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‘78 Musicman Stingray Bass pickup re-wind

Musicman Stingray bass pickup

The Musicman Stingray bass is for me one of the top 3 basses ever – the Precision, the Jazz and the Stingray cover pretty much everything between them. A big part of what makes the Stingray so good is the Musicman Stingray Bass pickup.

It has such a distinctive sound. Once you’re tuned into it you can hear it on so many recordings.

This pickup is from 1978 (they started in 1976) and was sent to me from a customer in Christchurch. I thought I’d show you around inside it – these are really interesting pickups.

Music Man Stingray bass pickup
‘78 Musicman Stingray Bass pickup

The Musicman Stingray Bass pickup is by the look of it a big fat humbucker but there’s more to it.

Description of the Musicman Stingray bass Pickup

The magnets are big alnicoV’s, 3/8” diameter and 5/8” deep so a lot of the power and grunt comes from them. The 2 coils are wound with awg 42 wire and are around 4KOhms each (they vary). The poles on each coil have opposite polarity and the coils are wired out of phase electrically so they act as a humbucker. The really interesting part is the coils are wired in parallel, not in series like most humbuckers.

The sound of 2 coils in parallel is the sound of a Jazz bass with both pickups on or a Strat on switch position 2 or 4. It’s a very distinctive, clear tone with a very clear midrange and chimney bass.

So the distinctive Stingray sound comprises of fairly low powered coils in parallel to give plenty of clarity but with exceptionally fat magnets to give bass and grunty mids.

I haven’t mentioned the active circuit the signal goes through yet but that’s another story.

Music Man Stingray bass pickup, cover off
‘78 Musicman Stingray Bass pickup

A look inside

As you can see, under the cover it looks very similar to ‘Fender’ pickups.

Music Man Stingray bass pickup
‘78 Musicman Stingray Bass pickup

One coil was open circuit so I cut the windings out. There was tape wrapped around the magnets to protect the coil. I left that in. I love the way they staggered the pole pieces but kept the magnets the same size.

Music Man Stingray bass pickup repair
pickup re-wind

The original winding wire is insulated with red poly. Unfortunately I only had Poly insulation in the natural colour – that’s my coil on the right.

Music Man Stingray bass pickup
MusicMan Stingray Pickup

And there she is, all ready to go back in to the bass.

If anyone has a faulty pickup just give me a call 021912678 or email

Take a look at my YouTube series “Mr Glyn Meets Your Maker” where I have chat with manufacturers of musical gear from around New Zealand

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