Fender Mustang Bass
||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (November 2010)|
|Period||1966 — 1981, 2002 - present.|
|Neck||Maple, “C” Shape,(Gloss Polyurethane Finish)|
|Fretboard||rosewood (9.5” Radius/241 mm) (MIJ model = 7.25" radius)|
|Bridge||Strings-Thru-Body with 4 Individually Adjustable Saddles|
|Pickup(s)||1 Special Design Split Single-Coil Mustang Bass Pickup|
|Currently Vintage White, previous colors in the past.|
The Fender Mustang Bass is an electric bass guitar model produced by Fender. Two variants, the Musicmaster Bass and the Bronco Bass, have also been produced from time to time using the same body and neck shape.
Introduced in 1966 as a companion to Fender's shorter-scaled, two-pickup Fender Mustang guitars, the Mustang Bass was the last original bass designed by Leo Fender before his departure from the company in 1965. The Mustang Bass has a short 30" scale and a single split pickup (similar to the Precision Bass), one volume and one tone control, with strings-through-body routing. Like the early Precision and Jazz basses, the Mustang Bass was fitted with string mutes (although most players removed these).
The standard finishes were red and white. Mustang Basses, like all Fender guitars, were finished in nitrocellulose lacquer up until 1968, thereafter in thick polyester finish. In 1969, both the Mustang guitar and bass were issued with 'Competition' finishes, i.e. red with three white stripes, a thick one between two thinner ones, Lake Placid Blue with lighter blue stripes, etc. and were later available in various plain finishes including black and sunburst. (The yellowing of the lacquer on some early models has also resulted in "rare" colours like Surf Green, in reality a yellowed Competition Blue).
In production almost continuously to 1981, the Mustang Bass was reissued by Fender Japan in 2002.
The Musicmaster Bass variant was also introduced in the mid-1960s and was originally marketed as a student model. Rather than the split-coil design of the Mustang Bass, it featured a single-coil pickup, which was actually a six-pole Stratocaster guitar pickup under a solid plastic cover. Production ceased around the same time as the Mustang Bass. The Squier Musicmaster Bass was reissued briefly in 1997, however it was discontinued after only one year of production and was ultimately replaced by the Bronco Bass.
Recently, Squier began manufacturing its own version of the Mustang Bass as part of the brand's Vintage Modified series. The Squier Vintage Modified Mustang Bass was released in July 2011, and is available in black, or three-tone sunburst with a maple fretboard, a black pickguard and Stratocaster style volume and tone knobs.
For 2013, Fender launched three new Mustang basses in the Pawn Shop series, which they call an unconventional assortment of "guitars that never were but should have been". They evoke the original "competition" Mustangs of the early 70's. These basses are available in Candy Apple Red with white stripes, Olympic White with blue stripes, and three color sunburst. The red and white Mustangs recall the Ford model, famous for the car chase with Steve McQueen in the 1968 film Bullitt. Their features include an alder body, "C"-shaped maple neck, 9.5"-radius rosewood fingerboard with 19 medium jumbo frets, four-ply white pearloid pick-guard, two Jazz Bass® control knobs (volume, tone) and a strings-through-body bridge with four adjustable saddles. This time, though, one obtains the huge bass sound of a single humbucking pickup whereas the original had a single-coil pickups. The Pawn Shop Mustang basses are made by Fender Mexico.
- Mikey Way of My Chemical Romance not only uses a Mustang Bass in shows, but has his own model made by Squier.
- Tomethy Furse and, more recently, Rhys Webb of The Horrors use all-black Mustang Basses.
- Trevor Bolder of David Bowie and The Spiders from Mars used a Mustang Bass among many other basses.
- Pete Agnew of Nazareth (band) used a Mustang Bass on LP Loud 'n' Proud 1973.
- Lisa Brigatino, formerly of Lez Zeppelin, frequently uses a Mustang Bass.
- Holger Czukay of German band Can used the Mustang Bass extensively in the 1970s.
- Jason Falkner, solo musician, uses a black mid '70s Mustang Bass.
- Jesse Murphy, formerly of New York City band Brazilian Girls uses a Mustang Bass.
- Tim Foreman of Switchfoot presently uses this bass for live presentations.
- Nicolas Godin of the French band Air uses a red Mustang Bass on tour and when recording.
- Clive Griffiths of Patto used a Mustang Bass for most of his tenure with the band.
- Brian Hill of The Postmarks currently uses this bass for live performances as well as recording.
- Gary Jarman of The Cribs used a Mustang Bass on stage until their second album, at which point he switched to Precision Basses.
- John Deacon of Queen occasionally used one and also had one as a backup for his Fender Precision Bass.
- Jeffrey Hammond of Jethro Tull is pictured playing one in the Living in the Past album.
- Alan Lancaster of Status Quo used Mustang and Musicmaster Basses.
- Denny Laine occasionally used one during his time with Wings, when lead singer Paul McCartney would switch from bass to piano or guitar.
- John Linnell of They Might Be Giants plays a Mustang Bass in the music video for "The Guitar (The Lion Sleeps Tonight)", although his role in the band is almost always that of keyboardist or saxophonist.
- Colin Moulding of XTC used a Musicmaster Bass in 1979.
- Chris Murphy of Sloan frequently uses a Mustang Bass.
- Dee Dee Ramone played a Musicmaster Bass during the early days of the Ramones.
- Greg Richling of The Wallflowers frequently uses a Mustang Bass live and in the studio. He also plays it in the video of Letter From the Wasteland.
- Fred Smith of Television (band) used a Mustang Bass during the band's early days.
- Thompson Twins Joe Leeway used a Musicmaster Bass on "Hold Me Now" in 1983.
- Wally Waller of the Pretty Things used a Mustang Bass from 1967 to approximately 1976, including on the band's seminal albums S.F. Sorrow and Parachute.
- Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads used a Mustang Bass in the early days of the band.
- Carl Wilson of The Beach Boys used it in the video of Good Vibrations, and probably he used it on 1967 album Smiley Smile, too.
- Bill Wyman of The Rolling Stones used Mustang Basses in the late-1960s and early-1970s.
- Bill Church of Montrose used a Mustang Bass in the early days.
- Roger Glover of Deep Purple used a Mustang Bass on the Fireball album.
- Jon "KC Wolf" Kindler of The Chariot played a white Mustang Bass on the band's tour supporting the album Wars and Rumors of Wars.
- Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth can be seen playing a Musicmaster Bass in the video for the band's song "Bull in the Heather."
- Todd Ingram (Brandon Routh) from Scott Pilgrim vs. the World plays a Mustang Bass with the fictional band the Clash at Demonhead.
- Zombierella Girl from Messer Chups plays a daphne blue Mustang Bass.
- Simon Green aka Bonobo (musician) plays a Mustang Bass, notably on the Live At Koko DVD.
- Ray Schulman of Gentle Giant played one on the first 6 albums. Jethro Tull (band)'s manager loaned him money to purchase a Fender Precision Bass prior to Free Hand showing the sonic difference between the two basses.
- Grant Brinner of the Orwells played a vintage white Mustang Bass on their EP Who Needs You.
- Peter Bertges: The Fender Reference; Bomots, Saarbrücken 2007, ISBN 978-3-939316-38-1
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