1973 Fender Musicmaster bass

Short scale solid body electric bass

Fender Musicmaster Bass | Technical Specifications

1973 Musicmaster Bass | Soundclips

1973 Fender Musicmaster bass with Fender Bassman 100 amplifier
1973 Fender Musicmaster bass with Fender Bassman 100 amplifier
Musicmaster - pickup detail
Musicmaster - bridge detail
Model: 1973 Fender Musicmaster
Pickups: One single coil
Scale: 30"
Body: Alder body, polyester finish
Neck: Maple neck. Rosewood fingerboard. 19 frets. Bolt-on, four screws.
Hardware: Open gear tuning keys. 1 volume and tone control. Chrome hardware throughout.
Weight: 3.16 kg
Listen: (more)

The Fender Musicmaster bass was a new instrument for the 1970s, being launched in the second half of the first year of the decade. The bass pictured is completely typical example of an early Musicmaster. Have a look at the 1972 Fender catalogue, which has an almost identical guitar pictured. The only real difference is the position of the thumbrest, but then, this catalogue does re-use the image from the 1970 catalogue - the first appearance of the Musicmaster.

The bass was Fender's least expensive bass model (in 1973, it had a list price of $139.50, compared to $293.50 for the Precision), and with the shorter 30" was scale perfect for student musicians. It was an easy-playing good quality, solid, reliable bass. Although very simple, it does have some sturdy components, especially the bridge, and was certainly a more substantial instrument than many other 'entry-level' basses.

Although a good functioning bass, it could perhaps be considered a little limited tonally, having only one single-coil pickup. This was scratchplate mounted in a fairly central position, resulting in a pretty gritty midrange sound (listen to soundclips here) with just the usual tone and one volume controls to give a little variation - for the right band how much more would you need?

Fender Musicmaster bass control knobs
1973 Fender Musicmaster bass control knobs - this bass is very simple having just one volume and one tone control.
Fender Musicmaster bass neckplate
The 4-bolt neckplate has the serial number and large 'F' logo impressed into it. The serial number dates this bass to 1973
Fender Musicmaster bass rosewood fingerboard
The Musicmaster fingerboard is typically rosewood, with faux pearl dot inlays
Fender Musicmaster bass logo
1973 Fender Musicmaster bass headstock details. The Fender logo is a decal, as is usual with Fender guitars.
Fender Musicmaster open gear machine heads
The Musicmaster bass was fitted with lightweight open-gear tuning keys, held in place with three screws.
Fender Musicmaster bass headstock
The headstock layout, with four-in-a-row tuners and string guide, is typical of all Fender bass guitars.
1973 Fender Musicmaster bass - unloaded body
1973 Fender Musicmaster bass body without hardware. Note the simple routing, and original unfaded finish colour in the centre of the body.
1973 Fender Musicmaster bass neck code detail
The butt end of the neck holds the truss rod adjustment nut (the neck must be removed to make adjustments) and neck codes. These codes have certain inconsistencies at this time, but this code D700 3512 probably translates as follows: D7 = Musicmaster bass, 00 = rosewood fretboard, 35 = week 35, 1 = Monday, 2 = 1972
1973 Fender Musicmaster bass - neck pocket
The neck pocket markings are illegible in this example, but the body wood (probably alder in this case) is clearly visible.
1973 Fender Musicmaster bass potentiometers with codes
The potentiometers are accessible by removing the basses scratchplate. Codes on the reverse (1377329) show that these pots were made by CTS (137) in the 29th week of 1973.
1973 Fender Musicmaster bass - pickup underside
The underside of the Musicmaster bass pickup
1973 Fender Musicmaster bass neck heel
Individual workers and inspectors at the Fender plant left signatures on the neck heel.

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