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Ernie Ball Music Man Stingray Bass
Designed by Fender, Walker and Sterling Ball (Sterling was a beta tester for the instrument), the StingRay bass appeared in 1976 and, though physically similar to a Fender Precision Bass, was a highly innovative instrument. It employed a "soapbar" humbucking pickup and an active pre-amp powered by a 9-volt battery. The early versions had 2-band EQ (i.e., bass and treble controls), and the range was later augmented by the addition of a 3 band EQ (bass, mid and treble) model, and then piezo pickups located in the bridge became an option with the 3-band model. The StingRay's 3-band equalization system made it possible to boost midrange frequencies as well as low and high. Along with its electronic improvements, the StingRay had physical attributes that set it apart from other Fender-inspired designs, such as a heavy satin finish on the back of the neck to allow players' hands to slide effortlessly up and down during play, a symmetrical egg-shaped pickguard and separate chromed "boomerang" control plate, and its distinctive "3+1" headstock (on which three tuning machines are situated on the top and one on the bottom) made it an instantly recognizable and distinguishable instrument.