This page will list some of the more common Musicmaster/Duo-Sonic modifications I've seen/attempted. Some really aren't limited to just MM/DS guitars; it just seems like they're more frequently "experimented" on because they've never been as pricey or desirable as the Strat. Unfortunately, these guitars also seem to be cannibalized for parts (especially the tuners, neckplate, pickups, and electronics) for "vintage" restoration of other Fenders. So if you have an all-original Musicmaster or Duo-Sonic, please LEAVE IT ALONE!!! These guitars already have precious little "vintage" value in the used guitar market. And because most mods require irreversible changes to your guitar, its value will be cut by at least half. There's plenty of refinished/no-original-parts MM/DS's already out there, and most of them are pretty cheap, too. Instead of modding an all-original guitar, consider buying a guitar (or parts) that already has no "vintage" value, as I have done. Okay, off soapbox....
The mods here are divided into 3 categories:
- Replacing the bridge/saddles (for better intonation)
Gallery | Info: Tuning stability - Improved intonation
The 3-piece bridge/saddles found on every Musicmaster and Duo-Sonic weren't that big of a deal when they were introduced, mainly because people used heavy string gauges with a wound "G" string. Today's guitarists favor lighter strings and a plain "G" string, which are easier to bend but leave shorter-scale, 3-piece saddle guitars lacking in intonation and tuning stability. Three solutions are shown, ranging from simple to drastic, most of which I've attempted and/or used.
- Musicmaster to Duo-Sonic conversion (adding a bridge pickup)
Gallery | Info: MM-to-DS Conversion
This is a popular mod because at least until the Duo-Sonic was discontinued, the Musicmaster and the Duo-Sonic shared the same body, which means the bodies of both guitars were factory-routed for a bridge pickup. A few examples are shown, with some tips and important factors to consider before you try this, culled from the experience of myself and others.
Gallery | Info: Refinishing tips
Fender's student guitars were generally offered in the fewest color choices. Some better refin examples are listed, divided into "correct," "custom," and "natural" refinishes. Also included are some refinishing tips from when I foolishly tried my hand at it.
I'm not an expert guitar repairman or luthier by any means, so please don't use any tips contained herein as your sole source of information for doing mods on your guitar. Use it as a supplement to your copy of Dan Erlewine's Guitar Player Repair Guide (or any other maintenance/repair guide for guitarists). Even then, you still might not be able to perform some of these mods yourself. And if you do, ALWAYS remember to follow the safety instructions! Finally, if you have any suggestions or tips to share, by all means let me know. I'll be glad to put in a link or add a detail.