Conceived in late 1955, the Musicmaster (one pickup) and Duo-Sonic (two pickups) were Fender's entry-level student model guitars. The first Musicmaster appeared in spring 1956, with the Duo-Sonic making its debut a few months later. Both guitars featured a 22.5" scale length and an understated double-cutaway slab body. Like many other Fender models from this time period, they are distinguished by their one-piece maple necks and gold anodized aluminum pickguards. The lone finish offered during this period was called Desert Sand.
ADDED 4/05: front and back scans of repro 1957 Fender dealer information sheets for the Duo-Sonic (also shown on pages 232-233 of Fender: The Inside Story by Forrest White)
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- Case study: one of the very first Musicmasters (SN 10769)
The most noticeable difference between the first production run of MMs and the standard '56-'59 production model was the black painted sheet metal pickguards. This guitar also featured an ash body (with routs connected by hand with a chisel), a neck date of 4/56, and pots dating from late '55.
Restored by Jim Shine
- Musicmaster (SN 09681)
Another one of the very first batch of Musicmasters, apparently all-original except for the tuning machine buttons and perhaps the pickup cover. Given its scary-mint condition, I can't believe they only asked $885 for this guitar.
Sold by Elderly Instruments
- Super-clean Musicmaster: front | back
Source: T. Pershing
- Case study: Musicmaster, with original red-lined case (SN 1XXXX):
front | back | body, front | body, back
headstock, front | headstock, back
From GGJaguar's Guitarium and Ampeteria
- '56 Duo-Sonic (SN 16890; 10-56 neck date and 1956 pot codes)
All original, aside from the repro tuning machines (the original buttons had crumbled)
"I bought this from the original owner through a mutual friend of ours. The original owner had bought this guitar in 1957 along with a Fender Deluxe amp. ... One interesting feature of this guitar that I forgot to mention is that there is a clear Lucite cover over the the Gold pickguard. you can only see it if you look at the close up photos in my album. I believe this was put on at the shop where he bought the guitar in 1957 but I don't know if they made it for him or it came from Fender. I could remove it but I think it looks really nice and it does a great job of protecting the pickguard from Damage."
Owned by Mitch Berger
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- A well-loved Duo-Sonic, owned by Tomo Fujita (video)
- Nice Duo-Sonic, owned by Ed Kelly
Source: ??? (personally scanned from a lone page of an unknown publication)
- Case study: clean Duo-Sonic, with original red-lined case (SN 14895):
headstock (front and back) | neck | fingerboard, detail -- nice "birdseye"!
front | back | body, front | body routs
pickguard assembly, front | pickguard assembly, back | electronics, side
lying in case | "case candy," with original tuning machines (sans buttons)
- Musicmaster: body | headstock | in original (red-lined) case
Source: Cosmo Gakki (Japan)
- Clean Musicmaster: front | body (both large images)
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Owned by Genji Nakano/Genzo Vintage Guitars
- Case study: nearly immaculate Duo-Sonic:
in (red-lined) case | front of body | back of body | headstock | front of neck
- Case study: clean, "closet classic"-esque Duo-Sonic:
front | back | body, front | body, back
headstock | original case
- Immaculate Musicmaster
With period-correct Fender Champ and Fender dealer stand
Owned by Terry Foster
- Musicmaster, lying on original case. Clean!
- Musicmaster with '59 Champ
With original strap, cord, and case; everything you need!
- Musicmaster (SN 025910):
front, in case | front | headstock
Owned by Doug Moore
- Case study: Musicmaster (SN 027698):
front (partial) | back | body, back
back of pickguard assembly | electronics (note sausage-shaped tone cap!)
headstock, back | headstock, front | neck date (5-58)
- Case study: Musicmaster, with original case (SN 28991):
front | back | body, front | headstock, front
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- Musicmaster: front | back
Source: Chris' Vintage Guitars
- Musicmaster: closeup of front of body | headstock
Non-original pickup cover, but nice!
- Musicmaster, very clean.
Source: Guitar Center
- Musicmaster, in its original (orange-lined) case.
"Born in February 1959," owned by Mike Robinson
One of Robert Perine's great "won't part" ads from 1959,
starring Larry Collins of the Collins Kids (regulars on "Town Hall Party").
source: eBay seller plino
Collections (1950s MM/DS):