Fender Mustang Bass

Short scale Fender bass guitar

Fender Mustang Fender Mustang
Two Competition Mustang basses in Competition Red and Competition Burgundy (blue) finish
Produced: 1966-83, 2002-date
Pickup: One split coil
Scale: 30"
Body: Poplar or Ash
Neck: Bolt-on, maple with rosewood fretboard, pearl dot inlays, later maple with black dots
Hardware: Chrome bridge and one-side open-gear tuning keys
Available finishes: Sunburst, Competition colours (Red, Orange, Burgundy), Black, White, Natural, Walnut, Wine, Antigua

The Fender Mustang bass was a short scaled (30") four string bass, produced at Fender's Fullerton plant, California, USA from 1966 until 1983. It was one of the first new instruments of the CBS era, and companion model to the Mustang guitar. Like all Fender guitars up until that time it was a simple bolt on neck, solid body with electronics mounted to the scratchplate.

It was aimed at student guitarists being short scale, and having the lowest price bass in the Fender range; but nonetheless is a great playing, solid feeling instrument instrument, with good quality components. Previous basses, like the Precision and Jazz had a longer 34 1/2" scale.

The following description is taken from the 1969 Fender lovin' care catalogue

The Mustang Bass is ideal for the student and musician with short reach, because it features 30" string length and smaller body. Solid bass tone is achieved through the use of a split pickup positioned for maximum string response. Each pickup section may be adjusted for custom string balance. Tone and volume controls are conveniently located and provide wide tone variation. Individual bridges for each string are adjustable for length and height. In addition, each has its own string mute allowing the player to control sustaining duration to suit his requirements. A finger rest is placed to give maximum support to the hand. The truss-rod reinforced neck is slimmed down for fast action and has 19 frets. Available in red, white or blue finish.

Have a closer look (and listen) to a 1969 competition Mustang

It was first listed in the July 1966 Fender price list at $189.50; compared to $223 for the Precision, and $271 for the Jazz. Left handed models are listed at 10% more. From May 1969, price lists refer to the Competition Mustang; a red, orange or burgundy bass (actually blue), with stripes across the top corner, akin to the classic sports car; otherwise the same as older versions of the Mustang.

Have a listen to a Fender Mustang bass (more Mustang soundclips here).

Below: Fender Mustang basses from the 1976 Fender catalogue: in White, Sunburst and Natural finishes. Note the black pickguard typical mid to late seventies Mustangs. The Sunburst bass also has a maple fretboard with black dots; a feature that would become increasingly common.

Fender Mustang basses from the 1976 Fender catalogue

Dating vintage Fender Mustang basses

Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones tuning his Fender Mustang
Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones uses a Competition Mustang in the studio

The Mustang bass follows the same serial number rules as any other Fender bass; looking it up in one of the many online sources will give a broadly accurate date (although there are certainly exceptions).

The components, like most guitars, changed over time. The location of the thumbrest and serial number, the scratchplate and fretboard material, and the specific headstock decals can all help in pinning down a date, as can codes on the bottom end of the neck and the potentiometers - useful if serial numbers themselves can not be read.

Some of these changes are listed in the timeline below, but also have a closer look at the catalogue pages and photosets which show typical basses for each year.

Fender Mustang bass timeline

1964: The Fender Mustang guitar is launched

1966 Fender catalogue

1966: Production of the Mustang bass starts at the Fullerton factory, California. United States list price $189.50 (7/66). Initially available in red, White and blue finishes, left handed 10% extra. Early features include a thumbrest positioned below the strings. The bass is included in the 1966-67 Fender Catalogue

1967: List price $189.50 (6/67, 10/67)

1968 Fender catalogue

1968: List price $199.50 (3/68, 7/68). The 1968 Fender Catalogue lists Red, White and Blue as finish options.

1969 Big Bass Sound of Fender catalogue

1969: May price list mentions Competition finishes (Orange, Red and Burgundy), list price $229.50 (5/69)

1969 Fender Competition Mustang bass

Many, but not all 1969 Competition Mustangs had a matching coloured headstock, rather than natural maple.

See the 1969 Fender Mustang part list

1970 Fender catalogue

1970: Finishes available are Sunburst, and three Competition colours (Orange, Red and Burgundy). See the 1970 Fender catalogue.

Finishes as above. List price $239.50, left had $262.50 (4/70)

1972 Fender catalogue

1971: Finishes and prices as above (1/71)

1972: Finishes and prices as above (2/72), though changing to Sunburst, White and just two competition colours (Red and Burgundy) in the 1972 Fender Catalogue. Gradually over 1972/73 the thumbrest position changes to be above the strings.

1973: Prices and finishes as above (6/73)

1974: Finishes listed as available are Sunburst, Olympic White, Black and Walnut. List price $265, left had $290 (12/74)


1976: Serial numbers are now a decal on the face of the headstock rather than being stamped into the neckplate.

See the 1976 Fender Mustang part list

1977: Finishes available are Sunburst, Blond, White, Black, Natural and Walnut (11/77)



1980: Finishes available are Tobacco Sunburst, White, Black, Natural, Antigua and Wine. Left handed basses are available in Sunburst only. (2/80)

1981: Only two finishes are listed in price lists, Black and Wine (6/81)

1982: The Mustang bass is not listed in the 1982 catalogue or price lists

1983: Production ceases entirely at the Fullerton plant.

Fender Mustang bass advertising

Electric bass advertisements originally published from 1968 onwards. Click on the images for larger copies. Check out other vintage Fender advertisements

Fender Mustang - Pick A Winner

Fender Mustang - Pick A Winner (1968)
...From Fender's famous Telecaster Trio. (left) Fender 6 String Solid Body TELECASTERS are now available with the popular Bigsby Tremolo Unit. Adjustable pickup and adjustable dual bridge highlight...

Fender Mustang - Fender. What more need we say

Fender Mustang - Fender. What more need we say (1971)
just that Fender guitars are played by stars the world over - from big-beat blues to folk music, c&w to acid rock. The greatest guitars in the world
UK Dallas Arbiter (Fender distributor) fe...

Mustang bass users

Notable users include Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones and Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads - check out the clip of "Psychokiller" below from the BBC's Old Grey Whistle Test in 1978. Tina Weymouth's bass is admittedly upgraded, but she gets a superb tone from it.

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Fender Mustang for sale

Fender Mustang bass 1970-1971



Fender Mustang bass 1970-1971. Condition is Used. Competition blue finish which has yellowed to a bluish green appearance. Appears to be all complete except for the foam pieces on the string mute. Cigarette holding evidence on headstock near the E tuner. The case handles were replaced leaving a cutout spot where the old ones were. It still works perfectly. Bass sounds and plays excellent Check photos closely for condition as there are no returns or refunds.... more

1975 Fender Mustang Bass Vintage Short Scale Bass Black 100% Original w / ohc



Up for sale, a 1975 Fender Mustang Bass in 100% original condition and in perfect working order. As Fender's premier short-scale bass, the Mustang Bass has gained increased notoriety in recent years for its tonal versatility, easy playability, and impressive thump when required. Strung with roundwound strings, this Mustang Bass delivers plenty of growl and roundness, with classic low end punch and clarity in the treble frequencies. A particularly lightweight example at 7lbs 11oz, this bass ... more




41 year old Vintage Fender MUSTANG BASS This one is in MINT, ALL-ORIGINAL, COLLECTOR condition   Original Natural finish over an ASH Body with a solid 1-piece Maple neck. These are considered Short Scale with a string length that measures 30 inches, and they make wonderful Bass tones.   This beautiful Vintage bass was built back in 1977, it is an original 41 year old U S. Made Fender instrument. This bass has never been modified or damaged. It was kept as a collectible and only used sparingly ... more

Fender Mustang original 1969 vintage bass (red) + original case



Fender Mustang original 1969 vintage bass. There are scratches, it's 49 y o., you know, but the technical condition is perfect, all parts are original and look intact. The serial number is 193952. Ask for more pictures if interested. The sound is fat, warm, and punchy, the instrument is truly amazing, listen here. https: / / soundcloud com / i-m-3 / fender-mustang-bass-1969 / s-Fsnuy I'm actually very upset to sell it, doing this bc of the family emergency only. The original case is included ... more




1967 FENDER MUSTANG BASS DAKOTA RED SERIAL:202738 WEIGHT:8lbs 1oz *All stock can be tried out at my showroom in Hoxton London. Email or call for an appointment* Andy Baxter Bass & Guitars Ltd 152-154 Hoxton Street, London N1 6SH * By appointment * Description:1967 Fender Mustang Bass in excellent condition, Dakota Red finish, maple neck with a Rosewood fingerboard. It's all original and complete including the case. It has a great playing straight neck and the frets are in good condition. The ... more

Fender Mustang 1965 RI MIJ  Relic Ocean Turquoise Metallic



Absolutely stunning guitar, but not really my sound so it's time to sell It's been refinished in nitro Ocean turquoise metallic with a tinted clear, as to model a real 1965 custom colour mustang that has aged into more of a Sherwood Green. You can see where the blue shows through in the more played areas. It's quite a thin paint job so will naturally wear more over time Currently fitted with creamery mustang pickups which are a huge step up from the factory ones. Also currently sporting a ... more

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Rick Benson Sr. Comment left 30th March 2018 06:06:35 reply
I have a fender mustang bass - serial #699986 - or #F226531. Can you tell me the value of this bass .Thanks you, Rick



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