After the sucessful introduction of the Fender Mustang bass in 1966, it was perhaps not surprising that another short scale bass would be offered. The Fender Musicmaster guitar had been available since 1956, at the student end of the Fender range, and had proved very sucessful.
Fender introduced the Musicmaster bass in the second half 1970, with a launch price of $139.50 - their lowest price bass to date; $100 cheaper than the Fender Mustang. It was a simple instrument; one pickup, tone and volume control - but well-built: good, heavy duty tuning keys and a good bridge. To some degree aimed at students, but a relatively good quality instrument none the less. Summed up in the 1970 Fender catalogue "Fender's lowest price bass offers ruggedness and high performance". The pickup was probably the weakest link, being a guitar rather than bass pickup, but still adequate.
The Musicmaster was available from 1970. Initially available in red, white, or blue finishes, but also black and white, from the mid 1970s. It was also available as part of a set with the Fender Musicmaster bass amp. Production ceased in 1983.
The Musicmaster bass offers good value for money - and although the tonal range does not compare with many basses, the basic sound (with perhaps a little amp tweaking?) is good for most applications. I like the basic sound of a Musicmaster with flatwound strings - have a listen to the clip below (through a 1960s Ampeg B15) and see what you think. More Musicmaster bass soundclips here.
Anthony Porcarello Comment left 30th November 2015 17:05:16 I have a fender musicmaster bass and I'm Trying to find out the year model, on the plate is 379132 with a Script "F", however every musicmaster bass I have seen shows a screw at the top of the pickup and one at the bottom, and the shape of the pickup is oval, this pickup up on my bass has 4 screws and the pickup is has more of a square shape with the 4 screws holding it down and the thumbrest is below the g string?, so needless to say I am a little confused. thanks