1978 Fender Musicmaster Review
The Fender Musicmaster was originally
offered as a student guitar as from 1956. However the guitar
quickly caught on with student and professional players alike.
Players such as Jimi Hendrix, Kurt
Cobain, and Rory Gallagher have been spotted playing this
unlikely guitar, possibly because of its easily playable neck
and comfortably sized body.
We are reviewing a 1978 Musicmaster
which was purchased online through eBay. It comes with a period
correct case and is in good condition.
The instrument features a
slightly offset body style (feature introduced in 1964) and
is contoured unlike the earlier slab models. A one-piece plastic
guard, as opposed to the earlier two-piece version, holds
all the electronics. These changes were bought around to bring
the Musicmaster in-line with the new Mustang its more “grown-up”
The neck is 24” in scale (early versions
were offered with a ¾ size 22 ½” scale necks) has a veneered
rosewood fingerboard. The headstock is the enlarged 70s type
with the Musicmaster logo. It also sports chrome Kluson tuners
with the “F” logo stamped on the back
Electronics are kept simple, one
pickup in the bridge position, one volume and one tone control.
The knobs are numbered Stratocaster style and the pickup has
flush pole pieces and a black cover. The input socket is also
located on the pickguard.
Fit & Finish
of this period were offered in white or black, with the thick
skin gloss finish also normal for the CBS era. Everything
seems to fit correctly with a narrow neck gap and good join
to the body. Interesting though are the notches in the neck
pocket and the slightly over wide area under the pocket below
the neck, as shown in the photo to the right.
The Musicmaster feels right
at home with its Strat like contours and although it is appreciable
smaller it doesn’t seem so when one is playing. The neck is
quite chunky but manageable. The action is set slightly high,
but this I am sure, can be accommodated to taste.
Sounds are pretty straightforward
with its one slanted pickup in the neck position. The tone
is very Fender but rather warm than sparkly when played clean.
With distortion however things change drastically and this
little guitar becomes a grungy beast. One can see how Kurt
Cobain and others used guitars of this style to suit their
The “F” stamped tuners are smooth
to use and the bridge is a three saddle non-compensated type
reminiscent of the original Telecaster.
vintage guitar which although now seemly forgot will surely
rise to prominence in a few years time. A great purchase,
for the equivalent price of a contemporary mid-range guitar.