The Musicmaster goes all the way back to the pre-CBS days of the mid-'50s. It was updated in '64 to have the Mustang's cool offset stylings, and the Musicmaster remained Fender's low-price student model until 1980. While the single pickup and short scale were intended as entry-level features, they introduce a different range of expression. Sometimes simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. Good old Musicmasters are too often overlooked!
This 1978 Fender Musicmaster (serial # S806655) features a Rosewood fingerboard, a gorgeous black finish, and a matching black pickguard. It finds us with all of its original parts and components. The neck dates to the 23rd week of '78, and the pots date to the 12th week. The pickup is also marked with an appropriate '78 date stamp.
In your hands, the 24" scale length feels effortless and playable. It opens up wider stretches and bigger bends. The Musicmaster pickup was intended to be utilitarian—it's the same one used in the Duo-Sonic and the Musicmaster bass. But the Musicmaster pickup deserves more credit than it gets! It uses six Alnico V magnets, which give it a brighter, more cutting single-coil sound. The resistance on this '78 measures 5.83 k ohms. In combination with the design, the unique "angled neck" position on a Musicmaster subtly changes the sound. The result is distinctly Fender, but would never be mistaken for a Telecaster or Stratocaster.
This 1978 Musicmaster finds us in nice cosmetic condition. It shows some signs of play and use, especially on the back side of the body and the edges of the headstock (see photos). Fortunately, nothing too offensive! It plays well with low action, and the frets have plenty of life left. The intonation would be better with a wound 3rd string, but it currently has a plain 3rd so you can bend more easily. It includes its original hardshell case, and one of the latches is broken. It also includes a very cool '70s Fender coil cable. Talk about mojo!