Which Fender Mustang bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Tropical_Fish, Jun 3, 2020.

  1. Tropical_Fish


    Mar 29, 2009
    I am looking to buy a new Fender Mustang bass and was about to order a 'Player' model for approx £570. Then I noticed that I could pick up a 'Vintera' model for approx £720.
    My budget can stretch to the Vintera (just) and my instinct is to go for that, but I am somewhat put off by the fact that the truss rod is embedded and would need the neck to be removed to adjust it. Also, I kinda like the PJ set up on the Player.

    Because of the lockdown, I am not going to be able to get my hands on the bass before I commit to buy.

    Could any of you good people give some advice on which to go for and also educate me on any other differences other than the 2 mentioned above.

  2. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    i haven't played a vintera, but i own a regular PJ mustang, and i absolutely love the tone; in fact, that's why i bought it. to me, it's absolutely wonderful. admittedly the switch on some of these goes bad, but i think i bought a new one for less than $10.

    i am curious why you would go for the vintera. i know some people here own them and seem to really like them. they look slightly fancier, but you can always make a new pickguard for the MiM mustang, and you could even swap in a vintage style bridge if you preferred it. me, i'm not a huge fan, but some like it, and it looks like the vintera has one.

    personally i feel that the truss rod adjustment is a deal breaker for me, but everyone is different. perhaps this might help make it easier for you to adjust the vintera truss rod or to decide it's too many steps.
    Aledal and Tropical_Fish like this.
  3. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I currently have 2 Mustangs PJs, a PJ LE I bought on sale and an earlier PJ with a rosewood fingerboard I bought used a a good price in mint condition.

    My recent goal in a Mustang was as a shortscale replacement for my P bass and the PJ LE has a P sound I really like. My Other PJ also has a very nice if slightly brighter P tone than the PJ LE. Those comparisons are using only the P pickup, I never use bridge pickups. I installed nylon tapes on both and I'm very happy with the results.

    While I really like the P tones of the PJs, I had to try quite a few PJs in my search to find what I wanted. I also tried a couple of JMJs and Squier CV along the way. I prefer the top loading bridge and headstock trussrod adjustment of the PJs.
    Tropical_Fish likes this.
  4. I have owned both. The Vintera is a 60`s copy whilst the P/J is nothing like the original. The fit and finish on the Vintera was spot on and it was a lovely looking bass. You don`t need to upgrade any part of it, it`s great as it is.

    The P/J is a great mod platform. The red one I had was a decent bass. I ended up putting a Tonerider P pickup in it and changing the electrics to a stacked vol/tone like the original Jazz bass as the 3 way switch didn`t fill me with confidence and I fancied something different. A lot of folks change this switch for a switchcraft or similar. I put a fake switch to cover the hole. My "producer" switch :D And it also had a ugly Fender Hi Mass bridge for about 10 mins!

    So if you want to buy a classic looking Mustang, go for Vintera but if you like the P/J setup as you do and fancy a modding project, then get the Player. Here is a pic of the P/J
  5. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    Since we're showing pictures, here's one of my Mustang LE PJ...

    Black Mustang.jpg

    I felt it needed black pickguard screws so it got them. I've since put the original knobs back on.
    Danny C, Aledal, Xavierbass and 5 others like this.
  6. Nunovsky


    Sep 4, 2004
    For me, the best Mustang in the market is the JMJ model.
    But the Vintera is also a great bass and very similar to the japanese models from the 90's. The sound and feel very good.
  7. Tropical_Fish


    Mar 29, 2009
    Thanks for all the comments so far - that video is very useful. I am finding that currently it is very difficult to get hold of the Player mustang bases in any colour I would like. I am considering going for the Squier Classic Vibe mustang bass, which are more readily available.

    Does anyone here have any experience with those?
  8. DC in ATX

    DC in ATX Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Jinobass1, sumskilz, Nunovsky and 5 others like this.
  9. Honkey tonk

    Honkey tonk Turn it up

    Feb 10, 2019
    Lower 48
    I would go with the Ventura if you want a mustang , that said the Pj stangs are pretty good
    Jinobass1 likes this.
  10. verycoolname


    Jan 28, 2013
    Los Angeles
    The Vintera model is spec'd like a 60s Mustang, so you're getting that traditional Mustang split coil, string through bridge, etc. The neck is also a different profile than the PJ (thicker at the nut, and with a 7.25 radius as opposed to 9.5). The "60s" profile neck also means it's a bit thinner front to back at the first fret, and thicker as you move up the fretboard. If you're going for a vintage Mustang sound, I'd say the JMJ or Vintera models are your best bet (never played a JMJ, but have heard really great things about the pickup in that one).

    The Player model is, like...it IS a Mustang, but it's not a Mustang, you feel? It is a modern version of the Mustang (different pickup layout, different bridge, different neck profile). I have a PJ Mustang and I love it, and it gets you closer to a Precision sound than it does a straight vintage Mustang sound, if that makes sense. If you want a P sound but like the short scale feel, the PJ is a good option. The selling point for me is the fact that the necks on the Player ones are super comfy, with a 1.5 nut width. I think it feels a bit thinner front to back too (though I haven't measured against a Vintera). If you're someone who prefers the feel of slimmer necks, I think that's a point to the Player. Honestly, if they just combined certain aspects of the Vintera/JMJ models (namely the pickups) with the neck on the PJ it would be my favorite bass. The only thing that comes close is the CIJ Mustang, but I'll be damned if I'm going to pay like $900 for one.

    The Squier seems to pick and choose features from both like I described above (it has the split single coil, string through bridge, and the neck specs look close to the PJ model). I haven't had a chance to play one yet, but I imagine it would be a solid instrument. Maybe you'd want to change the pickups, but maybe you wouldn't!

    Hopefully that helps!
    Jinobass1 and Tropical_Fish like this.
  11. Are you checking sweetwater and CME? They (and maybe other stores) get their own limited edition colors, so you have to order from them to get something other than the standard white and daphne blue. I agree they are great to mod because of the options that drop in, but don’t let that make you think they NEED to be modded. I switched the pickups and tuners in mine, but it sounded good as is. 5FB78D38-784C-4A6E-82DF-C433C2C5256F.jpeg
  12. Hey man. I got a red Vintera and I love it. I personally think the red looks best with the pau ferro board. Sounds great and feels great. Yeh, truss rod at the heel is a little annoying, but easily manageable. Hoping at some point to see an American Professional style mustang bass. All the goodness of a classic Mustang with some player friendly features like some contouring, sensible truss today adjustment etc etc.

    Let us know what you get!
  13. 78E12AE8-D27B-4AC4-BA55-ECE876D7A6B7.jpeg
    Jinobass1, Oddly, pcake and 2 others like this.
  14. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    What is your right hand more comfortable with? Vintage style narrow bridge or P-standard bridge? What neck profile is your left hand more comfortable with? Vintage chunky or newer slimmer "C"? For the price, I eschewed the Mustangs altogether and went with a Mitchell short scale (the GC house brand of Schecter) to have a short scale bass because I liked the neck profile better, although I did put a narrower bridge on it more similar to the vintage and Vintera models. I also put a Nordstrand Mustang pickup in it under the P-covers, and it sounds like a Mustang on steroids.
    Tropical_Fish likes this.
  15. S.F.Sorrow


    Dec 6, 2014
    I haven't tried the Player Mustang but with that pickup configuration it really isn't a proper Mustang IMO. It can still be a great bass of course but it's a Mustang in name only as far as I'm concerned.

    I own a Vintera Mustang and although it's a decent instrument I'm not overly impressed to be honest.

    -I had to return the first two due to a crooked neck and chipped wood around one of the tuning pegs. In other words, typical Fender QC. Try before you buy (or buy from a store with a good return policy).

    -The pao ferro fretboard feels horrible. Like dry cardboard. It almost feels like they forgot the final sanding. Oiling it didn't help. I generally like pao ferro, except on Fenders. Fender seem incapable of manufacturing a great pao ferro fretboard.

    -The tuners are poor. They've got that "grinding" cheap tuner feel. It's not easy to find replacements if you want the lollipop look.

    -I'm not exactly blown away by the sound. I find it somewhat muddy in the lows to be honest. It's not horrible but not mindblowingly great either.

    -It comes with long scale strings installed... (but who wants roundwounds on a Mustang anyway;))

    Other than that I like it. It's a decent, fun little bass but a bit overpriced for what you get IMO.
  16. felis


    Jul 31, 2013
    Midwest, USA
    Don't forget the neck radius. I tried one of those Mitchell SS's, and was surprised that it seemed well made considering the low price.
    The radius, at 16" felt uncomfortable for me though:
    Tropical_Fish and iiipopes like this.
  17. I've tried the PJ and the American Performer, but my favorite by far is the JMJ. I'd recommend you look for a used JMJ or snag one on sale.
    Jinobass1, Tropical_Fish and MCF like this.
  18. selowitch

    selowitch Supporting Member

    Aug 6, 2005
    Rockville MD
    I was considering a Mustang but ending up buying one of these, a Traveler TB-4P (32" scale). It somewhat resembles the Mustang Bass but not in every respect. Very light. Designed to use regular long-scale strings (more widely available then medium-scale). Fits in an overhead bin of an airplane and sounds really good. A terrific “singer’s bass”:

    Last edited: Jun 4, 2020
    Tropical_Fish and pcake like this.
  19. nonohmic


    Dec 13, 2005
    ABQ, NM.
    If I were to short scale again there's no way it would be a 1.5" nut. Feels too small.

    Go the JMJ and get a wider nut.

    Or save a ton of coin and get an Ibanez TMB30.
    Tropical_Fish likes this.
  20. bassike


    Apr 24, 2008
    Just my opinion but I hate the look of the PJ, and I don't see myself ever using the J on a mustang.
    I ended up getting the JMJ and the P alone does what in my opinion a short scale bass should do.
    not sure what kind of music you play, I play mostly death metal, but I really wanted a funk bass. so this is it.

    so I personally would go for the vintera, but this is just me, if the PJ oversized pickup look doesn't bother you and you believe you need the J then go for it.

    hope this helps in some way