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American Deluxe P Bass 5 String-Too difficult to play


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Well, I've had the American Deluxe Precision Bass V Ash (5-String) for nearly two months. I purchased it at West LA Music. It's a great looking and sounding bass, but I find it too damn hard to play.

 

The width of the neck is bigger than most 5 string basses. When I purchased it, I thought I could adjust to it, but man I've been having a difficult time getting used to it. I may return it, unless there's something I can do to get the strings a little closer together.

 

If this is impossible, I'm looking at the MusicMan Sting Ray 5. Is this their top of the line bass? I know the width of the neck is smaller, but what about the sound?

 

Any suggestions?

 

Thanks in advance.

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GO HERE

 

Yes. MusicMan StingRay, Sterling, and Bongo are considered the top of their line. Notice there is no Sterling 5; that's because the Sterling 4 is set apart form the Stingray 4 only by its electronics. They saved themselves some trouble and put the same electronics in the Stingray 5 from the get-go.

 

The SUB series is a great (in most opinions) mid-price bass.

 

My 0.02, though I'm not a 5-string owner, when I pick them up at music stores I find the MusicMan basses fit pretty well.

 

Rosewood vs Maple: The Never Ending Question. You'll have to try them out if you can play them side-by-side. Most will say that Maple is bright, Rosewood is more mellow. Bright and dark is also influenced by strings (flat vs round nickel vs round stainless), electronics (the whole signal chain from pickup to driver including EQ), and, ultimately, your technique. Search the forum, you'll have good day of reading on this subject.

- Matt W.
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One thing that sets the Sterling apart from the StingRay is the neck width. I bought a Sterling (4 string) b/c of my small hands and difficulty handling a larger neck.

 

Not sure of the Bongo neck specs. Check it out on the ernie ball web site-- they'll have width and stuff listed there.

 

Bongo is the new Ernie Ball love child -- made of basswood, so tis a bit lighter than their other two offerings. Look is futuristic -- anywhere from 'UFO' to 'toilet seat' depending on the eye of the beholder. But a lot of EBMM fanboys are killing themselves to get one.

 

SUBS, according to a rep on the EB web site, have the same electronics as their more expensive brothers. Pretty much they use crap wood (painted so no one will know but you) and cut a few other corners. But is is an American-Made bass that could be had for well under $1000 (about $700 IIRC).

 

So, if shopping for an EBMM in particular, consider the Bongo 5 and the SUB.

"Women and rhythm section first" -- JFP
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Sorry, had to find out for myself--

 

According to EB web site

BONGO 5 -- 1 3/4 in at nut, 2 13/16 at last fret

STINGRAY 5 -- 1 3/4 in at nut, 2 3/4 at last fret

 

According to FENDER site

Amer Deluxe Ash 5 -- 1 875/1000 at nut, width at last fret not listed

 

So for the fraction-challenged:

 

BONGO and STINGRAY begin at headstock a bit smaller than the Fender; the STINGRAY remains the smallest neck, a whole 1/16 inch less that BONGO at last fret

 

Somebody thank the math geek.

"Women and rhythm section first" -- JFP
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On the Stingray's, maple has a somewhat brighter sound with (IMO) a more instantaneous attack. Rosewood has a slightly darker character to it, a little more warm but not quite as snappy an attack. It's a very VERY subtle difference though...they both sound fantastic.

 

I have a Stingray5...it has long been my favorite bass. The MM's have this metallic "gank" to the upper-mids and highs, a lot of growl in the lower-mids, and a very solid fat bottom. It cuts through most mixes quite well. My first bass was a fairly convincing P-Bass clone (a Yamaha BB300)...there's no comparison between the the tone of the two. I like the MM much better, but that's merely my own opinion....YMMV. The neck of the MMSR5 is about perfect in my opinion. For me, it's as narrow as I can get and still do a variety of technique (fingerpick, slap, thumb-picking, etc.) without a lot of slop. The neck profile is much flatter than the typical P-Bass neck profile.

 

IMO though, the MM's don't deliver a very convincing P-bass tone...you can roll off the highs, but it's still got this MM "signature" growl to it. It's close enough for most things, but it doesn't have that P-bass "hollow mids" vibe to it. The Stingray5's and Sterling's (and I think the Bongo's as well) have a coil-tapping switch that let's you flip between the classic MM sound (fat bottom and lots of highs) to one of two more mid-rangey tones.

 

You might also want to take a look at the G&L L-2500 (American or Korean-made Tribute). You can get a VERY convincing P-bass tone out of those guys by bypassing the preamp, selecting the neck pickup, and rolling off some highs. Plus, there's a whole slew of other useable tones in that bass (pair that with your hands, and you've got some substantial versatility). The neck and string spacing on those is exactly the same as the MMSR5's, but the neck is more C-shaped like the typical P-bass neck. The Tribute's in particular can be had for a quite a good price, especially used!

 

HTH,

Dave

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

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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Hey guys,

 

Thanks you for the information. There's a lot of good stuff to go by.

 

Dave- funny you bring up the G&L L-2500. I owned one of those before buying the Precision, but the low B sounded terrible. I never liked it, which is why I purchased the Precision. The Precision is a great bass without a doubt, but the neck width is just a little too big for my liking. If it had the G&L neck, it would have been perfect (for my hands).

 

I don't mind getting more of a growl out of a bass, so the MM might be what I'm looking for. From your picture, is that a Sting Ray 5 hangin' on your wall?

 

bottle12am- thanks for the math!

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Hey...yes, that's the SR5 hanging on the wall. Here's a little better pic: http://www.ipass.net/davesisk/music/pics/MusicmanStingray5.JPG

 

Oh yeah...I think I may have sent you a few question about that L-2500 when it was on Ebay a while back! Not sure why you thought the B-string sounded terrible on that bass? You should have tried some different strings! It sounds good on mine...not quite as tight and punchy as the MMSR5, but it's definitely not flabby. Strings can be key...the MM's come stock with Ernie Ball Regular Slinkys, which are fairly high-tension strings.

 

Dave

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

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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A bit of trivia, while we're discussing Fenders, G&L, and Music Man--

 

After selling Fender to CBS, Leo Fender founded (or co-founded) Music Man and G&L ('George and Leo').

 

While the G&L's are continuations of what Fender started with his first company, the Stingray is different for a reason. At the time of development, Leo was losing his hearing. The punchy mids and piercing highs on the Stingrays was the result of Leo needing to 'hear' the instruments when doing quality control.

"Women and rhythm section first" -- JFP
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A few thoughts:

* With the wide neck, I think you'll find that the string-spacing on the Fender Am P-5 is very close to a P-4. By contrast, my Ibanez 6 has very narrow string-spacing. Good thing I have no interest in slapping!

 

* You may care to pay attention to where your thumb is. If (and I'm only saying if) your thumb is not typically resting on the center of the back of the neck, you are limiting your "reach". A lot of people rest their thumb on the side of the neck (where the low E/B is), even using their fretboard-hand thumb to mute notes. While workable on a 4, this is not reasonable on a wider neck.

 

* The only area I see the wider necks being a problem is if you play a lot of "riffs" with your fingers flat on the fretboard. There are some "grooves" I do that seem to require keeping fingers flat on the fretboard to get a nice smooth legatto sound; and it is definately harder on a wide-neck. Generally, though, having fingers flat on the fretboard is considered "bad"; fingers should be curved in general, with only the tips of the fingers touching the strings.

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PhilMan99 -

 

Thx for the info. What I find is that the strings are farther apart than those on a MM Sting Ray 5, making it a little difficult to play riffs. I do rest my thumb on the back of the neck. I didn't know 1/8th made that much of a difference.

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Originally posted by bottle12am:

A bit of trivia, while we're discussing Fenders, G&L, and Music Man--

 

After selling Fender to CBS, Leo Fender founded (or co-founded) Music Man and G&L ('George and Leo').

 

While the G&L's are continuations of what Fender started with his first company, the Stingray is different for a reason. At the time of development, Leo was losing his hearing. The punchy mids and piercing highs on the Stingrays was the result of Leo needing to 'hear' the instruments when doing quality control.

Leo Fender simply designed the Stingray for Music Man as a consultant. He never had a major stake in the company. Leo did co-found G&L with George Fullerton, hence George and Leo are the "G" and "L" in G&L.
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Originally posted by thanny XIII:

If you get the music man get the maple it is harder and therefore you cant scratch it up so bad.

I'm not so sure I understand what this means. Old rosewood 'boards look like old rosewood - a bit darker, a few nicks and dings, but still brown. Old maple 'boards get ugly - worn off lacquer, gray, ugly. Maple ages very nicely when it just sits and acquires patina, but it's quite different when it gets handled with dirty hands in dirty clubs playing dirty music.
- Matt W.
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MTD has a very cost effective 5 string in the Kingston and the Saratoga series. Check them out at Bass Central. I own 3: a Kingston 5 Fretless, a Kingston 5 fretted sunburst [beautiful!] and a Beast 5. Mike Tobias' asymmetrical neck is easy to play for a wide neck. I also prefer the wider 5 string spacing and the 35" scale. The longer scale makes the B string sound tighter.

 

MTD

Bass Central

"Music is a life sentence." - K. Parker

Rude Recording

Al_Rude@hotmail.com

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Originally posted by jrob:

Originally posted by bottle12am:

A bit of trivia, while we're discussing Fenders, G&L, and Music Man--

 

After selling Fender to CBS, Leo Fender founded (or co-founded) Music Man and G&L ('George and Leo').

 

While the G&L's are continuations of what Fender started with his first company, the Stingray is different for a reason. At the time of development, Leo was losing his hearing. The punchy mids and piercing highs on the Stingrays was the result of Leo needing to 'hear' the instruments when doing quality control.

Leo Fender simply designed the Stingray for Music Man as a consultant. He never had a major stake in the company. Leo did co-found G&L with George Fullerton, hence George and Leo are the "G" and "L" in G&L.
AFTER FURTHER REVIEW...

 

My bad. I stand corrected.

 

That being said, both George and Leo were involved in CLF Research, the company that made StingRays for MusicMan many moons ago. The preamp itself was designed by papa Leo.

 

In 1979 CLF parted ways with MM and soon George and Leo founded G&L.

"Women and rhythm section first" -- JFP
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In the bassplayer review of the bongo they mentioned that Tom Walker designed the elctronics for the stingray. So now I'm all confused.......meh...I guess we'll get the answers soon enough. I have to say though this is some cool info. At the dudepit they have a thread showing pictued of the first stingray proto's with reverse p style pickups! Interesting stuff.
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but maple has a brighter sound and won't get dirty if you wipe it off. Ebony is far better than either rosewood or maple because its hard and doesn't get messy, but I've never heard of it being used in a stingray.

I knew a girl that was into biamping,I sure do miss

her.-ButcherNburn

 

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Originally posted by ArwinH:

In the bassplayer review of the bongo they mentioned that Tom Walker designed the elctronics for the stingray. So now I'm all confused.......meh...I guess we'll get the answers soon enough.

The info I got was from the EB forum, in an interview with George Fullerton himself that was posted there by one of the EB higher-ups.

 

Could TW have done the design of something else in the signal chain, other than what Leo worked on? Or maybe did improvements (like the 3-band eq that is an option?)

"Women and rhythm section first" -- JFP
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It could be that he worked on the 3 band eq, or maybe the pickups. As i said the proto pictures show a reversep pickup. Maybe he did the final dualcoil? The fact the Fullerton also stated that Leo's true passion was in pickups and electronics in the link that 09...(em, maybe it was MattW :P ) posted makes this seem unlikely however.

 

Seems like a good topic to research.

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Thanks for the link to the Fullerton interview Matt W. Some good reading there, and I agree also that George should be in the Hall of Fame.

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I've tried out the American Deluxe P Bass 5 string and I actually liked it quite a bit. Great tone, versatile in terms of sounds, comfortable to play, nice look. I guess it boils down to what works in your hands. And coincidentally I've decided to part ways with my Musicman Stingray 5. Coincidences are weird!

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