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1978 Music Man Sabre I Vintage Electric Guitar Natural w/ Case & Hangtag, Leo Fender


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Up for sale, a 1978 Music Man Sabre I electric guitar in exceptional condition and in perfect working order, complete with the original hangtag and hardshell case. Save for a replaced nut and pair of strap buttons, this Music Man is 100% original and notably well-kept. 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. Two versions of the Sabre were manufactured by CLF (Clarence Leo Fender) Research for Music Man from 1978 to 1980. Aside from their necks, the Sabre I and Sabre II are identical, with the Sabre I having a 12” fretboard radius and larger frets, and the Sabre II sporting a 7.5” fretboard radius and more slender, vintage-style fretwire.

This Sabre I features a preamp that preserves the tonal response of the instrument at varying volume or cable lengths, and the preamp module features an active EQ circuit. The two pickups have a double-coil humbucking design, similar to the Music Man StingRay bass, and offer a huge, robust sound. The ash body and maple neck (a tried and true Leo Fender tonewood combination) pairs the glassy clarity and note attack of maple with the complex midrange character and authority of ash, complimenting the meaty pickups. The guitar weighs 9lbs 1oz, professionally setup here at Mike & Mike’s Guitar Bar with 10-46 strings, spot-on intonation, and comfortable action.

The maple neck has a slender C-shaped profile carve at the nut with lightly rolled fretboard edges and round shoulders in every register, growing into a heartier shape as you travel up the fretboard, measuring .785” deep at the 1st fret and .915” at the 12th. The original medium jumbo frets have good meat and fairly flat crowns, showing only very light wear beneath the plain strings on frets 1-5. The guitar plays effortlessly up the 25 1/2" scale with a straight neck with an ideally adjusted truss rod. The nut measures 1 9/16“ in width, and on the headstock face, the original Music Man logo is present, along with a set of closed back Music Man-embossed tuners which turn smoothly. The neck heel and pocket have matching date stamps from September of 1978.

All of the stock electronics work as they should, with two Tone controls, a Master Volume knob, as well as a Bright switch, Phase Reversal switch, and a three-way pickup selector governing the pair of stock humbuckers. The solder joints are untouched, with CTS pots that date to the 12th week of '78. All of the original hardware is present with gleaming chrome plating including  the six-saddle bridge with individually height adjustable barrel saddles, control plate, domed knurled knobs, and three-bolt neck plate with micro-tilt adjustment.

The natural gloss finish has a lightly aged clear coat, presenting as Butterscotch and accented by the black pickguard for a decidedly '50s Fender look. The finish is 100% original with no touchup or overspray, exhibiting a few small dings on top behind the bridge, and similarly restrained wear on the back, with a few additional light finish scratches and some isolated finish checking at the belly carve. The gloss finish on the neck profile is flawless.

The original black tolex hardshell case is included, along with the original hangtag.