Introduced in 1987, the StingRay 5 (SR5) was the first all-new Music Man bass designed and built in San Luis Obispo by the Ernie Ball team. The five-string's styling is based on the classic look of the Silhouette guitar. Advanced active electronics combine the best of the four-string StingRay along with innovations from Music Man designers, such as a ceramic humbucking pickup with a hum-cancelling "phantom" coil for noise reduction and three-way pickup selector for series and parallel combinations. The tuners are placed in a 4+1 configuration and the six-bolt on maple neck has a rosewood or maple fingerboard with 22 high-profile wide frets. The StingRay 5 is also available with an optional piezo bridge pickup, and as a lined or unlined fretless with a pao ferro fingerboard.
In 2005, the StingRay 5 was updated with two humbuckers or a bridge humbucker paired with a neck single coil pickup and a five-way pickup switching system. The single humbucker model continues to be in production as well.
In 2006, Music Man released a Limited Edition StingRay 5 featuring a five-bolt neck plate, no pickguard, string-through body, and an ebony fingerboard. The same year, MusicMan started using compensated nuts on all their bass and guitar models except the Classic series, after having used them for the Music Man Bongo since 2003.
In February 2008, Ernie Ball switched back to alnico pickups for their Sting Ray 5s, after having used ceramic pickups for this model since 1991. The alnico pickups, which are also found in their four-string counterparts, give the instrument a sound more like a StingRay 4.
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