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, 2-pickup Fender Mustang guitars, the Mustang Bass was the last original bass designed by Leo Fender before his departure from the company in 1970. The Mustang Bass has a short 30" scale and a single split pickup (similar to the P-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).
The Musicmaster Bass variant was also introduced in the mid-60's 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 6-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.
Keith Stalcup of the Lorrie Morgan Band currently uses a Mustang Bass on tour.