First introduced in 1976, the STINGRAY by Ernie Ball Music Man remains one of the most iconic bass guitars on the market and a favorite among influential players such as Tony Levin, Rage Against The Machine’s Tim Commerford, Dave Matthews Band’s Stefan Lessard and MxPx’s Mike Herrera, to name a few.
More than four decades after its arrival, critics still rave about the StingRay’s style, sound and innovation, but the team at Ernie Ball have always been determined to keep modernizing and optimizing. So how do you improve an instrument that world-class player Tony Levin calls his “go-to bass,” one that he’s played on countless albums and tours with Peter Gabriel and King Crimson, among many others?
If you’re Sterling Ball (CEO), Scott Ball (Vice President) and the award-winning engineering team at Ernie Ball Music Man, you raise the bar by digging deeper. The company has made game-changing revisions to this seminal instrument, reimagining the lighter-than-ever StingRay 4 and StingRay 5 with re-engineered aluminum hardware, refined body contours, 5-bolt sculpted neck joint, new and improved electronics and a newly designed 18-volt 3-Band preamp, providing a new level of playing comfort while retaining that legendary StingRay sound. In short, the StingRay’s been reborn as the new StingRay Special.
“To me, there’s no better piece of art than a beautifully designed and built musical instrument,” says Ernie Ball CEO Sterling Ball. “That’s what we’ve done with the new StingRay – it’s tailor-made for the most discerning players, a blend of stunning craftsmanship and well-executed technology.”
Featured revisions include an enhanced contour that is rounded for more comfort in any playing position, a sculpted neck joint for uninhibited upper fret access to all 22 stainless steel frets, and lightweight aluminum hardware providing a lighter, more balanced instrument. The new and improved StingRay electronics feature powerful neodymium magnets for higher output and a new 18-volt 3-Band preamp for extra clean headroom without clipping. Solid roadworthy construction, elegant oval pickguard, 3+1 tuning key configuration (SR4) / 4+1 tuning key configuration (SR5), and the ever popular Music Man humbucker, all together produce a look, feel and sound that is remarkably unmistakable. Click HERE for full list of 2018 product features and colors.
Street price starts at $1,999 for the Stingray 4 and $2,099 for the Stingray 5.
And what does Levin think about the new StingRay? Citing its lighter weight, new 18 volt 3-Band pre-amp, contoured body and 5-bolt neck, Levin calls it “the most versatile bass I know of.” “I love what the company has done with this bass,” he says. “They’ve gradually changed it through the years while keeping the things that made the original bass really special. They keep adding features in subtle ways and sometimes big ways that improve it without losing that special rock oomph that we all want to hear.”
“I’m able to do things on this bass that I’ve struggled with on other basses,” adds Stefan Lessard from the Dave Matthews Band. “It all comes down to feel and it’s hard for me to play any other bass right now because the necks on these new StingRays are exactly the way I’d imagine a perfect neck being. “It’s a sports car of a bass.”
For additional info, along with StingRay demos and discussions with Levin, Lessard, MxPx’s Mike Herrera and of course, Sterling Ball, click HERE.
ABOUT ERNIE BALL MUSIC MAN
Ernie Ball Music Man is a division of Ernie Ball that manufactures an extensive collection of guitars, and basses as well as signature instruments designed by world-class musicians. Originally founded in 1974, Music Man built its name leading an industry revolution and introducing active electronics on its production instruments. As part of the team during the 70’s, Ernie Ball CEO Sterling Ball played an important role in the design and development of the iconic Stingray basses. Officially purchasing the company in 1984, Sterling, joined later by his sons Scott and Brian, has built a team of dedicated professionals who collectively share a common goal: building the highest level of hand-crafted instruments available. Shipping to more than 135 countries from the Central Coast of California, the brand continues to expand its reach worldwide based on the strict quality standards, innovative design and the fine craftsmanship for which it’s known. Ernie Ball Music Man guitars and basses are made for musicians all over the world and have been played by some of music’s most influential musicians including John Petrucci, Steve Lukather, Annie Clark (St. Vincent), Steve Morse, Tim Commerford, Albert Lee, James Valentine, Mike Herrera and Jason Richardson.