Fender Competition Mustang Solid Body Electric Guitar (1971)

Fender  Competition Mustang Solid Body Electric Guitar  (1971)
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Item # 11039
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Fender Competition Mustang Model Solid Body Electric Guitar (1971), made in Fullerton, California, serial # 338772, Candy Apple Red with Racing Stripe finish, alder body, maple neck, rosewood fingerboard, original grey hard shell case.

This is a well preserved original Competition Red Fender Mustang, remaining original and unaltered after 50 years. This guitar was built around the middle of the run for the rather whimsical "competition" version of the model, with the Candy Apple Red metallic "car" finish with a "racing" stripe on the body but a natural headstock.

This new version of Fender's classiest student guitar was introduced in the May 1969 issue of FENDER FACTS as an attempt to freshen up the model's appeal, incorporating "added features and all new styling". The finish on the body was meant to evoke the car culture "The kids" were thought to be digging at the time. "Competition Mustangs hit the line" was the headline "three diagonal competition stripes race across the body -- big, bold, bright".

This guitar was made a couple of years into the run; the neck is dated to December1971, the pots to the 16th week of the same year. It would have been assembled and sold in the early part of 1972. Apart from the headstock no longer being finished to match the body the features are nearly identical to first 1969 models. The body on this example sports a lovely metallic red finish with hardly any yellowing or fade. The pickguard is laminated plastic with a flashy white pearloid top layer. The switches mounted above the two pickups offer interesting in/out of phase sonic options, something Leo was interested in by the mid-60s.

Originally introduced in mid-1964, the Mustang series was one of Leo Fender's last major original designs for the company that bore his name. Although intended as a student model, the easy handling 24" scale guitar with vibrato has been used by many professionals over the decades since and endured as a classic in its own right. The Mustang has proved a timeless favorite of countless garage and pro bands from the 1960s and '70s until today, easily exceeding Leo's original intentions as a simple but effective student instrument.
Overall length is 39 3/4 in. (101 cm.), 12 1/4 in. (31.1 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 5/8 in. (4.1 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 24 in. (610 mm.). Width of nut is 1 5/8 in. (41 mm.).
This little red hot rod appears very lightly played and remains all original and unaltered, except for one oddity; a previous owner attempted to glue the pickguard to the body, probably when it began to shrink long ago. This is only really noticeable if the guard is removed, but the finish underneath shows the residue. The visible areas of finish have hardly faded at all with a nice lightly aged patina and has just some minor dings, chips and dents overall. The only really notable chips are by the neck pocket and plate.

The hardware, pickups and electronics are all original and complete including the trem arm and the snap-on bridge cover. The pearloid pickguard shows some typical shrinkage but is mostly intact with just the front lower corner re-attached.

The original hardware is relatively clean with some light corrosion most notable on the bridge cover forward edge of the trem tailpiece bar, where someone rested their palm. There is some minor fret wear in the lower positions, but not enough to affect playability. The original case is solid showing some general wear; the top latch is partially separated. Overall this is a nice example of one of CBS/Fender's cooler late 1960-70s ideas. Overall Excellent - Condition.