Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Fender Musicmaster 1973

Story submitted by Darren Ewing

The short version of how I came to acquire the Fender Musicmaster in 1978 goes like this; I had a pool table, he had a guitar. A trade, straight-across, and a backbreaking trip up the stairs to deliver the pool table, left me the proud owner of my first electric guitar. I had taken lessons for a few months with a cheap classical guitar, but I was young and full of angst, and the Raffi twanger just wasn't fulfilling my dreams of metal health. So when the opportunity arose, I went for it.

I needed the room for my drums anyway, so getting rid of the pool table was a relief. The trouble is, the drums called to me louder and stronger than did the guitar. So, for the next 30 years, the Fender sat, largely unused in the original case.

Occasionally I would take it out and strum the strings, but it became clear to me as the years rolled on that I wanted to be Neil Peart more than I wanted to be Eddie Van Halen.

A guitarist friend of mine nicknamed the guitar: The Banana. It's odd, off-yellow coloring puzzled me. I found out later that the original color of the instrument was actually white. Being that the Fender Musicmaster line came along in the late '50s in order to create an affordable line of student sized electrics, apparently the choice of paint was one of the cost cutting measures employed to ensure affordability. I'm not aware of any white Musicmaster's that haven't turned yellow, though I'm sure they exist.

I tried several times to ascertain the year of origin of the guitar, though I'll admit, at first, I only made a half-assed attempt. Unable to determine what year it was manufactured, I chose to hang on to the guitar, thinking maybe I had stumbled across the deal of the century. Last year I decided the guitar needed to get used, so I took it to a professional for a setup and a nut replacement. He determined, from looking at the serial numbers on the original pots, that it was made in 1973. Hmmm. Not exactly pre-CBS, but not exactly uncool either. With a new nut, strings and intonation in place I took the guitar home...where it sat yet again. I didn't really need the room and I didn't really need the money, so I just left it in the closet where it had always been.

I suppose it was my tendency toward sentimentality that made me feel sorry for the old girl. She was something of a classic, and she was not being appreciated. I took her out one last time, plugged her into my practice amp (I'm still something of a guitar hobbyist) and realized that this relationship just wasn't going to happen.

I placed the guitar on eBay, and I'm confident that she has gone to a place where she will get the love and attention that she never got from me. It's been only a few weeks since she left the familiar confines of my bedroom closet, so I still don't know if I'm going through separation anxiety or not. I only hope that wherever The Banana resides, she remains a-peeling.

Sorry. No really...I...I just couldn't resist.

1 comment:

Anne said...

Ha - I loved this story:-) it rings a familiar bell.