Fender Mustang Vs Strat: Which Is Better? (2023 Guide)

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If you’re curious about the Fender Mustang vs Strat guitar models and how they compare, this is the post for you!

Let’s compare these instrument models head-to-head!

Fender’s Offset Guitars

Before I dive into this comparison, I should explain a thing or two about so-called offset guitars. The first such model was Fender’s Jazzmaster, released in the late 1950s.

If a guitar has an offset body, it means that the weight is asymmetrical. Originally, Fender had this idea for jazz and blues players. It was supposed to be more comfortable while sitting down.

However, Jazzmasters became popular among surf rock and eventually punk rock players. The model also inspired the creation of Jaguar and Mustang guitars. All three of these models are in production.

They’re usually popular among indie rock and punk musicians. And Jazzmaster and Mustang models are especially interesting due to their controls.

Fender Mustang Vs Strat: Which Is Better?

Now, what many people wonder is how these guitars compare to classic Fender stuff. Of course, bear in mind that both Stratocaster and Mustang are pretty wide categories. There are plenty of variants of both guitars. But a general comparison is possible.

Fender Mustang

The Mustang came to fruition in 1964. At about this time, Fender experimented with offset guitars. In particular, they had Duo-Sonic and Musicmaster as student models. The Mustang was a redesign of these two.

The model was discontinued in 1982. However, it came back in 1990 after Fender noticed a demand for old models. It’s still present in the company’s arsenal to this day.

The general idea was to have a simplified version of Jazzmasters and Jaguars. Instead of complex and versatile controls, it had a simpler layout.

Now, no matter the variant, they all come with two single-coil pickups. But there are some variations to this. For instance, some come with MP-90 pickups which are similar to Gibson’s P-90s. And there have also been some versions with humbuckers.

But the standard Mustang comes with two slanted single-coils. These are accompanied by individual on and off switches. But a lot of newer models come with a standard 3-way position switch.

Another thing that’s typical of Mustangs is their bridge. The regular Mustangs come with old-school floating bridges. You will notice a large plate that holds the bridge, strings, and the tremolo arm. It allows a 2-way action, meaning that you can also go sharp.

Some variants also come with a fixed version of this bridge. Some others come with Strat-style hardtail bridges.

What’s also worth noting is that Mustangs have shorter scale lengths. They typically measure in at 24 inches. There have also been some super-short variants with 22.5-inch scales, featuring 21 frets. But the standard for Mustangs these days is 22 frets and 24 inches.

Their fretboards are usually rosewood and have a 9.5-inch radius. But there are also variants with maple fingerboards.

Fender Performer Mustang

Let’s take a look at the American Performer Mustang as the flagship variant. It has a vintage tremolo, two Yosemite single-coils, a 3-way switch, an alder body, and a maple neck. It’s also accompanied by a wider ’70s-style headstock.

Other than that, it has a 24-inch scale, 22 frets, a Modern C-shape neck profile, and a 9.5-inch scale length. And, of course, there’s the vintage-style floating tremolo.

Overall, it’s a pretty simple yet functional guitar. You can check it out in the embedded player below.

Fender American Performer Series Mustang | Demo and Overview with Molly Miller

Fender Strat

The Stratocaster is just a classic guitar. And it comes in so many different variants. It would take a long time to explain them all. Nonetheless, there are some standard traits that almost all Strats have.

First, it’s a classic model that’s been in production since 1954. It’s the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions electric guitars.

There’s the classic dual-cutaway body design with body contours. The main material is alder or ash, accompanied by a maple neck. Most Strats come with maple fingerboards. There are rosewood variants, like the ’60s-style models.

Strats also typically have a scale length of 25.5 inches. This is as long as it gets before going into baritone territories. So Strat’s string tension is relatively high.

This scale length is accompanied by standard 21 frets. Some high-end models might come with more. But they’re not that common. Strats also usually have a 9.5-inch radius, although there are other options as well. And the standard neck profile is the so-called soft V.

As far as the hardware goes, it has mostly kept the old features from the 1950s. Strats typically have a classic 6-saddle tremolo bridge. In fact, you can find the same design on plenty of other Strat-style guitars these days.

The standard pickup configuration on a Strat is three single coils. However, there are some with a humbucker in the bridge, as well as other options. In almost all cases, you have a 5-way selector switch. This is what made, and still makes, Strats so versatile.

And thus, they’re popular among musicians of all backgrounds. Jazz, blues, rock, hard rock, funk, metal, you name the genre and it likely has Strat players among them. Here’s a demo of Fender’s Ultra Luxe Strats.

American Ultra Luxe Stratocaster | American Ultra | Fender

Fender Mustang Vs Strat: How Do They Compare?

In many ways, comparing Mustangs and Strats is a bit difficult. These are two significantly different guitar models that encompass several different guitar sub-models. The right model for you ultimately comes down to what you prefer.

For the sake of this comparison, let’s look at high-end models from each category.

The highest-end Mustang is within the Performer series, reaching about $1200. Meanwhile, Strats go way above that. Some of the models from the Ultra Lux series go up to $2500. And some signature guitars reach astronomical prices.

If we were to compare these two guitars, Ultra Lux Stratocaster would objectively be much better. And, in general, Strats have way more variants. What’s more, I’d even prefer a Performer Stratocaster over a Performer Mustang.

This doesn’t mean that Mustang is a bad guitar. However, it’s more for players with a specific taste. And I mean this in all categories – tone, playability, and aesthetics. You’ll notice a slightly thinner tone compared to Strats.

In my opinion, a Mustang is more of an old-school throwback model. If you like offset guitars and play indie rock, you’ll love the guitar.

But even then, you might want to try a more versatile Jazzmaster instead. Their bodies are similar and they have the same bridge and tailpiece. 

At the end of the day, it’s really hard to be objective here. I just love the twang and punch of a regular Stratocaster. And, in my opinion, nothing can match its classic maple fingerboard. In addition, you also have way more sonic options at your disposal. It’s no wonder that Strats are so popular.

Fender Mustang Vs Strat: Conclusion

I hope this post has given you an idea of which instrument might be best for you and your circumstances.

And as usual, feel free to let me know in the comments if you have further questions about this or another guitar-related subject!

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