PRODUCED: 1966-81 (Reissued by Fender Japan in 2002)
TYPE: Solidbody, 4-string
BODY: Poplar (alder later)
NECK: Maple, bolt-on, 19 medium frets
SCALE LENGTH: 762mm (30-inch)
FINGERBOARD: Rosewood with pearl dot inlays, optional maple board available from 1975
HARDWARE: Chrome bridge plate with raised and folded tail, four saddles, separate chrome control plate, open gear tuners initially with oval keys
PICKUPS: Down-sized split coil with hidden pole pieces
CONTROLS: Volume and tone with Jazz-style knobs
FEATURES: Through-body stringing and individual string dampers
FINISHES: Plain colours, optional competition colours with matching headstock and GT stripes during 1968-72 period
COMMENTS: Following hot on the heels of the Mustang guitar, being launched as a ‘junior’ instrument and ‘one for the ladies’ gave the Mustang bass a bit of a shaky start. This was Fender’s first short scale 4-string bass and was aimed at the guitarist who sometimes switched to bass.
This was the last bass designed by Leo Fender following the company buy-out by CBS and fell in line with his mix and match ethos by making use of the jigs initially designed for the Musicmaster guitar. Interestingly this bridge and damper assembly was the earliest example of the design favoured by Leo for his first Music Man StingRay basses that would appear in the seventies.
The rear body scoop is disproportionately large and the finger rest moved above the strings in the seventies to become a thumb rest and for a while some had two! This particular Mustang Bass includes the rarely seen oval tuning keys that were soon phased out for the regular shamrocks or elephant ears as they were lovingly known.
Lots of colour variations and even an Antigua finish with matching scratchplate around 1977-79. Regular users include Alan Lancaster of Status Quo, Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads, Bill Wyman had one with The Rolling Stones for a while and Roger Glover used one on Deep Purple’s Fireball album.