Fender is one of the icons of guitar makers and for very good reason. They make some of the best mass consumer guitars on the market. The company has been busy in 2020, introducing some new models, including the new Player Series Fender Mustang 90.
When Fender asked which of the new Player Series guitars I wanted to try out, my first instinct was the Fender Mustang 90. I’ve never used a guitar with P90 pickups, and I wanted a chance to do just that. Read on for the full review of the Fender Mustang 90 2020 Player Series.
The Fender Mustang 90 has the following features and specifications:
- Alder body
- Pau Ferro fingerboard
- Satin Urethane
- x2 Mustang MP-90
- Master Volume, Master Tone
- 3-Position Toggle: Position 1. Bridge Pickup, Position 2. Bridge And Neck Pickups, Position 3. Neck Pickup
- “Modern C”-shaped neck with 9.5”-radius fingerboard; 22 medium-jumbo frets
- Synthetic Bone Nut
- White Dot Inlays
- 24″ scale length
What’s In The Box
- Fender Mustang 90
- Documentation and manuals
I have to admit, the looks of the Fender Mustang 90 and the Fender Jazzmaster have never been appealing to me. That being said, I have never played either one because of how they looked. This is one of the reasons why I selected the Mustang 90 for review. I wanted to get outside of my Stratocaster and Telecaster comfort zones.
I have to say; I actually enjoyed the shape and feel of the Mustang 90 more than I thought I would. The company sent the Burgundy Mist color for review, but it is also available in Aged Natural and Seafoam Green colors.
Most everything felt familiar on this guitar, but I did have to get used to the pickup selector position. There are a master tone and master volume, and the input jack is on the front, something I still don’t really like.
My Fender Mustang 90 came with black P90 pickups, crème pickguard, chrome hardware, and that alder body in Burgundy Mist.
The guitar doesn’t weigh too much, and the scale length is 24,” another feature that took some getting used to. Most of my guitars are 25″-25 1/2″ scale lengths.
The build quality is good; there were no blemishes, cracks, or imperfections in our review unit. Overall, it’s a nice classic Fender design that’s comfortable to hold and feels like it should hold up to a long run of playing.
Out Of Box Setup
Guitars in this price range aren’t generally set up perfectly; they often require some work to suit your needs. The Fender Mustang 90 is no exception here. The out of box setup wasn’t horrible, but I feel that the action was too high for my liking.
The frets also had a slight bit of fret sprout, which can really tear up your hand. This is especially true of the upper register on the fretboard. My recommendation would always be to have your guitar set up by a luthier; this way, you’re 100% happy.
The setup isn’t really Fender’s fault. They set these up at the factory to meet their specifications, and not everyone will like those specifications. I don’t expect them to know exactly how I like my guitar set up, so I don’t see this as a huge con.
The fret sprout, on the other hand, it would be nice if Fender spent a bit more time on the frets on guitars in this price range. To be fair, the sprout on this Fender Mustang 90 isn’t the worst I’ve seen, and it was still playable.
Overall, I recommend always having your guitar set up by a luthier first, and you’ll be much happier. A simple setup, including cleaning up the frets, shouldn’t run you over US$100.
The Fender Mustang 90 is rocking a pair of Fender’s Mustang MP-90 pickups. Fender also sent over their Mustang GTX50 amp so I could get a better feel for this guitar. You will find that a good amp will dramatically improve your tone, even when playing an inexpensive guitar. The GTX50 is certainly a great little modeling amp, and I recommend it if you’re looking for a decent amp.
These P90 pickups sound crispy, running through the GTX50. It’s an entirely different sound from single coils or humbuckers. I found no buzzing or issues with wiring from this guitar at all. Results will vary from amp to amp and depending on what pedals you run. I did not use my pedalboard on this test, but I did play with the modeling features on the GTX50.
Playability is average with the set up you get from the factory. It could be improved with a set up from a luthier. I did not take this to get set up since it is going back to Fender. The action was slightly too high on my unit, and I felt I was wrestling the strings and neck rather than playing with them. But again, nothing that can’t be fixed with a setup.
Overall, the sound is really nice on this alder body and P90 guitar. You will benefit from getting a pro set up right away.
The Fender Mustang 90 is priced at US$599.99 which puts it in the lower mid-range for guitar pricing. I think it would be better priced at US$549.99 but mostly because I think it would sell better at a lower price. I think the value is there if you’re looking for a P90 guitar.
I was really surprised by the Fender Mustang 90. The look of it did not appeal to me at first, but it’s very comfortable to play. The 24″ scale length took some getting used to. It did need a setup because the action was too high. But this is a fun little guitar that I think beginner and intermediate players will enjoy.