Today we're taking a look at one of the world's most famous electric bass guitars, the MusicMan StingRay.


Introduced in 1976, the StingRay was the first ever bass to feature an on-board active EQ, revolutionising the tonal power of the instrument.

As MusicMan say: "The flagship of the MusicMan line, today's StingRay is the same as it was some forty years ago featuring a solid roadworthy construction, massive hardened steel bridge, elegant oval pickguard, 3+1 tuning key configuration, and the ever popular Music Man humbucker. All of which combined produce a look, feel and sound that are remarkably unmistakable."




Along with Fender's Precision and Jazz, the StingRay completes the trio of most popular and recognised professional basses around, and also by far the most copied! Whilst the Precision and Jazz are both passive basses, the StingRay's active circuitry requiring a 9V battery makes it appeal to players who want a higher output, more agressive and 'pokey' tone, which became predominant in popular music in the 1980s.




The StingRay usually features a solid ash or alder body, with a bolt-on maple neck and single humbucking pickup (however, there are various pickup options now available). The neck's are usually finished in satin, allowing the players' hand to glide freely, and indeed all MusicMan basses feels incredibly easy to play because of this.



Like the Precision, the StingRay is generally not a lightweight bass. If you're used to playing a slimmer bass like a Jazz, at first holding it may feel quite heavy and cumbersome with its large flat body and chunky neck. However, get it in a good position and start to play and it actually becomes very easy and manageable to play, with less need to dig into the strings due to the powerful output of the trademark large humbucking pickup.




The range of tones that can be coaxed from a standard StingRay with one humbucking pickup is extraordinary. From thick, rich thump to bright funky twang, the active humbucker and EQ can produce pretty much any tone you're after, but all with that trademark Stingray growl.




One of the best features of the StingRay is the design, and the quality of the components. However, the sting in the tail (thank you) is that all this doesn't come cheap. Current new Rays usually retail at around £1700, but it is well worth it. They have such a reliable, roadworthy build that they'll handle anything. If you own a StingRay, it's not a bass that will let you down (unless, of course, you're battery has run out!)