The new Music Man Classic StingRay's Got Me Thinking

Which classic bass would you like reissued?
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Which classic bass would you like reissued?

We just received Music Man's new classic StingRay basses; beautiful reissues of the original StingRay's that also combine a few modern updates. I was especially excited by the cool colors, string mutes, and the 5-string, which is more similar to the 4 than any previous StingRay.

What other classic basses are just dying for a similar treatment? Any much-loved vintage instruments that need a freshening up and release? My vote: the Guild Starfire. How about you?



Music Man Classic StingRay 4- & 5-string

IF A NON-BASS-PLAYING LAYPERSON were to look at the original 1976 Music Man StingRay and a single-humbucker-equipped 2010 ‘Ray 4-string, they’d struggle to notice any difference. Us bass geeks know better, though. The contemporary StingRay may look superficially similar to the original, but the changes are in fact numerous, ranging from subtle, like the updated headstock decal, to more substantial (no more string mutes or through-body stringing). Even though newer StingRays enjoy a fervent fan base, Music Man has long fielded requests to reissue a ’70s-era-style bass.

Retro-Rama: 1989 Ernie Ball Music Man Stingray 5

THE FIRST 5-STRING BASS GUITAR, the Fender Bass V, was introduced in 1965 and featured a high C string and only 15 frets. It was far from a commercial success, and the 5-string concept went into hibernation for quite a while. But by the early 1980s, keyboards, synth bass, and detuned guitars began to exert a strong influence on popular music. Faced with these new pressures and enabled by significant improvements in low-end sound reproduction, bassists soon began to extend their range downward with low B strings.


The Real World: David Salwitz.

Home base Seattle, WA Occupation Project Manager Gigs Indigo Soul (indie rock), the Grand Delusion (Styx tribute), Highway Run (Journey tribute) the About Face Band (classic rock) Basses Music Man StingRay 4, Music Man StingRay 5, Moog Taurus Bass Pedals

Music Man 25th Anniversary 5-string & Big Al

WITH LAURELS THE SIZE OF MUSIC MAN’S, it wouldn’t be surprising if the company chose to rest on them—but they don’t. The StingRay is in an elite club: basses that are so iconic, an entire segment of bass design revolves around them. Much of Music Man’s history revolved around capitalizing on the StingRay’s superb design formula, with evolutionary updates like the 5-string and Sterling models, which added sleeker body shapes and electronics, but were still clearly based on the ’Ray. This formula was successful, but then Music Man blew everyone away with its Bongo bass—a bold leap forward in both design and intent. After this, the engineering floodgates opened, with new pickups, woods, and electronics working their way into the Music Man lineup to great acclaim. Now, with the new 25th Anniversary and Big Al basses, Music Man reinforces its commitment to new designs that integrate the brand’s classic touches in innovative and compelling ways.

Dan Briggs of Between The Buried and Me

As far as when we’re writing, we approach every song differently, but it's always just starting somewhere and not knowing exactly where the song is gonna go. Someone might have a part pre-written that is some sort of down tempo, boom-chuck-type thing, or a piano thing, and we'll be like “oh, that's cool” and it'll spark ideas for how to get there and how to get out of it.