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NBD!! Vtg 1971 Fender Musicmaster Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by HosMan, Mar 14, 2014.

  1. HosMan

    HosMan Los! Zum dritten Mal denn!

    Aug 24, 2009
    Northern CA,USA
    Haha! Figgerd it out-how to git `nother Mustang that aint Mustang! Musicmaster *Giggity*:D

    This is my first true vintage bass at 43 yrs old. A 1971 in red and black-white-black picguard in a solid VG to VG+ condition.Even at $600,no shipping and free Johnson HSC."A" string missing,board/neck/headstock show surprisingly little wear,w/usual minor scratches,nicks,etc.Crackling is visible on body finish,but not(yet)severe.

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  2. HosMan

    HosMan Los! Zum dritten Mal denn!

    Aug 24, 2009
    Northern CA,USA
    Mine has the original strat Mustang guitar pickup and(I assume)also wired with the additional cap to mitigate some of the highs.Hardware is solid and tight,with some of the screws showing rust in their "+"s,bridge has minor surface 'gunk'(whitish/grey).SUPER light bass,imho,I worry it`s not balsa or pine! Sounds much nicer than I imagined,but does hum and doesn`t push the volume like a "real" bass.Sustain is like...in SPINAL TAP....mmmmmwhhhhh...lol
  3. HosMan

    HosMan Los! Zum dritten Mal denn!

    Aug 24, 2009
    Northern CA,USA
    I`m kind of scared,kind of curious to play this lil fella...for reals,I mean. Going to have my guitar/bass tech do a complete check,cleaning,adjustments,etc. then a pair of nice flats(open to all suggestions!) Fretboard needs a thourough degreasing,cleaning and oil job.

    How do I clean/protect/etc. vintage basses?? To keep clean and such,while preserving original finish,etc. :confused:

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  4. gary m

    gary m

    Jan 17, 2011
    Mid -Atlantic
    Congrats on the find! These are getting harder and harder to come by, but Musicmasters in VGC do surface from time to time.

    For strings, I suggest either GHS flats or Pyramid Gold nickel flats for short scale basses. Tension is relatively mild, with a tone that suits Fenders well.

    There are differing schools of thought on the pickup...some opt for a blade-type single coil sized humbucker (such as those made by Di Marzio) to get some magnet under all four strings. Others go the custom route, while a third group elect to leave the stock Strat pickup in the bass alone. You may know more about how well the stock unit performs after a string change.

    For finish care, I usually use Dr. Duck's Axe Wax with good results. Fender makes a spray cleaner in association with Meguiar's that is good too. I like to use either lemon oil or Scott's Liquid Gold on fretboards for cleaning and oiling. A bit of Brasso on the frets and chrome tends to help as well.

    Hope this helps! Looking forward to seeing more of this instrument as the cleanup progresses.
  5. bludog

    bludog Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2012
    Brooklyn 11217
    Congrats! I have a '71 too and it's a great little bass. I've always loved the shape of the tuning pegs and the pickguard compared to the Mustangs. A very cool look and something a little different for a Fender. Just the fact that they are cobbled together from factory parts is cool in my book.

    Mine is all original (w/ original Victoria case) except someone stripped the finish and did a very good clear nitro finish on it many, many years ago. They did a really good job so it works for me. There is still some faded paint in the neck pocket though, appears to be seafoam green but it's probably a faded blue. The pickguard is pearl which is kind of cool, odd though because I've never seen another with pearl.

    I thought about replacing the pickup for something with a little more output but decided to keep it as original as possible. I like the tone anyway, so why mess with it. If it were my only bass perhaps I would but as a backup, it's great as is.

    Are these worth anything? I paid $650 a few years ago and thought it was fair for the condition (very good) and with the case. Never thought of it as a collectors piece but maybe they are rarer then I thought.
  6. OldDirtyBassist


    Mar 13, 2014
    Super nice bass!

    Not mentioned yet, but I wouldn't take it apart. You don't have to worry much about it being real or not, being the model it is.

    I'd seek some real advice on the finish being preserved. I don't know what cleaning methods would devalue the instrument, and what wouldn't. It's an important thing to know on a piece of history like that.
  7. Nice score!!!
  8. Uncle K

    Uncle K The bass player doesn't get a sandwich Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2011
    Erie, PA
    I had an early 70's ('72 I believe) MusicMaster in Daphne blue-turned green with age. I came into some money problems and had to sell it. Man, I miss that bass.

  9. Eat lots of southern fried chicken & pork chops...do not wash hands...play! Nothing else is needed. :D

    BTW, nice bass.
  10. HosMan

    HosMan Los! Zum dritten Mal denn!

    Aug 24, 2009
    Northern CA,USA
    Thanks all! If I`d have known the prime directive of eating lots of southern fried chicken and pork chops,not washing hands...I would have bought a Fender MM years ago!

    (Sir,I`ll call your bet and raise you: not washing hair and wearing a size M t-shirt which exposes 1/2 of beer belly.) :p

    The kid(21+ yrs) from whom I bought the bass told me he has gigged with it "hella times" and it was always great.

    Basically the "Little Old Lady Who Only Drove It To Church On Sundays" spiel for guitars and basses...I know.

    I`m happy with the Fender MM and had no illusions of closet collectability or the like....just the 'I likey' part,really.
  11. Ok, you got me; I wash my hair. Now, the beer belly thing...I could probably give you a run for the money on that. BTW...I had three of those greasy old pork chops for supper. Yes, you heard me. Around here it's supper. :D
  12. JimB52

    JimB52 User Supporting Member

    May 24, 2007
    East Coast

    A couple unusual features on yours-
    Tug bar on the bass side of the strings, usually not seen until after 1973. Neck plate serial number is more in line with 1969 or so than 1971. Very pretty bass.

    I bought a '71 Musicmaster a few years back at Sam Ash for $300.
    Great neck - like a baby P-Bass. Nice rosewood board. Like yours, very lightweight. Unlike yours, PU replaced with an EMG. Has a deep thumpy tone.


    Very clean. Nicely yellowed oly white finish

    PU replacement looks like a pro job.

  13. HosMan

    HosMan Los! Zum dritten Mal denn!

    Aug 24, 2009
    Northern CA,USA
    God I love that 'Olympic White'(?) old school color...especially when it ages and yellows! I`m too chicken to mod this old gal...at least for now. :smug:

    My research on the serial # agrees with your observation,JimB52--[1969]1970/71,Fullerton,CA factory.Guess I`d have to check/match the pot codes and neck stamp to be for sure.Been wondering about the tug bar vs. thumb rest placement as well. Many MMs I see online seem to have either/or.Can`t find any definitive data so far.

    Thanks for the compliment,btw. The color is "Dakota Red"(?)I think.
    Ms Red is at the shop getting a set-up,cleaning and fitted with a set of flatwounds.

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