Ernie Ball makes some of the finest instruments I've ever played. The American-made products simply have no peer in their price range and frankly, often play, sound and look better than guitars costing twice as much.
I was already the proud owner of an Ernie Ball Music Man Cutlass 6-string, so when I found out that the StingRay Short Scale was available I didn't hesitate to pull the trigger.
While there are many things to love about this instrument, and I will discuss them, the first and foremost thing that attracts me to these guitars are the roasted maple neck with a satin finish on the back of the neck.
I have searched but there are no words to describe the feeling of this neck. I've owned more than 100 guitars in my lifetime, including some very rare and expensive guitars but none of them plays better than this one. That neck - there's just something about it. Your hand just seems to effortlessly float across it. It's smooth and fast and well, just incredibly easy (and fun) to play.
In my advanced years, I have been drawn to short scale basses because they are easier to play than a standard 34" bass. Some people feel that the short scale bass cannot match the ballsy, deep sound of a 34" bass but that's certainly not the case with the EB StingRay. The sound and tone are amazing.
The comfort factor is a big deal because the more comfortable you are playing, the longer you will play.
The ash body combined with that premium neck offer lots of sustain and punch from the passive neodymium bridge humbucker. There's plenty of dynamic tone available and everything you need is right there at your fingertips. Ernie Ball uses a 3-way rotary selector that gives you lots of choices and there's even a bass bost on the volume knob. Just pull it out when you need some extra horsepower.
The 5-bolt sculpted neck joint delivers stability and vibration transfer unsurpassed by classic designs.
Here are some basic specs:
Size: 12-3/8" wide, 1-5/8" thick, 40-7/8" long (31.4 cm wide, 4.1 cm thick, 103.8 cm long)
Body Wood: Ash
Body Finish: High gloss polyester
Bridge: Vintage Music Man top loaded chrome plated, steel bridge plate with vintage nickel plated steel saddles
Scale Length: 30" (76.2 cm)
Frets: 22 - High profile, wide stainless steel
Neck Width: 1-1/2" (38.1 mm) at the nut, 2-3/8" (60.3 cm) at the last fret
Neck Wood: Select Maple
Fret Markers: 5/16" Dot Inlay
Neck Finish: Gunstock oil and hand-rubbed special wax blend
Tuning Machines: Custom Music Man, lightweight with tapered string posts and ergonomic clover design
Truss Rod: Adjustable - no component or string removal
Neck Attachment: 5 bolt, sculpted neck joint
Electronic Shielding: Chrome plated aluminum control cover
Controls: Passive 500kohm push/push volume POT for gain boost, 100kohm tone POT - 0.1uf tone cap
Switching: 3-way rotary pickup selector
Pickups: Single Music Man humbucking pickup- neodymium magnets
There are two different colors available for this bass - Vintage Sunburst and Starry Night. I immediately was drawn to the Starry Night finish which is something EB reserves for its premier network. The sparkle burst finish is excellently applied and fascinating to look at.
I put flatwound strings on my bass just because that is my preference but it sounds good with round-wound (nickel) as well.
The intonation is great all the way up the neck and unlike my Fender short scale bass, the cutaway allows for fantastic access to the higher notes.
The tuners are solid. The action was good out of the box and it just plain sounds amazing.
The first run of these pretty much sold out across the USA in a matter of days but I hear more are coming.
Short scale basses are becoming more popular as we baby boomers with our arthritis need something a little more manageable. And at $2100, this might be a big leap for a new bass player but it's a great way to start on bass. The 30" scale makes everything more manageable.
I really feel lucky to have such a nice guitar collection and this bass will no doubt be my favorite for a long time. I will continue to add to my collection, but I seriously doubt that I will ever find a bass that I enjoy playing more than this one.