Pre-EB & EB (Part 1)
Pre-EB Sting Ray, Pre-EB Sabre, Cutlass 1 & 11, EB Sting Ray,
EB Sabre 1984 - 1981 and 2013 - 2015.
STING RAY. June 1976 - March 1984 (End of Pre-EB).
June 1976 - First half 1977 (inclusive). "TM" logo appears exclusively.
"TM" appears after words "MUSIC MAN".
Date Oct 1976. (Courtesy R. Cebulski USA).
Closer view of a 1976 "TM" logo.
Rear view of a 1976 headstock.
Note "TM" appears after "MUSIC MAN".
Except for Cutlass Basses (below) rear decals are not used on Pre-EB Basses nor EB Basses till late 1987.
String retainers are located on the D & G strings. In rare cases these have not been attached nor have screw holes been pre-drilled. Obviously a quality control issue. Webmaster has observed two examples. Pre-EB instruments have 3 position dot markers past the 12th fret.
In relation to Ernie Ball instruments the retainers are located on the A & D strings. As opposed to the Pre-EB instruments, 4 dot markers are located past the 12th fret.
Circa second half 1977 (Introduction of Encircled "R" logo but "TM" not deleted). Either "TM " or Encircled "R" appears to first half of 1978 (inclusive).
Neck Date Sept 1977 (Courtesy Mike Mahalo in
"TM" is replaced with an encircled "R"
after MUSIC MAN.
Closer view of an encircled "R" from a 1977 neck.
Either the "TM" logo or the encircled "R" logo is used on Basses from second half of 1977 and into the first half of 1978. Thereafter, only the encircled "R" logo is used.
Circa second half 1978 - End of Pre-EB period. Encircled "R" logo appears exclusively.
April 1982 Neck (Courtesy Malcolm in UK).
From circa second half of 1978 the encircled "R" appears exclusively.
Early 1981 - Circa April 1982. Walnut plug on rear.
Neck 2 Feb 1981.
Neck 6 April 1982 (Courtesy Malcolm in UK).
A walnut plug is usually found on the rear of the headstock on 1981 necks and some 1982 necks up to April.
Late 1982 - End of Pre-EB period. Repositioning of logo.
Top pic shows the logo in its original position. Lower pic
shows the logo repositioned with a tilt towards
the lower edge of the headstock.
The new repositioning of the logo as from late 1982 applies to both the 4 bolt neck and 3 bolt neck.
Above top (Courtesy Mark Karlsberger in US) and below
depict 4 bolt headstocks.
The black plastic truss nut bearing on the initial 4 bolt necks is shorter than subsequent bearings which are noticably longer.
SABRE. Late 1978 - March 1984 (End of Pre-EB).
Late 1978 - End of Pre-EB period.
From a 1979 Sabre.
Closeup of patent numbers.
CUTLASS BASSES. 1983 - March 1984 (End of Pre-EB).
CUTLASS 1 (Sting Ray with a Graphite neck rather than Maple).
Initially appeared in the 1982 Music Man Catalogue as a Sting Ray with an alternative Graphite Carbon neck but was not specifically named as a Cutlass until 1983.
First version Logo early 1983
"Cutlass". Front, rear & rear decal.
Named "Cutlass" (not "Cutlass 1") and neck is manufactured by Modulus.
Second Version Logo 1983
"Cutlass 1". Front, rear & rear decal
(Courtesy Todd Fortier U.S.A.)
Now named "Cutlass1" and neck is manufactured by Music Man under license by Modulus.
CUTLASS 11 (Sabre with a Graphite neck rather than Maple).
Introduced at the Summer NAMM Show in Chicago (18-21 June 1983).
"Cutlass 11". Front and rear.
As with the "Cutlass 1", the "Cutlass 11" neck is manufactured by Music Man under licence by Modulus.
The rear decal is the same as the "Cutlass 1" decal above.
Ernie Ball Basses.
STING RAY 4. March 1984 - Current.
1984 to Circa mid 1985.
Neck date 16 April 1985 (body dated 1984).
A closer pic of the same type logo.
The first EB logo is the same as the the final year of the Pre-EB logo with no reference to "Ernie Ball".
Note that the string retainer is now on the A and D strings (previously D and G for Pre-EB Basses). Other features are 4 dot markers past the 12th fret (previously 3 for the Pre-EB) and a contoured body (previously slab for Pre-EB Sting Ray). Finally, "Made in USA" is deleted from the 4 bolt neck plate (previously stamped on the Pre-EB Basses) but some very early EB Basses may still use the Pre-EB neck plate.
Circa mid 1985 to Circa late 1987 Trans Logo.
Type 1 Circa mid 1985 - Circa late 1987.
Front and rear view of Bass B022041 dated June 1985.
As with the Pre-EB, no decal appears on the rear
of the headstock (Courtesy Todd Fortier).
Front and rear view of Bass 25830. Neck and
both dated Aug 1987 (Courtesy Hugo).
Front and rear view of Bass 26511. Date of birth
19 Nov 1987 (Courtesy Andreas).
Same as for Early 1984-1985 but:
1) The words “MUSIC MAN” are now lowered and the encircled “R” following “Music Man” moves to the mid position.
2) The words “MUSIC MAN” are now clear (as opposed to gold lettering on the Pre-EB and Early 1985 Logos).
3) The words “Ernie Ball” appear above “MUSIC MAN” and an encircled “R” follows also in the mid position (but inside the "L"). The "R" is smaller than the "R" following "MUSIC MAN".
4) Decals are NOT included on rear of headstocks. This is the case for both prefixed and un-prefixed serial-numbered Basses during this period.
5) Little man on right has the polo-neck deleted from his jumper.
Type 2 Circa late 1987.
Front and rear of Bass 26594. Date Of Birth 3 Dec 1987.
Neck date 19 Oct 1987. Body date 29 Sept 1987.
(Courtest “uncle tommy”).
Same as for Type 1
As from late 1987, decals are now included on rear of headstock for the first time ("MADE IN SAN LUIS CALIFORNIA, USA").
From 1976 to this point in time, decals have been absent from the rear of headstocks (except for the Pre-EB Cutlass Basses from 1983 - 1984).
Circa late 1987 to Circa early 1992.
1988 Bass. Serial B027084.
Above two pics. Bass serial 28305. 22 March 1989.
The headstock logo now becomes completely revised:
1) Encircled “R” after “Ernie Ball” moves to the lower position (outside the "L") and becomes the same size as the "R" after "Music Man".
2) Little men are shown from waist up only and are now positioned after the words “Ernie Ball”.
3) Little man on left now has his head upright (as opposed to the head being previously slanted).
4) The words "MUSIC MAN ” are now solid black.
5) The word “Bass” is now deleted from the previous “Sting Ray Bass”.
6) “Sting Ray” is followed by an encircled “R” in the lower position.
7) The encircled “R”
following “MUSIC MAN” is in the upper position.
This period logo can be found on 4 bolt necks from circa late 1987 up to 1991 (when the 4 bolt neck last appeared).
As the 6 bolt neck was introduced during the 2nd half of 1990, this logo can also be found on 6 bolt necks from the 2nd half of 1990 up to circa early 1992 (when the logo last appeared).
1989 Bass serial 28305. 4 bolt neck dated Feb 1989.
Bass serial 33221. 6 bolt neck dated 18 Dec
Circa 1990 - 2016.
2000 Bass (Courtesy “Aussie Mark”).
Same as for Circa late 1987 to circa early 1992 but:
Encircled "R" after "Music Man" now moved to lower position.
As well as
the previous logo (c. late 1987 - c. early 1992), this newer logo can also be found on 4 bolt necks from circa 1990 (present logo introduction date) up to 1991 (when the 4 bolt neck last
appeared) i.e. both logos ran concurrently on 4 bolt necks from 1990 to 1991.
As the 6 bolt neck was introduced during the 2nd half of 1990, this logo can also be found on the 6 bolt neck from the 2nd half of 1990. After the last appearance of the older logo in early 1992, the present logo has appeared exclusive on the 6 bolt Sting Ray neck to current date i.e both logos ran concurrently on the 6 bolt neck from its introduction to early 1992.
1990 four bolt neck.
1990 six bolt neck (Courtesy Todd Fortier).
Early 2016 - Current.
New rear decal introduced early 2016 replacing the older
"MADE IN SAN LUIS OBISPO CALIFORNIS, USA".
Above 2 pics. 2018 next generation light weight Sting
Ray "Special" displaying the current logo and the
newer 2016 rear decal introduced early 2016.
Same as for circa 1990 to 2016 logo
New rear decal. "CALIFORNIA HERITAGE SINCE 1974" replaces the older "MADE IN SAN LUIS OBISPO CALIFORNIA, USA" as from early 2016.
Some other Sting Rays.
40th Anniversary 2016 "Old Smoothie".
2016 40th Anniversary Bass "Old Smoothie".
Uses the original 1976 Pre-EB logo design on front (with "TM") and the new redesigned rear decal on the right . The string retainer is located on the D and G strings as per the Pre-EB Basses.
"Classic Collection" 2010 - Current.
Similar in design as the early EB Trans Logos from 1985 - 1988 (above). However, "MUSICMAN" is one word and coloured in gold where as, on the Trans Logo, "MUSIC MAN" is two words and clear with no colouring.
"Slo Special" July 2009 - Current.
Same Sting Ray logo as at 2019 but with the addition of "Slo Special". The neck is slimmer than the standard Sting Ray neck.
SABRE. March 1984 - 1991 & 2013 - 2015 .
A very early EB Sabre with Pre-EB Sabre logo and
Pre-EB serial number C004726. Neck 20 Mar 1984.
Body 30 May 1984. (Courtesy Francesco).
Initially a Pre-EB Sabre logo is used. A Pre-EB Sabre bridge is also used with its related C00xxxx
Note that the String retainer is now on the A and D strings as opposed to the Pre-EB D and G strings.
1984 to Circa Late 1987. Trans Logos.
Type 1 (1984)
C005523. Neck 19 Dec 1984. Body 26 July 1984.
(Courtesy Igor in Russia).
Same as the initial Pre-EB Sabre above but:
This logo has fewer patent numbers (underneath "MUSIC MAN") than the previous logo.
A Pre-EB Sabre bridge is used with its related C00xxxx serial.
Type 2 (1984 - 1985)
Neck 28 Feb 1985. Body 26 July 1984. Serial C005856.
(Courtesy Horst in Austria).
Sticker from C005856 packaging carton.
Same as Type 1 but:
Patent numbers are now deleted from underneath "MUSUC MAN".
Again, a Pre-EB Sabre bridge is also used with its related C00xxxx serial.
Type 3 (1985)
1985 Sabre. Serial unknown.
Same as Type 2 above but:
1) An encircled "R" replaces the previous "TM" after "MUSIC MAN" and moves to the mid position.
2) The words "MUSIC MAN" are now clear (as opposed to gold in Type 2 above).
Type 4 (Circa mid 1985 - Circa late 1987)
Front and rear of serial B023590. Neck date 8 Aug 1985.
Same as Type 3 but:
1) The words “MUSIC MAN” are now moved to the lower position.
2) The words “Ernie Ball” appear above “MUSIC MAN”.
3) An encircled “R” follows both “Ernie Ball” and “MUSIC MAN” in the mid position. The "R" following "Ernie Ball" is smaller than the "R" following "MUSIC MAN".
4) Little man on right has the polo-neck deleted from his jumper.
A note on the "C" & "B" preficed serials and unprefixed 5 digit serial numbers above:
From the start, early EB Sting Ray Basses use Pre-EB Sting Ray bridges (with related B0xxxxx serial numbers). Initially the EB Sabres use Pre-EB Sabre bridges (with related C00xxxx serial numbers) In late 1984 to early 1985, Sabres begin using the Pre-EB Sting Ray bridges. This explains the above Sabre serials having a "B" prefix. As from 1986, unprefixed five digit serials are used with the "B" serials. After 1988, only the unprefixed five digit serials are used.
Type 5 (Circa late 1987)
Late 1987. For the first time a rear decalis added
to the headstock (Courtesy "311fan"
Salt Lake City).
Same as Type 4 but:
Rear decal added to headstock "MADE IN SAN LUIS OBISPO CALIFORNIA, USA".
Circa late 1987 to Circa mid (or late) 1991.
Above 3 pics. Serial B027245. Neck 21 June
(Courtest Marco in Italy).
The headstock logo now
1) Encircled “R” after
“Ernie Ball” moves to the lower position and becomes the same size as the other "R"s on the logo.
2) Little men are shown only from waist up and are now positioned after the words “Ernie Ball”.
3) Little man on left now has his head upright (as opposed to being slanted previously).
4) “MUSICMAN” is now one word in solid black with an encircled “R” following in the lower position.
5) The word “Bass” is
now deleted from below the word "Sabre".
6) An encircled “R” now appears under the word "Sabre".
(Note that, from circa 1990, this period logo also applies to the 6 bolt capstan wheel truss rod neck due to its introduction in that year).
Circa mid (or late) 1991. Last logo & end of production.
May 1991. This logo appeared for a short time before
production of the Sabre ceased.
Same as the previous logo but:
The encircled "R" under the word "Sabre" is moved to the end of "Sabre".
2013 -2015 Re-introduction of the Sabre for a 2 year period. "Classic" Collection.
Classic Collection Sabre for 2 years only. 2013-2015.
Continued in Part 2: HERE
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