Musicmaster/Duo-Sonic Gallery

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Second version (1959-1964)

A pair of '59 Musicmasters. (c/o T. Pershing)


     As with virtually the entire Fender line, the student models received a slight facelift in mid-1959. The most obvious differences were the switch from anodized aluminum to plastic pickguards and from a one-piece maple neck/fingerboard to a two-piece maple neck/rosewood fingerboard design. The image above illustrates these differences: on the left is a Musicmaster from late that year (the second version), and on the right is one from earlier in the year (the original version).

     The standard finishes offered during this period were (in chronological order): tan, shaded sunburst (a 3-color sunburst with maroon instead of black on the outer edge, a.k.a. "maroonburst"), and white. The tan offered was noticeably darker in tint than the Desert Sand used previously. Note that the "shaded sunburst" finish was never available on original series (1-piece maple neck) MM/DS guitars -- the photo of a "sunburst" 1957 Musicmaster shown in nearly all of Tony Bacon's Fender books is an obvious refinish. Towards the end of this period (starting in late summer/early fall 1963), many Fender models were offered with a translucent red finish (initially only on mahogany-bodied guitars). This finish option (commonly referred to as "mahogany red") was short-lived because of difficulty in getting the paint to stick.

     All guitars received off-white (tan guitars) or white pickguards and black pickup covers, except for the white-finished ones (which received reddish-brown faux-shell 'guards and white covers). However, MM/DS authority Tim Pershing has found that white-finished MM/DS guitars produced during late summer/early fall 1963 invariably came with plain brown pickguards, with clean examples of this particular color combination becoming somewhat rare. (Thanks to Leonard Lowry for posing this question in the first place!)

     Finally, collector Dale Harley told me that Fender also made these guitars in "girls' colors" (pink, sky blue, seafoam green, and pale yellow) ca. '59-'61, as part of Fender's effort at marketing towards young women. He said that few were sold, so they are rare (especially the pink color). Until an original guitar is confirmed, one should consider such "custom colors" with many grains of salt.


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1962 ad
1962 ad copy for Fender's student models. Source: eBay


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From Tomo Fujita's collection (1960s MM/DS):