FENDER | MUSICMASTER

Fender Musicmaster electric guitar

Six string short scale solid-body

1958 Fender catalogue

The three-quarter size Fender Musicmaster debuted in 1956, as a new student model in the Fender solid body range. It was joined shortly afterwards by a dual pickup companion model, the Duo-Sonic. Although these 'student' guitars were shorter scale than the Fender standard (22 1/2" vs 25"), they were not 'student' in terms of build quality - in fact very much in line with the Fender professional models such as the Telecaster and Stratocaster. The 1950s Fender Musicmaster was described as three quarter size, but the difference in size was not so great: Fender also suggested these models for more established players with smaller hands. But in truth, most experienced guitarists wanting to play widely spaced chords or the extra speed afforded by closer frets would chose the dual pickup Duo-Sonic - assuming price was not an issue!

Fender always believed that if beginner guitarists chose Fender, they would more likely continue playing Fender guitars as they got older. This fact was demonstrated on the cover of the 1958 'Down Beat' brochure - an adult plays a Fender Stratocaster, whilst a child looks on, Fender Musicmaster in hand. As Fender put it in the 1976 catalog "Begin with a Musicmaster, and graduate to stardom!".

The Musicmaster was clearly a success, remaining in continuous production until 1982.

Fender Musicmaster, 1956-1964

1958 Fender Musicmaster Image Heritage auctions

The Fender Musicmaster in the 1958 Fender catalog
The Fender Musicmaster in the 1958 Fender catalog, alongside the Fender Harvard amplifier

The early Musicmaster, though well-built, was a very simple instrument. Just a single coil pickup in the neck position with one one and one volume control. Bodies were typically Ash, and later alder, finished in a light creamy color: Desert Sand, with a rather fetching gold anodized aluminium scratchplate. Simple, but effective. Necks had 21 fret maple fretboards with Fender's clay dot position markers.

The Fender Musicmaster in the 1960 Fender catalog
The updated Musicmaster in the 1960 Fender catalog, with the Fender Deluxe amp

As with most guitars with a long production run, the Musicmaster was subject to subtle changes in specification over the years. The first remodelling came in 1959: the most obvious changes being the addition of Sunburst as a finish option, and a new rosewood fretboard. The gold aluminium pickguard was replaced by single ply white plastic, and pickup covers changed from white to black. The new version Musicmaster can be seen in the 1960 Fender brochure.

Fender Musicmaster, 1964-1982

The next major update came in 1964. Fender redesigned both the Musicmaster and Duo-Sonic in line with the brand new Fender Mustang. All three models had the same new body shape, and a choice of the old 3/4 size 22 1/2" neck, or a longer 24" neck. The differences between the guitars were purely related to hardware: a single pickup for the Musicmaster, two pickups for the Duo-Sonic and Mustang, and a tremolo for the Mustang. Each model had a new bridge, without cover. The three guitars were all offered in the same three finishes: Red, White or Blue. Interestingly, the list price was reduced (slightly) from $129.50 to $126 at this time - for either scale neck.

1965 Fender Musicmaster Image Heritage auctions

1970 Fender Musicmaster from the 1970 Fender catalogue

Fender Facts 8

The final redesign of the Duo-Sonic and Musicmaster was described in the November 1964 edition of Fender newsletter Fender Facts

Musicmaster and Duo-Sonic Improved

The Musicmaster and Duo-Sonic have recently undergone changes which we believe their performance and appearance. The bodies of both instruments are now contoured similar to that of the Mustang. They are available in red, white or blue finishes with either a 22 1/2 or 24 inch neck.
Both guitars have a full range tone control and in addition, the Duo-Sonic is provided with a three-position switch for each pickup. The middle position turns the pickups off and tone changes will be made on either side of the off position. Eight different tone selections are therefor available, plus the normal tone and volume controls.
The Duo-Sonic dual pickup and Musicmaster single pickup 3/4 or regular size guitars are truly outstanding instruments in their price range and will provide top performance and appearance.


Fender Musicmaster Timeline

1956

Model launch. 22 1/2" scale Desert Sand finish. Maple fretboard, gold pickguard

1957

1957 (February) price: $119.50

1958

1958 Fender catalogue

The 1958 Fender 'Down Beat' catalogue shows a child having a guitar lesson on his Fender Musicmaster.

1959

Plastic single ply scratchplate, rosewood fretboard

1960

1960 Fender catalogue

1960 (July) price: $129.50

1961

1961 (July) price: $129.50

1962

1962 (September) price: $129.50

1963

1963 Fender catalogue

1963 (July) price: $129.50

1964

1964 Fender catalogue

1964 (April) price: $129.50. Mid 1964 publicity describe two finish options: white (with black pickguard) or red mahogany (with white pickguard).

Fender Facts 8 - November 1964

Fender Facts 8 (November, 1964) announces the 'Improved' Musicmaster

Late 1964: the Fender Musicmaster is redesigned and brought into line with the new Fender Mustang. 22 1/2" or 24" scale necks now available. Red, White and Blue finishes now available.

1965

1965 Fender catalogue

1965 (December) price: $126 (case $34 extra)

1966

1966 Fender catalogue

1966 (February, July) price: $126 (case $34 extra)

1967

1967 (June, October) price: $126 (case $35 extra)

1968

1968 Fender catalogue

1968 (March, July) price: $134.50 (case $35 extra)

1969

1969 Fender catalogue

1969 (May) price: $154.50 (case $37.50 extra)

1970

1970 Fender catalogue

1970 (April) price: $162.50. Finishes Red (515), White (516), Blue (517)

1971

1971 (January) price: $162.50 (case $39.50 extra)

1972

1972 Fender catalogue

1972 (February) price: $162.50 (case $31/$39.50 extra)

1973

1973 (June) price: $162.50 (case $31/$39.50 extra)

1974

1974 (December) price: $180 (case $34/$45 extra)

1976

The 1976 Fender catalogue just lists two finish options for the Muicmaster: Black or White. Note both are fitted with a black scratchplate

1977

1977 (December) price: $220 ($250 with case). Black or White finishes only

1981

Wine and Black finishes only

1982

Model discontinued

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Fender Musicmaster guitars for sale

VINTAGE 1977 FENDER Musicmaster U S.A. Guitar With fender Hard Case

ORANGE, TEXAS, 77630, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$500

Hello This Musicmaster comes with the original Fender case that is lined with the fancy red interior . Amazing neck the guitar frets play great!! Guitar is a player and has finish cracks and dings shown in photos This cool old fender has Great tone and great vibe! It has a Nice thin neck and very low awesome playing action If you have Any questions at all please feel free to ask! Thank you for looking!!... more

1963 Fender Musicmaster - Trans Red w / OHSC

CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS, 78411, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$1899

All original, super cool transparent red musicmaster. Pickup sounds amazing! The neck is in great condition and the frets have plenty of life in them. Plays very smooth. This finish is rather rare and over an ASH body! You really dont see many of them! If you are looking for a pre-CBS musicmaster, consider this one. Includes the original case. Message me with any questions!... more

Original 1965 Fender Musicmaster Duo-sonic Guitar Body "Great Condition"

AUSTIN, TEXAS, 78719, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$479

Original 1965 Fender Musicmaster or Duo-sonic Body. Original Cream paint in great condition. Please look at all the pictures. No mod's, no issues. Comes with original strap buttonsPlease read before bidding or e-mailing: All auctions of vintage and / or used equipment are being sold "as is, as advertised and described only " . Please read the complete description, look closely at the pictures and ask questions before bidding. Our goal is to make sure that no one is disappointed with their ... more

1956 1957 FENDER MUSICMASTER Vintage Electric Guitar 6 String Original Case!!

LACOMBE, LOUISIANA, 70445, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$2850

Hello! from what I understand this is from the first year of production of these .1956 This guitar comes with the original case that is lined with the fancy red interior and original Cool aged tan tolex on the outside It somehow after all these years has the original ash tray bridge cover still attached over the bridge This guitar is in Really Good overall condition but the paint does have some wear here and there from playing that especially shows on the pick guard under the strings and the ... more

Vintage 1960 Fender Musicmaster Short Scale Electric Guitar (Desert Sand)

FAIRPORT, NEW YORK, 14450, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$1679

Vintage - This cool old Fender Musicmaster is in great condition for a guitar that is almost 60 years old! Fender first introduced the original Musicmaster (one pickup) and the Duosonic (two pickups) guitars in mid 1956. They were Fender's 3 / 4 size, short scale student model beginner guitars. These short scale models were made to the same high quality standards and materials that Fender used for its more expensive models. This 60 Musicmaster has an Alder wood body, maple neck with a slab ... more

1978 Fender Musicmaster OHSC

HARRISON, OHIO, 45030, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$499

Offered is a 1978 Fender Musicmaster electric guitar with original hard shell Fender case, All numbers match to 1978 serial number, pots and pickup. Also has original serial number matching headstock decal under pickguard. This guitar is all original except the bridge saddles which are correct replacements. Nice Strat style tone on a budget. Electronics functions as they should, neck straight, truss rod works. On the front above the pickguard and on pickguard pick wear. It has wear consistent ... more

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