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Looking for valuation of 1979 MusicMan Sabre Fretless Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by FiyaPowa, Jan 2, 2012.


  1. FiyaPowa

    FiyaPowa

    Jan 28, 2011
    Chicago, IL
    Hi everyone,

    I'm hoping you can help me. I'm considering selling a 1979 MusicMan (pre-Ernie Ball) Sabre fretless bass, but I have no idea what would be a fair asking price. I was hoping you could share some of your thoughts on the topic. I know it is pretty rare, but I'm not sure what the market would bear these days.

    It is in obscenely good condition. With some mild elbow-grease, I could make it pretty near mint with the exception of the original string mutes which have, for the most part disintegrated. There are no dings in the body at all. No belt-buckle rash, nothing. Some of the screw-heads are a little rusty, but beyond that, it looks like it's lived its entire life in a case under a bed.

    Thanks for the help!
     

    Attached Files:

  2. You need to become a supporting member to discuss an instrument's value(TB rules). Beyond that, look at ebay auctions & FS ads here.
     
  3. FiyaPowa

    FiyaPowa

    Jan 28, 2011
    Chicago, IL
    Sorry, didn't mean to break any rules. I just became a supporting member now via PayPal. You have my word as a gentleman... well at least as a general dude then... Seriously though, I did just now pay via PayPal. Thanks.

    There's not a lot of 1979 MusicMan Sabre fretless basses for comparison out there in the world. Thus my journey brings me here to the most esteemed panel of bass-geeks the internet has to offer. :)
     
  4. Bite your tongue! :D
    I'll retract my earlier post then- I confess to going all *hall-monitor* on these threads sometimes- trying to stop... :rollno:
    ANYway- Sabres are fairly unusual, although I only cite my own constant internet window-shopping for basses as a refernce source- I am no expert. IIRC I've seen one or two FS at Bass Northwest "The Largest Bass Only Store In The World!".
     
  5. FiyaPowa

    FiyaPowa

    Jan 28, 2011
    Chicago, IL
    No worries man. Rules is rules! Thanks for the tip.
     
  6. snyderz

    snyderz

    Aug 20, 2000
    AZ mountains
    Is this a defretted bass? You'll lose a little fire power there.
     
  7. FiyaPowa

    FiyaPowa

    Jan 28, 2011
    Chicago, IL
    To be completely honest, I don't know. I'm not sure how MM Sabre fretless basses came from the factory, if they were even offered at all. There are definitely filled fret slots. What I don't know is if that was original or after the fact.

    I've attached a closeup pic at the 12th-ish "fret". Thanks.
     

    Attached Files:

  8. snyderz

    snyderz

    Aug 20, 2000
    AZ mountains
    I'm not an MM expert either, but I've never seen a lined fretless by MM with front dots.
     
  9. king_biscuit

    king_biscuit Supporting Member

    May 21, 2006
    US
    That bass came from the factory with frets. The homemade fret less job definitely lowers the value quite a bit. I'd say no more than $850-$900.00, if the rest of the bass is original and everything works.
     
  10. Caca de Kick

    Caca de Kick Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    Yes, it is a defretted bass. PreEB did not come that way. They were blank planks only from the factory.

    You'd be best off getting it refretted, otherwise having a barrage of folks grinding you down because of the mod.
     
  11. FiyaPowa

    FiyaPowa

    Jan 28, 2011
    Chicago, IL
    Thanks King Biscuit. If that's the case, I'll just go get some frets put on it and start to really enjoy the thing. It seems crazy to sell an original 1977 near mint one for less than you can get a new one today. That's just plain nutty. Yes, everything works perfectly. I just don't possess the chops to effectively play a fretless, but since it's not an original fretless, I'll experience no guilt fretting that puppy up and letting it roar under my unskilled fingers. :bassist:

    Thanks guys.
     
  12. king_biscuit

    king_biscuit Supporting Member

    May 21, 2006
    US
    PreEB Sabres are not that rare, and a homemade fretless job is a pretty invasive modification. In order to properly repair it, the finish will have to be stripped off of the neck, it will have to be fretted, and the finish will have to be reapplied. It still won't be original which will affect the collector value. btw, old Sabres have always been worth less than old Stingrays, and even in original condition your bass would only be worth around $1500.00 -- maybe a little less.

    No offense, but just from the small photo you produced, your bass is not "near mint."
     
  13. FiyaPowa

    FiyaPowa

    Jan 28, 2011
    Chicago, IL
    Anyone know the proper fretwire I should have it fretted with to keep it as close to original as possible?

    And then once it's refretted, what is the going market price at that point? Anything less than $3K seems a waste to bother to sell it when you can get a new one (StingRay HH) for $1.5K.

    This is a 35 year old pre-Ernie Ball vintage original (other than the refretting part of course) for crying out loud.

    Thanks again for the help though folks. Greatly appreciated.
     
  14. king_biscuit

    king_biscuit Supporting Member

    May 21, 2006
    US
    You would never get close to 3k if it really were all original and dead mint. Have it refretted and play it -- Sabres are cool basses!
     
  15. FiyaPowa

    FiyaPowa

    Jan 28, 2011
    Chicago, IL
    None taken sir. I guess in my internet searches, I have not seen many without significant dings and belt rash. None of the 1979 Sabres I was able to find recent pictures of came close. Thanks for the help.
     
  16. Caca de Kick

    Caca de Kick Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    You can't even get 3k for a StingRay, unless it a rare finish like Inca.
    Sabres have generally hung around the mid to high teens in a strong market, the highest I've ever seen one sell for was 2k.
    The market has gone up slowly over the years for pre EB's, but not near what you're thinking.
     
  17. FiyaPowa

    FiyaPowa

    Jan 28, 2011
    Chicago, IL
    Thanks for the info. Looks like it's time to put some frets on that puppy and let the beating begin...

    It's a shame the vintage MusicMan's don't command the same respect as their Fender counterparts from a pricing perspective, because it really is a sweet bass.

    I have a 1965 Fender Strat that I got in High-School for $500 that doesn't suffer from that problem. :)
     
  18. king_biscuit

    king_biscuit Supporting Member

    May 21, 2006
    US
    Sure they do. What do you think a 1979 Fender Precision bass is worth? And a 1979 Stingray will fetch more than any 1979 Fender bass.
     
  19. king_biscuit

    king_biscuit Supporting Member

    May 21, 2006
    US

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