What’s up Gear Mortals, Trey Xavier here. On today’s edition of Gear Gods Quality Control, we’re going to be taking a look at the new 2018 Ernie Ball Music Man Stingray Special 5 Bass!
The Stingray is a bass that has a long and storied history, and like AC/DC, has maintained its status as a rock and roll icon by sticking to a tried-and-true formula and never changing, because if it ain’t broke, right? But even AC/DC has undergone some changes recently, and so too has the Stingray for the first time ever. In 2018, Axl Rose fronts AC/DC, and the Stingray bass is lighter, more contoured, and has a new roasted maple theme.
The model I’ve got in for review is this white, dual humbucker model, with an off-white pickguard and a rosewood fretboard, although if you’re like me and rosewood isn’t your jam, you can also get it with a maple or ebony fretboard. You can access the myriad of tonal expression via the combination of 3-band EQ and guitar-style 5-way pickup selector switch, and the flexibility is really kind of absurd. The new 18-volt preamp allows a cleaner and more dynamic expression with the increased headroom.
A small but really nice improvement is the tuner buttons – I had a Stingray many years ago with the old-style tuners that were just flat and they were not very friendly on the fingers. These are nicely tapered, rounded, and thicker in the middle, and are very comfortable to use. Like many of the changes made to the new model, it’s a quality-of-life kind of upgrade, because like I said before – the Stingray was already great, it just needed a little streamlining and some modern comforts.
The 2018 Stingray takes an already spectacular, classic design and gives it a modern touch without losing what made it great in the first place. This bass will get you just about any bass tone you might need, and even though it’s sort of aimed at rock players, it wouldn’t be out of place in any genre I can think of.
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