1972 Fender Mustang Competition

CRAVE Guitars says…

Thumbs up: Fantastic automobile derived looks, great playability, wide range of tones, rarity, originality and condition, OHSC

Thumbs down: That oddly discoloured nut, its undeserved ‘budget’ reputation, the short scale may not suit everyone, vintage premium

Decree: A very cool and rare Mustang evoking the muscle car that shares its name and inspired its racy image

Model Description:

The humble Fender Mustang ‘student’ model was originally introduced in 1964 to supplement the Musicmaster and Duo‑Sonic models. After 5 years in production, it was time for a dramatic facelift. In 1969, forearm and ribcage contours are added to the body, making them more comfortable than the earlier slab bodied guitars. It was also the year that Fender introduced the snazzy new Competition Mustangs. The overall styling of the guitars was inspired by automobile culture of the late 1960s and were derived from the designs used on Ford Mustang muscle cars. Basically, the Competition Mustangs were standard guitars with a different range of colours, replacing the outgoing Red, White and Blue patriotic colours. The new image included the addition of contrasting ‘thin‑thick‑thin diagonal racing stripes on the forearm contour on the front side of the body. The stripes were only applied to the front of the body and not on the back. The Competition Mustangs came in three new colour schemes Competition Red (metallic maroon with cream stripes), Competition Burgandy (metallic blue with light blue stripes) and the short‑lived Competition Orange (with dark orange stripes). While the oddly misspelt Burgandy is an unusual name for a dark blue colour, it was apparently referenced in car advertisements during the 1960s. It is hard to be definitive but the early Competition models tended to have colour‑matched headstocks as standard, while the later ones tended to have natural headstocks. The Fender headstock logo also received an added ® to signify Fender’s Registered Trade Mark. The 22½” shorter‑scale Mustang necks were finally phased out around 1971. Around 1972, the Competition Mustangs were discontinued and finish colours were changed again, this time to more common three‑color sunburst, natural, walnut, black, white and blonde. At the same time, the pearloid scratchplates were also discontinued to be replaced with plain white. Cool and rare, the Competition Mustangs are highly fashionable and therefore increasing in collectability and value, particularly the Competition Orange model.


Guitar Description:

Here on the starting grid is a fantastic CBS‑era 1972 Fender Mustang in unfaded Competition Red with trendy (at the time) contrasting cream ‘competition’ stripes. Some surface crazing gives it a lovely naturally aged vintage look and the patina is the result of pure age. The nut on this example looks at first glance as though its brass but it isn’t; the plastic seems to have discoloured to an odd tobacco-stained dark brown colour – I don’t think it’s a replacement but I could be mistaken. Otherwise, it is in lovely all-original condition with no issues. The Competition Mustang was not just a case of form over function, it was a seriously well‑made instrument designed with the player in mind. The fashionable offset‑body Competition Mustang’s neat new contoured body with a ribcage cutaway on the back and a forearm chamfer on the front, endow it a very different playing feel to the earlier slab-body Mustangs. Fortunately, the Mustang’s unique single coil pickups and novel switching, along with the guitar’s distinctive Dynamic Vibrato system were retained. The distinctive sounds are pure Fender tone and the low string tension afforded by the 24” shorter scale neck makes it a doddle to play, especially if you have short fingers like I do. Despite the contours, this Competition Mustang weighs about a pound more than CRAVE Guitars’ 1966 slab body Mustang and about a pound less than my 1978 Mustang suggesting a trend of increasing weight over time. The smart combination of metallic reddish‑purple burgundy (spelled correctly), white pearloid scratchplate, black plastic, shiny chrome and those cream ‘go faster’ stripes gives the Mustang an unmistakable cool vintage vibe. Sadly, the racy image doesn’t make you play any harder or faster but it sure has some class and style. The Competition Mustangs lived their lives in the fast lane; as soon as they appeared over the horizon, they had gone again. Blink and you’ll miss them. Vrooooom. Sounds good to me.

Features:

  • Made in Fullerton, California, U.S.A. in 1972
  • Ash double‑cutaway contoured solid body
  • Competition Red metallic finish with 3 cream ‘competition’ stripes
  • Maple bolt-on neck with ‘F’ series neck plate
  • Large headstock with black CBS‑era Fender logo
  • Unbound rosewood fingerboard with 22 frets and dot markers
  • Scale length 24” (609mm)
  • Original Fender ‘F’ tuners
  • Original chrome hardware
  • Original white pearloid scratchplate, switches, pots, knobs and jack socket
  • Original dual covered single-coil pickups
  • Original floating bridge and Fender Dynamic Vibrato
  • Weight: 7Lb 1oz (3.19Kg)
  • Original Fender hard shell case

Trivia:

The 1970 Fender colour chart shows that only the Mustangs came in the Competition colours; Competition Orange (colour code 510), Competition Burgandy (colour code 511) and Competition Red (colour code 511). The Musicmaster, Duo‑Sonic and Bronco continued to use the plain patriotic colours of Red (colour code 515) and plain Blue (colour code 517).


Detail Gallery:


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