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Justin Meldal-Johnsen has plenty of basses at his disposal. As a producer and in-demand bassist for everyone from Beck to Macy Gray, Nine Inch Nails, Ken Andrews, Pink, and countless others, he’d have to. But over the years he’s found his 30″-scale 1966 Fender Mustang to be an ideal tool for much of his session work. While JMJ has found the compact classic to match up well for dense mixes (especially in modern music), his Mustang’s tight, bright timbre suits a variety of genres. Recently, the bass veteran collaborated with Fender to release a signature instrument that aims to replicate his beloved ’66’s sonic and aesthetic characteristics at a price point well below what you’d find on the vintage market.
The JMJ’s body is constructed of alder and comes in just one finish option, daphne-blue nitro lacquer. An aged-looking pearloid pickguard complements the “road-worn” finish, and bolted to the body is a C-shaped neck capped with a 9.5″-radius rosewood fretboard.
Simplicity has always been a key component of the Mustang’s electronics, and the JMJ preserves this by incorporating a passive circuit with one volume and one tone control. Seymour Duncan designed the instrument’s split single-coil with familiar rounded ends, and voiced it using Meldal-Johnsen’s vintage Mustang as a benchmark.
Other features include open-gear Hipshot tuners, a vintage-style string-through-body bridge, and a synthetic-bone nut. Fender adds even more old-school vibe to the signature bass by stringing it up with a fresh set of flatwounds.
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