The Fender Mustang bass was the four string counterpart to the Mustang guitar that debuted in 1964. The bass version followed in 1966, although the competition finishes (red, burgundy and orange) were only available between 1969 and 1973. This was on of Fender's first (along with the Coronado) shorter scale bass (just 30" compared to the 34 1/2" scale of the Fender Jazz and Precision. The Competition finish refers to the stripes on the top corner of the body, a feature (like the Mustang name) of American sports cars that certainly appealed to the US guitar buying public. Have a listen to this bass through various vintage amps here.
The Mustang, in true Fender tradition was a simple bass: a poplar or ash body with bolt-on maple neck and (initially) rosewood fingerboard, one single coil pickup like the Precision, a Mustang bridge and Fender open gear tuning keys. The pots on this bass have the code 3046617 which dates them to the 17th week of 1966, manufactured by Stackpole (304); Fender bought a lot of 1966 pots that were gradually used over the following few years. Like all Fenders it was made from easily assembled parts, not requiring any skilled luthiery whatsoever. See the 1969 Fender Mustang parts list.
|Melody Maker bass||1||30"||$240|
The 1969 US list price for the Fender Competition Mustang bass was $229.50, a great price for a bass of this quality, especially when compared to other models available at this time.
Prices above come from the Harmony 1969 catalogue, Gibson price list 1-9-69, Fender price list 15-5-69, Guild price list 15-6-69, Rickenbacker price list 1-2-69
Although the Mustang bass was included in all Fender catalogues during it's production, and several in Competition finish, only the 1970 catalogue showed it with matching coloured headstock (here); the 1969 Fender catalogue still described the standard Red, White and Blue finishes.
Note the neck code 17MAR69B. 17 is the model code for the Mustang bass, not part of the date - just March 1969. The letter B indicates a neck type, in this case a width at nut of 1 5/8"
Here are some soundclips of this bass through a few of my favourite vintage bass amps:
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