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early 70s Fender Musicmaster - worth anything, leaving vintage?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bholder, Sep 2, 2001.


  1. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire, but not an "endorsing artist".* (see sig)
    Hi, I've got an old early 70s Fender Musicmaster shortscale that I'm wondering whether it's worth much of anything that would make it worth keeping "as is" (all original), or whether I'd destroy its value by making it actually usable (new bridge, pickup, and electronics). I'd keep the original stuff, of course, so I could put it back as close as possible, but I'd have to drill new holes for the bridge and rout out a bigger hole under the pickguard for the pickup

    What do you think?
     
  2. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire, but not an "endorsing artist".* (see sig)
    Also, where the heck would I even FIND a replacement bridge that allowed for the narrow 2" string spacing?
     
  3. I wouldn't have thought a 70s Musicmaster entered the realm of the collectible, but the vintage market is so weird you can never be sure.

    My vote - make it useable.
     
  4. Bass Guitar

    Bass Guitar Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2001
    They are not considered to be worth much at the moment - you can pick them up for very cheap in most second-hand music shops. Bear in mind that if they do become collectable, having an umodified stock one would be better than an upgraded one. However, ask yourself whether you are buying the bass to collect, or to play. If you buy to play, there are cats buying 60s Jazz Bazz and modifying the hell out of them, so get the best sound from it. If you buy to collect, then it's a different story.
     
  5. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire, but not an "endorsing artist".* (see sig)
    Thanks, that's about what I thought, though I haven't seen one on sale around here in a long time. I'm leaning towards going ahead with the mods (I have to do something anyway, even if I wanted to just sell it, because the connections are bad, all crackly) but keeping them relatively "stealthy" so i can put it back to original looking. Only rub is that means I can't put a J bass bridge pickup in like I want, that's not in the area covered by the pickguard. Still, it probably won't matter, I doubt these will ever become real money items.
    Anyone have any thoughts on finding narrow bridges? The narrowest I've found so far are 2.25, which is just too wide (outer strings would be right at the edges of the frets).
     
  6. rllefebv

    rllefebv

    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    I see them on ebay, and nice stock ones seem to trade somewhat higher than the modified ones. I my self am currently in the market. A very cool little bass IMO...

    -robert
     
  7. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire, but not an "endorsing artist".* (see sig)
    ...I agree, except when the strings are old, the electronics are shot, all crackley and noisy, and the bridge looks like tinfoil! But really, I do love the damn thing, I just wish it sounded better. I'll look at eBay prices and see if it makes enough of a difference to me. I'd rather be able to play the thing, because I doubt I'll be selling it anyway.
     
  8. agyeman

    agyeman Member

    Mar 6, 2001
    There is a Musicmaster Bass for sale here at http://www.newkingsroadguitars.co.uk/ for £399.

    1975 Fender Musicmaster

    White body finish, rosewood neck, black pickguard. great way to own a piece of Fenders heritage, and gets you own the road to owning a great Fender bass
     
  9. CrawlingEye

    CrawlingEye Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Easton, Pennsylvania
    My first bass was a Squire Music Master.

    They have a fairly good sound. I'm sure the Fender one would sound much better.

    The only thing I'd see as a problem is that they only have like 20 frets. The spacing between each fret's just the same as a 34" scale bass though.

    I really liked how mine sounded with heavy blue steels on it. :)
     
  10. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire, but not an "endorsing artist".* (see sig)
    Yeah, the first order of business is definitely new strings, I'm leaning towards some heavier gauge short scale DR High Beams. They're not cheap, though.
     
  11. CrawlingEye

    CrawlingEye Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Easton, Pennsylvania
    Definatly use heavy gauge.

    I suggest trying the Blue Steels too...
    They sounded great on mine when I put them on.

    I no longer have mine, because I sold it, along with the Fender BXR 200 I had, to get other equipment.

    But I seriously, those Blue Steels sounded great on it.
     
  12. rllefebv

    rllefebv

    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    Both my Jazz and Precision have 20 frets... Actually, a 34" scale bass would have a length of 1.908" from the nut to the first fret, the twelfth fret would be 17" from the nut... On the Musicmasters, (both Fender, and the recent Squire release), the scale length is 30", so... 1.684" from the nut to the first fret and 15" from the nut to the twelfth fret. Definitely not the same.

    My first 'real', (i.e. Fender or 'brand' name), bass was a Musicmaster which was later stolen, prompting me to quit for several years. I thought the new Squire's approximated the feel pretty well, and the electronics seemed really decent for the price, ($99 at GC. Shoulda picked one up when they were in stock!)

    -robert

    edit for spelling... dang fingers!
     
  13. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Crawling Eye, they're 30" scale, not 34".
     
  14. CrawlingEye

    CrawlingEye Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Easton, Pennsylvania
    Who said they were 34"?

    I said they have big sized frets, not like most basses that are short scale.

    Most 30" basses have smaller spaces inbetween each fret. These, however, don't.
     
  15. rllefebv

    rllefebv

    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    I guess I read it the same as Angus... Same space between frets sounded like you were talking the same distance from the first fret to the second fret to the third fret etc... Guess I didn't see anything to make me think wire size... S'all good!

    -robert
     
  16. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Hhhmmm, your second setence eludes to fret wire (which your initial post DID NOT), but then your third sentence goes right back to scale length...sigh...
     
  17. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Yep.
     
  18. Music masters are entry level stuff. They don't even have a proper bass pickup! That seems like a ridiculous price.
     
  19. CrawlingEye

    CrawlingEye Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Easton, Pennsylvania
    What the hell are you talking about? :confused:
     
  20. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire, but not an "endorsing artist".* (see sig)
    Well, he's right, musicmasters HAVE always been meant as "entry level stuff", they were designed that way, that's part of their "cool" allure, especially for the more retro vintage ones. I have to admit, having looked now at some being sold on eBay, I'm somewhat surprised at how high they are apparently going for, but still not enough to convince me to leave it original and not cut into it to make it more playable. Maybe if they were going for twice the price or more I'd consider leaving it as is, but since I'm not intending on selling it anyway, I'd rather make it sounds better.

    The original pickups on musicmasters are cheap noisy little single coils, and they do have a certain character, but they are by no means "good" bass pickups in any sense or standard that anyone would use for any bass, either today or back then.