|Scale||22.5" or 24"|
|Body||Ash, Alder, Poplar, Mahogany|
|Pickup(s)||1 "flat pole" single coil|
|Desert Sand, Shaded Sunburst, Red-Mahogany, Olympic White, Daphne Blue, Dakota Red|
Design work on the Musicmaster and a two-pickup version, the Duo-Sonic, began in late 1955 following a request from Fender Sales. Prototypes were made in early 1956, followed by sales literature announcing both models. Production of the Musicmaster began in late April of that year, using a body routed for two pickups to be common to the Duo-Sonic, which followed a little more than two months later. The Duo-Sonic and Musicmaster also shared a single-piece maple neck and fingerboard, with a 22.5 inch scale length and 21 frets.
There was one major redesign of these two Musicmaster-bodied guitars, in 1959 when the entire Fender catalog was updated. At this time, the Musicmaster and Duo-Sonic both received a plastic pickguard in place of the previous anodized aluminum one, and a two-piece maple neck with a rosewood fingerboard.
In 1964, following the release of the Fender Mustang, both the Musicmaster and Duo-Sonic were redesigned using the Mustang necks and body. This body was larger and slightly offset, and was fitted with a plastic pickguard but with the volume and tone controls mounted on a separate metal plate. The headstock was also enlarged. All three models were offered with the option of a 24-inch scale and 22-fret neck or a 22.5-inch scale and 21-fret neck; all three models were also offered with the choice of "round-lam," or veneered, rosewood or maple fingerboard. The 24 inch scale proved to be the most popular of these options. The redesigned Musicmaster was named the Musicmaster II and its stablemate the Duo-Sonic II, both using the Bronco body and pickguard shapes, although decals with and without the II designation were used without any real meaning.
Certain models of the Musicmaster, especially from between 1978 and 1980, were finished with a coat that reacted negatively with the base coat. This causes many modern surviving Musicmasters from this period to suffer from their paint flaking off the body.
The Musicmaster was produced until 1982 when both it and the Mustang were dropped in favor of the newer Fender Lead models.
- Fender's 3/4 Scale Guitars, a two-part article by Tim Pershing in 20th Century Guitar Magazine, December 1996 and January 1997.
- Little Brothers Turn 50, an article by Terry Foster and Tim Pershing in Vintage Guitar Magazine, July 2006.
- Fender: The Golden Age 1946-1970, a book by Martin Kelly, Terry Foster, Paul Kelly. London & New York: Cassell ISBN 1-84403-666-9
- Inside a pre-production 1956 Fender Musicmaster
- Fender's 3/4 Scale Guitars
- Little Brothers Turn 50
- The Golden Age of Fender