Ray – From Ugly Duckling To Power Bass

Some children are born beautiful, with perfectly round heads and chubby cheeks.  

Others are born scrawny and misshapen…and they don’t improve with age.  

These DR Black Beauties look pretty cool! I was too cheap to blackout all the bass hardware, but it would probably look sharp!

Ugly Baby

Ray is one of the latter. His birth wasn’t easy. He was born blue, then black, then stripped back to bare mahogany. It took Ray time to find himself and his own unique voice.  

But, after many months of soul searching, Ray has emerged as one of the most unique and tonally versatile instruments we’ve ever produced.  

What’s Your Color, Ray? 

Ray was blue once...now he more his natural self.
Ray was blue once…now he’s more his natural self.

Ray has a nice three-piece mahogany body and neck. We started out with a blue stain, but it didn’t look right. (The blue stain turned the darker wood an unpleasant shade of green.) So we opted for shiny automotive black. That didn’t quite work either, so we sanded the front back down to bare mahogany while leaving the back and sides black. Then we finished the front of the bass, and the back of the neck with tung oil. Ray may not win any beauty contests, but he’s got a stately gloss black and hardwood look. 

Nice Tuners, Dick!

Ray’s elephant ear tuners and small headstock remind us of Alfred E. Neuman!

Ray sports a set of standard 4-in-line tuners, but they’re a bit too big for Ray’s diminutive headstock. (They remind us a bit of Alfred E. Neuman‘s ears!) Also, the G-string tuner is reversed, so you need wind it in the opposite direction as other tuners. 

Toner Monster, Installer fail

Good news! I got an awesome active tone preamp from Guitar Fuel Tone Monster. In addition to a volume and balance knob, this wiring harness has active bass and tone knobs (stacked) and an active mid with sweepable EQ! This tone monster lives up to its name!

A Guitar Fuel Tone Monster Pre-amp...I kinda broke one of the knobs.
A Guitar Fuel Tone Monster Pre-amp…I kinda broke one of the knobs.

Tone Monster makes outstanding wiring upgrades for guitars, and this four-knob model is top-of-the-line. At least it was until I stripped the midrange knob. The knob still works, but it doesn’t stop at the min/max range…it keeps spinning The other five knobs on this bass all have center detents and work fine (except for the master volume). The sweep knob works fine too, but it takes some getting used to.  

Another thing that may take some adjustment…because of the tight space inside the control cavity, I needed to reverse the control plate. The controls run, from left to right, Tremble/Bass (stacked knob), Sweepable Mid (stacked knob), master volume, and pickup blend knob. I moved the pickup jack from the front control plate to a side jack. 

Ray Fails, You Win!

I wanted to sell this bass in the $300+ range, but don’t feel I can because of the wonky mid-range knob and a few minor nicks and scratches (from taking this bass apart and putting it together so many times over the last several months)! I’m knocking a significant percentage off the price of this bass simply because it didn’t turn out like I expected. But it still turned out pretty damn fine! My f**k-ups are your gain! Get your hands on a one-of-a-kind Stingray-style bass, and unleash sonic thunder!

A Player’s Bass

Our first time using DR Black Beauties. they look, sound, and feel great!
Our first time using DR Black Beauties!

Ray has a very fast, thin neck, similar in feel to a Fender Jazz Bass. Intonation is true up and down the neck . This bass plays and sounds amazing …the rest is up to you! 

We strung Ray up with Black Beauties from DR Strings, our first time using these coated handmade strings. They look sharp, feel good, and sound great! 

Listen to Ray in action!

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