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70's Fender Mustang or Musicmaster?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jazz3625tonic, Sep 20, 2008.

  1. jazz3625tonic

    jazz3625tonic Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2003
    I don't really know to much about either one of these... so, any Fender heads out there that has had or played both could possibly give some input on which one is the most prefered, and what about tone, as compared to each other and if one is better tone wise than the other or better built how would that one compare to say a regular MIA P bass (as comparision only) likes, dislikes, lets hear it!
    I did a search for this in the forum and didn't see anything. (but I didn't go all the way through every page... sorry.) :)
  2. WarriorJoe7

    WarriorJoe7 Banned

    Mar 12, 2004
    Syracuse, NY
    Same exact bass except the pickup configuration/pickups and the pickguard/electronics and the logo/colors.
  3. Navybass


    Mar 12, 2005
    Norfolk, Va.
    The Mustang bass sort of has a P-bass tone. Notice I said "sort of". It doesn't sound exactly like a P-bass, but is warmer than the Musicmaster which has a thinner tone due to the single coil pickup.

    The Mustang bass was Fenders Cadillac of the beginner line. When it was made, Fender considered it to be their best short scale bass.

    The other difference as far as function and not cosmetic is the bridge. The Musicmaster bridge has 2 saddles like on the original P-bass meaning 2 strings share 1 saddle whereas the Mustang has an individual saddle for each string. This makes intonation more accurate on the Mustang.

    The rest (other than the pickup and bridge) is purely cosmetic. Both have the same body and neck.
  4. jazz3625tonic

    jazz3625tonic Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2003
    Thanks for the input! So now I have one more question... as compared to the 80-83 Bullet Bass (American Made) what would your thoughts be? Anyone else?

  5. Navybass


    Mar 12, 2005
    Norfolk, Va.
    I'm assuming you mean the 30" scale one and not the 34" scale, they made both.

    On the bullet, you have the smaller Tele style headstock, same type pickup as on the Mustang. I believe the Bullet could be found with a maple fretboard whereas the Mustangs were rosewood.

    The Bullets are harder to find because of the short production run. The Mustang basses give you the option of getting an original one or a reissue. The reissues are great basses and capture the look, feel, and tone of the originals very well.

    If you can, try out the bullet, original Mustang, and reissue Mustang and go with the one you like best.
  6. bassman10096


    Jul 30, 2004
    The single coil on the Musicmaster is basically a noisy piece of crap. However, the pickup rout is identical in size to a Strat pickup. I once had a Musicmaster whose pickup had been replaced with a Track 2 Humbucking Strat replacement pu. Don't be put off by the idea of a guitar pickup. It had tone that was as rich and deep bassy as any short scale bass I've ever played (including Mustangs). Being a bucker, it was silent as well. No additional routing needed - costs less than $100.
  7. jazz3625tonic

    jazz3625tonic Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2003
    Very interesting indeed sir!
  8. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    My very first bass was a Bullet. It sucked. My very latest bass is a Musicmaster and I'm having a blast with it. My experience was probably just luck of the draw, though. Very important to try a piece out with your own hands if at all possible.

    The Musicmaster isn't exactly a showcase of loving craftsmanship. The strings slide around over the 2-up saddles. I can almost draw blood if I run my finger over the frets overhanging the fretboard. But that's part of the charm. My 'master has plenty of mojo to keep me fascinated.

    With a strat pickup shape, you definitely can't beat the Musicmaster for pickup options. I just had a really good tone night with the stock pickup and my Alembic tube preamp. (Don't be shy with the volume and go ahead and use the DEEP switch.) I can feel the limitations, though. With a better pickup, it could be scary good.

    Aero offers replacements for both the Mustang and the 'Master. AFAIK they're the only ones who offer a Mustang split P shape and a bass-specific (4-pole) upgrade for the Musicmaster.

    Happy hunting!
  9. eots


    Dec 18, 2004
    Morris, IL.
    I had a '66 Mustang for a while. Very comfortable neck. Had Lindy Fralin rewind the bobbins w/ 5% overwind($116 including shipping). Very punchy and p-bass'ish. Could've used something to rest the thumb on since the pups are small. And it was quiet as a 'p' bass should be.
    Even though it's a short scale, still had to deal with neck dive.
    I now have an SX shorty ('jaguar') that's every bit as comfy, balances well, and still sounds great for hundreds less.
  10. whyseye


    Mar 3, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    The Mustang also offered a maple fretboard - actually a one piece maple neck/fretboard - as shown in the 76 in my avatar...

    ...I can't really address any differences between the Mustang and any other Fender bass of that era, but mine sounds sweet...I'm ignorant, but happy...
  11. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I've had a few Bullet basses (still have two in 34 inch scale) and a couple of Mustangs but yesterday I picked up a Squier Affinity Bronco with a maple fingerboard and I gotta say that it absolutely stomps all over them and all my other short scales. I put Labella nylon tapes on it and just got finished playing along to some tunes for the last couple of hours and I couldn't be happier.

    I haven't tried any other Squier Broncos yet (but I will) so maybe this one is special.
    El Pelusa likes this.
  12. ciubz


    Jan 30, 2005
    I have a 1983 Squier Bullet bass (japan). it's a great thumper, i love it! Sometimes i like it even more than my 1976 p-bass.
  13. Navybass


    Mar 12, 2005
    Norfolk, Va.
    I stand corrected. You just don't see too many Mustang basses with Maple boards though.
  14. ForestThump


    Jun 15, 2005
    Can you elaborate a little more on the sound of the SX shorty as compared to the Mustang since the SX has two passive Jazz pickups in it?
    How did you find the quality of the construction on this particular model?
    Any mods?
  15. Navybass


    Mar 12, 2005
    Norfolk, Va.
    They're going to be completely different, you really can't compare a bass with 1 pickup to one with 2 pickups, especially since the pickups differ (SX has 2 single coils, Mustang has 1 humbucker split pickup)

    Think of the difference between a Jazz bass and a Precision bass.
  16. qtowens


    May 30, 2008
    Ferndale, MI
    I like mine... a '78 Musicmaster with a SD SPB-1 and custom bakelite pickguard!

    Attached Files:

  17. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.

    +1. I recently sold a 1970's Musicmaster as it was ungiggable. I think the old ones actually used a Telecaster PU (I could be wrong).

    A Musicmaster is a cool looking and playing bass that sounds ok at low volumes.. but not at a gig IMO. Very thin and gutless.

    A Mustang is a much better choice IMO and sounds a little bit like a P.

    Keep in mind that a used '70's Musicmaster can be found in great condition for approx $500.... a 70's Mustang is much more $$$.
  18. eots


    Dec 18, 2004
    Morris, IL.
    Briefly, The Mustang was more old school thump. Pretty much a P bass. The SX, now permanently in series, is modern sounding.
    Since I don't like single coil hum, it seemed like the way to go and this can be used to teach the young'uns so 1 vol. knob keeps it simple . Still plenty of snap and pop and no less than 2 places to rest the thumb on.

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