Hey there folks. I am selling an original 1973 Fender Musicmaster Bass (short scale, 30"). Might be putting it on Ebay soon, but thought I would try here first considering this is my preferred community over ebay in many ways. I am still trying to figure out what I want for it. Most likely will be a dollar amount but I can be tempted with trades. If you are interested throw me a number, I don't get easily insulted so go ahead and take a shot. Maybe after I think about a little more I will give a price to aim at or around. I always ship with care and good packing. Shipping will be agreed upon and I will not ship without insurance. Pretty much willing to work with prospective buyer on shipping or anyway I can. Onto the 73' MusicMaster......
1973 Fender Musicmaster Bass Guitar with Vintage Telecaster Bass Pickup (a rather very special customization (read below). Serial Number on neck Plate #388974 and Neck Stamp (photos shown) of 8 MAR 73 B , confirm date to be correctly dated to 1973. The ‘B’ in the code stands for the nut width of 1 5/8 inches which it correctly is measured to be. The color was Fender’s Olympic White (now aged to a Banana Crème color). I have a good deal of experience with older Fender Basses, and I would normally not consider owner-customized basses to be anything special. As a matter of fact, the farther from stock a vintage bass is, generally the less value is assigned. This one however bridges a bit of an unusual gap (and not just because its mine, I’ve sold some of my old stock Fenders in the past and understand the subtleties). Consider that the short scale Musicmaster Bass comes to no where near the vintage price ranges of Fender J or P basses. The Musicmaster bass was normally fitted with a fairly modest lone single coil pickup. The bass you are looking at was fitted with a 1975 (date stamped on rear of pickup housing) Telecaster Bass Humbucker Pickup, apparently done by the original owner. After I acquired the instrument a little country auction in WV, I had to decide if I should sell the bass without the pickup, since these original pickups by themselves sell for a few hundred bucks. Here is one of those pickups that was recently in auction on Ebay just to show you what I mean. http://www.ebay.com/itm/200958943965...84.m1438.l2649
Having played the bass, and hearing how nice it sounded, I just decided to give the electronics a basic cleanup and to auction/sell it with this ‘period’ modification. I had already had it apart intending to sell the pickup but after testing/playing it, it seems to be a very good marriage and an upgrade to the Musicmaster. Also given the fact that the mod was vintage in its own right……. it just seemed like the thing to do. There is no way for me to know if the pickup was taken off of an original Telecaster Bass or somehow purchased from Fender at that time back in the 70s. But there is no doubt that the pickup is an original 1975 item and brings quite a few dollars just by itself. The bass guitar being a couple years older than the pickup also makes pretty good sense in terms of provenance and when the mod was made.
Here are some other details. The strings on the bass are old and have oxidation. I was quite surprised how well the bass still sounded and this was one reason that leads me to keeping the pickup and bass together as a unit. I was not going to purchase new short scale strings for it and figured I would leave that up to the new owner. If it sounded that good with ancient strings it must sound even better with newer ones. The modification to add the Telecaster Bass pickup seems decent with regard to the augmentation of the wood cavity , the pickup itself is placed perfectly for sound relative to string placement. I could tell the carving was not factory done, but decent none the less. An aftermarket pick-guard was added to accept the Tele Humbucker pickup. There is a sticker on the back of the pickguard that says ‘Chandler’. Chandler to my knowledge was a pick-guard company that now still exists but is currently known as ‘Pick-guard Heaven’. I will say that its not a super professional job on the guard, it looks fine but I would expect better, maybe it was early going in the pickguard aftermarket back in those days. I did not adjust the saddles and bridge at all, as they seem good for string height of a short scale. No buzzing, not floppy at all, and a joy to play especially if you like smaller basses. The excellent action surprised me since I am sure this had not been tended too in quite a long time. You may wish to adjust as to your liking as there seems to be plenty of available space to raise or lower the action. Plays very good (great even, as I was thinking of keeping it), so while I am more of a 34” scale player, I would be proud to gig with this 30” scale bass. It just has that nice short scale ‘thud’ without sounding muddy. I mention terms like ‘thud’ and ‘muddy’, and I know that these terms can be different for everyone. In describing the sound, if it helps at all I played the bass with an Ampeg SVT Classic Amp and a big ole Peavey 412 TVX cabinet. The frets have plenty of wear, but seemed fine for my tastes. Also it could be that it’s a fret size that I am not entirely used to. I like it tho. They actually have an easy feel to them and does not seem to be screaming for a fret job any time soon. There are numerous dings and finish blemishes but no cracks or structural issues. The rosewood fingerboard has a small gouge on the edge just above the first fret on the Low E string. Its pretty small and doubt the photos can pick it up. Its an old bass, and it looks like an old bass. Yet it is quite excellent overall and plays superbly. As I mentioned the neck is marked 8 MAR 73 B. The ‘B’ in the code stands for Fender's nut width of 1 5/8 inches for specific models. The neck heal says ‘L. Hughes’ and the pocket is stamped ‘Gary 150’, this being fairly typical designating Fender employees at the time of production. One thing I really love about this bass is how the neck matches with the body pocket. It seems excellent, no shims are existing nor are any needed. If you have experience with Fender vintage basses/guitars then you likely know that there was a lot a variation in fit of the neck and body pocket. Many were very good, some were quite bad, this one is really nice and the neck itself is suberb other than blemishes. I was happy to see a Musicmaster with such a nice fit, …. This was almost becoming a keeper for me. But I can’t keep everything dang it. Ok, what else to mention…. It’s a 4 bolt neck. Heart shape tuners (the clover style tuners were added later to the Musicmaster Line in 1976), I think the Heart shape jobs are cooler but did not stay shiny like the Clovers. Have had no problems with it going out of tune. I think I have given a pretty good description of the Bass, for anything else, just look at photos or message me.
Comes with original hard body case. I believe the hard body case to be absolutely original, it is really in great shape for its age. Interior neck snap in the case still works and by gosh the case still has the original key set.
Additional Info on Fender Musicmaster Bass guitars: Musicmaster Line of Basses Introduced in 1970. Red, White, or Blue finishes until 1976 at which point they were only available in White or Black thereafter. Discontinued in 1983.
PLEASE NOTE: Due to lighting the paint finish appears much more white than the actual aged creme color. Other photos with the bass in its case, reflect the interior of the case giving a red/orange hue. I would say that the photos of the bass in its case give a much closer representation of actual finish color. The actual color is seen very often when vintage Olympic White turns to a Banana Creme. Many of you have seen likely seen this, for those who have not just browse some shots of vintage Fender 'Olympic White' guitars.
Also would some kind soul please let me know if the photos are showing up nice and clear. Looks ok from my end. I have not posted photos here on Talkbass in a while. Thanks!
the next photo shows the headstock when I had the strings off. I gave the rosewood neck a gentle cleaning with a premium
fingerboard product. I think the heart shape tuners are very nice and add a level of 'vintage' not often seen in these as they were replaced by the clover leafs later in the Musicmaster lifespan.
Here is a pic of the Humbucker as I had it off for cleaning and inspection. The humbucker is an original 1975, I've seen them in the $300 to $500 range by themselves. De-oxit was applied to the pots and they seem excellent.