1977 Fender Musicmaster surfaced to say hello

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by rolandm, Jan 16, 2014.


  1. rolandm

    rolandm In search of the lowest note. Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2010
    Location:
    Peoria, IL
    Neighbor up the road found out I tinker with setups and minor repairs and brought a couple basses over to get cleaned up and set up. One was a 1977 Fender Musicmaster. Cool old bass.

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    With a WHOLE LOTTA CIGARETTE SMOKE. Seriously, I think I'm getting lung cancer just sitting near this thing. ;)

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  2. Fluid Power

    Fluid Power

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2013
    Location:
    Land of 10K Lakes
    Not only that, I'm sure the strings are from the 70's!
    It's really in pretty good shape.
  3. REMBO

    REMBO Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2011
    Location:
    Connecticut
    great little basses!
  4. FourBanger

    FourBanger

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2012
    Location:
    SE Como
    Want. My favorite bass I've ever played was a Musicmaster with the Duncan Quarter Pounder.

    Fortunately for my wife my dream vintage bass is easily had for under $1000.
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  6. HosMan

    HosMan Los! Zum dritten Mal denn! Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2009
    Location:
    Northern CA,USA
    I`ve never heard a single negative comment about the MusicMaster. My budget wouldn`t allow me one so default to Wish List. *sigh* :meh:

    Are the MMs short scale or standard?

    You could use that smokey,nicotine orange mm to make some $,btw. Just by charging $1.00 a lick to smokers quitting/trying to quit the habit. LOL Our first home was from an 80+ yr old smoker,literally a tary film on walls and ceiling. Good times. :scowl:

    HosMan

    p.s. OK to pm you about a bass body repair question?
  7. rolandm

    rolandm In search of the lowest note. Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2010
    Location:
    Peoria, IL
    Yeah, it's a groovy little bass. They're a 30" scale, and they were replaced by Fender when they brought out the Squier line with the Bronco bass, but they retained the same 6 pole pickup as the Musicmasters.

    And sure. Fire away.
  8. DavidEdenAria

    DavidEdenAria

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2013
    I've owned a couple and kept my 72 MM bass that's been stripped and is a real featherweight compared to the other ones, really resonant too.
  9. rolandm

    rolandm In search of the lowest note. Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2010
    Location:
    Peoria, IL
    30" scale. And yeah, this little bugger is really resonant.
  10. DavidEdenAria

    DavidEdenAria

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2013
    My 72 MM was black as well.....I may pull the stock pickup for fun because apparently the pickups work very well in guitars.

    Since I have several Strats, I am tempted!

    Btw, what strings are you installing?
  11. mimaz

    mimaz Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2005
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    Location:
    Wheeling WV
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist: Crook Custom Guitars
    Nifty bass...I own the identical twin in a '76 model.
  12. rolandm

    rolandm In search of the lowest note. Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2010
    Location:
    Peoria, IL
    The reason the pickups work so well is because they're 6 pole hum buckers, same as the basic strat models. When they discontinued the Musicmaster in favor of the Squier Bronco, they kept the pickups 6 pole. Between my daughter's Bronco and this Musicmaster, the sound is virtually identical, save for the setups and the maple neck on the Bronco.
  13. Monster Truck

    Monster Truck

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2011
    Location:
    Erie, PA
    Only bass I regret selling is a 72 Musicmaster. Fun little bass that could hold it's own with a full scale P. Another TBer owns her now.

    [​IMG]
  14. DavidEdenAria

    DavidEdenAria

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2013
    Musicmaster pickups are not humbuckers, they are a basic single coil very similar to what is in a Stratocaster yes, but not a humbucker.

    I own a 65 Fender Musicmaster II guitar, same pickup there as well....they do pickup 60 cycle hum unfortunately.
  15. FourBanger

    FourBanger

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2012
    Location:
    SE Como
    I've always been surprised that Musicmasters pull off a tone more similar to a Precision to my ear than most Mustangs even though my brain tells me the Mustang pickup looks much more like a Precision pickup.

    Anyone else?
  16. FretlessMainly

    FretlessMainly

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2010
    Cool bass, rolandm. Two things regarding the setup:

    1. You've got screws for a thumbrest; get that puppy back on there.
    2. The strings are poorly lined up with the fingerboard. I tend to pull-off toward the floor, so that G string is way too close to the edge of the board, and the E is unnecessarily far from the E string edge of the board. My guess is that a loosening of the neck screws, followed by a nice gentle pull on the neck will line things up nicely.

    Rock on.
  17. godofthunder59

    godofthunder59 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2006
    Location:
    Rochester NY USA
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Cataldo Basses, Whirlwind products, Thunderbucker pickups
    I have a oly white '78 Musicmaster. Through a good tube amp this little bass kicks ass!
  18. TinIndian

    TinIndian

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2011
    Location:
    Micco Florida
    My first bass was identical to that one. Black with a black guard. Pretty sure mine was a 78.
  19. rolandm

    rolandm In search of the lowest note. Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2010
    Location:
    Peoria, IL
    According to the owner, the bass never had a thumb rest, and those screws have always been in there. I agree though, it could use one, and that would make it easier to play for sure. Looks like this one isn't the only one with a broken off hunk of pick guard, either. LOL.

    As for the pickup, you're absolutely correct. Single as my ex-wife. That being said, it's damned quiet.

    So, here's the cleanup.

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    My daughter's Bronco, on the left, and my neighbor's Musicmaster on the right.

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    The one on the left is new. The one on the right could be it's grandpa. And in a way, it sort of is.

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    The Musicmaster was originally the entry-level bass Fender offered with leftover Mustang bodies. The pickup is actually a 6-pole stratocaster-style pickup, and surprisingly it sounds pretty good.

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    My daughter's Squier Bronco, for comparison. It has the same 6-pole pickup, and the two basses sound very similar.

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    No, these tuners are not supposed to be satin. High gloss chrome and stainless steel gears, washers, retainers and screws.

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    Big fat tuning keys. And thank God, because the gears have very little give.

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    There's a new pick guard in this bass's future, as well as some wood putty and TLC. After that, I'll clean and inspect the wiring. No sense in disturbing anything under there until then.

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    The cool thing about Musicmasters? EVERYTHING is attached to the pick guard.

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    Two years ago, the owner lent this bass out. It came back like this. Oxidized finish with God knows what spilled all over it, and so many cracks you could start your own house. (Get it?)

    More coming …
  20. rolandm

    rolandm In search of the lowest note. Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2010
    Location:
    Peoria, IL
    Continued …

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    Hard to see here, but the neck bolt plate is a bit tarnished and not it's glossy self.

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    Not really easy to tell here, but the neck has a slight warp to it. The owner, who's owned this bass since new, used it in marching band. In the winter. Outside. Where the humidity change did horrible things to it. The fact it's not warped worse is a miracle.

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    I think I need a tetanus shot after looking at this. Grrrrr. Crusty!

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    Strings off, and now to disassemble and clean the hardware, including the string tree. We'll see what color the neck was originally under there.

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    Crusty. But a little elbow grease, and it becomes shiny again! OH! And a little Brasso.

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    Clean, unclean. Shiny. Dull.

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    You can see the neck grunge on the side of the neck. Several years of smoky bars, sweaty hands, and heaven knows what else. At the heal of the neck, you can see where the finish has been worn away, possibly by a guitar stand.

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    Quite a fair bit of oxidation around the string post bushings, eh?

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    Cleaned bushing, all ready to bush. I don't remove these because they're a bugger to get back in.

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    Blonde. This neck was BLONDE at one time. WOW! It's a redhead now almost! I kid, of course it was natural color. Just neat to see how many shades of discoloration these old basses go through.

    More coming.
  21. rolandm

    rolandm In search of the lowest note. Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2010
    Location:
    Peoria, IL
    Continued …
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    Tanlines? Nope. Just age, oxidation, and more late nights in smoky bars than you or I would want to know.

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    The neck prior to fret cleaning and boiled linseed oil. This bass could really use with a fret recrown and level, but to be honest, with the twist in it, it's not likely that would be money well spent. A new neck perhaps? We'll see. This bass is more sentimental value than playing value at this point in its career. And there ain't nothing wrong with that.

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    This was a VERY tight fitting neck pocket. Good stuff, man.

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    R. Friend did this neck. Fender was a very Friendly place in 1977. This neck was made on Wednesday of the 43rd week of 1977. (43-7-3). That would be October 26, 1977.

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    More grime. You know, I'm ok with buckle rash, and scratches on the backs of instruments. But the grime, I have no truck with.

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    Soakin' in the boiled linseed oil. It sucked down two coats.

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    Bathing in the oil. Let it sit a wee bit, then wipe it down.

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    Cleaned up, this rosewood board is nicely figured.

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    This is where you make your money. 3rd and 5th position.

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    The disassembled bridge and body hardware. Note that someone replaced the upper horn strap button screw with … a drywall screw. WTH do people think sometimes? And that was done by a pro, kids. A "pro". Envision me using air quotes and rolling my eyes.

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