NBD: 1977/79 Musicmaster Bass

Discussion of vintage Jazzmasters, Jaguars, Bass VIs, Electric XIIs and any other offset-waist instruments.
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johnnysomersett
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NBD: 1977/79 Musicmaster Bass

Post by johnnysomersett » Fri Jun 04, 2021 8:25 am

So, after a discussion in my other thread I decided to throw caution to the wind and buy one of these if I could find one at the right money. Didn't want to pay £1000-ish for one so took a deep dive and found this little sucker about 6 miles away!

Seller thought it was a 1978 although the serial points more towards '77. A bad year for British politics, a good year for music.

** EDIT, see 4th post down, revision on year to 1979 ***

looks to be entirely original except for the bridge. I'll take it all apart later and get some more pics and check the pot dates etc. I'd already convinced the guy to do me a deal on it, including him driving over to my work to drop it off. I sensed someone eager for some cash in his hand :shifty:

Turns out it had been 'cleaned' with some kind of solvent (I suspect isopropyl) which has misted the finish. A deal was done. I got it for a very good price. So far happy enough.

Point of note, I was expecting it to be heavy as everywhere says these are normally about 9lbs, this weighs in at a practically featherweight 7.6lb (3.4kg). My back will be happy.

Pics...

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Theres a couple of long cracks in the finish at the back, they appear to follow seams in the wood but aren't deeper than the finish itself

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Fretboard is in good shape. A nice shade too.

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Tried to capture the 'frosting' but it doesnt look too bad here

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...but you can see it here really clearly. Also, the bridge is a bit of a clusterfuck of extra notches but its functional and seems stable enough.

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Headstock is in good nick

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Couldn't find any polishing compound so bust out some toothpaste and used that as a makeshift fix. 10 minutes of elbow grease took 95% of it away. I reckon with some nice fine paste I could polish it up to a good shine again. But I can't be fucked right now hahaha

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So. I havent even managed to play it yet as the wife is in the spare room/home office/music room still. We'll see. Although I only have a 1965 Vibrochamp these days so it'll sound a little weird through that anyway.

I've got a couple of options in mind as to what to do with this. Possible refin (likely in Tahitian Coral). Probable just keep it black and shove a load of stickers on it because its poly and wont matter. I might put a hotrail in it, or just go nuts and put something crazy like a massive bass humbucker.

Seeing as I just got this for less than a modern Mexican Mustang Bass, and they're not at all rare, I will feel no guilt fucking about with it and making it sound gnarly. Suggestions for mods, etc, more than welcome
Last edited by johnnysomersett on Fri Jun 04, 2021 10:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Larry Mal
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Re: NBD: 1977 Musicmaster Bass

Post by Larry Mal » Fri Jun 04, 2021 8:34 am

I am glad you didn't take what I said all that seriously and got this instrument. I think it looks great... get a noiseless single coil in there is what I would do.

I got a Fender Bullet body that looked hazy and a lot like your bass here, I bought some polishing compound and a handheld buffer and had at it:

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Took a long time, still doesn't look new or anything, but you would probably get better results.

The good thing about thick 70's finishes is you have a lot to work with when buffing out!
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Re: NBD: 1977 Musicmaster Bass

Post by johnnysomersett » Fri Jun 04, 2021 9:37 am

Larry Mal wrote:
Fri Jun 04, 2021 8:34 am
I am glad you didn't take what I said all that seriously and got this instrument. I think it looks great... get a noiseless single coil in there is what I would do.

I got a Fender Bullet body that looked hazy and a lot like your bass here, I bought some polishing compound and a handheld buffer and had at it:

Image

Took a long time, still doesn't look new or anything, but you would probably get better results.

The good thing about thick 70's finishes is you have a lot to work with when buffing out!
Yeah, I might find the motivation to do it, but it wont be right now for sure.

Good work on that Bullet, looks really nice
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johnnysomersett
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Re: NBD: 1977 Musicmaster Bass

Post by johnnysomersett » Fri Jun 04, 2021 10:15 am

Wellllllll..... The plot thickens.

pulled it's knickers down for a look

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Pickguard serial matches neck. 1977. All good...

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Hang on, what's this? A date label on the body? May 1979? How very dare you!!...

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Pots date to 1979...

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As does the pickup...

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Can't even read this faded nonsense. Who even cares....

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Sooooo, this is either a partscaster or classic 70's Fender grabbing leftover stock and bolting stuff together. I'm inclined to believe the latter to be true to be honest. I'm not even bothered, it made the 'unboxing' experience all the more interesting hahaha
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Re: NBD: 1977/79 Musicmaster Bass

Post by Ceylon » Fri Jun 04, 2021 12:19 pm

Happy NBD!

As you say, it's either Fender putting it together from old stock (1979 ought to be right around the end of production, no?) or the factory doing a repair job of a 1977 bass in 1979.

Looks sweet either way. The all black really is a good look.
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Re: NBD: 1977/79 Musicmaster Bass

Post by johnnysomersett » Fri Jun 04, 2021 12:35 pm

Ceylon wrote:
Fri Jun 04, 2021 12:19 pm
Happy NBD!

As you say, it's either Fender putting it together from old stock (1979 ought to be right around the end of production, no?) or the factory doing a repair job of a 1977 bass in 1979.

Looks sweet either way. The all black really is a good look.
I believe it was 1982 that they finally wrapped these up. I'm keeping an eye out for a decent price on one of those as it's my birth year. I'd like a 1982 Jazzmaster but, woe, they only made 1 solitary one that year.
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Re: NBD: 1977/79 Musicmaster Bass

Post by muffonrat » Fri Jun 04, 2021 1:41 pm

Looking good!
Short scale basses are so cool, light, easy to play and with the right amp settings they can sound huge, enjoy!

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Re: NBD: 1977/79 Musicmaster Bass

Post by johnnysomersett » Sun Jun 06, 2021 11:04 pm

[duplicate post]
Last edited by johnnysomersett on Tue Jun 22, 2021 6:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: NBD: 1977/79 Musicmaster Bass

Post by johnnysomersett » Tue Jun 22, 2021 6:11 am

So. While giving this a proper setup and getting it to play nice I realised that the bridge the former owner had hacked on there wouldn't intonate properly. That coupled with the incorrect string spacing (even with the DIY notches it was out) meant I fucked the bridge off into the bin. I dont feel bad about modifying this bass. It's cheap and relatively ubiquitous.

With that in mind I put on a Hipshot Kickass bridge - the adjustable string spacing was key to this decision - and while I was there I replaced the anaemic OG pickup with an old hotrails wired in parallel so the output wasn't too crazy hot and brought out some extra upper harmonics. Yes, the bridge is a little bit of a modern looking unit but I'd rather the thing played and sounded good as a priority. As and when I buy myself a nice 60's bass I'll worry about originality then.

It has also acquired some stickers and some witch hats I had lying around. It's a poly finish, it'll be fine

Image
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