SOLD: 1971 Fender Musicmaster Bass, Daphne Blue

  • Posted by Krishna
  • at 3/15/2008 03:06:00 PM -

I just finished putting this gorgeous little bass together. I love the Fender Musicmaster Bass and actually use a red 1974 example with flatwounds live with my band. I purchased this one as a project about a year and a half ago, intending to use it with round-wounds for a more snarly sound.

This is a very early example of a Musicmaster Bass - probably one of the first handful produced, with a June 1971 neck date - and a VERY RARE pearl pickguard. By late 1971, all the Musicmaster Basses had switched to a 3-ply white guard. I have seen pictures of two other Musicmaster Basses with the pearlguards, and from the way its shaped, aged and the markings on the back, its obvious this is the original guard.

The neckplate is original, with the serial number being #311340, which is correct for 1971.

The body was in rough shape when I got it - poorly done spray can finish in medium blue, but after careful sanding, I got most of the multitude of refins off the wood and found traces of the original Daphne Blue finish in the neck pocket.

I refinished the body using Daphne Blue nitrocellulose, without any clearcoat, as the Musicmasters I have had skipped this step (they were entry-level instruments). The color will yellow and darken slightly over the years, but it won't turn green like on a 1960's Daphne Blue P-bass or Strat.

The body had some foolishness around the pickup route - its visible in the picture below. A little bit of a mystery since the original pickup was in the bass when I got it. Who knows?

The bass also had one non-original tuner - from a Rickenbacker 4001 apparently ? - I found a proper replacement tuner in my parts drawer, but had to dowel and redrill the hole for the A-string tuner, which unfortunately is visible since there are no tuner ferrules on this instrument. That being said, the neck is in excellent condition with the original frets and what appears to be the original nut.

The only replaced parts on the instrument are:
- tone and volume pots and the capacitor
- output jack
- one knob appears to be a replacement
- screws holding down the pickguard
- the screws holding on the neck are replacements as the originals were stripped and one was bent

Everything else - bridge, pickup, neckplate, guard, strap buttons, etc. - is original.

The bass sounds and feels great - sometimes I think these little basses are louder than my P-bass - but without of the sorta out-of-control loudness of a Mustang Bass. Total weight on this bass is roughly 7 1/2 lbs.

No case is included, though I believe I have a gig bag for it somewhere.



Written by Admin

Aliquam molestie ligula vitae nunc lobortis dictum varius tellus porttitor. Suspendisse vehicula diam a ligula malesuada a pellentesque turpis facilisis. Vestibulum a urna elit. Nulla bibendum dolor suscipit tortor euismod eu laoreet odio facilisis.


  1. Nice work - beautiful Bass! I love mine too - it's the workhorse for recording and the body is in pretty rough shape.

    I would love to have a quote on how much you would charge to paint my music master Bass circa 1971 - the exact same finish.

    Joe Maurer

  2. Very nice! I have one that came just after it -- neck date JUL 71, s/n 320xxx, daphne blue, pearl guard, all original. Fine finish checking all over the body, and a couple of dings here and there, but surprisingly good shape. A previous owner had applied 3 "competition stripes" with electrical tape to the body like the old Mustang bass. It came off cleanly enough, but you can see where the rest of the body has yellowed a bit and picked up a bit of green tint, the stripes are more blue. Nice blue still under the pickguard and bridge as well. I have a hard case for it that I believe may be original. Very cool and fun to play.

  3. I really liked this bass, but the guy who bought it from me seemed really psyched to get it, so I didn't feel so bad. I would have aged the finish clearcoat, but this was before I felt as confident doing that - its easy to ruin a nice finish by screwing up the "aging" step. Mine was the first one I'd seen in person with a pearl guard, though I've seen pics of quite a few - guess it was just the first few months of production that Fender did that. Check out my post on refinishing a 78 Musicmaster in bright yellow - with competition stripes !!

  4. I think it looks really great with the fresh daphne blue. I say just let the new owner keep it for 30 years and let it yellow naturally :-)

    But I did see you also have a '66 Mustang guitar that you refinished in daphne blue, and then used a tinted clear coat to "age" it, and from the pictures it looks like you got the tinting just right on that one. It looks just like my old Musicmaster.

    I checked on the competition yellow, a very nice project, it's going to be great. The last posted picture doesn't have the stripes yet. Is it finished yet? I'm really looking forward to seeing that one with the stripes!

    Anyway, nice work, I've enjoyed looking at the pictures on your blog. I really love the shot of the sonic blue P-bass, dakota red Mustang bass, and the aged daphne Mustang. That's a great looking collection.


  5. Hey, I have one of those! Someone's painted it black before I got it (back in about 77) but you can see the original color underneath - and it has the pearl pickguard. Man, I'm pleased to see what it originally looked like. Don't think I'm going to repaint mine, though! It's been black for at least 6 times as long as it was blue!

  6. I want to buy it !!
    Where can I find it ??

  7. I want to buy it!
    Where can I find it ?

  8. Bob Westerbroek NLJune 10, 2015 at 3:28 AM

    Hi there,

    I was looking for a cheap Fender scortscale bass. I came out on a $ 150,- Squier Bronco Bass in red. The bass sounded terrific, just the way you described. I was not happy on the laquer on the neck and the body. So I glossed the neck and tried to sand the body, no way, the red laquer was hard to remove. I used a flex tool to remove all the original. Then I build the the laquer in different layers of transparent gloss paint. The third layer I used a kind of color found on the old 50ies alarm clock of my grandfather. As a top layer I used again the transparent gloss. I found the project was a succes. I put on a 50ies Fender decal with nothing else. For player reasons I put on a chromeplated Jazzbass pickupcover. That was the part I did before a saw your post.
    Looking for a proper headstock decal I found your post and was amazed it was a Musicmaker Bass. I did not know other shortscale basses rather than the Mustang. I made on my intuition a copy of your original! The differences are just the maple neck and the yellowed white pickguard and no thumb rest.