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1977 Music Man StingRay I Vintage Electric Guitar Sunburst, Leo Fender


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Up for sale, a 1977 Music Man StingRay I in excellent condition and in perfect working order. As the next landmark company founded by Leo Fender and George Fullerton after the sale of Fender Musical Instruments, Music Man offered an opportunity for this dynamic duo to further refine and build upon the innovation created at Fender. Offered concurrently with the StingRay II, the only differentiating factor between these two models was the fretboard radius, with the StingRay I having a flat ("modern") 12" radius, while the StingRay II has a rounder and more vintage-centric 7 1/2" radius.

The StingRay I model features an internal preamp that preserves tonal fidelity at varying volume or cable lengths, as well as a preamp module with an active EQ circuit, two-way Bright Boost toggle, and four-way rotary pickup selector. The two pickups have a double-coil humbucking design, similar to the Music Man StingRay bass, offering a range of thick and meaty sounds with plenty of woof and punch. The signal tightens up with an aggressive treble cut when sculpting the sound with the dedicated Bass and Treble knobs, and the out-of-phase pickup setting on the rotary switch is jangly, snappy, and squawky in equal measure. The ash body and maple neck (a tried and true Leo Fender tonewood combination) result in an authoritative natural response with subtle growl and great note attack, complimenting the meaty pickups. The guitar weighs 8lbs 12oz, professionally setup here at Mike and Mike’s Guitar Bar with 10-46 strings, low action, and spot-on intonation.

The one-piece maple neck has a slender C-shaped profile carve at the nut with rounded shoulders and lightly rolled fretboard edges, measuring .805” deep at the 1st fret and .895” at the 12th. The fretboard has a 12“ radius and flawless wide/flat medium jumbo fretwire, playing cleanly up the 25 1/2“ scale with a straight neck and a responsive, optimally-adjusted truss rod. The nut measures 1 9/16” in width. On the headstock, the original Music Man-embossed tuning machines turn smoothly and hold accurate pitch.

The active electronics work as they should with untouched solder joints and CTS pots that date to the 28th week of 1977. Controls include a Master Volume knob, Bass and Treble knobs, a two-way Bright Boost switch, and four-way rotary pickup selector that functions as follows: Bridge / Neck / Both (in parallel) / Both (out of phase). The bridge is a string-through-body design with height-adjustable Mustang-style barrel saddles for optimal sustain and stability. The chrome-plated hardware is bright and clean, including the control plate, bridge, and a trio of replacement well-matched domed knurled knobs.

The gloss Sunburst finish exhibits extensive horizontal checking, and cosmetic wear includes light buckle wear on the upper bout on the back and some small finish chips, mostly relegated to the lower bout body edge and surrounding the neck pocket. There is pick scuffing across the strum path, and light rack rash on either side of the nut. The ambered gloss on the neck profile is notably smooth and clean.

A Fender-branded padded gigbag is included.