When Leo Fender sold Fender to CBS in the mid 1960’s, he signed a non competition agreement that kept him chomping at the bit to get back into the musical instrument business. For the next several years, he tinkered with his designs for guitars, basses and amps to continually work to improve them. As soon as the agreement expired in 1971, Leo officially launched Music Man, which was the vehicle he used throughout the 1970s, and although the Sabre guitar was not a success, the Music Man amp line became popular by endorsements from such stars as Eric Clapton, Johnny Winter and Robbie Robertson of The Band. Designed by Leo, Tom Walker and Sterling Ball (son of Ernie Ball) StingRay basses debuted in 1976 and became the company’s most notable hit. It has since emerged as another classic in the tradition of the Fender Precision and Jazz Basses.
With a proprietary active humbucking pickup design that retained the punch and clarity of the Jazz Bass but with greater depth, the StingRay became a must have bass for R&B and Funk, with such luminaries as Louis Johnson of the Brothers Johnson, Flea from The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Bernard Edwards of Chic. The StingRay’s versatility spread to rock, with John Deacon of Queen, Rick Wills of Foreigner, Benjamin Orr of The Cars, and studio luminaries like UK specialist Pino Palladino (with Gary Numan and Paul Young) and “American Idol” judge Randy Jackson.
With Music Man maintaining the StingRay bass into its 4th decade, all discriminating bassists owe it to themselves to try one.