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The Fender Mustang Bass

Posted by John Blanco on

As one of the last basses that Leo Fender designed, the Mustang bass continues to endure as the radical wayward child of Fender's prestigious bass range. Tonally it’s extremely close to what you can get out of a Precision but that shorter scale neck gives it a little edge whilst retaining that idiosyncratic Fender sound. Released in 1966, the Mustang has a short 30” scale, a Precision-esque split-coil pick-up, and strings-through-body routing with one volume and one tone control. The early Mustang’s were fitted with string mutes, however most players preferred to remove these.

There’s nothing better on a Fender than those famous Du Pont colours. From around '69 Fender released the competition finish Mustangs, inspired by the Ford Mustang. Check out this early Talking Heads performance of Psycho Killer, Tina Weymouth cooly sports a '70's competition finish mustang modded with a straight bridge pick up. Weymouth’s jangly, syncopated, funk-inflected riffing, for me, epitomises the rad styling of the Mustang bass. 

Another Mustang bass player who has pioneered the weird and wonderful, is the German maverick and melodic adventurer Holger Czukay. Revered not only for his work with seminal band Can, Czukay is also famous for his obsession with tape splicing; meticulous editing of sound snippets sourced using short-wave radio devices, frenetically fused with live instrumentation. His experimentation was truly visionary and beautifully absurd. Czukay used a Mustang bass for most of his early career in Can.

If it's a vintage Mustang you're searching for then do keep an eye on our vintage bass section. You'll find some excellent vintage examples and we're always on the look out for more.

 


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