Fender Bullet Owners Club

jays0n

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jan 11, 2009
Posts
2,164
Location
San Francisco, CA
Greetings to all. My name is Clyde and this is my first post. I need to say "Fate Is The Hunter" It just fits. I found this thread a few days ago after digging my bullet out of the closet, trying to decide what to do with it. keep it or sell it. Needless to say I'm going to keep it.
About 7 years ago I decided to take up the guitar. I searched for a while and found a USA Bullet in eastern Wisconsin. I drove from north central Mn. to Wisconsin in a blizzard to by my Bullet. It is the Ivory or butterscotch 2 single coil pickups with a beautiful maple neck and a maple shunkstripe. The tuners have a large F on the back of them. The serial number is E115001. It also has the star with the number 1 in it. Pretty sure it is a series or version 1. It looks identical to the one cuccus has a picture of on page 118, 10th post down. Mine came with the Fender hardcase and the matching Fender Bullet reverb amp. I paid 350.00 for it and may i say it is beautiful. The neck is gorgeous. Some of the maple on the neck is figured. I have short kinda thick fingers so the neck fits me well. I'm still a beginner though. Need some tips on some really good beginner books to get back into this. I got distracted for quite awhile. Pictures will follow very soon as soon as I learn how to post them.
To my other project I'm in the process of building a lapsteel guitar. A replica of a Gibson e 100. And also will be picking up a classic peavey 30 in a couple of weeks to play with.
A final note for now. I'll probably never be in a band or do too much jamming. I just want to make music. maybe write a little. My dad was self taught on the cello. My sisters studied classical piano and I got a clarinet in high school. Didn't like it very much. I'm no Pete Fountain or Benny Goodman. LOL I also took lessons on the violin. Now I'm building a lapsteel guitar. Pretty excited about that. And also excited about my Bullet. I'm taking my Bullet in to have it professionally set up and adjusted properly.
Thank you all for reading. I've enjoyed reading this thread immensely and will continue to read all the pages eventually. Regards, Clyde
Welcome Clyde, it is great to have you. It’s great that you did not let distance stop you from finding your Bullet. That’s a good story. Many of us had one early in our lives and had to hunt one down later. That is fun!

We look forward to photos etc of course.

For advice for a new player, I would make a separate post in either Welcome Wagon or .. I think there is an area here for instruction related stuff. I have seen quite a few threads here lately with people giving beginners or returning players advice on lessons, books, videos etc.
 

_dave_

Tele-Meister
Silver Supporter
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Nov 10, 2013
Posts
350
Location
Southern California
Just did minor work on a friend’s ‘83 Bullet (‘82 in the neck/body)
I did an inspection, truss adj (at max) restring, setup and polish. (Also removed a sticker on the wood beneath the bridge plate)
Really lovely guitar. Sounds so nice, neck is so thin,I put 10s on it but they were too much tension, so I put back 9s and adj the truss rod, even after that I still ended up using a reverse shim 0.5 degree, to bring the action to a relatively normal action.
Considering the guitar has rust and age eating away at it, I was able to bring up to a more playable state without going into major work.
She plays very nicely, but needs a soft touch. The right hands will be rewarded tremendously.
The guitar has an ‘airy’ feel and sound.
Such a great instrument. Definitely will have my eyes open for more vintage Bullets in the future.
So glad my friend picked this model for me to work on. I wasn’t entirely familiar with it and can now say this is a real ‘sleeper’ guitar.
I’m anxious to try first hand the other Bullet styles from this era.
Also will go back to read all the other hundreds of pages I haven’t read yet.




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jays0n

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jan 11, 2009
Posts
2,164
Location
San Francisco, CA
Just did minor work on a friend’s ‘83 Bullet (‘82 in the neck/body)
I did an inspection, truss adj (at max) restring, setup and polish. (Also removed a sticker on the wood beneath the bridge plate)
Really lovely guitar. Sounds so nice, neck is so thin,I put 10s on it but they were too much tension, so I put back 9s and adj the truss rod, even after that I still ended up using a reverse shim 0.5 degree, to bring the action to a relatively normal action.
Considering the guitar has rust and age eating away at it, I was able to bring up to a more playable state without going into major work.
She plays very nicely, but needs a soft touch. The right hands will be rewarded tremendously.
The guitar has an ‘airy’ feel and sound.
Such a great instrument. Definitely will have my eyes open for more vintage Bullets in the future.
So glad my friend picked this model for me to work on. I wasn’t entirely familiar with it and can now say this is a real ‘sleeper’ guitar.
I’m anxious to try first hand the other Bullet styles from this era.
Also will go back to read all the other hundreds of pages I haven’t read yet.




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Thanks for posting the photos and for the great write up. That sounds like a really good Bullet. I am surprised at how light it is. The 81s, at least the ply bodies, are so heavy. I like the sound of them though, as you found with that one.

Enjoy the many pages of the thread and I hope you find your Bullet and come back with more photos.
 

cuscus

Tele-Meister
Gold Supporter
Joined
Dec 25, 2012
Posts
467
Location
United Kingdom
Just did minor work on a friend’s ‘83 Bullet (‘82 in the neck/body)
I did an inspection, truss adj (at max) restring, setup and polish. (Also removed a sticker on the wood beneath the bridge plate)
Really lovely guitar. Sounds so nice, neck is so thin,I put 10s on it but they were too much tension, so I put back 9s and adj the truss rod, even after that I still ended up using a reverse shim 0.5 degree, to bring the action to a relatively normal action.
Considering the guitar has rust and age eating away at it, I was able to bring up to a more playable state without going into major work.
She plays very nicely, but needs a soft touch. The right hands will be rewarded tremendously.
The guitar has an ‘airy’ feel and sound.
Such a great instrument. Definitely will have my eyes open for more vintage Bullets in the future.
So glad my friend picked this model for me to work on. I wasn’t entirely familiar with it and can now say this is a real ‘sleeper’ guitar.
I’m anxious to try first hand the other Bullet styles from this era.
Also will go back to read all the other hundreds of pages I haven’t read yet.
@_dave_ Good to see that Bullet on the bench getting some tlc, some of my guitars were a bit neglected like that, I find it quite theraputic working on them. They are indeed little gems & I am still surprised that people have not heard of them, when I mention them on other forums. The slim necks are what attracted most of us, I remember I could not believe how well the 1st S3 I bought played straight out of the box even after years of neglect, some tlc, a set up & new strings & that guitar became something else to me.
Thanks for posting.
 

Willmunny

TDPRI Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2020
Posts
37
Age
56
Location
Mccleary Wa
Howdy folks, I just picked this beautiful fender Bullet that popped up locally at a great price.
Someone on another forum mentioned that there were a lot of posts about these guitars over here.
She is an 81 Deluxe that I believe is all original in super shape. Very nice rosewood board that has the thin c neck I prefer
I was expecting a laminate body to be heavy but she is light as a feather.
The pickups are really low out put, I am not getting much volume until about 8 on the dial.
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jays0n

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jan 11, 2009
Posts
2,164
Location
San Francisco, CA
That Deluxe is in great shape, nice find!! You are lucky that it is is light as well. I have found the ply bodies to be heavy. All in all, you got a winner.

Nice that it was local too.

Thanks for sharing and the other forum was correct, you can likely find out anything you need in this thread.

Enjoy

j
 

cuscus

Tele-Meister
Gold Supporter
Joined
Dec 25, 2012
Posts
467
Location
United Kingdom
Howdy folks, I just picked this beautiful fender Bullet that popped up locally at a great price.
Someone on another forum mentioned that there were a lot of posts about these guitars over here.
She is an 81 Deluxe that I believe is all original in super shape. Very nice rosewood board that has the thin c neck I prefer
I was expecting a laminate body to be heavy but she is light as a feather.
The pickups are really low out put, I am not getting much volume until about 8 on the dial.
Hi @Willmunny & welcome to the club, nice score on that lovely deluxe, yep Jay is right, there is everything you need to know in these pages, but its a lot to look through, so don't be afraid to ask any questions, one of us will be able to answer, I am sure.

The guitar will definitely be an 81 with that low serial number, the pot dates will tell you & will be dated 81 if they are original, the necks on these were not dated, but sometimes the pickups are dated & the date sticker may still be in the neck pocket, there may also be date stamps on the body in the neck pocket.

The pickups are the same as used in the mustang & some strats from the same era, the mustang stock was used up prior to new batches made for the Bullet, they should be around 5 to 6 ohms output & typical vintage style Fender.
The pots may be worn, but some pots do react like that, depending on manufacturer & type, the pots in the Bullet are either CTS (code 137 plus year & week) or Centralab (code 134 plus year & week), again the same pots as used in every other Fender from that era.

Being 40 plus years old the pots & switch may need a squirt of electrical contact fluid, this is easy to do yourself & not a bad thing to do every time you have the opportunity even if you have no problems, but the pots may need changing for modern equivalents.

Let us know how you get on.
 

jays0n

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jan 11, 2009
Posts
2,164
Location
San Francisco, CA
I hope to have my bullet back from it's refret today or tomorrow. In the mean time. Here are a couple of (not very good) photos of it from 1983 :)

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That is awesome! Love to see the Bullet in it’s natural habitat (on an 80s stage!!!). BTW, the Photos are good as far as I am concerned.

It’s gonna be great after the refret.

Thanks for sharing.
 

Willmunny

TDPRI Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2020
Posts
37
Age
56
Location
Mccleary Wa
Hi @Willmunny & welcome to the club, nice score on that lovely deluxe, yep Jay is right, there is everything you need to know in these pages, but its a lot to look through, so don't be afraid to ask any questions, one of us will be able to answer, I am sure.

The guitar will definitely be an 81 with that low serial number, the pot dates will tell you & will be dated 81 if they are original, the necks on these were not dated, but sometimes the pickups are dated & the date sticker may still be in the neck pocket, there may also be date stamps on the body in the neck pocket.

The pickups are the same as used in the mustang & some strats from the same era, the mustang stock was used up prior to new batches made for the Bullet, they should be around 5 to 6 ohms output & typical vintage style Fender.
The pots may be worn, but some pots do react like that, depending on manufacturer & type, the pots in the Bullet are either CTS (code 137 plus year & week) or Centralab (code 134 plus year & week), again the same pots as used in every other Fender from that era.

Being 40 plus years old the pots & switch may need a squirt of electrical contact fluid, this is easy to do yourself & not a bad thing to do every time you have the opportunity even if you have no problems, but the pots may need changing for modern equivalents.

Let us know how you get on.
What a great informative post. Thank you!
Here are some under the hood photos, everything seems stock but, unfortunately someone tried to screw in a neck screw in the wrong place and cracked the neck a bit, but repairable.
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cuscus

Tele-Meister
Gold Supporter
Joined
Dec 25, 2012
Posts
467
Location
United Kingdom
What a great informative post. Thank you!
Here are some under the hood photos, everything seems stock but, unfortunately someone tried to screw in a neck screw in the wrong place and cracked the neck a bit, but repairable.
Thanks for posting, shame about the neck, such an easy thing to do when replacing a neck, but one with irreversible consequences. But like you say it is repairable & it does not look bad enough to affect play.

It looks like everything is original on the guitar, the pickups are stock & have a date code, that code has never been deciphered completely, but it is the date plus we think an employee/quality control number, that info was shared from other Fender sites.
The guard is definitely original & the electrics, it was hard to read zoomed in, but the pots look like they are 81 09 ie; the 9th week of 1981 ( March ).
The body is definitely lauan mahogany ply, most Bullets are ply, but some are solid alder, there is no rhyme or reason for this, it seems Fender just used what was available. I own 21 first version Bullets & only 5 have solid bodies - 2 Bullet & 3 Deluxe.
The bridge is original & the same bridge as used on hard tail strats from the same era, including the renowned Dan Smith Strats, good to see the serial sticker is still in place in the neck pocket, always a good sign to relate the body to the neck & authenticate the guitar.

Another thing worth mentioning, is that the serials ran for long periods, the E1 ran through to 84 & can also be found on 1980 Fenders, E4 ran for years as did S9 ( 1979 ), plus a few others. The E stood for Eighties & the 1 for 81, but the serials were ordered in bulk from a company called Meyercord & just used up until they were gone, I guess they were ordered with an over estimated amount of guitars in mind.
Some Bullets have no E prefix, these serials are on the earlier guitars & probably just numbers that run concurrent to a previous set in the Fender line, again no rhyme or reason & they do not make sense, compared to the sequence running from the 70's into the 80's, being 6 digits, they are one digit short to follow that sequence. I have not found out yet, but maybe they were range specific to the Bullet, then someone changed the idea to include the E - still looking for that info.
 

Johnnygdub

TDPRI Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2022
Posts
41
Location
Dublin
What a great informative post. Thank you!
Here are some under the hood photos, everything seems stock but, unfortunately someone tried to screw in a neck screw in the wrong place and cracked the neck a bit, but repairable. View attachment 1004775 View attachment 1004776 View attachment 1004777 View attachment 1004778 View attachment 1004779
Looks like we have guitars made quite close together. My pots date to week 12 1981. 👍

I always felt iffy about the scratchplate forming the bridge and wished that I had bought a deluxe like yours back in 1981. I don't remember them being available though and it was a year or 2 before I even saw one
 

cuscus

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Posts
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Looks like we have guitars made quite close together. My pots date to week 12 1981. 👍

I always felt iffy about the scratchplate forming the bridge and wished that I had bought a deluxe like yours back in 1981. I don't remember them being available though and it was a year or 2 before I even saw one
Great pics, love to see a bit of tlc & work in progress :)
One of those pots looks to have the same 81 09 date as @Willmunny, I can't quite make the other date out.

Nice to see you calling it a scratch plate, that was what I always called it from year dot, I don't hear that term much these days, my dad taught me the basic chords on the guitar & always called it a scratch plate & it stuck from that point, until I started talking on forums a few years ago & it morphed into pickguard :lol:

The Bullet all in one stop tailpiece was basically a quick method to manufacture cheaper & quicker, as it was just a drop in, minus any extra jack drilling, routing & wiring, it is very strong aircraft grade alloy that is powder coated, white or black.
John Page ( The Bullets designer ) informed me that the patent for the guard was applied for on June 10th 81, but the patent was not granted until Feb 15th 83, so up to that point every guitar with an alloy guard had to have a patent applied for sticker applied to the guard, these often fell off easily - pics attached of one of mine with the sticker.
The design is quite quirky & what drew me towards buying my first Bullet, the saddles do tend to rattle around a bit, but just add to the quirkiness in my opinion, i absolutely love my first Bullet & still play it.

BTW, The Bullet Deluxe was available alongside The Bullet, they were introduced at the same time, its probably just that retailers didn't stock them. The Deluxe are better guitars & not much different to telecasters in reality.

Looking forward to seeing the pics when the work has finished.

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Johnnygdub

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Joined
Jun 19, 2022
Posts
41
Location
Dublin
Great pics, love to see a bit of tlc & work in progress :)
One of those pots looks to have the same 81 09 date as @Willmunny, I can't quite make the other date out.

Nice to see you calling it a scratch plate, that was what I always called it from year dot, I don't hear that term much these days, my dad taught me the basic chords on the guitar & always called it a scratch plate & it stuck from that point, until I started talking on forums a few years ago & it morphed into pickguard :lol:

The Bullet all in one stop tailpiece was basically a quick method to manufacture cheaper & quicker, as it was just a drop in, minus any extra jack drilling, routing & wiring, it is very strong aircraft grade alloy that is powder coated, white or black.
John Page ( The Bullets designer ) informed me that the patent for the guard was applied for on June 10th 81, but the patent was not granted until Feb 15th 83, so up to that point every guitar with an alloy guard had to have a patent applied for sticker applied to the guard, these often fell off easily - pics attached of one of mine with the sticker.
The design is quite quirky & what drew me towards buying my first Bullet, the saddles do tend to rattle around a bit, but just add to the quirkiness in my opinion, i absolutely love my first Bullet & still play it.

BTW, The Bullet Deluxe was available alongside The Bullet, they were introduced at the same time, its probably just that retailers didn't stock them. The Deluxe are better guitars & not much different to telecasters in reality.

Looking forward to seeing the pics when the work has finished.

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Ha. I bet your da called it a plectrum too. Rather than a pick.

It's a yank thing. Pick and pick guard. Not that I have anything against yanks. They make a lot of great guitars. :)

I realised from the beginning that the all in one scratchplate was a money saving design. The info about the aircraft grade metal and John Page's paf stickers was great though.

You are right about the retailer not stocking the deluxe too.

I wonder is John Page any relation to David Page the drummer? His family emigrated from Ireland in the early 50s.

Not picking up my bullet til next week but I'll post a pic or 2 and let you know how it plays

A friend of mine mistook the masking tape in the pics above for a maple fretboard. And said "I didn't realise the neck was in such bad shape" refering to the gaps in the tape at the lower end of the fretboard :lol:
 
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Johnnygdub

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Just on the pot dates. If you look at the pic on the previous page. You can see the other (volume) pot clearly. It is also 8109


willmunny's guitar and mine are even closer in manufacture date than we thought.
 

cuscus

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Fwiw, I have a buddy on my "home" forum who is a talented and experienced craftsman.
He has agreed to repair this guitar for me.
That makes me very happy lol
That is great news, I would be interested in how he approaches the neck split, I am guessing its a case of getting some adhesive in the crack & clamping it back together, post some more pics when it is done.
 

cuscus

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Ha. I bet your da called it a plectrum too. Rather than a pick.

It's a yank thing. Pick and pick guard. Not that I have anything against yanks. They make a lot of great guitars. :)

I realised from the beginning that the all in one scratchplate was a money saving design. The info about the aircraft grade metal and John Page's paf stickers was great though.

You are right about the retailer not stocking the deluxe too.

I wonder is John Page any relation to David Page the drummer? His family emigrated from Ireland in the early 50s.

Not picking up my bullet til next week but I'll post a pic or 2 and let you know how it plays

A friend of mine mistook the masking tape in the pics above for a maple fretboard. And said "I didn't realise the neck was in such bad shape" refering to the gaps in the tape at the lower end of the fretboard :lol:
I did call it a plectrum :lol: that also stuck from my dad lol, he worked for Jennings in Dartford on the electrics for Vox amps & organs, there were always bits of amps & organs at home & a Vox/Hohner acoustic guitar that I learnt on, the action was a mile high, very hard to play, I still have it at home.

I don't know whether John is related to the drummer, I doubt it, as I remember reading some history about his family, his dad was a preacher & he grew up around Los Angeles in the mid 50's, John went on to head up the Fender Custom Shop & was their first master luthier, he knows his stuff & now makes his own guitars.

I also did exactly what your friend did, looked at the pics & thought wow that neck needs some attention, I thought the lacquer was peeling off the maple, until I realised it was tape 🤣

Looking forward to hearing how it turns out.
 

Johnnygdub

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Jun 19, 2022
Posts
41
Location
Dublin
Yeah if you look at my avatar pic it's a rosewood neck. :) Another interesting thing about it is that the fretboard radius is 12" instead of the typical 9.5" or 7.25". It's more typical of Gibson, better for bends.

California is the same state but if John Page's dad was a preacher that would make him the wrong religion to be related to David. ;)
 




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