The Stingray is a not only a MusicMan classic but a classic of the bass community as a whole. Used by players such as Flea, Louis Johnson, John Deacon and Tony Levin, its sound has defined many albums and gigs with its punchy tone and playability making it a favourite amongst pros and weekend warriors alike. Whilst Neck Through is a newish innovation for the Stingray, it is an even newer idea for their five string model, (initially being offered on the four string versions) with this slim heeled fiver being unveiled earlier in the year to much interest from bass playing pundits.
With an Ash body, Maple through neck and Rosewood board, the Stingray 5 Through Neck shares some similar specs to its bolt on brother – a 34” scale length, 11’ neck radius, 22 frets and a single humbucking pickup with three band onboard active preamp. From the front it also looks the same with those tasty stinger body contours, pickguard and (in this case) matching headstock which sets the Sapphire black finish off a treat. Like most of the MusicMan range, there are a range of finishes and configurations if you want to tweak the look and specs of your bass some more. Flip over to the back and you can see the new slick ‘through neck’ design. Recessed and rounded, it follows the line of the horns for a smooth and unobtrusive look and feel.
Those who know the Stingray tone will instantly recognise that the through neck version has those slinky mids and bottom end gusto. The tonal differences more so lie in the slightly smoother/refined/darker sounds for want of a better description. It still has the Stingray punch but is perhaps ever so slightly less aggressive. With the single bucker model you get a range of tonal options thanks to the pickup mode switch and EQ. Sustain characteristics of through neck and bolt instruments on will be debated til the cows come home but I can definitely attest to the open, clear ring of this model with harmonics, open strings and vibrato, and overall this Neck Through 5 sounded balanced and clear.
Playing it in person is a treat with typical Stingray shape and feel all over the board. Slide up to the extended range (15th fret and beyond) and you’ll notice a smooth transition that’s great for soloing, fills and higher range chordal work. I also had the benefit of listening to some great players put it through its paces, and it definitely nails the Stinger 5 tone with a little added twist.
Hits and Misses
Different tones compared to the standard bolt on
Pricier than the bolt on