MUSIC MAN STINGRAY BASS, original FRETLESS, 1979
The super-rare version of the StingRay Bass, the most popular of the early active-electronics basses. This instrument comes from Music Man's Leo Fender era. The ash body is dated July 12th 1979 while the maple neck is from August 21st of the same year, the times known as Music Man's Golden-Age, the pre-Ernie Ball era, and still has all the features designed by Leo Fender. The active circuitry is easily controlled by a simple three-knob control-set. The body has the string-through-body tailpiece, typical of the pre-Ernie Ball basses and a key-factor for the bass' sustain and depth, but unlike the other '79s we have had, this one has a one-piece body.
The pots are dated 18th week of '79 and are original, like all the other parts of the electric circuitry. The bridge still has all the original mutes. What makes this instrument so peculiar is, of course, the original fretless rosewood fingerboard. This StingRay comes from a very small production batch of consecutively-numbered fretless basses. Although the fingerboard is glued to the maple-neck's face, there is the usual darker stripe on the back which covers the truss-rod cavity, a clear sign of a standardized production process for all the necks, both fretted and fretless. In a typical Leo's style, the fretless necks were regular-production parts, customized by installing a rosewood fretless board. The instrument has been recently set-up and has a perfect playability. It's structurally sound and in exceptionally fine conditions.
The StingRay is commonly considered as a "bass-player's bass": a no-frills axe, extremely versatile and functional, designed for the professional player. The early original version is by far the most sought-after, and the original fretless neck gives it even more collectible appeal. Beauty, historical importance, rarity, sound and functionality, this bass has it all. An early example of Leo's last innovative design, with the fingerprints of the Master himself on it, simply means this bass is the one to have. .
It comes with a very good but non-original SKB hardshell case, which perfectly fits the instrument.