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1979 MusicMan's (stingray) HELP What should I know about them?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by FungusHumungous, Sep 26, 2003.


  1. I have found a 1979 MusicMan in a Bargain News(state wide classifieds) that is claimed to be in "stunning condition".

    Of course, it being in my price range for a new bass I hope to buy soon I was pleased and have a chance to play/look at it.

    Here's the original ad:

    Bass Guitar, 79 Music Man four string, fret[ed], ebony f[ret]b[oard], Bartolini pick[up], oil finish, stunning condition, $1000

    So what do you Music Man lovers think about 1979's in general as well as the price, what I should expect from a 24 year old bass that claims to be stunning, and anything else?

    Thanks
    Glenn
     
  2. todd 4ta

    todd 4ta

    Apr 3, 2003
    Indiana
    Right off the bat, sounds like the fingerboard is replaced (or maybe the neck isn't original), sounds like a refinish on the body, pickup isn't original, you would want to check on the preamp. The preamp should be coated in black epoxy and look pretty old, probably.

    What makes the early pre-EB basses special to me is primarily the preamp, and second the pickup. The most consistently good preamps were from '76 to '78. There was a lot of tinkering with things back then, and the comments I've heard are that after '78 the preamp were more variable regarding tone.

    If it does have the original preamp, you could try the Basslines Alnico MM pickup to get close to original.

    In that condition, from what you've described, I would offer $650-700, or just wait to find a better one. I've had two '77s that had refinished bodies, but otherwise all original for right around $800. An all original would be $1200 and up depending on vintage and condition.
     
  3. Didn't 79 MMs come with a satin finish on the neck? If so an oil finish suggests a refinish or new neck (esspecially with ebony fretboard!)
     
  4. I though an oil finished seemed odd for a stingray, even if it has a clear coat. I've only seen/played glossy finished.

    I'll try to get some history out of this guy if possible regarding the preamp, refinish job(if he did)

    Even finding a new Stingray or any bass at all worth looking after in western CT classifieds is rare, so I'm going to take advantage of this situation.

    If I find its not worth 1000$ I'll learn something about vintage stingers and all their quirks from this guy (assuming he's the orginal owner.)

    Glenn
     
  5. I though an oil finished seemed odd for a stingray, even if it has a clear coat. I've only seen/played glossy finished.

    I'll try to get some history out of this guy if possible regarding the preamp, refinish job(if he did)

    Even finding a new Stingray or any bass at all worth looking after in western CT classifieds is rare, so I'm going to take advantage of this situation.

    If I find its not worth 1000$ and don't buy it, at the very least I'll learn something about vintage stingers and all their quirks from this guy (assuming he's the orginal owner.)

    Glenn

    PS- so what you're saying is that I shouldn't be expecting this baby Music Man Stingray 1979
     
  6. a pic of a 79 from Basspalace
    [​IMG]
     
  7. anything else I should know?
    would it be a good idea to ask if he's the orginal owner? or any other questions


    At bump city!
     
  8. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    I'd pass, being it's refinned, a different pickup, and electronics swapped out, it's really not worth much. It would make a decent player, but the swapped out pickup is going to kill any stingray tone.

    I'd buy a EB model before I touched that. Also, there weren't many, if any rosewood models in those years, this should be a 3 bolt, string through model as well.

    todd4a is right on.
     
  9. I'm still gonna take a look at it sometime tonight probably. I atleast wanna see what he did with the preamp and pickup, and ask him why he refinished it and its whole story.

    Glenn
     
  10. flywheel

    flywheel

    Jul 9, 2003
    Shawnee, KS
    Let us know what you find out when you go look at this bass! If it is truly an Ebony fretboard, then I would have to guess that this bass was originally a fretless and someone fretted it... if that's even possible.

    The Bartolini pickup is supposed to sound really good in those basses. However, Tim and Todd are correct when they say it's a bit overpriced; it loses its collector's value once it has been modded.

    Why do I see so many of the pre-Ernie's w/ Barts? I wonder if the old pickup quit working or if they were seeking better tone b/c the original pup should have sounded great! This always makes me curious...I personally can't stand the look of a Bart on a Ray b/c I like the look of the pole pieces, it just completes the look of the Ray, IMO

    Some people argue that the older Rays w/ string thru bodies get better sustain, but I have two Rays from the 90's and they have INCREDIBLE sustain.

    I've always wanted a pre-Ernie Ray for some reason but I just purchased my third Ray and I went with a newer one b/c I wanted a b-eye maple neck/board AND the truss rod adjust is so much better on the later EB models.
     
  11. JayAmel

    JayAmel Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Aurillac, France
    My $ 0.02 on this, and of course a very personal point of view.

    I wouldn't pay attention to an early StingRay with almost nothing original.

    For about $ 1,000.00 you can find a MINT used EB SR4. And they are great.

    There are quite a few here.
     
  12. OK so I just spoke to the seller for a good 20 mintutes about the Stingray and he had much to say about the history of it and its modifications.

    One of the first things he said was "This is one of the most intense basses you'll ever see." He's got a lot to live up to when I do see it on Tuesday. Also its *fretless.* Thank you Bargain News for distorting the truth with your damn abreviations!

    Ok so here's the history.(I don't know most of the order of the modifications)
    He bought the bass in 1981 from a music store. From what I gather it was orinally chocalate brown. He claimed the pickup was very harsh sounding and the neck became warped or something(?) and unplayable. Around that time he replaced the original neck with a fretted one(yamaha, 4 on one side ala Jazz bass) with a rosewood fretboard.

    Later he decided to get the frets removed(professionally) because he was beginning to get into fretless. However, he did not like the sound of the defretted fingerboard so replaced it completely with a "very dark piece of ebony" that was professionally adhered, with "holly"(?) wood lines and mother of pearl dots at the 1,3,5,7,12,15 'frets'. He explained something regarding the poor quality of the string-thru design(which i did not quite understand) and he had the holes filled with ash and a Badass Bridge replace the original "flawed" stingray bridge.

    At some point during the Stingray's history the original finish was removed and the upper part of the body was contoured, revealing a beutiful "tiger-like" ash grain. Also during about the time of the rosewood fretboard was in place a thin border(1/4 inch?) of rosewood around the new Bartolini pickup and Badass bridge was professionally put in. The body was tung oiled.

    The E string tuner has a D-Tuner installed on it.

    I'm very curious to see what he has done. I orignally was under the impression that this was a fretted bass, but since I have started playing upright I am slightly interested in playing it. I don't think I will buy it.

    The seller still has the original pickup and neck they he would include if I purchased it.

    Glenn

    PS- the bass has a 2 band EQ and a 3 way switch for series,parallel and that other one.
     
  13. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    Make that $300-400, if you happen to like fretless.
     
  14. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    You should pass.

    This guy hass too much "knowledge" of how Leo should of run his business. :rolleyes:
     
  15. ...so it's a Stingray that now says "Yamaha" on the headstock?

    I suppose that's "stunning", in a way.

    if he's still got the original neck, why doesn't he sell it with that fitted? (presumably because it's now banana-shaped)
     
  16. flywheel

    flywheel

    Jul 9, 2003
    Shawnee, KS
    Please tell me that you're not even considering this after everything we've explained. A bass with this many mods...no matter what brand loses its value drastically. I see extremely nice used fretless Rays on Ebay for $600-700 quite often. I don't know why they're going rate is so much less than a fretted, all I can guess is there are just fewer fretless players, therefore, less demand.

    This bass is worth about $400 max given what you've explained. If I made this many mods to a guitar, I would just plan on keeping it for the rest of my life b/c you'll always have more money vested than you can recoup.

    For your sake...Ebay the bass you're really looking for and don't even waste your time considering this instrument.
     
  17. JayAmel

    JayAmel Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Aurillac, France
    The kind of argument that makes me run away when starting a description...

    And anyway, that's not because Nike say "just do it" that I buy Nike's.
     
  18. Just as I thought...

    He's coming over to my house to show it off tomorrow. Should I just let him down saying that I'm not interested at all or should I let him come over and show me his bass(because I'm very curious to see it)and let him down then?

    I am not.

    Thank you guys.

    Now on a new subject:
    Opinions of Lakland 44-02 and 44-94 and any real difference between the U.S. model and the import other than the price. From what I've heard the 44-02 is hundreds of dollars cheaper and essentially the same bass tonally and feel wise and nearly identical in appearance.
    >?

    Glenn
     
  19. one of the differences= the US Laklands have graphite reinforcement in the necks, the Skylines do not.
     
  20. flywheel

    flywheel

    Jul 9, 2003
    Shawnee, KS
    If you're curious, let him come on over and check out what he's done. Tell him you'll have to think it over and then... well he'll probably get the hint. Good luck!