Each week we take a closer look at one of each of the things that makes the StingRay Special so, well…Special. Last week I looked at the new hardware and this week we’re going to finish off the Spotlight series by focusing on the figured roasted maple neck as well as the new ergonomic considerations applied throughout the body.
One of the first changes that may not be obvious yet is still radical is the inclusion of Ernie Ball Music Man’s unique 5 bolt sculpted neck joint design. For years we’ve stayed true to the rectangular 6-bolt neck joint, but for this edition we decided to incorporate the 5-bolt pattern as seen on many other bolt-on EBMM guitars and basses. The EBMM neck joint is finely sculpted to maximize the ergonomic access to the upper fret register, or simply, much more fluid feeling and smoother transitions up and down the neck.
Moving on down to the body longtime StingRay players may notice the new curves and bevels on the Special. Seeing the Special as a good chance to see what the modern age can provide for the StingRay platform the new ergonomic cuts for the abdomen and arm provide a modest weight savings and make the bass lay favorably against the body for a more natural feel when playing.
One other thing about the body, we’ve made many efforts to cut down on weight but our choice of wood has become one of the biggest keys to weight reduction. Now when all Ash body wood is sorted into blanks for basses we weigh each piece after being milled, routed, painted, and assembled into a StingRay Special. Not only does the body have new reliefs and lighter wood selection, but the Special is a host to a plethora of handsome new finishes like Charging Green and Dropped Copper.
Finally, the roasted maple neck. Lately roasted maple has been a big feature for stringed instruments, and for good reason. The roasting process for our necks is a carefully calculated method of heating the necks up for the proper time at the proper temperatures to get the resins of the wood to melt away. This in turn allows for even distribution of the wood’s inherent resources, but the process also causes a hardening and insulating effect with the wood itself. This in turn causes the necks to achieve a super smooth feel after sanding and finishing, bringing out layers of visual depth from the wood. This also protects and maintains the integrity of the neck wood for a great deal of time.
Well there you have it, the StingRay Special in all its glory. From the deep dive into the electronics to the world of woodworking we’ve looked over every inch of the StingRay Special to see what makes it tick, be sure to grab one before they’re all gone!
Be sure to check out all the other entries into the StingRay Special Spotlight series of blog posts on the Music Man blog. You can find out more about the hardware used for the Special, the new pickups, and the new preamp!