What Is The Difference Between A Fender Stratocaster And A Fender Mustang?

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Written By Sarah Barlow

Chief Music Officer

Since its debut in 1946, Fender has been a well-known maker of musical instruments and amplifiers that have continued to grow in popularity. Every electric guitar produced by the brand is guaranteed to be of the highest caliber and premium feel. 

Fender guitars are also renowned for their exquisite sounds and ease of use. The brand has created a variety of electric guitar models to give their customers a guitar that may match any musical genre. 

The Stratocaster and Mustang series are two of its most well-known and adored guitars. However, choosing between the two guitars could be challenging. 

To assist you in selecting the best guitar for you, we will discuss their distinctions.

Fender Mustang 

The Fender Mustang was created primarily for beginners. This model debuted back in the 1960s with the primary objective was to provide amateurs with a guitar that is easy for them to handle while they learn to play. 

The original Fender Mustang had a medium scale measuring 24 inches, a blue-collar, 22-frets, and a dual pickup. It was also equipped with a vibrato system which allows the guitar to instantly change pitch and tones. With regards to its modern variation, the Fender Mustang remains the same ever since its release and gained fame among country and rock artists. 

The Player Series, Vintera 60s, American Performer, and Player 90s series are the four different models of the Fender Mustang. Both Player series are priced the same. On the other hand, the Vintera series is more expensive, and the American Performer is the most expensive of them all. Even though the Player Series guitars in the Mustang Line are the least expensive, rock performers still favor them the most.

Fender Mustang Design

The Fender Mustang’s short necks and medium scale length made it a popular model for many years. Modern Mustang guitars have a scale length of 24 inches with 22 frets. Because of its short and narrow neck, it is simple to maneuver and easy to learn different strumming styles. Fender used to produce guitars with a scale length of just 22.5 inches, but they were subsequently discontinued and are now incredibly hard to find.

It is widely apparent that a guitar’s body can alter the tone and sound it produces as well as the ease of playing it. The C-shaped compact body of the Fender Mustang makes it effortless to operate and utterly eliminates any feeling of heftiness. The Mustang’s stylish, modern look pairs perfectly with various rock music genres.

The alder body of the American Performer, on the other hand, ensures a smooth and precise sustain. All Fender Mustangs include slider switches that let you turn your single coil on or off, and their necks all have a satin polyurethane finish. 

They also make use of a synthetic bone nut, which is long-lasting but needs to be adjusted frequently to stay in tune. Last but not least, they feature maple fingerboards, which ensure that you hit those sharp notes with a tighter low end.

Fender Mustang Sound

Given its short neck and medium-sized scale, the Fender Mustang naturally resonates brighter tones. The only drawback of shorter scale lengths is the reduced distance between frets. But on the plus side, it eases the strain on your guitar’s strings. Less strain on the strings promotes smoother playing because it requires minimal stretching and reaching to get to different frets. Two single-coil pickups are employed on modern Fender Mustang models, which helps brighten its tones.

If you are switching from an electric guitar with Humbucker pickups, the Mustang won’t sound or feel as seamless. Single-coil pickups typically contribute to delivering crisp and powerful sounds. Additionally, this electric guitar’s tremolo arm, which creates various sound effects, enables players to experiment with a variety of genres. Finally, regardless of the guitarist’s skill level, the Fender Mustang is a great option to have.

Fender Stratocaster

In 1954, Leo Fender introduced the birth of the Fender Stratocaster, which instantaneously gained popularity in the United States. Due to the recognition it was receiving throughout the years, numerous guitar manufacturers tried to imitate the guitar’s design and structure. To their dismay, because of the premium materials Fender uses to manufacture its guitars such as alder wood, none of them were able to fully copy this guitar. The Stratocaster features a large headstock and utilizes synthetic bone for its nuts. 

In addition, it is equipped with a modern two-point tremolo with extra screws oppositely added on its bridge which don’t enhance sustain. However, the Stratocasters’ steel saddles stabilize your guitar’s tuning and sustain.

The Fender Stratocaster was specifically designed to eliminate friction, thus guaranteeing stable tuning.   

Fender Stratocaster Design

Alder is used as the main guitar wood for Stratocasters, much like it is for Fender Mustangs because of its light weight and ability to generate wholesome and crisp sounds. This type of electric guitar is renowned for its capacity to generate strong mids and smooth resonant lows. However, a problem that some guitarists report is hissing noises when they strike the higher notes.

The curved, modern-C shape of the Stratocaster’s body makes it easy to play any music genre. It has a gloss polyester finish on the body, a neck and fretboard made of maple wood, a satin urethane finish on the neck’s back, and a gloss urethane finish on the front. 

This electric guitar has a fretboard radius of 9.5 inches and 22 frets, as well as a nickel-silver fret wire that perfectly matches the fingerboard of the Stratocaster and is proven to withstand oil stains and tarnishes.

The Stratocaster’s bolt-on neck and dual-action truss rod give it a concave form that makes it very easy to play, including a fingerboard with standard dots. In terms of controls, it features a sliding pickup selection, a two-tone control, and three volume control knobs.

Fender Stratocaster Sound

The bright, crisp, warm, and powerful sounds that Fender Stratocasters are known for producing were made possible by alder wood. Because of its exceptional sustain levels, this material is mainly used for manufacturing Stratocasters. 

Stratocasters can also produce sharp, accurate, and vibrant notes thanks to their maple fretboard. Maple is a dense and compact tonewood that helps in the production of bright sounds on Stratocasters. Their 22 frets, which enable guitarists to play fluidly and effortlessly, are also a factor that contributes to their ability to produce great sounds.

Its built-in single-coil pickup is what is responsible for the increased volume, higher frequency response, and elimination of external interference. Five alnico magnets are used for Stratocasters to provide a balanced low end on the mid-range. 

Overall, Stratocasters provide you the assurance of an electric guitar that is sure to last a long time, capable of producing distinctive sounds, easy to play, and suitable for players of all skill levels.


The Fender Stratocaster and Mustang are two of the best electric guitars in the world for producing the finest tones. Their differences are primarily determined by how well they complement particular musical genres and the user’s preference.

Guitarists with smaller hands will find the Fender Mustang to be a much better option because it is compact with a medium scale length, making frets easier to reach for them. Fender Mustangs are preferred by performers who enjoy playing genres that require brighter tones. 

On the contrary, Fender Stratocasters are ideal for enhancing musical genres like jazz and classical that call for rich, warm tones. 

In the end, testing both electric guitars is the best thing to do so you can personally examine the best one that suits you.