I've been playing guitar for a little over 13 years. When I started I was a freshman in highschool. My band teacher owned a red Musicmaster bass that lived in the band room permanently, and was used by various people for jazz band, pep band, and whathaveyou. It was chipped and chipped some more due to years and years of careless kids knocking it around, but it played just fine and sounded fat. It was one of the very first electric instruments I ever played, and was always there through my first four years of learning to play. My friends and I all played on that bass, and I loved it dearly. After graduating, I tried a bunch of times to get Mr Franz to sell that little guy to me, and he always said he didn't figure he'd get rid of it. Alright, that's fair. I bought a couple black on black MM basses in an attempt to find the magic that old red one had, while also paying tribute to a local punk band that was extremely important to me that also used a black MM. I had one for about the last 8 or so years that was always there and always good, just never really clicked with me. I still figured I'd never really sell it, since it was what it was and I liked it enough.
I work at a guitar store now, doing setups and repairs. A highschool kid came in to have me set up his floyd-rosey Ibanez and we got to talking... He happened to go to my tiny little highschool, and as it turned out, had an old red bass that he found in the art room there. When Mr Franz retired a few years ago, he left the bass at the school, and due to it looking like a pile of crap to the untrained eye, it migrated into a corner of the art room. This dude got it for $30.
My jaw dropped as he told me about it, and I verified that it was indeed the same red bass I'd been longing for over the last 13 years. Darrick (highschool kid) was kinda down on it; the original pick guard had been cracked and the control plate area had been replaced with a Mustang style control plate. One of the pots and the output jack had been changed, and the nut was broken so he slapped in some new one that he had no idea how to set up properly. He hardly played it. He said his sister was just using it as a backup bass. I of course tripped over my tongue in excitement, telling him I had a black one of the same vintage that was all original and in far nicer shape than the red one from highschool was in even the last time i saw it, which was 9 years ago. I offered to do an even trade, since i could care less about how original the nut was and wanted that bass, THAT SPECIFIC BASS, more than I could really explain. That bass is my personal musical history! I had to have it. Had to had to had to had to had to. He said he'd check with his sister.
Uhhhh... So yesterday he brought it to me. It's everything I remembered! The neck feels just like I thought it did, which is surprising considering how many other guitars I've felt since I saw this one last, 9 years ago. Other than the control plate being added, it looks exactly like it did back then! The neck is still straight, the frets are still completely playable, and after 4 minutes of work, the new nut was cut and sanded down to where it needed to be. I happily handed over my black MM that had surprisingly little sentimental value when put up against the red one.... and I will never let this bass leave my side. The pictures below don't really show just how battered this finish is. I love it! I couldn't be happier! I had accepted that I'd probably never see this bass again, and here it is, in my studio, in my hands, plugged into my amp. An old friend has come back into my life, and it's almost as if I had never been without it.