Although Fender essentially invented the mass-produced electric guitar, they have not been shy about trying out new designs in the market. And relative to other legacy brands in which even a new finish will create incendiary internet traffic, Fender fans have been more accepting of deviations from the traditional playbook. Case in point is the Fender Bullet from the early 80’s. Somewhat a single cutaway Mustang mash up, it was intended as an affordable successor to the Mustang (which of course also still continues to this day).
This 1982 Fender Bullet is all original and in excellent condition for its age, with only a couple marks as shown in the photos. It includes the original Fender tolex case.
By the early 80’s import guitars were in full swing, with quality and finish levels more than a match for the domestic manufacturers. Truly low cost manufacturing in locations such as China and Indonesia were still many years away, and no-frills “student” guitars were still the best way to compete with imports. Enter the Fender Bullet.
The Bullet is in many ways pure Fender: 7 pound Alder body, full 25.5″ scale, 9.5″ radius glossy finish maple neck with bottom-adjust truss rod. The Fender branded tuners were produced by Schaller, and the single coil pickups are built like any other Fender single coil pickup, but are fully covered similar to the Mustang and Duo-Sonic. The significant — and clever — departure is the metal pickguard that also doubles as the bridge. While is it’s certainly a cost control measure, it also functions perfectly well.
How does it sound? Pretty much like a Fender. The neck pickup is similar to a Strat, but a little less glassy and with a warmer midrange. We liked it, and through our Quilter Aviator cub amp, it gave ua plenty of single coil snap with a touch less Strat aggression. Both pickups together have a nice bouncy country twang that is similar to a Tele but with a little less bite…probably due to the both the bridge design and bridge pickup. That being said, the bridge pickup is much like the neck in that it’s “Strat like” but a little warmer and less edgy.
USA versions of the Bullet guitars were short lived, and by 1983 production had moved to Japan. But the USA Bullets are legitimate players, light weight, and there is nothing cheesy about them unless you want to take issue with the bridge design. Complete original hard case and zero fret wear, this Vintage White Bullet is as fully functional piece of history.