A Little Fender Mustang Bass History
The Mustang bass was one of Leo Fender’s last contributions to Fender in 1964 and finally went into production after Leo left the company in 1966. It is a 30″ short-scale bass that features a mini Precision Bass style split pickup and through body string bridge design. The short-scale design was originally intended as a student model, for younger people to learn on. The bass remained in production until around 1981 and then continued to have some sporadic availability in the 90’s and 2000’s. Today’s Fender Mustang PJ Bass returned to full production 50 years after the first basses were produced in 2016 and continue to be built today.
Here is the Limited Edition, Surf Pearl Fender Mustang Bass!
With my SlickDeals notifications set to light me up any time cool guitars go on sale, the day I saw the Fender Mustang Bass up for grabs on Adorama, I had to pull the trigger. They were selling them for $399 or $175 off normal price. I only mention this so y’all know to keep your eye out for this deal.
I posted my unboxing video below. This bass doesn’t come with many accessories. You get the bass, some tags, Allen keys, a sticker and that’s about it. It’s probably a good idea to set yourself up with a hard case or at the very least a gig bag if you plan on taking this out anywhere.
30″ Short Scale
One of the most noticeable features of this bass is the short scale length. At 7 pounds, 5.8 ounces, it is also a very light bass. I’ve owned other basses where the scale wasn’t so obvious and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s just not for me. It’s really difficult to use as a back up bass if your mains are full scale. But with that said it is super easy and fun to play, I just can’t turn off my brain and fall into playing songs.
Now if your main bass is a guitar…then this may be just the bass for you. I can see how it would be great for the home studio performer to lay down bass tracks over their guitars and drums to fill out the sound. Any obviously it’s a great choice for any small player.
I love, love, love the CBS vintage headstock. The shape, the fonts, the look? Love it! The overall feel of the C shaped neck is of quality, is well built, and feels great. This is the first guitar I have owned with a pau ferro fretboard. It’s not bad but I prefer the look and feel of rosewood. I would probably take a maple option over this wood, even though I like the contrast of a dark fretboard. The feel is a bit more scratchy and rough than I would like.
PB & J’s Pickups
The stock pickups sound great but there is a ton of opportunity to upgrade to whatever your favorite flavor of pickup may be. My jam is those vintagey Nordstrand pickups but I see throwing in some modern hot Seymour Duncan Quarter Pounders or anything else that floats your boat.
The mint pickguard on this looks sooo good! It ties the whole bass together.
Note: I just made up calling these things PB & J’s and if I ever have my own pickup line my PJ pickups will be call PB&J’s…and if I ever have my own company it should be called Pickup Lines.
The standard bridge is functional. I wish Fender would have continued the tradition of through body strings. I would eventually put a high mass bridge on this if it were my daily driver. The CBS style neckplate is A+. I wish they would still do the vintage gasket, but whatever. The vintage style tuners are nice enough.
Some Final Thoughts
Overall I think this is a super cool, fun bass to have around. It’s well made for the $575 price point and a steal for the $400 sale price. Tonally it gives you the right amount of options for those iconic Fender bass tones. I love all of the vintage styles and colors these basses are made in. I couldn’t ask for more from a short scale Fender bass.
More Info I Plagiarized from Fender’s Website:
Versatile Sound, Classic Style
Since its original release in 1964, the Mustang Bass has been one of Fender’s most enduring bass designs, finding its way into the hands of bassists ranging from The Rolling Stones to My Chemical Romance. This updated version of the short-scale underground hero adds the power of our venerable P Bass and J Bass pickups to the traditional Mustang design for flexible, thunderous bass tone with smooth playing feel and slick visual style.
• 30″ scale length
• “C”-shaped maple neck
• 9.5″-radius Pau Ferro fingerboard with 19 medium jumbo frets
• One P Bass split single-coil middle pickup, one J Bass single-coil bridge pickup
• Four-saddle bridge
• Four-bolt neck plate
• Vintage-style tuning machines
• Master Volume and Tone controls
• Three-way pickup switch
This Mustang Bass features Fender’s classic short scale length (30″) for pronounced playing comfort for students and beginners, smaller players and anyone who enjoys the easily reachable range of a short-scale bass.
“PJ” Pickup Configuration
Bassists will appreciate the tonal versatility of the “PJ” pickup configuration, with a seismic split single-coil Precision Bass middle pickup and growling Jazz Bass bridge pickup.
Modern “C” – Shaped Neck
This instrument features a modern neck designed for comfort and performance, with a contemporary “C”-shaped profile (the shape of the neck in cross section), 9.5″ fingerboard radius and medium jumbo frets.
Three-Way Pickup Switch
This Mustang Bass features a three-way toggle pickup switch, giving you either the bridge or neck pickup alone or both.
Four-Saddle Hardtail Bridge
This model features a hardtail four-saddle bridge for solid tuning stability, precise intonation and increased sustain.
Engraved Neck Plate
This Mustang Bass features a special neck plate engraved with a Fender “F” logo – a classic design element for Fender instruments.