Newly unveiled for 2018 is the StingRay Special, a new line of Music Man StingRay basses that will challenge the conceptions of the StingRay’s place in music, as well as bring it to the next level. The Special started when the Ball Family began a journey back to the roots of the iconic StingRay Bass, and brought all they learned forward into the future.

Over the last 40+ years of the bass’s existence it has been a foothold for bassists everywhere that seek the punch of an active electronics system that is also housed in a comfortable and attractive body style. Staying true to EBMM’s tradition of constantly challenging the status quo and pushing the envelope is always our goal, so we decided it was time to take a look at the StingRay and see how much further we could take the design. Check out our video with EBMM CEO and lead designer Sterling Ball describe some of the upgrades available with the StingRay Special:


One of the biggest and perhaps most under-the-radar improvements bestowed on the StingRay Special is the transition from a traditional 9-volt preamp to an 18V system. The 18V preamp provides a significant boost to the user’s ability to control the voice of the instrument, offering both a newly voiced electronics system as well as the extra power to provide more (or less!) EQ boost if needed.


What exactly makes this preamp so special, you might ask? Essentially, the preamp provides the bassist more headroom. Often times the term “headroom” is bandied about by fancy gearheads, and everyone is expected to know exactly what that means implicitly, but what exactly does the term “headroom” entail? Really what it refers to is the threshold of how much electricity an instrument or amp can utilize without any loss of clarity or tone. Not having enough headroom can stunt the overall volume available to the player, and also limit the control you have over the tone available to you, while also providing unwanted distortion. Rest assured that the StingRay Special always has more power on tap.


Besides the addition of an extra battery, the preamp has been revoiced to update the timbre and and tonal disposition of the StingRay. While the preamp has been changed, we didn’t throw everything away and start from scratch. The importance of honoring the craftsmanship, ingenuity, and legacy of Leo Fender is always paramount to the StingRay bass. Bearing that in mind we decided not to tamper with what made people love the StingRay in the first place, so don’t worry about losing any of the classic tones that were made famous by bass greats such as Louis Johnson, John Deacon, Bernard Edwards, Tony Levin, Cliff Williams, and of course the great Rick James (as well as Rick’s bassist Oscar Alston.)

CHICAGO, IL – FEBRUARY 28: Rick James at the Uptown Theater on February 28, 1980 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Paul Natkin/WireImage)

Let’s not forget that the preamp is one of only many refinements that have been made to the StingRay Special series of basses. Coming up in this StingRay Special Spotlight blog series we’ll go over the adjustments made to the body, hardware, ergonomics, pickups, and much more. There is far more to this bass than meets the eye! For a detailed look at the range of colors and configurations for the StingRay Special, and where to buy them, take a look at the product page.

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 updates to the body and neck, the proprietary new hardware, and the new pickups!

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