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 [AT 11 MAY 2011] 

HEADSTOCK LOGO EVOLUTION
 
A rough outline subject to amendment. 
 
 
INDEX
 
Pre-EB BASSES (1976 to 1984):
Sting Ray, Sabre, Cutlass 1, Cutlass 11.
 
EB BASSES (from 1984):
Sting Ray, "EX" Series Sting Ray (Japan), 20th Anniversary, 2001 NAMM Bass, 30th Anniversary, Sabre, Sterling, Black Onyx, SR5, Silhouette, SUB 4, SUB 5, SUB Sterling, Bongo 4, Bongo 5.
 

 


Pre-EB BASSES
(1976 - 1984)

 

 

STING RAY (1976 - 1984)

 


Circa early 1976

 

 

A prototype Sting Ray Bass logo. Pictures taken
from the 1976 Music Man catalogue.
 
Note the encircled "TM" (Trade Mark) located after the words "Sting Ray Bass". Serial numbers are prefixed with an "X".
 

1976  up to (and including) circa first half of 1978

 

 

A 1976 logo. Owner "Cutlass 1".
Neck date 16 June 1976.
 

Owner "treebark". Neck date 28 June 1978.
"TM" is featured on the logo.
 

Note that "TM" now becomes uncircled and shifts position to the end of "Music Man" (as opposed to its previous position after "Sting Ray Bass").

 

Circa second half of 1977 up to (and including) circa first half of 1978
 
The encircled "R" was introduced circa second half of 1977.

It would appear that both the "TM" and encircled "R" run concurrently from circa second half of 1977 up to (and including) circa first half of 1978.

 

A 1978 logo. Owner "chuck 3 river". Neck date 12 Sept 1978.
 

A 1982 logo for purpose of clarity.
"frankensteinberger".
 

The first pic above features an encircled "R" which has also been confirmed by the owner. This now appears in the same position previously occupied by the "TM". The second logo pic, although from a 1982 Bass, is included to give a clear visual example of the encircled "R".

 

The encircled "R" feature appears to have been introduced in 1977 (perhaps the second half of that year). An example is B00577x ("x" for last digit unknown). Neck date August 1977 and Body date December 1977 (advised by owner but no pic available at this time).

 

 

Circa second half of 1978 to end of MM period in 1984


A circa 1982 Logo.

 

The encircled "R" appears to be featured exclusively.

 

Decals are not included on rear of necks during the Pre-EB period.


Circa late 1979 (early 1980)


Comparison of 1978 logo with circa 1982 logo. 


From circa late 1979 (or early 1980) the logo changes position in that the left hand side drops lower towards the edge of the headstock.

 

SABRE (1979 - 1984)
 
 
1979 to circa 1984
 
1) Patent numbers appear under the words "Music Man".
2) "TM" (Trade Mark) appears after "Music Man" in upper position.
 

A circa 1979 Sabre logo from a Fretless Bass.
 
Closeup of a 1979 Sabre Bass.
 
Decals are not included on the rear of headstocks for any Sabre Bass during the the whole Pre-EB period.

 

 

CUTLASS 1 BASS [Sting Ray with graphite neck] (1983 - 1984)

 

 

An earlier version of the headstock logo and
rear decal. Note the logo merely reads
"Cutlass" instead of "Cutlass 1". The
neck is made by "Modulus".



.

The above three pics are the latter (and most
common) version of the Cutlass 1 Bass. The
neck is made by Music Man under
license by Modulus.


Note the inclusion of the "1" following "Cutlass" in the latter version.

 

Cutlass Basses also have decals on the rear of the headstock as depicted. Other Pre-EB Basses do not have a rear decal.

 

For each of the above versions, an encircled "R" (Registered) is included after the words "Music Man".

 

 

CUTLASS 11 BASS [Sabre with graphite neck] (1983 - 1984)




Again, an encircled "R" (Registered) is included after the words "Music Man".


 

 

EB BASSES (1984 - Current)

 

 

STING RAY (1984 - current)

 

 

Early 1984-1985 Trans Logos

 

Type 1

 

 Typical Pre-EB headstock logo for comparison. 1980 “oldbluebassman”.

 


Ernie Ball Bass Serial B022355. Neck and Body
both dated May 1985. 


EB aquired Music Man in 1984 and continued production in the same year. Note the absence of any reference to "Ernie Ball" on the logo. Also note the string tree located on the A an D strings which is an EB feature (Pre-EB Basses have it located on the D and G strings). This instrument also has a
contoured body (Pre-EB 'Rays were slab). Finally, "Made in USA" is deleted from the 4 bolt neck plate (which was previously stamped on the Pre-EB Basses). However, note that some very early EB Basses may still have the Pre-EB neck plate.

 

 Another early 1985 logo. Serial number unknown.

 

Exactly the same as the comparison 1980 pic above.

 

Type 2

 

Same as Type 1 but the Encircled "R" after "Music Man" moves to the mid position. There is still no mention of "Ernie Ball". "Music Man" retains gold lettering.

 

Picture to follow.

 


Circa 1985 to circa 1988 (“Trans Logo”)

 

The transitional logo (“Trans Logo”) period can be subdivided into two further periods:

 

Trans Logo 1985 to circa 1987

 

 

Front and rear view of June 1985 Bass. B022041 “todd 4ta”.
Note the absence of a decal on the rear of headstock.

 
 
 
 

 Front and rear view of Bass serial 25882. Neck 1986 Body 1987.
 
 
 
Front and rear view of Bass serial 25830. Neck and body
both dated Aug 1987 "Hugo".
 
 
Front and rear view of Bass serial 26511.
Date of birth 19 Nov 1987 "Andreas". 

 

Same as for Early 1984-1985 but:

 

1) The words “Music Man” are now lowered and the encircled “R” following “Music Man” moves to the mid position.

2) The words “Music Man” are now clear (as opposed to gold lettering on the Pre-EB and Early 1985 Trans Logos). 

3) The words “Ernie Ball” appear above “Music Man” and an encircled “R” follows also in the mid position. The "R" is smaller than the "R" following "Music Man".

4) Decals are NOT included on rear of headstocks. This is the case for both prefixed and un-prefixed serial-numbered Basses during this period.

5) Little man on right has the polo-neck deleted from his jumper.

 

Trans Logo circa 1987 to circa 1988

 

 
Front and rear view of Bass serial 26594. Date Of Birth 3 Dec 1987.
Neck date 19 Oct 1987. Body date 29 Sept 1987. “uncle tommy”. 

 

Same as for the Trans Logo 1985 to circa 1987 but decals are now included on rear of headstock. From 1976 to this point in time, it would appear that decals have been excluded from the rear of headstocks (except for the Cutlass Basses during the Pre-EB period).

 

 

Circa late 1987 to circa early 1992

 

 Closer view of headstock logo. Bass serial 28664. Sept 1989.  

 

The headstock logo now becomes completely revised:

 

1) Encircled “R” after “Ernie Ball” moves to the lower position and becomes the same size as the other "R"s on the logo.

2) Little men are shown from waist up only and are now positioned after the words “Ernie Ball”.

3) Little man on left now raises his head (as opposed to the head being slanted previously).

4) The words “Music Man” are now solid black.

5) The word “Bass” is now deleted from the previous “Sting Ray Bass”.

6) “Sting Ray” is followed by an encircled “R” in the lower position.

7) The encircled “R” following  “Music Man” is in the upper position.

This period logo can be found on 4 bolt necks from circa late 1987 up to 1991 (when the 4 bolt neck last appeared).

As the 6 bolt neck was introduced during the 2nd half of 1990, this logo can also be found on 6 bolt necks from the 2nd half of 1990 up to circa early 1992 (when the logo last appeared).


1989 Bass serial 28305. 4 bolt neck dated Feb 89.


Bass serial 30345. 4 bolt neck dated April 1990. "Stingraymund".


Bass serial 33221. 6 bolt neck dated 18 Dec 1991. "bdgotoh".



Circa 1990 - current
 

2000 Bass. “Aussie Mark”. 

 

Same as for Circa late 1987 to circa early 1992 but:  

 

Encircled "R" after "Music Man" now moved to lower position.

Aswell as the older logo, this newer logo can also be found on 4 bolt necks from circa 1990 (logo introduction date) up to 1991 (when the 4 bolt neck last appeared).

As the 6 bolt neck was introduced during the 2nd half of 1990, this logo can also be found on 6 bolt necks from the 2nd half of 1990. After the last appearance of the older logo in early 1992, the present logo has appeared exclusive on 6 bolt Sting Ray necks to current date.


4 bolt neck from a 1990 Bass.

 


6 bolt neck from a 1990 Bass. “todd 4ta”.



2000 - current

 

 
Matching headstock finished in Sunburst.

 

The matching headstock option was officially implemented at the Jan 2000 NAMM Show. However, several examples can be found in the leadup to this date. The option was announced in 1999.


July 2009 - current



"SLO Special" neck for Sting Rays. Has the slimmer Sterling neck
profile but retains the standard Sting Ray headstock size.


Japanese "EX" Series Sting Ray Bass (production periods unknown)


Headstock logo from a Japanese "EX" series SR4 (serial E29086).


Comparison Logos: upper: 2003 Japanese "EX" series SR4 serial
number E26730 (courtesy "Ede" Brazil) compared with 
lower: Ernie Ball (USA) SR4.

"EX" series SR4s were produced in Japan but exact dates are unknown. Production has now ceased. 

Note that the "EX" series Japanese logo is slightly different to the USA logo in that the letters "n" and "g" in the word "Sting" sit higher. Also the spacing between "Sting" and "Ray" is narrower.


The "EX" Series has no rear decal.



  SPECIAL EDITION ERNIE BALL STING RAYS

 

 

 20th Anniversary (1996 only)

 

 

Front and rear.

 

 

NAMM 100th Anniversary (2001 only)

 

 


Front and rear. Notice the deletion of "Sting Ray" after "Music Man".



30th Anniversary (2006 only)



Front of 30th Anniversary headstock. (Vintage Bass Trading Co.) 

 

 

 SABRE (1984 - 1991)

 

 

Early 1984-1985 Trans Logos

 

 

Type 1

 

Circa 1979 Pre-EB Sabre logo for comparison.

 


This Bass was purchased new between July-Sept 1985. Serial C005856.


Note absence of words "Ernie Ball" on logo. Also note that the string tree is relocated to the A and D strings (an EB feature) as opposed to the Dand G strings (a Pre-EB feature). As this instrument retains the Pre-EB horse shoe type bridge, some Pre-EB "C00xxxx" serials extend into the EB period.

 

Same as the comparison pic above except the patent numbers beneath "Music Man" are now deleted.

 

 

Type 2

 

Note absence of words "Ernie Ball" on logo. Also note that
the string tree is relocated to the A and D strings
(an EB feature) as opposed to the Dand G
strings (a Pre-EB feature).

 

Same as Type 1 but the "TM" is now replaced with an Encircled "R" after "Music Man" in the mid position. There is still no mention of "Ernie Ball". "Music Man" retains gold lettering.

 

 

Circa 1985 to circa 1988 (“Trans Logo”)

 

 

The transitional logo (“Trans Logo”) period can be subdivided into two further periods:

 

Trans Logo 1985 to circa 1987

 

 

 
 Front and rear view of Bass serial B023590 (1985).
 

Front B025472 (1987). No decal appears on rear of headstock. "bass1969".

 

Same as for Early 1984- 1985 but:

 

1) The words “Music Man” are now  moved to lower position.

2) The words “Music Man” are now clear (as opposed to gold lettering on the Pre-EB and Early 1985 Trans Logos). 

3) The words “Ernie Ball” appear above “Music Man”.

4) An encircled “R” follows both “Ernie Ball” and  “Music Man” in the mid position. The "R" following "Ernie Ball" is smaller than the "R" following "Music Man". The use of "TM" (Trade Mark) disappears.

5) Decals are NOT included on rear of headstocks. This is the case for both prefixed and un-prefixed serial-numbered Basses during this period.

6) Little man on right has the polo-neck deleted from his jumper.

 

Trans Logo circa 1987 to circa 1988

 

Pics to follow.

 

Same as for the Trans Logo circa 1985 to circa 1987 but decals are now included on rear of headstock. From 1976 to this point in time, it would appear that decals have been excluded from the rear of headstocks (except for the Cutlass Basses during the Pre-EB period).

 

 

Circa 1988 to circa 1991 (production ceases in 1991)

 

 

Front and rear B027245 (1988). "fighterfire".

 

Purchased new in 1991. Also note the
Bullet truss nut at the headstock.

 

May 1991 Bass. This neck has the Capstan
Wheel truss nut at the heel. "Markku".

 

The headstock logo now becomes completely revised:

 

1) Encircled “R” after “Ernie Ball” moves to the lower position and becomes the same size as the other "R"s on the logo.

2) Little men are shown from waist up only and are now positioned after the words “Ernie Ball”.

3) Little man on left now raises his head (as opposed to the head being slanted previously).

4) The words “Music Man” are now solid black with an encircled “R” following in the lower position.

5) The word “Bass” is now deleted from below the word "Sabre".

6) An encircled “R” now appears under the word "Sabre".

 

(Note that this period logo applied to both bullet and capstan wheel truss necks...the latter of which was introduced circa late 1988 to early 1989.)


Circa 1991


May 1991 Sabre.


Same as above except that the encircled "R" under the word "Sabre" is relocated at the end of the word "Sabre". It would seem that this logo appeared at the very end of the Sabre Bass production period.

 


STERLING
(1993 - current)

 

 

1993

 

Built as a pre-series for the European market. Note that the word
"Sterling" is not included and the encircled "R" is in lower
position. Bass was also built minus a pickguard.
Serial 37125 (1993).

 

 

1993 to circa mid 2000

 

June 1993 Bass.

 

F03028 Sept 2000.

 

1) Encircled "R" (registered) follows words "Ernie Ball" in lower position.

2) Encircled "R" folloes "Music Man" in mid position.

3) "TM" (Trade Mark) follows the word "Sterling" and appears in the lower position.

 

 

Circa mid 2000 - current

 

Year 2000.

 

Same as for 1993 to circa mid 2000 but "TM" at end of "Sterling" now moves to upper position.

 

Matching headstock Bass. Jan 2001. F03479.

 

Sept 2003. F07467.

 

SPECIAL EDITION STERLING

 

 

Black Onyx (2002 only)

 

Bass is totally black including tuners and all hardware.

 

 

SR5 (1987 - Current)

 

 

1987 to circa 1991

 

1989 SR5.

 

The encircled "R" following "Music Man" is located in the upper position.

 

Note that SR5 Basses during this early period had:

A) Plain unstamped neck plates.

B) Alnico pole piece magnets without a dummy coil.

 

Ceramic pole pieces and dummy coil were introduced circa 1992 along with a newly designed pre-amp.

 

 

 Circa 1990 - current

 

 Circa early 1990.

 

 1993 SR5.

 

  2004 SR5.

 

Same as for 1987 to circa 1991 but:

 

1) The encircled "R" following "Music Man" moves to the lower position.

2) The encircled "R" following "Sting Ray" moves completely inside the "5".

Note that there's an over lapping period with the new and old logo. Although the new logo was introduced circa 1990, the older extends into 1991.

 

  2004 SR5 Ltd Ed. Black headstock with gold lettering. "Bjoern".

 


Circa early 2002 - current


Rear decal from Feb 2002 Bass ("Davtran").


Rear decal from May 2002 Bass.

Up to 2002 the rear decal has a forward slope (1st pic). As from early 2002 the rear decal (2nd pic) is now on the same axis as the neck.

20th Anniversary (2007 only)


Front of SR5 20th Anniversary headstock. "Bovinehost". 



SILHOUETTE
(1992 - current)

 

Front.

 

Rear.

 

As there's insufficent pics for comparison at this time, it is unknown whether there's been changes to the logo. The date of the Bass depicted in the above pics is unknown.

 

 

SUB 4 (2003 - current)

 

 

2003 to Jan 2004

 

 


2003 SUB 4 front and rear.


Serial located in front of the D tuner. Tuners are not stamped with Music Man. SUB Basses appear to be the only instruments with their serials located on the headstock. A sticker label is used rather than a permanent serial stamping.

 

 

Jan 2004 - current

 


2004 SUB 4 front.


Serial location is the same as for the 2003 SUB 4 Bass. Tuners are not stamped with Music Man. SUB Basses appear to be the only instruments with their serials located on the headstock. A sticker label is used rather than a permanent serial stamping.

 

Same as for 2003 to Jan 2004 but:

 

1) The full stops after "S" "U" and "B" are deleted ("S.U.B." now becomes a complete word "SUB").

2) The word "BASS" is now included beneath the word "SUB".

 


SUB 5
(2003 - current)

 

2003 to Jan 2004

 


2003 SUB 5 front.

 
Tuners are not stamped with Music Man. SUB Basses appear to be the only instruments with their serials located on the headstock. A sticker label is used rather than a permanent serial stamping. See pics below for serial location.

Similar in design to the 2003 SUB 4 but note the inclusion of a "5" to denote a 5 string Bass. The SUB 4 doesn't include a "4" to denote a 4 string Bass.



Jan 2004 - current

 




2004
SUB 5 front and rear.


Serial located to the right of the G tuner (as is the case with the 2003model). Tuners are not stamped
with Music Man. SUB Basses appear to be the only instruments with their serials located on the headstock. A sticker label is used rather than a permanent serial stamping.

 

Same as for 2003 to Jan 2004 but:

 

1) The full stops after "S" "U" and "B" are deleted ("S.U.B." now becomes a complete word "SUB").

2) The word "BASS" is now included beneath the word "SUB 5".

 

 

SUB STERLING (2004 - current)

 

 


2004 SUB Sterling front and rear.


Serial in same location as the SUB 4 but turned sideways. Tuners are not stamped with Music Man. SUB Basses appear to be the only instruments with their serials located on the headstock.

 

Note the inclusion of "Bass" on the logo which is in keeping with the 2004 SUB 4 and 2004 SUB 5 designs rather than the 2003 SUB designs.

 

 

BONGO 4 (2003 - current)

 

 

 

Bongo 4 front and rear (Year unknown).

 

To date, there appears to be no changes in logo design since its introduction.

 

 

BONGO 5 (2003 - current)

 

2004 Bongo 5.

 

To date, there appears to be no changes in logo design since its introduction.

 

 



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