completely bass.

Anyhow I think I'm gonna go to GC and play a stingray 5. I've been thinking of adding that 5th.

I've played nothing but 4 string bass for about 9 years.

Maybe the smaller spacing will help me adapt to the 5th string? I hardly S&P. Only when I'm on the Jazz and we're playin funk, and its not every bar.

Anyhow here's the end to the rambling post.

Cheers

"The world will still be turning when you've gone." - Black Sabbath

 

Band site: www.finespunmusic.com

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Originally posted by II Cliff Burton II:

Anyhow I think I'm gonna go to GC and play a stingray 5.

Cliff, if you're near Jersey at all, and you're serious about a Stingray, check out NJ Guiatar and Bass Center . They're big time Musicman dealers. I've bought 3 Stringrays from them. In fact, a guy I know who works at a Guitar Center preferred going through them as opposed to the store he worked at.

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