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 1977 (USA), added Jazz Bass Pickup, with Fender Carrying Bag



Attention Bass players! I will be offering some very interesting equipment these days! This is quite a specialty altered Vintage, Fender, Mustang Bass, made in the USA in 1977 (and later altered by adding a Jazz Bass pickup). The serial number is S811894 (I checked the year at the Guitar Insite web page). The instrument is old (over 50 years) yet it works beautifully if you know what are you dealing with. It is quite sensitive so one has to adjust the octaves when one changes strings. The ... more

Vintage USA 1972 Competition Red Fender Mustang Bass Guitar. A Gorgeous Short Sc



Vintage USA 1972 Competition Red Fender Mustang Bass Guitar. A Gorgeous Short Scale Bass Proudly offering another beautiful and extremely Rare Vintage USA Fender Mustang Bass This Competition Red Mustang Bass was made in 1972 All original and in great vintage condition. Fully setup with low buttery smooth action. The bass plays like it should. However, it could certainly use a new set of strings. This Bass sounds wonderful, even with the current older strings that are installed. This is another ... more

Vintage USA 1976 Black Fender Mustang Bass Guitar. A Stunning Short Scale Bass



Very Rare Vintage 1976 USA Fender Mustang Bass All original and in great vintage condition. Fully setup with low buttery smooth action. The bass plays like a dream. This Bass also sounds amazing. This is the REAL DEAL highly sought after USA Made Fender Short Scale Bass, not a knock off or newer attempted copy of the real thing. This is the real thing. You will love this bass. Please view the photos herein, for details, regarding the condition of this bass. You will notice some scratches on the ... more

1970s Fender Mustang Bass Silverburst w / Lollar Thunderbird Pickup, G&G Case



Up for sale, a 1970's Fender Mustang Bass in excellent condition and in perfect working order. One of our custom vintage restorations here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar, this genuine vintage Fender Mustang Bass is an unholy Fender / Gibson alliance, custom routed for a Lollar Thunderbird pickup and finished in an aged nitro lacquer Gibson-esque Silverburst. Featherweight at only 7lbs 13oz and featuring a solid ash body, this bass has a rich and roaring sound, with lots of articulation, accentuated... more

1967 Fender Mustang Bass Nitro Lacquer Sparkle w / Curtis Novak BS-DS Darkstar



Up for sale, a 1967 Fender Mustang Bass with a custom nitro lacquer sparkle finish and Curtis Novak Bisonic / Darkstar pickup. A genuine vintage slab-bodied Mustang Bass with a Brazilian rosewood fretboard and original "lollipop" Fender tuners, the bass features a Riggio Custom Guitars nitro lacquer sparkle finish with flecks of gold, burgundy, and bright red, very representative of the original and exceedingly rare ‘60s Fender sparkle finishes, which Fender typically outsourced to area ... more

1974 Fender Mustang bass



Please feel free to check out the LowEnd Bass Shop for more info, pics and inventory Up for Sale; Clean 1974 Fender Mustang with case ThanksLowEnd Bass ShopNashville, TN... 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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