1/02/2016

1956 Fender Musicmaster Electric Guitar




Update March 2016: This came back for a setup with new "tilt" compensated saddles. One was swapped upside-down to get the wound G in tune and now the whole guitar feels a bit more "clean" up the neck. I recorded a clip and took better pictures for reference.

My friend Butch has owned this guitar since he was a kid. His Dad picked it up in a mixed swap for some work that was unpaid-for and it's been his ever since. Along the way he stripped it down to natural and sanded-off the gold anodized finish from the pickguard, but thanks to a decade-ago respray with original-color finish and a bit of previous work, it's remained true to its roots.

My only work was to give this one a quick setup and give it more of a "period" vibe by installing some 54w-12 flatwound strings which also snugged-up the tension and meant its owner no longer had that "warbling out of tune" feeling via pressure from his fingers.

It's surprising how versatile the sound and feel of this guitar is with just the one pickup. I like it a lot better with the heavier flats on it, too -- they fit the tone/feel of this "like a glove" and I can easily see this configuration calling its home in jazz or country settings depending on the way you set the knobs. The original 3-saddle bridge also intonates better with the wound G.

Update: It now has a set of compensated "tilt" brass saddles installed and plays in-tune on-the-dot.
 







60 years of love have gone into this neck and it certainly shows it. The shorter 22 1/2" scale of the neck isn't obvious at first as the nut is conveniently wide enough and the rear of the neck hefty enough to feel like it's a "real size" guitar. With the proper tension of the bigger flats it feels like driving an old Camaro or something rather than a thin or wispy modern student guitar feel/sound.

Interesting!

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