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They next released the Precision Bass, and followed that up with the Stratocaster.While all this was going on, Fender refined and added to their amplifier and steel guitar line as well.Even Richard Smith’s astonishing “Fender: The Sound Heard ‘round the World” spares only a few paragraphs to the student guitars.Of course, given the astounding success of the three previous guitars (the Tele, P-Bass and Strat) it’s understandable that the less prominent 3/4 scale instruments would receive little mention, but it is maddening that so little is known about the R & D side.Among other things, the pickups and covers, the plastic-tipped Kluson gears, the knobs and even the Desert Sand finish were applied to both the Champ lap steels and the 3/4 scale student guitars!Enough examples have surfaced that we now have a pretty clear picture of the first production run of the Musicmaster.What is known is that the 3/4 scale Fender guitars were conceptually conceived in the latter part of 1955 as a result of a request from the Sales Department to produce an instrument for this niche.After a few prototypes were made in early 1956, Fender began advertising their 3/4 size guitars, and the first production runs for the Musicmaster were initiated in late April of 1956.

At least a few Red examples (some with black pickup covers) from circa 1957/1958 are known to exist, but photographs that have circulated of several other color schemes are not convincing proof, in my humble opinion, that they are necessarily original.The Duo-Sonic started rolling off the assembly line just a little more than two months later.The first version of 3/4 scale Fender guitars are characterized by the one-piece maple neck, the gold anodized metal pickguard, and the conservative beige color.These are classic ’50s Fender appointments, applied to a design that was inspired at least in part by the timeless Stratocaster.

A note on assembly-line frugality: the Musicmaster and Duo-Sonic guitars shared many parts with another Fender product that predates their introduction, the Champ steel guitar.

The solid steel saddles were replaced with the threaded style saddles.