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mateoloco

New member
Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Messages
3
I was all set on getting a used Stingray Special but these two recently caught my eye, both available used for similar prices within driving distance of me. I'm only been playing bass (or any instrument) for two months or so, so any info on what you like/dislike about these two basses, however basic, would be appreciated (and my wife wants me to tell you NOT to tell me to buy both).

I like the unique aesthetic and tonal versatility of the Big Al (and the narrower neck). Here's a pic of the one I'd be purchasing:
87974175_10158451405191742_1759497953409499136_n.jpeg
The only thing I don't love about the Big Al is that it's not a roasted maple neck, but those are really scarce (not a lot of Big Als get listed for sale, period).

Speaking of roasted maple necks, here's the Bongo 5 I found:
177795819_10159036035717432_4826599330346763440_n.jpeg

The seller didn't include a full pick of the back of the neck but here's what the headstock looks like:
177487794_10159036035712432_8527501366016985467_n.jpeg
Very nice birdseye maple. I guess this was a Guitar Center exclusive? The only other non-painted bongos are I think Ball Family Reserves (please correct me if I'm wrong).

I don't currently know how to play a five string but it doesn't come in a 4 string and a few months ago I didn't know how to play a 4 string. Anyway, rambling over, will be joining the Ernie Ball family very soon, any advice appreciated.
 

danny-79

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Joined
Feb 6, 2009
Messages
2,393
Location
England U.K
You won’t do much wrong with either.
The BA are quite rare and don’t come up for sale that often so when they do they tend to hold there value.

The Bongo you have pictured is a personal favourite of mine colour, configuration the works.

Two very different basses but you won’t go wrong with either.
Get both !
 

muggsy

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Joined
Nov 19, 2004
Messages
779
Location
Alexandria, VA
I would go for the Big Al, because EBMM stopped making them 5-6 years ago (before roasted maple necks were widely available), and as Danny said, they hold their value for that reason. Not just rarity, though, I have a Big Al SSS and love it. The Bongo is nice as well but there are plenty of Bongo HH basses out there (4 and 5 string) and EBMM is still in production. Unless the asking price is ridiculous, if you don't love the Big Al you can probably flip it for something else.
 

brash47

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Joined
Mar 25, 2018
Messages
187
I'm on the other end of the ship. I'd get the Bongo. The difference in the neck feel from the standard Bongos is very noticeable.

I have 3 Bongos....the exact one in your picture and it's one of my favorite basses of all time. The BFR cherry 5 string and the John Myung. All have unfinished necks.

I think you will find that the balance and body of the Bongo are great for very long sessions. It's one of the most COMFORTABLE basses I have as well.

When you get a chance to get a Bongo with the straight wood feel neck, I'd jump on it.

My local GC I stopped at this weekend actually has one of those brand new hanging up. From my past experience, they will drop that price significantly to sell it. It's the GC in Concord, CA.

Sent from my SM-N986U using Tapatalk
 

danny-79

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Joined
Feb 6, 2009
Messages
2,393
Location
England U.K
I really don’t like any finish on the back of the neck at all, even the oil and wax I use very sparingly but in the case of the Bongo I just put up with it cause the neck profile is perfect and more than makes up for it.

So basically any Bongo with an natural (none painted) neck finish is going to be high end and the BA is valuable as it’s rare plus the SSS configuration will give you tone options that no other bass in the back or foreseeable future catalogue will give you.

Decisions decisions!
 

mateoloco

New member
Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Messages
3
Well, the Big Al price I saw was an old COVID panic price and the seller has since raised it quite a bit, so it's out of my price range. And the Bongo seller inexplicably has completely ignored all messages and my offer even though I messaged him within hours of him putting it on sale. There are a few Barolo's on Reverb now and I've got an offer in on one, waiting to hear back. Otherwise I'll be getting a Stingray Special (a black 4HH or a white 4H). Thanks all for the feedback and I'll be sure to post whatever my new Ernie Ball Music Man bass is with lots of pics.
 
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