I love Fender basses. Just now I am using an Ultra Jazz and an Aerodyne Jazz for stage and studio use.
I use roundwound strings on the Ultra and nylon strings on the Aerodyne.
Having the Mustang as a third instrument I know is a luxury that may not be an option for most people, but for me it’s worth it.
I keep it with flat wound strings, albeit that I use La Bella in preference to Fender strings.
The neck is wider at the nut than on a jazz, but not in any way that I mind. Just needs a slight adjustment from me because I’m used to playing jazz guitars.
The controls on this instrument are as basic as they could be. Volume and tone. But you know that before you buy it, so I shouldn’t really complain.
As it happens, I really like these split Seymour Duncan pick ups. I’ve tried adjusting them from the factory set up positions, but although I couldn’t distinguish a great deal of difference, I do slightly prefer the tones on the top and bottom strings with the original settings, where the pick up is lower at the edges and higher in the middle.
I tend to use neutral controls on my amp, especially as the Ultra and the Aerodyne have a good range of instrument controls for tone. I was expecting to have to alter the amp settings with the Mustang, so I was surprised to find that I liked it out of the box. I do use a compressor with it though as there are some quieter spots mainly around the middle of the fretboard. Having said that, I use the compressor with all my instruments. It just makes sense to do so, especially on stage.
So, it’s a short scale bass and that was the primary reason for me purchasing this instrument. I have a condition in my hands that is making it harder for me to span four frets with my fingers, so this guitar is an option for me if I’m playing a style that requires more dexterity and speed, like funk for example.
It’s also lighter. Who doesn’t like that?
And because it’s a road worn instrument, I just feel as if I can be a little more robust with it. In fact I’ve already started customising the body with additional distressing and painted design. Not something I would do with the Ultra or Aerodyne. Having said that, some of the road worn inflicted damage that it arrives with is slightly over the top and doesn’t make any sense. There is a section above the bridge that looks as if it been blasted with a shotgun. Now there may be some bass players that need shooting, but not that many that were actually shot with a bass guitar in their hands.
I wasn’t expecting it, but it arrived with an alternate black pick guard. I swapped them around to have a look, but reverted to the original tortoiseshell immediately. Just a matter of taste I suppose.
It also arrives with a gig bag which is absolutely useless for me, it’s just an expensive dust cover, providing minimal, if any serious protection. So I had to buy a separate flight case. Also, although it has not been necessary, it looks to me as if you would need to remove the pick guard to be able to adjust the truss rod. You’ll need your own screwdriver to do so. Fender don’t provide a specialist tool for this function. You just get a small alan key to adjust the bridge saddles.
All in all, I love having an instrument that invites me to play the bass in a different way, and now that I have one, I wouldn’t be without it.