The 1444 was the longest available member of a four-member family that started
with the very scarce two-pickup 1373 6-string bass, then followed by the single
p/u 1442 and two p/u 1443 starting in Spring of 1966, lasting only until S/S
'68, when the MIJ guitars (and basses) took over.
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The 1444 bass was the first 4-string electric bass offered by Sears. Featuring the Dano 'U' style body, and a four string version of the famous Dano bridge, as well as a 'four by' skate key tuner system, the 1444 held down the bottom end for 6 strong years.
The lined/non-lined pickguard question is an
interesting one... the catalog shows a lined p/g in S/S 1962 and then
non-lined until 1965, when the illustrations return. We'd have to compare pot
codes and pickguards to get an accurate assessment as to whether the pickguard
could be used as a quick and dirty date guide.
57F1444L for $79.95
Fall/Winter 1965 at $79.95
as the 57G1444L