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Fender Mustang 90 review

Fender Mustang 90 - Olympic White

This was a bit of a disappointment, but it could have been great.

Because none of the local guitar stores had the Squier Bullet Mustang HH in stock yet (which is a total steal in all the right ways), I decided to try a Fender Mustang 90 in Olympic White to get a feel for what the Squier could feel like.

The first thing I'll say is something I've said before about this guitar. The style decision to go with black pickup covers was very smart of Fender. I've seen the Mustang with white covered P90s and it doesn't look right.

Another thing Fender got right is the Olympic White finish option, which is the one I played. This works really nice with the pearloid pick guard, rosewood fingerboard and the oh-so awesome Fender logo that is not the spaghetti style seen on Strats and Teles. This Mustang has legit style character to it. It works.

As cool as the guitar looked however, I unfortunately played one that had a bad 3-way selector switch. I had to fiddle with it a lot just to get any sound out of the guitar at all.

What was even more unfortunate is that there was no other Mustang 90 in the store. The one I was playing was the only model in stock...

...and that being true, I'm going to get what I didn't like out of the way first.

What I didn't like

Bad pickup selector switch which made the pickups cut in and out like crazy.

The really sad part is that I know these pickups. This is the MP-90 set (MP formerly meaning "Modern Player"), and I know them to have a nice "growly" tone. But the bad switch just totally ruined that experience and made the pickups sound next to dead.

What I did like

This is a short scale like the Duo-Sonic I reviewed, but there's the funny thing. I got along much better with the Mustang neck compared to the Duo-Sonic. The position felt better, the closeness of the tuners to me wasn't bothersome, and the headstock design is bigger and just looks better.

Out of all Fender short scale electrics I've played, this one felt the best. The Duo-Sonic felt weird, the Jaguar has controls that I fight with (a big reason why I play a Jazzmaster), but the Mustang 90 seemed to get everything right...

...if the electronics actually worked the way they were supposed to.

Specs

Alder body, maple neck with 9.5" radius rosewood fingerboard, 22 medium jumbo frets, MP-90 pickups.

The pick guard on this Mustang is actually a 4-ply. Not really noticeable unless you look real close.

Knobs are from the Jazz Bass. I don't like these and never did, but they're easy enough to swap out. I would actually take the knobs off a Duo-Sonic and put them on this guitar.

Bridge is "hardtail Strat" with strings that mount through the body, like the Duo-Sonic.

Tuners are the modern Fender standard sealed style.

Overall

It's like I said above, this guitar could have been great. But a bad 3-way switch killed it before it even started to be cool.

170217

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