1975 Fender Musicmaster Electric Bass Guitar (Modded)

After trading my "upgraded" Musicmaster bass to a friend of mine, I was on the hunt for another short scale bass and -- after destroying my mind trying to figure out what to get -- I decided to get another Musicmaster! I can't help it... they've got what I want. I spied this one on fleaBay in Florida and its absolutely beat, tired, faded, and holy guacamole character grabbed my attention. A week later, and it was delivered this afternoon. Suffice to say -- my "lunch break" was spent readying this for service as I'd already ordered the parts I needed to upgrade it.

Clearly, this bass has seen a lot of abuse -- there's moisture damage, tons of nicks and dings, heat damage, and the original Daphne Blue finish has turned into a splotchy, avocado green with a matchingly-faded "white" pickguard that's now a dusty vanilla-tan. It did come to me, however, with completely original bits. The original parts I don't care for on a bass -- the pickup, wiring harness, and 2-saddle bridge design -- got replaced, however, with a Strat-sized double-blade Alnico-magnet humbucker, volume control, and series/parallel/coil tap switch.

While the original pickups have a cool tone (as they're Mustang pickups), I like the tone of Mustang basses more (with their mini-P-bass pickups) and so the pickup switch to "series" mode gives me that almost-P-bass thump. With the switch in "parallel" mode, I get a bit more of the original single coil flavor or something approximating a short scale J-bass vibe. Currently, the coil tap (middle position) of the switch isn't working (it's still parallel in that mode) and I think it's likely due to the switch being a #2 variant of an on-on-on switch rather than the kind that I thought it was. I'll have to sort that later!

The weird bit about this bass is that, up front, it appears to be an early-70s Musicmaster model with the smaller-shaft tuners and pearloid-backed pickguard -- though the neck plate dates it at '75. Once the neck was off, however, I discovered the reason behind the nicer finish on the neck (old style and smooth instead of thick and gloss) -- it had a '70 date on it! The body, further, seems to have a '72 date in the neck pocket. It seems like someone was using-up old parts! I'm certain the bass was originally put together in this configuration, however, as it doesn't appear to have been "opened-up" since new and all of the exposed original finish matches up on the various parts.

The nitro finish is crinkled, grained, half-missing, weather-checked, quite yellowed, and up here at the headstock you can see how squirrely the decals have gotten.

The fretboard was washed-out and quite dry when this got to me. I'm glad it's sprung back to health with some moisture.

After altering the electronics, I also added 4 saddles to the bridge to replace the original two. Clearly -- they work -- but the install isn't ideal. I'll probably drill a couple holes extra and mount the two treble saddles swung the opposite direction to get them more "in line. It works for now, however, and remains fully adjustable.

The volume control's knob is original but the original tone knob was missing, anyhow, so the 3-way switch isn't too much of an imposing neighbor...

The pickup is some no-name (Artec?) Alnico-magnet double-blade humbucker. I chose it because it retained most of the "look" at a glance, while giving me the punch I wanted.

Here you can see the numerous love bites all over.

Wild, huh? The back of the pickguard has pearloid material on it and you can see how bright the original finish was underneath. I'm fairly certain it was Daphne Blue to begin with and it's aged to a turqoise, dark surf green, and finally avocado finish in different areas.

I'm wondering if that stamp is some sort of date mark. Anyone know?


Taylor W said...

Please let me know if you're interested in letting it go! I love it!

Jake Wildwood said...

I'll see if I can find you another as beat... ;)