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Musicman Sabre. Tell me about them

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BassMan99, Apr 15, 2006.

  1. BassMan99


    Mar 15, 2006
    I played a musicman Sabre at my local used gear store today. Wow! I loved it. Possibly the best bass for slap I ever played. It was a 70's three bolt, maple fretboard, three knobs three small blade switches. Ugly yellowish colr that was very worn. I played about 10 minutes, loving it and giving it a realy good spankling, it sounded so good. I put it back in the rack and grabbed abother bass to check out. Well some young guy walks up behind me grabs the bass and walks away. I had to go look and he waws standing at the counter with his wallet out. I had to ask, are you buying that bass? He shook his head yes. Man. I didnt have the money at the time $699. but I was sad.
    Anyone own one? If you do I envy you.
    And my band is gonna cover aeroplane by red hot chili peppers! would of been perfect.
  2. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    $699 for a Sabre is one HELL of a deal.

    They're the original two pickup Music Man basses, didn't really hit the market as well as the new two pickup Stingrays and Sterlings. Just ahead of their time, but nevertheless great basses.
  3. ras1983


    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    i've only every seen one in a shop, and it was good. i didn't get to play it amplified, but i've heard them on a couple of old school jazz videos. the playability was typical MM, fantastic. other than being a collector's item, i don't see why someone would favour them over the newer EBMM dual pup models.

    i wouldn't trade my stealth HH for a sabre.
  4. MikeBass

    MikeBass Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2003
    Royal, Oak, MI.

    The biggest difference I noticed is it's easier to slap on the Saber.
    Maybe the front pick-up is a tad further back??
  5. brothernewt

    brothernewt Some people call me the stormtrooper of love...

    Apr 13, 2004
    Happyrock, OR
    $699??? I'd have knocked him down and paid that for a decent one. Probably even a beat one. My guitar player owns one and I swear I'm gonna talk him out of it one day.
  6. ras1983


    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    Yes, it was further back. but after some time you get used to the pup spacing on the newer EBMM's. and they come with a warranty.

    that being said, if i ever had the money and by some stroke of luck came across a sabre, i would buy it for collectabilities sake.
  7. BassMan99


    Mar 15, 2006
    I thought it may have been a decent deal at 699. this place has good deals.
    I want one now. darn it.. no $$
    I think its the two pickups that make it sound so good for slap. It could get a monstrous bassy sound out of the neck pup. Are three blade switched stock? One looked a bit different than the other two.
  8. brothernewt

    brothernewt Some people call me the stormtrooper of love...

    Apr 13, 2004
    Happyrock, OR
    The control layout is different too... on the older set, 3 switches (similar to G&L), which do some fun stuff other than coil switching.
  9. clanner

    clanner Token Black Guy.

    Apr 27, 2005
    ummmmm, marietta GA
    the way I see it, it was leo fenders proto type for the G&L L-2000 basses. would love to get a sabre if I ever found a decent one.
  10. hasbeen

    hasbeen Commercial User

    Sep 23, 2004
    Vice President, KMC Music. Warwick U.S. distribution, Ampeg distribution
    I owned one I bought new in 1978.

    The Sabre was supposed to be the "upscale" Music Man. The Ray's of that time had "slab" bodies....no contour on the "arm rest" area or back of the bass. The Sabre had contours.

    Also the Sabre had a nicer bridge. The Ray's bridge was stamped where the Sabre was cast.

    All that plus the additional pup made it quite a bit more expensive so it didn't really catch on.
  11. todd 4ta

    todd 4ta

    Apr 3, 2003
    On the early Sabres that had the 3 mini-switches (the later ones had a single lever similar to the new dual pickup Stingrays), the switch tips are not all the same color - so everything was probably original. The switches were (from neck towards jack): pickup selector, in/out of phase, brightness. I have yet to find a time to use the 'out of phase' setting. It is often referred to as the 'tone suck' switch. I also don't use the 'bright' setting - the switch pops and sounds too bright for me (it's not quite as smooth as the G&L basses with an 'active + bright' setting).

    The bridge pickup is located very close to or in the same position as on a Stingray, but the pickup is slightly smaller. So, in the 'bridge only' setting a Sabre sounds very similar to a Stingray.

    In my recent experience, '79 and '80 Sabres are selling for $1200 and up if all or mostly original.
  12. Lorenzini


    Dec 31, 2004
    Los Angeles
    At a jazz jam recently, a dude brought one out while I was playing piano. Great tone!
  13. BassMan99


    Mar 15, 2006
    Crazy for me to feel like I missed out. The body was beat but looked cool. The neck was aged color but in decent shape. The bass was pretty heavy. It sounded KILLER!
    I searched on ebay and no current auction, one ended but was newer than this one.
    Anyone think a G&L 2000 comes close? The 600 dollar ones.
    I am a decent slap player and it looks like my band is gonna start using that more. I play a precision most of the night now. Its not bad for slap but I was just spoiled forever with the slpa sound of that Sabre.
  14. MikeBass

    MikeBass Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2003
    Royal, Oak, MI.
    Thats a great question!
    Does the L2000 do the Sabre thing??
    I've always dug the Sabre, but never pulled the trigger on one, but L2000's can be had pretty cheap.
  15. RiddimKing


    Dec 29, 2004
    Sabre's are great. I've owned a natural 79 for a few years, and just picked up a burst early '79. If you can get one under a thousand that's all original, you should. Aside from slapping (which I don't do), the Sabre has a great reggae/dub tone with the bass boost at around half-way. (I think the bassist for Sublime used/uses one.)
  16. Caca de Kick

    Caca de Kick Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    I have one, pre-EB '80, natural ash finish with a rare rosewood board, 3-bolt neck, near-mint cond. I found it as I walked into a store in Portland OR about year and 1/2 ago while shopping for a pre-EB Ray and fell in love with the Sabre. Mine weighs in at 11 lbs.
    $699 would have been a good deal for that bass.

    Yeah they were way ahead of their time, that's why they weren't popular. Killer tones, very similar to a Ray, but with a little more bassy low-end...and yes, a killer slap machine.
    I would not give up my Sabre for any new dual pickup Musicman. I love the old 2-band eq's, much darker sounding and less harsh, the heavy cast bridge, and I love the neck.

    I've had a G&L at the same time while owning the Sabre. I'd say no to it doing the Sabre thing. The G&L pickups have more mids to them and overall the G&L sounds more gritty than the Sabre.
  17. BassMan99


    Mar 15, 2006
    Caca de Kick, I am hearing the G&L has more of a precision vibe. Which I like but already have. I Am gonna lay low and look for a sabre. Wish it was not so heavy though....
  18. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    The '89 EB Sabre I had was very light. My '83 pre-EB Cutlass was a boat anchor. So, go for the EB Sabre. Lighter and probably less expensive too.
  19. loendmaestro

    loendmaestro Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2004
    Vienna VA
    The bassist in a friend of mine's band has one. It's a freakin' monster! He's a thumper bunny funk player & it sounds righteous...
  20. alanbass1


    Feb 8, 2006
    I owned a great sunburst Sabre which was really quite light in comparison to other MM basses of the 70's. The electrics were fun, although the switches were very small, and the Sabre was not through body strung like the Stingrays, which gave them a brighter more attacking sound on the back pick-up, along with pup placement. The truss rod went on mine and I eventually traded it, but would certainly get another if one came up which is good quality/reasonable price.

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