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New member
Feb 27, 2021
I have just bought an old Music Man Sting Ray I. The serial # = G003387. Can anyone tell me what it is worth and when it was made?

John C

Well-known member
Aug 16, 2004
Kansas City
You should probably post some photos to help. The original StingRays were made essentially by a different company that went bankrupt and was purchased/revived by Ernie Ball; I don't believe EBMM has any records from that era.

At any rate the original StingRays were made from 1976 until either 1979 or 1980; the original Music Man company was founded by former Fender employees Tom Walker and Forrest White in the early 1970s, initially to build amps. They took their design to their former boss, Leo Fender, who was doing consulting work while he was still under a non-compete contract from selling Fender to CBS in 1965. Leo evaluated the amp, offered some suggestions for improvement, and wound up loaning the company money. When Leo's non-compete expired at the beginning of 1975 he converted his loans to a partnership stake with Music Man and was announced as the company's new president - right about the time the first amps were released in the spring of 1975.

They developed the Sting Ray bass and guitar and released them in 1976 - since Music Man only had an amp factory Leo converted his consulting business into an instrument factory (the business was called "CLF Research"); basically Leo made the instruments and one of his companies, which sold them to his other company (Music Man), who sold them to their dealers. They developed a second bass and guitar (the Sabre models) in 1978 - but by the end of 1978 Leo had a falling out with his partners and left Music Man. But he continued to make the instruments under contract at his other business (CLF Research) through part (or possibly all) of 1979. Leo went on to found G&L, and made those instruments at his factory (eventually Leo "retired" the CLF Research name and the company simply went by G&L Guitars from that point on).

Once the contract ended Music Man scrambled around to find people to build the instruments for them. Since the guitars didn't sell all that well they were eventually dropped so that by 1982 there were only the basses until Music Man went bankrupt in early 1984. Ernie Ball and Tom Walker were close friends; Sterling Ball even worked for Music Man for a while in the 1970s (before he returned to the Ball family business and worked his way up in the company, eventually taking over as Ernie headed toward retirement) so they purchased the company.

So a StingRay I would have to have been from between 1976 and approximately 1980; it seems like the Sabre guitar lasted a bit longer than the StingRay but only the basses lasted to the end of the original company.

What they are worth? There are a few on Reverb.com; seems like the range is from $1,100 to $1,600 asking price; not sure what the actual selling price was. For what it's worth the "I" means 12" radius fingerboard; there is also a StingRay II with a 7.5" radius fingerboard.

You might also get some information from the G&L forum - guitarsbyleo.com - as these originals are probably more closely associated with the early Leo-era G&Ls.


Well-known member
Jun 23, 2003
Have you tried taking the neck off, sometimes there is a date in the neck pocket of the body or that end of the neck?

There used to be a site run by one of the guys on the bass side (brokentrussrod I think) that dealt with the original pre-Ernie Ball Music man instruments. Try shooting him a private message, he might be able to help.

Glenn |B)
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