The Fender Mustang is a guitar produced by Fender since 1964, developed by the “student models” Fender Musicmaster and Fender Duo-Sonic. The Japanese Fender still continues to produce Mustangs, using the company’s standard colors (Sunburst, Dakota Red, Olympic White, Black, and Daphne Blue).
It was the end of the year 1964, Leo Fender was now convinced that there was little left to live, but continued to produce instruments and changes to them. He had recently produced the Duo sonic II, but felt that something was missing from the instrument, so he added a complex floating bridge very similar to the Jazzmaster (only the six saddles changed) and a vibrola that housed on the same metallic template and not separately, so it required a much shorter lever. The guitar that came out was called Mustang.
Fender Jaguar, Jazzmaster, and Mustang
This is a curious question. And if you answer briefly then this case is not the best or worst guitar. The fact is that they are all different. Someone captures the unique sounds of the Jazmaster, other like the Jaguar or the Mustang. Distinctions in pickups and scales have differences between Jazzmaster and Jaguar.
But let’s move on to what makes the Mustang really special. If the choice of woods and shapes is the classic one, to find the differences we have to look at hardware and electronics. The idea of mounting a humbucker instead of the usual single coil to the bridge had already come to mind to Kurt Cobain, to give to its sound the right power that the single coil, of which the standard model was equipped, could not offer.
Passed by pastel colors from the surf era to a whole range of late-blacks and browns, the Mustang was for many guitarists the first Fender, the one that could fit in the budget of a birthday present. It has never shown for sustain and output level, but the twang of its single coils has been able to inspire generations of musicians in search of different sounds and looks.
The Mustang, like the Jaguar, has a scale length of 24 inches, and can be too small for some. It is 1.5 inches smaller than the Jazzmaster (the Telecaster and the Stratocaster) and this is a very noticeable difference.
Tip: You can say that Jazmaster is the most versatile instrument of all three. Jaguar and Mustang are more suitable for a specific range of sounds.
- Special Design Jazz master single-coil pickups offer a broader range of hot and heavier tones.
- The trem-plate moved closer to the bridge increases the break-angle giving this model greater sustain than the originals.
- Deluxe gig bag included.
- Quality of bridge/pickups
- Maybe: the rhythm circuit produces a mellower tone
- Maybe: heavy tuning
- Maybe: strings were popping out of the saddles, breaking
When Leo sold the company to CBS in January 1965, he had already accumulated a worldwide demand for this model which amounted to about 150 thousand guitars, as it was a low-priced instrument and featured all the features that that young guitarists needed.
Leo Fender created this economical guitar especially for advanced students and designed this special tremolo to satisfy that purpose. Born in 1964 to revive the line of economic guitars, it lived until 1990, leaving the catalog just when the alternative rock consecrated it as its own icon.
It offset body derived from Jaguar and Jazzmaster looked like a spaceship at the time it was presented.
It was a 24-inch scale like the Duo sonic II and the Jaguar; it also had the same 22-fret neck as well if with the dots and not the abalone rectangles of the upper model. It was also devoid of the white thread of the older sister, but it also had the backstop of the Duo sonic II, of which the Jaguar was instead devoid.
It did not even have the Jaguar stoppacorde, but it cost less than half. Its body similar to the Jazzmaster, but in general followed the style of the Musicmaster II and the Duo Sonic II. Similarities with the Stratocaster are also observed except for the style of the form. The Stratocaster is more “round” and the Mustang more “elongated”.
Tip: It’s a kind of hybrid between the Stratocaster and the Telecaster.
- Body: Solid alder
- Scale 24” (Initially it was produced with two different scales, from 22.5” and 24”)
- Rosewood fretboard
- 2 single coil pickups (with an unusual configuration, as it had a unique tremolo that it would only share with its derivative: the Jag-Stang)
- Two potentiometers for adjusting the tones and volume
- It adopts a switching system between the two pick-ups consisting of two switches each with three positions, bringing the total of the combinations of the 4-pickups (neck/bridge/set in phase/together out of phase).
- The vibrating lever system (Fender Dynamic Vibrator) was similar to the one mounted on the top models of the Fender line at the time: Fender Jazzmaster and Fender Jaguar.
- The Mustang was produced mainly in three colors: Daphne Blue, Olympic White, Dakota Red.
It was the guitar preferred by the soloist of the first formation of the Status Quo and by Kurt Cobain, indeed, made it a more modern version and with the body more asymmetric just for him, the Fender Jag-Stang. Other changes were the humbuker pickup straight to the bridge and the neck to the poles that came out of the plastic cover.
- Quality of tone
- Quality of in/out of phase sounds
- Maybe: fret buzz
- Maybe: small body
At the Summer Namm 2016, the Californian brand presented its new range Offset made in Mexico to pay tribute to the Duo-Sonic and the Mustang.
Mustang 90: Characteristics
- Type: full-body electric guitar
- Body material: Alder
- Neck: screwed, maple, C-shaped
- Fretboard: Rosewood, 22 frets
- Nut: synthetic bone
- Finish: polyurethane/polyester varnish
- Scale: 24” (610 mm)
- Radius: 9.5” touch
This new version of the Mustang presents the originality of being ironed with 2 P-90 pickups, more wild than ever, that go against the tradition of the Mustang. In acoustics, the sound is quite hollow, not really generous in the low end (for an instrument of this type) and sounds with acidity in the treble.
Tip: The instrument quickly reaches its limits in terms of dynamics: the strings do not curl outrageously, but we hear a subsidence in the enrichment of the spectrum of notes. This guitar is not really for the nuance.
- Solid wood, solid bridge, quality neck
- Value for money
- Maybe: requires no easy setup
- Maybe: sharp fret ends