1969 Micro-Frets Signature
If this bass looks quite similar to my Micro-Frets Stage II, that’s because they are quite similar. The biggest practical difference is probably the scale length and body wood: this Signature has a short 30” neck and a poplar body, whereas the Stage II has a 34” neck and a maple body. However, there is one structural difference besides the wood: this Signature bass is an earlier Micro-Frets creation, and the front and back halves of the body are joined by a series of clips rather than being glued together. The join between the two halves is plainly visible along the side of the body; the earliest Micro-Frets instruments used a white gasket to hide the join. The pickups, wiring, and finish are all the same as my Stage II, not to mention the trademark Micro-Frets hardware such as the compensated nut. Not surprisingly, the two models listed for the same $299 in 1972, rising to $329 the following year (plus $74.50 for a case). This bass has a two-tiered pickguard, though the upper guard is white (some Signatures have clear ones like my Stage II, but others are opaque).
One might expect the shorter scale to give it a deeper, thumpier sound than my Stage II, but in fact it’s considerably brighter and has higher output. I actually suspect that this is largely due to a difference in wiring, though the winding of the pickups could be different as well. It’s all original and in clean condition, including the original hard case.