Toothful Tiger - Music Man Sabre

Toothful Tiger - Music Man Sabre

After Leo Fender sold to CBS in 1965 he created CLF Research, a consulting firm mainly intended to support operations at CBS/Fender. However, Leo could not build instruments as part of a 10-year non-compete. 

In 1971 two former Fender employees, Forrest White and Tom Walker had a conversation with Leo about helping finance their guitar/amp company.  He contributed as a silent partner, and Music Man was formed in 1974.

As the non-compete expired Leo built a manufacturing facility under the CLF entity to produce guitars, and Music Man was the sales and distribution agent. Music Man delivered their first guitars, the Stingray and Stingray bass in 1976.

That was followed by the Sabre and Sabre bass in 1978.  

That deal eventually went south and Leo parted ways with Music Man in 1979 to start G&L with George Fullerton. In distress, Music Man was acquired by Ernie Ball in 1984. 

The Sabre shares some build components from Fenders of the era including the three-bolt neck and bullet truss rod adjustment nut. 

Beyond that, the Sabre was its own machine. Sporting narrow humbuckers to give the player more picking room the pickups were also different lengths to accommodate string bends with no drop-out. 

An active electronics system was also on par for the mid 1970s.  The onboard preamp consisted of bass, treble, and volume controls, a bright switch, phase switch, and a low impedance output. The MSRP for a 1978 Sabre was $595.00, approximately the same as a Strat.

Technically there was the Sabre I and II, both were the same price. The Sabre I had a 12” neck radius, the Sabre II was 7.5”. Both were cataloged through 1982, but really fell off the map after 1980. As it turns out, the most beloved products from Music Man during this era turned out to be their amps and the Stingray bass.


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