Fender Classic 65 Mustang review

  • £699.99
  • $1199.99
Fender Mustang: a pop-rock classic.

Our Verdict

Smells like… a classic.


  • Beautiful looks, vintage tones.


  • A wee bit pricey.

The Fender Mustang was originally launched in August 1964, but its first full year of production was 1965 - hence the reissue's name.

The Mustang was an entry-level student guitar that went on to be popular with famous folk like Kurt Cobain, Blixa Bargeld of Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds, John Frusciante and Graham Coxon of Blur.

Read more: Xotic California Classic XSC-2

The Mustang here on test is part of Fender's Classic Series. It features the poplar body of the original guitar as well as other period-correct details like the white-buttoned machineheads, '65 headstock logo and floating Dynamic vibrato. Look around and you'll pick one up for £499.

If you've never played a Mustang, you're in for a treat. The compact body and shorter scale neck make the guitar a dream to play. The strange-looking floating vibrato is very smooth and, as long as you've given your strings a good stretch, it won't knock the guitar's tuning out.

Plugged in this guitar offers a range of bright tones selected via slider controls. If you're expecting to emulate Kurt Cobain's raucous tone you may be disappointed with the Mustang's mild-mannered singlecoils. Kurt preferred a humbucker in the bridge position (like on his Jag-Stang). The Mustang is more 60s garage punk.

Few axes combine vintage tone, stunning looks and easy playability as well as this. Ultimately, the Dano '63 shared the same virtues as the Mustang, but for a lot less money.