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Thread: 2015 Music Man StingRay 4H compared to my StingRay Special

  1. #1

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    2015 Music Man StingRay 4H compared to my StingRay Special

    Hey everyone,

    I'm currently in the process of converting myself into a bass player and I've been slowly selling off my guitar gear to fund my bass gear.

    Currently I own a 2019 StingRay Special which I love. I'm currently looking at trading one of my guitars for a 2015 StingRay 4H. I was wondering how different these are compared to the Specials. I can see that the older StingRay has totally different hardware, different body contours, different pickups, has nickel frets instead of SS.

    If you have had experience with both would you recommend me owning both models? If they're not too different sonically then I might just look for another bass, a 2-band StingRay perhaps?

    I thought I'd start a thread while I keep researching myself. Thanks!

  2. #2

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    Ask that question of 10 players and you'll get 29 different answers

    I've owned both versions of the Ray you asked about, along with a Classic 2-band, and an "Old Smoothie (slightly different 2-band EQ)." Being that I don't like redundancy I decided to keep the Special (4HH) and sold the others.

    To me, the differences really depend on how you want the bass to sound, and your specific application.

    When playing my 2014 Ray with the controls all centered, I struggled getting rid of the harshness in the highs and the lows weren't to my liking much, so there was a lot of tweaking of things to get the tone I wanted.

    When playing the new Special in the same 'centered' position I am more than happy with the tone-- right from the start. Tweaking the controls from there simply makes me smile even more.

    Also, I've no problem getting the new Special to sound like the model it replaced, and it easily nails the sound of the other two Rays I mentioned (making them redundant).

    Now if you are looking for something to complement the Ray, find a Bongo to try out. I have had mine (4H) for the last few weeks and REALLY like what I'm hearing. One warning however, the Bongo tends to upset the easily excitable, which can be fun too
    Last edited by Monahan; 01-23-2021 at 06:07 PM. Reason: Clarity
    “Most of all, play with joy. Therein you'll find the Way.” ~Philip Toshio Sudo
    Stingray Special 4HH Aqua Sparkle (2018)
    Stingray Special 4HH Black (2019)
    Bongo 4H Firemist Purple (2018)

  3. #3

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    IIRC, the Special has a Sterling neck profile. If correct, then you may notice the std SR having a distinctly fatter neck.

    FWIW, I play stock versions of SR and Sterlings and difference in necks is no issue to me. I am not a speed player. Maybe the thinner Sterling neck is helpful to a speed player ?
    Last edited by Golem; 01-28-2021 at 03:35 PM.
    EB SUB SL4 - SR4p FL [x3]
    Early EB SR4 defretted
    SR4HH FL [Moses neck]
    SL4p FL [x2] - SL4HS FL
    SL4HS FL [Moses neck]
    SR5HS alnico - SR5p FL [x2]
    Bongo4Hp FL [x2]

    "Too many basses is never enuf"

    Golem is NOT engaging in social networks.

  4. #4

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    I’ve compared my 2000 EBMM Stingray 4H to a new Stingray Special and what I noticed most about the tone I felt was due to the 18 vs 9 volt preamp. The Special sounded smoother, fuller, but the “regular” Stingray had a better growl. To me, the difference is noticeable but not so much to justify both.

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