April 2015 – New In At CRAVE Guitars

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In my previous post, I said it can be exciting not knowing for sure what the next vintage purchase would be. I mentioned quite a few priorities from my rather lengthy ‘most wanted’ list. So what did I do? Not what I expected, that’s for sure. I went and bought a really cute 1959 Fender Musicmaster in lovely 100% original, very good condition.

1959 Fender Musicmaster
1959 Fender Musicmaster

It has a few nicks and dents but, heh, it is over half a century old and, more importantly, it has been played, which is always a good sign. Great ‘50s 22½” scale length ¾-sized ‘student’ models are actually pretty rare in this country – this one was brought back from Boston, USA by the previous owner a few years ago and he bought it from the original owner. The ‘59-‘61 Musicmasters come with the single-ply white (actually cream) plastic scratchplate and slab rosewood fingerboard, complete with clay dot markers. The unfaded original coffee colour (Desert Sand) is not Fender’s finest colour and it is a bit different. Desert Sand was supplemented by an optional maroon-to-yellow sunburst in 1959 that was, arguably, unpleasant. Desert Sand was phased out in 1961. I guess they didn’t want the baby Fenders to compete with their higher range guitars in the looks department. The simple aesthetic and stripped down features were still built to Fender’s high quality standards at the time, so it isn’t second rate in that department. It is a joy to pick up and play; its back‑to-basics features mean that it makes one focus on technique. Plugged in, the angled single coil pickup mounted near the neck sounds really funky and the short scale ensures it is quite resonant. Surprisingly, the strings don’t ‘choke out’ when bent high up the neck, so the set-up is spot on. One soon gets used to its diminutive stature and the short scale is not a problem, especially if, like me, one doesn’t have long fingers.

Many of these old guitars are now being broken for valuable parts to make a quick buck, which is a shame but it makes the surviving all-original ones even rarer. It comes in an original maroon Fender-Bulwin case of the era, as supplied, rather than the more common Fender tan one. Still, the emphasis is really on the guitar, not the box it comes in. I am not a vintage guitar snob – all in all, it’s a great 56-year old guitar that I’ve quite taken a shine to. Cheers to Keith for selling it to me. What next? Watch this space…

© 2015 CRAVE Guitars – Love Vintage Guitars

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