|1981 Fender Bullet|
|1981 Ad For Bullet Guitar |
with 20 watt Harvard amp
Fender designer John Page put together the original instrument design for these guitars. The first models were to be made in Korea and shipped un-assembled to the US.
But Fender did not think the Asian work was up to par, so Fender U.S.A. produced the original 1981 guitars in the US by putting to use left over parts from other guitars.
That is the neck pickup was angled on the treble side and the bridge pickup was parallel to the bridge. The switch was a three position Stratocaster Switchcraft version. The two potentiometer knobs for volume and tone were black Stratocaster knobs.
|Advertisement for Fender Bullet|
|Fender Bullet Deluxe|
I've seen them with both rosewood and maple necks.
By 1982 through 1983 the American made Bullet guitar was redesigned to look like a slightly smaller version of the Stratocaster. The guitar came in several versions. These were made in the U.S.A through 1983. Subsequent models were made by Fender Japan.
The S-3 had 3 Mustang type pickups with white covers positioned in the normal Strat fashion and a five way blade switch. It had a single volume and a single tone control. Fender now offered four colours; black, sunburst, red, and cream. The pickguard on these was plastic, and the bridge/saddle with nickel chrome.
Fender also produced the American made S-2, which was very similar to the original Bullet, but this time with a Stratocaster style body. This guitar came with the anodized metal pickguard with the bridge/saddles attached to a lip at the end of the body. It had volume and tone controls and a three way selector switch. Fender came out with two other model Bullet guitars.
The Bullet H-1 featured a single Humbucking pickup in the bridge position. This guitar came with a volume and tone control and a pushbutton switch to change from humbucking to single coil mode. It too came with the anodized aircraft metal pickguard, with the lip on the end where the strings attached.
The Bullet H-2 had 2 Fender humbuckers (that were actually Mustang pickups side to side. Alongside the 3 way blade switch were two pushbutton switches that enable coil tapping.
|1982 Bullet Bass|
An American made Fender Bullet Bass was also produced from 1981 through 1983. It was a smaller bodied version of a Precision bass with Mustang bass pickups.
|1982 Fender Bullet S-3|
All of the original 1982-83 Bullet guitars came in black, white, red or cream. The controls were volume and tone. The input was on the top where the second tone control would be found on a Stratocaster. These were hard tail instruments.
|1981 Fender Bullet with case|
The price for the instruments in 1981 was $199 which included a molded Fender case. During this time there was also a set sold at a slightly higher price that included a Fender Bullet guitar and a Fender Harvard Reverb solid state amplifier.
|Fender Squier Bullets - MIJ|
This change came at a time when Fender management was changing from CBS to FMIC. These instruments came with plastic pickguards, and chromed metal bridges. The anodized aluminum pickguard were no longer offered. Fender contracted with the Fujigen company.
Some of the key differences were these were no longer labeled as Fender guitars, but now known as Squier Bullet guitars. The pickups on most had enclosed covers, and most were bridge saddle assemblies were hardtails. However some came with tremolos. The MIJ Bullet Series maintained the Telecaster style headstock. Tuners were stamped "Fender Japan".
|MIJ Squier Bullet Neckplate|
The serial number on the Squier Bullet neck plate began with "SQ", though the first models were stamped "JV". While the neckplates on the 1981 - 1983 American made Fender Bullet guitars were just stamped with the stylized Fender "F" and no serial number. Although they were originally made as student instruments, in my opinion they are still great players. I owned one for a few years and I hated to part with it. The resale prices for these guitars are skyrocketing.
Junior Brown had his original Guit-Steel made from Fender Bullet parts.
Click on the links under the pictures for sources. Click on the links in the text for further reading.
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