Probably the biggest limitation of the Musicmaster/Duo-Sonic was the three-saddle adjustable bridge. Some of the more creative solutions I've seen are on this page; be sure to also check the MM-to-DS mods gallery for some more examples. Also listed are some more drastically modified MM/DS guitars, one of which is mine.
- '58 Duo-Sonic with Bigsby vibrato tailpiece:
front | body, front | replacement bridge | Bigsby vibrato | back
headstock, front | headstock, back
"When I picked it up in Tacoma about '95 it was already covered in the snakeskin vinyl seen here." Subsequently modified with a new bridge and tuners, then the Bigsby. "ps for some killer Duo Sonic sounds be sure to check out MAGNAAFLUX and THE RON DANGLE 2 MP3 offerings."
Owned by Mike/Rinso Records
- '61 Duo-Sonic, in "maroonburst" with hardtail Strat bridge
front, in case | body, front | body, back
headstock, front | headstock, back | butt of neck (dated 10/61)
- '64 Duo-Sonic, in "maroonburst" with vibrato bridge (SN 14369):
front | body, front | back/heel | headstock
I can't imagine how much work this was to install!
- '64 Duo-Sonic II, in white with Tune-O-Matic bridge (116 k)
The original bridge was moved back and is now used as a tailpiece
- '66 Duo-Sonic II, heavily modified (SN 135358):
Refinished in "orangeburst"; roller switches removed for a toggle switch; replacement Badass(?) bridge; Sperzel locking tuners.
front, in case | body, front | detail, bridge | back, in case | body, back
headstock, front | headstock, back
- '95 Duo-Sonic (Mexican re-issue), with humbuckers and hardtail Stat bridge
Owned by the Zen Pharaohs of Ultimate Love
Other more drastic(?) mods
- Teak-bodied custom-made MM/DS-based guitars:
Glen Evelyn with a teak "Duo-Sonic" | teak "Musicmaster" | teak "Bronco"
Glen Evelyn likes to modify guitars on his days off. Favoring short-scale Duo-Sonics and Musicmasters, he's crafted several bodies out of teak wood and then bolted vintage '50s and '60s MM/DS necks (plus a '90s Mexican-made DS neck) to them. Pretty high-quality workmanship for a "hobby"!
Owned by Glen Evelyn
- '56 Duo-Sonic with a '65 Mustang neck, heavily mutated with an ugly clear refin
front | body, front | headstock | neck date
"In the fall of 2000, I bought a refinished '65 Mustang neck for $95 (which ended up needing $180 worth of fretwork), and later won $150 worth of '56 Duo-Sonic parts (body, damaged pickguard, bridge plate) on eBay, but not its neckplate (SN 13593). My goal was to "build" a 24" scale Duo-Sonic, but with a 3-way toggle switch in the treble horn (out of the way, where it belongs) instead of 2 scratchy slider switches. The ash body had been stripped bare by shot-peening (why??), and was refinished in clear before attempting the transplant "surgery". The neck was a tight fit, but overall it worked astoundingly well. I added a homemade replacement "Fender" decal, new Schaller tuners, StewMac's angled replacement Tele bridge saddles, a pair of Duncan pickups, and new electronics to make it complete."
Owned by M. Roy
- '50s Duo-Sonic body with a '65 Duo-Sonic II neck, natural refinish
body, loaded | complete
"I don't know the exact date of the body (50s judging by shape), but the neck is actually a duo sonic II neck from 1965 (i wanted it longer scale as i wasn't getting on with the original 22.5 neck). i stripped the bodged up refin back to wood, applied sand/sealer and then 3 coats of light tint gloss (from manchester guitar tech) but left it matte finish. all components inside are from bareknuckle pick ups in UK and they sound really fantastic."
Owned by Thomas Sanders of Teleman
- '59 Musicmaster neck/'65 Duo-Sonic body, with angled saddles
"The body is from 1965 and the neck is from 1959. Both fit perfectly! I refinished the body in a blue between Sonic Blue and Daphne Blue. The original color was unknown. The nitrocellulose varnish is not a very good job, but it is thin and it is becoming looking 40 years old!"
Owned by Fabien Cannarella (from France)
- '63 Duo-Sonic, mahogany body with 24" scale repro neck:
front | body, front | back | headstock, front | headstock, back
Mods include the following:
Warmoth repro 24" scale neck: "It took a bit of surgery (literally lopping off 3/8" from the base of the heel) to make it function on a student scale instrument."
Fender Toronado bridge: "It wasn't at all difficult, but I had the assistance of a luthier friend's woodshop. All you need to make something like that work well is a drill press so the bit doesn't wander on you. I tried the angled saddles and it helped some. But that was still an imperfect solution. The angled saddles didn't like living in a pre-'64 bridge assembly."
Original mahogany body re-refinished in clear lacquer; the headstock was veneered with matching mahogany and given a repro decal. Stunning!
Replacement hardware: Squier Strat pickups, repro pickguard, and staggered-height Kluson tuning machines
Source: eBay (Skip/sidpiks)
- '64 "transition" Duo-Sonic, in white
A Duo-Sonic II 24" scale neck on a Duo-Sonic ("I") body. This couldn't have been original, could it?
- '65 Musicmaster with '63 neck, in blue
I know this one wasn't original; can't really tell what type of bridge that is, though.
- '60s Musicmaster/Duo-Sonic combo, refinished in black
"This was a 60s DuoSonic body and a TINY 22.5" scale '66 Musicmaster neck. I was able to use fairly accurate parts throughout except for the pickups, which are from a late 70s Mustang I believe. I've also got chrome Kluson/Fender reissue tuners in place."
Owned by Michael Jetton (from the Czech Republic)
'60s Duo-Sonic, heavily modified
With third pickup, switch, and Mustang bridge/tailpiece installed.
Formerly owned by Thurston Moore/Sonic Youth, until it was stolen in 1999