Fender Mustang 90 Review 2021 – Before You Buy

Fender Mustang P90 – My Favorite Guitar for Small Hands

Sound
Playability
Overall Quality
Value For Money
Versatility

Summary

Pros
-Narrow nut width (1.65″), C-neck shape, and 24″ scale length make this axe really easy to play
-Good quality electronics
-The neck is really comfortable (especially good for short fingers and small hands)
-Offers versatile and unique tones
-Great axe for rock and punk music
-Classic looks

Cons
-Some action adjustments might be needed
-Doesn’t offer you either warm humbucker or spanky single-coil tones
-Not my favorite option for metal

If you want:
a comfortable guitar
want to blend bright and warm tones together
-start rocking with unique tones
you just love rock and punk
this guitar is a great option!

4.5

How Fender Mustang P90 sounds:

YouTube video

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Fender Mustang 90 is definitely a classic with its unoriginal looks and P90 pickups, but is it worth your money? Let’s find out!

Fender Mustang 90 specs:

Body type: Solidbody

Body wood: Alder

Neck wood: Maple

Neck shape: C

Scale length: 24”

Truss rod: Yes

Fretboard material: Pau Ferro and Maple options available

Fretboard radius: 9.5”

Number of frets: 22 Medium Jumbo

Nut width: 1.65 inches (42mm)

Pickups: 2 Mustang P90 single-coil pickups

Pickup switch: 3-way

Bridge: 6-Saddle Strings-through body Strat Hardtail(w/Bent Steel Saddles)

Who crafted this Review:

photo reveals owner of guitaristnextdoor.com

Author & Reviewer: Teemu Suomala

Playing guitar since 2009. Mainly focused on electric guitars, although plays acoustics too. Started this blog in January 2020.

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Fender Mustang 90 Review

Sound

Another sound demo:

YouTube video

This guitar comes with 2 Mustang P90 single-coil pickups.

The tones of P90 pickups usually sit somewhere between the humbucker and regular single-coil pickups, and these are no exception.

So, these pickups offer you more warmness and less brightness than single-coils in general, and this makes these pickups quite a versatile choice. At the same time, you are not getting spanky and bright single-coil or thick and warm humbucker tones.

So P90’s offer you something that no other pickups don’t.

Tones are quite thick and warm, but some of that single-coils brightness still shines through. In my opinion, if you can’t decide between humbuckers and single-coils, P90’s are a solid option.

Dirty tones give you some of that ”in your face”-characteristics needed in metal and rock.

If you are into a punk, or punk rock, this guitar is one of the best choices you can find. P90 tones offer you so much attention tone-wise that it’s hard to ignore a guitarist with these pickups.

For example, Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day) and Johnny Thunders (New York Dolls) have been using P90’s a lot during their careers. You can find many other punk guitarists to prefer P90’s too.

What about clean tones?

Mustang 90 gives you sparkling cleans, but you can also dial some really gentle and warm clean tones if you want.

So, you can play some soft cleans to calm everybody, but you are also able to crunch some dirty riffs to wake everybody up.

I didn’t feel that P90’s limit your tones too much. But of course, when I want to play some heavy riffs or spanky cleans, tones are not exactly what I have been used to with Humbuckers or regular Single-coils.

If I was limited to one electric guitar for life, it probably wouldn’t be this(it would be HSS Strat), but I would love to add this axe to my guitar collection at some point, and this is by no means a bad guitar, it just depends from what you are looking for.

Here’s a little graph that highlights what this Fender can do:

graph reveals which fender mustang p90 can handle these genres and songs - electric guitars for short fat fingers

Playability

The fretboard radius is 9’5-inches, so there is some curve, but I don’t feel that this limits playing too much. Maybe if you are into some serious shredding and sweep picking, a flatter fretboard will be a better option for you.

And this quite curved fretboard is paired with 22 Medium Jumbo frets. For me, medium and medium jumbos sized frets are the most comfortable to play with…

And when it comes to regular riffing and solo-licks, this fretboard feels great to me. Everything is easy to access.

Nut width is 42mm(1.65inches). So it’s pretty narrow and offers really close feel to original Strats with necks on the thinner side. This makes playing easy and all the frets easy to access. The neck is especially good for short fingers, small palms, or small hands in general.

Also, the 24 scale length makes this axe really smooth to play and beginner-friendly too. Jamming with this guitar doesn’t require so much finger strength because of the less string tension that shorter scale causes. 

The neck shape is C, and it’s one of my favorites. Mainly because it just fits the hand of a human being. Nice grip, firm feel and it doesn’t slow me down either.

This one might need some slight action adjustments. Not a major flaw because you can easily adjust the action with truss rod, but it’s worth noting.

I own really small hands, and this has been holding me back when learning the guitar (especially when I started at the age of 14). But with Mustang, my small hands didn’t really limit me at all.

Teemu Suomala

Quality

Some users have been saying great things about the electronics and the lack of hum in the sound. That’s definitely nice to know.

My experiences with the quality of Fender guitars (Mexican or American made) have always been excellent, and these Mexican-made Mustangs are no exception.

Plus, due to my research and experience, these Mexican-made Mustangs with Sealed Standard Die-cast -tuners hold the tune well.

Looks

Most players probably mixed feelings about the looks of this guitar… not quite used to its ”skinny” looks, but on the other hand, it’s unique and some colors fit really well with this body shape(aged natural for example).

Personally…yeah it’s different for sure, but I like it a lot, a beautiful guitar!

Summary

Pros

  • Spot-on nut width, C-neck shape, and 24 scale length make this one really easy to play
  • Good quality electronics
  • The neck is really comfortable (especially good for short fingers and small hands)
  • Offers versatile and different tones
  • Great axe for rock and punk music
  • Classic looks

Cons

  • Some action adjustments might be needed
  • Doesn’t offer you either warm humbucker or spanky single-coil tones

The Mustang 90 is really comfortable and fun guitar to play. A great option for small hands. Sound-wise this is at the same time versatile and not. Best for punk-rock, rock, and funk. If you mostly want to play metal, this probably isn’t the best option for you.

If you want a comfortable to play guitar for yourself, this mustang offers that. And if you also want to blend bright and warm tones together and start rocking with totally different tones, this guitar is worth the money in my opinion.

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Is the Fender Mustang a good guitar?

Based on my personal experience and research, I would say that the Fender Mustang is a good guitar. It’s not for everybody, but for some folks, it’s a great choice.

Fender Mustang offers you comfortable playability and high quality. Mustang usually comes with 2 regular single-coils or 2 P90 single-coils. Depending on what pickups you choose, you get either classic bright tones(regular-single coils) or blend of a warm humbucker and bright regular single-coils tones (P90’s).

Fender Mustang, in my opinion, handles rock and punk tones well, but is not so good with metal.

As always whether the Mustang is a good guitar for you, comes down to your own preference.

Who used a Fender Mustang?

Many famous guitar players have used Fender Mustangs, such as:

Alternatives

Single-Coil Option – Fender Player Stratocaster

The Fender Player Stratocaster is a modern take with vintage appointments. A redesigned body hearkens back to some of the very first Stratocaster models, yet the neck is more modern with medium-jumbo frets for easy note bends.

This particular model has a surf rock-inspired finish (Tidepool) that will definitely get your audience’s approval. 

The electronics are specifically designed for the Fender Player Series and feature 3 Alnico single coils, 1 volume control, 2 tone controls, and a 5-way selector switch. 

My friend Darren who also writes here at Guitaristnextdoor.com has played this Start more recently than me and also reviewed it, here’s the pros and cons in his opinion:

Pros:

  • Medium-Jumbo frets allow for effortless note bending
  • Alnico V pickups give a great bluesy snap and smooth articulation
  • Neck radius has a comfortable, natural feel
  • Lightweight and incredibly balanced

Cons:

  • Highs can sound too harsh and can be challenging to tame
  • Synthetic bone nut is not slick enough
  • The synchronized floating tremolo causes a bit of tuning instability (classic Stratocaster bridge would be better)

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Great Budget All-Rounder – Fender Player Telecaster HH

This one is an excellent all-rounder with one of the best split-coil tones I have heard. Modern C neck shape ensures easy playability, and the affordable price makes this guitar a really interesting choice.

I definitely recommend that you check this guitar out. Really high value for money.

You can read my full review of this guitar here: Fender Player Telecaster HH Review 2020 – Before You Buy.

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If You Want to Play Metal – ESP LTD Deluxe EC-1000

I tried this for the first time in a music store nearby, and it has been one of my favorite guitars since. This guitar is just gorgeous. It handles everything, but it’s made for heavy riffing. A pleasure to play and listen. It offers great value for money with high quality and stunning tones. 

This EC-1000 isn’t as versatile as other guitars mentioned on this post, but when heavily distorted tones are needed, it is my go-to choice.

You can read my full review of this guitar here: ESP LTD Deluxe EC-1000 Review 2020 – Before You Buy.

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Conclusion

Fender Mustang 90 is an excellent instrument in my opinion. It offers you different looks and tones, and that’s why you either like it or don’t.

Personally I like it. A lot.

I hope that this review helped you out! I wish you all the best and keep rocking!

Teemu Suomala