Anyone modifying old Mustangs or Musicmasters to gig with?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BusyFingers, Dec 10, 2016.

  1. BusyFingers


    Nov 26, 2016
    Just curious what anyone has done out there. Due to me stubby digits, I'm afraid I'm relegated to short scale in order to become as proficient as I like on the instrument.

    I'd love to see some pics of what people have done with these cool old instruments to make them real tone monsters for serious use.
  2. They are tone monsters and serious instruments to begin with (you can replace the pickup in the musicmaster for a '51 P bass pickup without too much hassle, as the Musicmaster has a guitar pickup originally, but it's not a necessary modification), but they don't need to be modded to get a gig-worthy sound, as Nick Movshon proves with his +- 1970 Comp-Stripe Mustang.

    andonbray and birdman14 like this.
  3. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Some years back I bought a nice 74' Musicmaster bass. The pots were shot and I tried like all heck to clean them but it was no use. Since Fender used a strat pup in them, they had two caps in the curcuit. One was standard, the other was to bleed off high end from the strat pup.
    I went back to the shop I bought the bass at and scored a 78'P bass wiring harness and installed that.
    It was a huge improvement and that bass sounded killer. In fact that bass got some of the only compliments on tone I have ever received at a gig.
  4. birdman14


    Feb 7, 2011
    For a few years my only bass was a 1970 Musicmaster bass, who's wiring I replaced with a standard P wiring and an Aero Musicmasterer pickup. Absolute monster, particularly with Chromes strung on it. I moved to a different sound, and it saw less use, but if you want a thumpy, dubby sound, replace the pickup and call it a day!
  5. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    I'm afraid I don't have a pic, but my first bass was a Mustang that I bought in 1977. It fell out of its case onto pavement, and its finish got messed up, so I stripped it and re-finished it natural. I also made a black pickguard for it, and pulled the frets out.

    I was never able to overcome that thumpy, dubby sound, or the balance issues, but it's great for a kid with small hands, and a relative of mine is learning on it now.
  6. BusyFingers


    Nov 26, 2016
    Two drummers and two bass players, huh? Do they do that all the time?
  7. farace

    farace Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2016
    Connecticut USA
    A friend in college back around '81 yanked the six-polepiece pickup out of his Mucusmaster (common term back then because they sounded like snot) and routed in a regular P-Bass pickup, and it sounded incredible.
  8. BusyFingers


    Nov 26, 2016
    That's cool. There's a nice Squier Vista Musicmaster in shell pink on ebay right now that has been routed for a bridge J pickup.
  9. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    I love Musicmasters!!

    I recently "rescued" this one for a friend of mine... Definitely mistreated, but cleaned up nicely. That old DiMarzio PAF pickup is a BEAST and this is a bass that begs to be gigged!! You can read more here...


    Next up is my own '78. Like others, this one sounded kinda murky when it was stock. I have my own thoughts on it being the stock electronics more than the pickups that hamper these original Musicmasters... For this bass, I went with a Sentell stacked humbucking pickup, which really opened the bass up while maintaining the original aesthetics... Had to do some modding "under the covers" that you can read about here if you wish.


    Odd that this thread popped up when it did... I have been playing my two home-brew medium scale basses exclusively lately... Friday night, as I was walking out the door for a jam/rehearsal with some friends, I grabbed my Musicmaster at the last minute and used it the whole night. Great fun getting reacquainted!!