MUSICMANBASS.GLOBAL
MUSICMANBASS.GLOBAL 

Formerly MUSICMANBASS.ORG

NECK PLATES Pre-EB 

& EB BASSES
Pre-EB Sting Ray, Pre-EB Sabre, SR4, SR5, Classic Collection SR4&5, EB Sabre,
Classic Collection Sabre, Sterling 4&5, American BUBs.

Pre-EB Basses

STING RAY June 1976 - March 1984 (End of Pre-EB).

June 1976 - Circa late 1978.

1977. 3 bolt neck plate. Courtesy of Nicola (Italy).

From 1976 to circa late 1978 the Sting Ray Bass has a 3 bolt neck plate displaying a six digit serial number prefixed with the letter "B". However, see the rare example below where an "8" appears rather than a "B" (a mis-stamping).

Note the "Micro-Tilt" adjustment hole below the neck bolt at the bottom of the plate. The Micro-Tilt is mechanical shim to adjust the neck angle which, in turn, allows for sufficient up-down string saddle height adjustment. See the site index above for the "1978 Hangtag Manual" page which describes the shim in more detail. A 3/32 inch hex wrench (allen key) is needed for the adjustment. The Micro-Tilt adjustment is a feature of the 3 bolt neck only (not 4 bolt necks).

A very rare 1977 neck plate where the serial
is prefixed with an "8"rather than
the normal "B" prefix.

Circa late 1978 - 1983.

A 1979 3 bolt neck plate with serial number
deleted and moved to the bridge. 

A 3 bolt neck dated 6 Apl 1982. Note the round 
Micro-Tilt bearing beneath the neck date.

A 3 bolt neck pocket on a body dated 23 June 1983. Note the
Micro-Tilt adjustment at the rear of the pocket.

From circa late 1978 the serial number was removed from the neck plate and relocated to the bridge between the saddles and end of the bridge. At the same time the bridge was re-designed to prevent the strings from wrapping around the intonation screws. See "Bridges Pre-EB & EB" page. However, the Micro-Tilt adjustment is retained. The serial number system also remains the same with six digits prefixed with a "B". For the remainder of the Pre-EB period, serial numbers are located on the bridge.

The same 3 bolt plate is used on some Cutlass 1 Basses (Sting Ray with a Graphite neck) produced 1983-84.

Second half 1982 - End of Pre-EB Period.

A 4 bolt neck plate from a 1982 Bass. As well as
the logo, note the inclusion of
"MADE IN U.S.A."

The 4 bolt neck was introduced during the during the second half of 1982 although the 3 bolt neck was still in use. Either neck is used on Basses from circa late 1982 into 1983 before the 4 bolt neck is used exclusively.

Note that the 3 bolt micro-tilt adjustment is not included on the 4 bolt neck. The MM logo and "MADE IN U.S.A." are included on the plate. As above, the serial number remains on the bridged.

 The same 4 bolt plate is used on the Cutlass 1 Basses (Sting Ray with a Graphite neck) produced 1983-84.

Circa 1982. B021396. 4 Bolt neck with strings-through-body
bridge.
Courtesy of Nicola (Italy).

Generally, the 3 bolt neck plate is associated with the strings-through-body bridge and the 4 bolt neck plate with the top-load bridge. HOWEVER, instruments with a 4 bolt neck and strings-through-body bridge combination can be found.

SABRE End of 1978 - March 1984 (End of Pre-EB).

End of 1978 - 1983.

1979. 3 bolt Sabre neck plate.

Same as for the Sting Ray from circa late 1978. The six digit serial is prefixed with a "C" and located on the bridge. It has never been displayed on the neck plate. Like the Sting Ray it has a "Micro-Tilt" mechanical shim adjustment.

Second half 1982 - End of Pre-EB Period.

1983. 4 bolt Sabre neck plate.

Same as for the Sting Ray from the second half of 1982. Note that the 3 bolt micro-tilt adjustment is not included on the 4 bolt neck. As with the Sting Ray, the MM logo and "MADE IN USA" are included on the plate. As above, the serial number remains on the bridged.
 
The same plate is used on the Cutlass 11 Basses (Sabre with a Graphite neck) produced 1983-83.

ERNIE BALL BASSES

STING RAY 4 (March 1984 - Current).

1984 - Circa 1991.

Note the deletion of "MADE IN USA" as found
on the Pre-EB Sting Ray plate.

Although "MADE IN USA" is deleted from the Ernie Ball  4 bolt plates, some very early Sting Ray Basses still have this feature as old Pre-EB plates have been utilized.

The 4 bolt neck is associated with a bullet truss rod which is adjustable at the head stock. Although the 6 bolt neck was introduced in the 2nd half of 1990 (with it's associated truss capstan wheel adjusted at the neck heel), examples of the 4 bolt neck extend into 1991. Note that the 6 bolt Bass neck was first featured on the SR5 with it's introduction in 1987. It took a further 3 year before being featured on the SR4.

As well as using old stock Pre-EB bridges, Ernie Ball also manufactured their own bridges which are almost identical. These latter bridges feature unprefixed 5 digit serials.

Consequently, from 1984 to 1988, serials consist of:

*6 digits prefixed with a "B" (featured on old Pre-EB bridges now being used) and
*5 digit unprefixed serials (featured on the new EB bridge).

After 1988, the new EB bridge was used exclusively and the old Pre-EB "B" serials ceased to exist.

In all cases, serials are located on the bridge.

2nd half of 1990 to 1998.

6 bolt neck plate introduced 2nd half of 1990.

The 6 bolt neck features a capstan wheel truss adjustment at the neck heel. The capstan wheel was not a feature of 4 bolt necks. Nor was the bullet truss rod a feature of the 6 bolt neck.

Although the 6 bolt was introduced in the 2nd half of 1990, examples of the 4 bolt neck (and it's associated bullet truss nut) extend into 1991. Note that the 6 bolt Bass neck was first featured much earlier on the SR5 with it's release in 1987.

In 1996, during the currency of the 6 bolt plate, prefixed 5 digit serial numbers were introduced. Serials with the prefix "A" were featuted on the 20th Anniversary Bass.

For standard Basses, "B" and "D" prefixes followed. Left handed Basses (introduced in 1996) are prefixed with an "L".

To confuse matters, the "B" prefix resulted in serial numbers which, at first glance, appear like the old Pre-EB serials. The difference is the absence of one digit.

All "A", "B", "D" and "L" serials remain located on the bridge.

All Sting Ray 4 serial numbers, to this point in time, are shared with serials for the Sterling Bass (from 1993 to the end of 1997) and the Sabre Bass (from 1985 to 1991). However, serials are not duplicated for each model type.

1998 - 2016 (The "E" prefixed serials).

The 6 bolt plate now with a new logo redesign
and serial number inclusion.

The serial moves from the bridge to the neck plate and is prefixed with an "E" (and "L" for left handed Basses). A new plate logo is included and is the same as for the 6 bolt plate introduced on the SR5 at the same time (see below).

Note that some Basses, with the "D" serial on the bridge (along with the older plate), extend into 1998.

Neck plate from a left-handed Bass. Although prefixed
with an "L", some left-handed Basses have
been observed with the normal
"E" prefixed serial.

Sting Ray 4 "E" and "L" (left handed) serials (from 1998 to 2016) are shared with the SR5 "E" and "L" serials (from 1998 to 2016). However, they are not duplicated. A serial allocated to a Sting Ray 4 will not be duplicated on a SR5.

A 2004 SR4 Limited Edition 'Envy Green'.

Above is an example of plates used for various limited edition Basses.

2016 - 2018 (The "C" prefixed serials)

Neck plate from 2016 "Old Smoothie" 40th Anni Bass with

serial prefixed with a "C".

From early 2016 the "E" prefixed five digit serial is replaced with a "C" prefix. The above "Old Smoothie" plate has the new "C" prefix. As these Basses were being built at the time as the prefix change, some "Old Smoothie Basses have the old "E" prefix.

Note also that, although an "Old Smoothie" plate is used in the example above, regular Sting Rays built from this time on also  have the new "C" prefixed five digit serials.


With the introduction of the Sting Ray 4 & 5 "Special" Basses and their serials prefixed with an "F" (directly below), the "C" prefixed serial for regular Sting Rays (only) is suspended as the regular Sting Ray production ceases. It's presumed that if, and when, production recommences the "C" serial will continue being used.

Note that the "Classic Collection" SR4 & SR5 (with their "B" prefixed serials) and the SR4 "Old Smoothie" (with its "C" prefixed serial) remain in production.

2018 - Current (The "F" prefixed serials) New Special light weight SR4.

The SR4 Special neck plate with 5 bolts and a five digit
serial prefixed with an "F".

Neck plates are either chrome or black with matching bridges depending on color scheme. With the introduction of the Sting Ray Special, production of the regular Sting Rays cease.

STING RAY 5 (1987 - Current).

1987 - Circa 1990.

SR5 plates from 1987 to circa 1990 have no markings. The 6 bolt neck and truss wheel at the neck heel was a feature of the SR5 with it's release in 1987. SR5's have never featured a 4 bolt neck.

The 6 bolt neck (and plate) was not a feature of the SR4 until three years latter (2nd half 1990).

Serials are located on the bridge and consist of an unprefixed 5 digit number commencing with a "5" (eg 50101).

Circa 1990 - 1998.

Same as for the early 6 bolt neck plates
featured on the SR4.

Same design as for the early SR4 six bolt neck plate introduced on the SR4 during the 2nd half of 1990. It's assumed that the above six bolt SR5 plate was introduced on the SR5 at the same time as the SR4 plate.

Serials remain located on the bridge and consist of an unprefixed 5 digit number commencing with a "5" (as noted above). However, with the introduction of the left handed Basses in 1996 the serial was prefixed with an "L" (and also located on the bridge). Otherwise, the five digit serial remained unprefixed.

1998 - 2016 (The "E" prefixed serials).

Same as the neck plate introduced for the
SR4 in 1998.

The same design plate as for the SR4 also introduced in 1998. The serial moves from the bridge and is relocated to the neck plate. As with the SR4 the serial is now prefixed with an "E". The pre-existing "L" prefixed serials for left handed Basses also move to the bridge.

Sting Ray 5 "E" and "L" (left handed) serials (from 1998 to 2016) are shared with the SR4 "E" and "L" serials (from 1998 to 2016). However, they are not duplicated. A serial allocated to a Sting Ray 5 will not be duplicated on a SR4.

A 2004 SR5 Limited Edition 'Radiance Red'.

Above is an example of plates used for various limited edition Basses.

2016 - 2018 (The "C" prefixed serials).

As with the SR4 (above), from early 2016 the "E" prefixed five digit serial is replaced with a "C" prefix. See above for an example of the SR4 plate ("Old Smoothie") with the "C" prefixed serial.

However, with the introduction of the Sting Ray 4 & 5 "Special" Basses and their serials prefixed with an "F" (directly below), the "C" prefixed serial for regular Sting Rays (only) is suspended as the regular Sting Ray production ceases. It's presumed that if, and when, production recommences the "C" serial will continue being used.

Note that the "Classic Collection" SR4 & SR5 (with their "B" prefixed serials) and the SR4 "Old Smoothie" (with its "C" prefixed serial) remain in production.

2018 - Current (The "F" prefixed serials) New Special light weight SR5.

The SR5 Special neck plate with 5 bolts and a five digit
serial prefixed with an "F".

Neck plates are either chrome or black with matching bridges depending on color scheme. With the introduction of the Sting Ray Special, production of the regular Sting Rays cease.

CLASSIC COLLECTION SR4 & SR5 (2010 - Current).

From a 2011 Classic Collection SR4.

The Classic Collection SR4 and SR5 both share the same plate. The serials have 6 digits prefixed with a "B" and are located on the bridge.

SABRE (March 1984 - 1991).

1984 - Circa 1st half 1990.

4 bolt neck plate from a 1987 Sabre.

Same as for the 4 bolt EB Sting Ray. Note the deletion of "MADE IN USA" which appears on Pre-EB 4 bolt plates. However some early EB Sabres used old Pre-EB 4 bolt plates and, as a consequence "MADE IN USA" may appear on some early EB instruments.

Because of the 4 bolt neck, relief is adjusted with a bullet truss nut at the headstock.


Unprefixed 5 digit serial numbers are located on the bridge. Serials are shared with the SR4 five digit serials up to 1991 but are not duplicated.

Circa 2nd half 1990 -1991.

A 6 bolt neck plate from a 1991 Sabre. Same as
for the 6 bolt SR4 and SR5 prior to 1998.

The 6 bolt neck was introduced on the Sabre at the same time it was introduced on the SR4. Consequently relief is adjusted with the truss wheel at the neck heel.

The five digit serials remain on the bridge.

CLASSIC COLLECTION SABRE (2013 - 2015).

From a 2011 Classic Collection SR4.

The Classic Collection SR4 and Classic Collection Sabre both share the same plate. As with the Classic Collection SR4 & SR5 the serials have 6 digits prefixed with a "B" and are located on the bridge.

STERLING 4 (1993 - Current).

1993 - 1998.

1995 Sterling 5 bolt recessed neck plate.

The stamped logo design is the same as for the 6 bolt Sting Ray and SR5 plates up to 1998 (above). Note that the Sterling is a 5 bolt neck.

During this period the serials are located on the bridge. As with the SR4 the 5 digit serials are unprefixed up to 1996. Likewise, in 1996 and 1997 they become prefixed with a "B" and then a "D" which coincides with the new down-sized bridge.

All Sterling serial numbers, to this point in time, are shared with serials for the SR4 (from 1993 to the end of 1997). However, serials are not duplicated for each model type. They are not shared from 1998 as the Sterling serials become prefixed with an "F" and the Sting Ray serials become prefixed with an "E" (see below).

Above two pics showing recessed neck plate.

From 1993 neck plates were recessed into the body. The feature was deleted circa 2000.

1998 - Current.

New neck plate logo with "F" prefixed serial number.

In keeping with other models, a new logo design was added to the plate in 1998. Also the serial number relocated from the bridge to the plate and is prefixed with an "F" (not an "E" as was the case for the SR4 and SR5 in 1998). Left handed Basses are prefixed with an "L".

STERLING 5 (2008 - Current).

To follow.

AMERICAN SUB (2003 - 2006).

SUB4 & SUB5 2003 - 2006.

2003 SUB4 neck plate.

The SUB 4&5 are the same and similar in design to the Sting Ray 6 bolt neck plates prior to 1998. Five digit serials are prefixed with a "X" and attached with a sticker to the rear of the headstock.

SUB STERLING 2004 - 2006.

The SUB Sterling is the same as the SUB 4&5 but only produced for 2 years. It also has the same "X" prefixed serials affixed to the rear of the headstock.