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The Music Man Stingray bass has been a hard-rocking, string-slapping, snapping, spanking, skanking favorite of players from rock, funk, ska, jazz, pop, and just about any other genre imaginable since it was first introduced 1976. Originally designed by a few former Fender craftsmen, including Leo Fender himself, the Stingray bore some similarities to the venerable Precision bass, but boasted some truly trendsetting innovations, including the distinction of being one of the first widely-produced bass guitars to feature active electronics, with a 9-volt battery powering the preamp, and a 2- or 3-band EQ, resulting in a powerful, easily adaptable tone. Early Stingrays also featured a humbucking dual-coil pickup, later complemented with piezo bridge pickups as well, and were easy to play, with a heavy satin finish on the back of the neck to facilitate fast runs up and down the fretboard. They were built to last, with a sturdy, 6-bolt neckplate, and were well-designed, with an easy-to-adjust truss rod, which did not require the removal of the neck for tweaking. The distinctive tone was matched with a very distinctive 3+1 tuning machine arrangement on the headstock and egg-shaped pickguard, so word caught on quickly with players of all stripes eager to learn more about the new powerhouse instrument, from funkmeisters Louis Johnson of The Brothers Johnson and Bernard Edwards of Chic, to rockers like Tom Hamilton of Aerosmith, Cliff Williams of AC/DC, and funk-rockers like the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s Flea, as well as John Deacon of Queen and Colin Greenwood of Radiohead. Legendary session player and ubiquitous fill-in Pino Paladino, who has worked with a wide variety of artists from The Who and Eric Clapton to Herbie Hancock, used his ’79 Fretless Stingray to great effect on numerous recordings by Gary Numan, Paul Young, Don Henley and a slew of others, to help define the sound of ‘80s pop and rock - if you can think of an ‘80s tune with fretless bass that wasn’t played by Jaco Pastorius, chances are good that it was Pino and his ’79 Fretless Stingray. Music Man introduced the Stingray 5, a 5-string beauty, in 1987, which helped establish the instrument’s popularity, and which remains a best-seller to this day. The current Stingray lineup includes the Classic 4-string model, with the distinctive headstock, pickguard and walloping tone, as well as the familiar skinny frets and nut, and the slightly wider neck that sets these beasts apart from the pack, loaded with a single passive Alnico humbucker and active 2-band EQ, for that old-school funky vibe. Other 4-string versions include models that are loaded with single or dual humbuckers, or a humbucking piezo bridge pickup for added tonal variety, or, for the truly adventurous, an unlined fretless model, with no frets or markings to detract from the beauty of the fretboard. The 5-string models come similarly equipped, with the Classic 5 model sporting the iconic egg-shaped pickguard, and the standard Stingray 5 boasting a redesigned pickguard and innovative electronics, including a unique 3-way switching system and a hum-canceling phantom coil, and all the legendary attention to craftsmanship, tone and playability that has made the Stingray a favorite for over 35 years. Now snap up a Music Man Stingray today and get your funk out!
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The StingRay armed with dual humbuckers.
The StingRay armed with dual humbuckers and an ultrafast Sterling neck.
The bass favored by top funk players.