Fender Bullet Owners Club

Chris_-NH-

TDPRI Member
Joined
Jul 17, 2022
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3
Age
56
Location
New Hampshire
The bridge screws will be vintage 4-40 which is the UNF thread size,

The screws were perfect, thanks. I still had two strings I can't get intonation on so I put it into the shop, asked them to check under the neck if they have that off which they thought they would, and to get me any codes they find on the pots. Wish I had looked when I had it apart myself.

The "very good price" also points to the "stolen goods" scenario.
Not unusual for PAC barracks sales, particularly in the Philippines were a lot of stuff would not make it back to the US, but who knows? I am frankly amazed it came back with me without being stolen out of my crate.
 

toyamigo

TDPRI Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2010
Posts
10
Location
Belgium
This beauty belonged to my late dad. It was much whiter before but I still love it!
 

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jays0n

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jan 11, 2009
Posts
2,527
Location
San Francisco, CA
It is going to be hard to pass this up-

That is very pretty. It looks like it was refinished but done nicely. Also, they say 81, but that model came out much later. @cuscus is the master when it comes to dates, so he will likely be able to provide more. But I think you can get that price down. It does look amazing though.
 

edvard

Friend of Leo's
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May 15, 2016
Posts
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Location
Bremerton, WA
That is very pretty. It looks like it was refinished but done nicely. Also, they say 81, but that model came out much later. @cuscus is the master when it comes to dates, so he will likely be able to provide more. But I think you can get that price down. It does look amazing though.
I'm not @cuscus, but I know a few things about the Bullet, being an S-3 owner myself and my insatiable curiosity...

As it is an S-3, it cannot be an '81. The only Bullet made in '81 was the T-style "Version 1" with a rosewood fretboard. The body shape alone makes this one a "Version 2".
The serial number says it was made in '82 (E1xxxxx), but the single-ply pickguard with "S-3" stamped into it says '83 ('82 S-3s had a 3-ply pickguard). Could be the neck was made in '82 then used on an '83 model, don't know. My S-3 is in the same situation (E118460).
I don't think it's a re-finish; Version 2 models were offered in red, ivory, brown sunburst, or walnut. I've seen some untouched "walnut" finished Version 2s, and they look exactly like this one. Nice find!
 
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GGardner

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jun 22, 2017
Posts
3,840
Location
NJ
I have a 81 Fender Bullet Deluxe (I think). I picked it up from a guy in my barracks when I was in the Air Force in 88. Its a bit dinged up, truly I did not appreciate what I had. It was the Philippines so its always possible it was a knock off but they tended to counterfeit strats. We always looked to get “real” gear people had brought over.

I am playing again and have cleaned it up, fixed a warped pick guard, replaced the jack, and cleaned the pots, and replaced some screws. I am having a blast playing it through a mustang micro as I re-learn.

I need to know what to use for bridge intonation screws, one is stripping out.

Thanks!

View attachment 1005813
View attachment 1005814
I wonder how that would look if you removed the pick up covers. Just a thought.
 

cuscus

Tele-Meister
Joined
Dec 25, 2012
Posts
481
Location
United Kingdom
It is going to be hard to pass this up-

That is a very good price, if you can knock it down all the better, I have seen other Bullet S3's go for $1000 or more. It does look all original, my guess is it is a late 82 or 83, as the embossed pickguards appeared on the later guitars, of course it could have been added, but I doubt it. I would ask more questions on the history of the guitar, that always gives you pointers as to whether things have been tampered with or they are original ie; bought new original owner etc.
To quote @edvard, you are correct, the E1 serial was used from 1980 & ran for ages through to 1984 & I think the finish is also original, it just looks a bit dull in the first pic, which is probably a trick of the light.
 

cuscus

Tele-Meister
Joined
Dec 25, 2012
Posts
481
Location
United Kingdom
This beauty belonged to my late dad. It was much whiter before but I still love it!
Thanks for sharing, that is a nice guitar & wow that ivory has aged, it is almost butterscotch, I own loads of them & none are quite that dark, the serial places the guitar around 1982, the pots will be dated & there may be other dates on the pickups & in the body cavities, the necks on the rosewood board Bullets were never dated.
 

Prairie Phoenix

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Mar 28, 2020
Posts
51
Age
52
Location
NW Missouri
It is going to be hard to pass this up-

I think the tuners have been replaced on that one. I have an S3 just like that one except in ivory. I believe they should be "F" tuners, but then, bullets can be weird. Mine is supposed to be an '83 according to all the info I can find, it was made in December of '82 and has an E1 serial number.
That's a very pretty and tempting guitar...
 

cuscus

Tele-Meister
Joined
Dec 25, 2012
Posts
481
Location
United Kingdom
I think the tuners have been replaced on that one. I have an S3 just like that one except in ivory. I believe they should be "F" tuners, but then, bullets can be weird. Mine is supposed to be an '83 according to all the info I can find, it was made in December of '82 and has an E1 serial number.
That's a very pretty and tempting guitar...
Those Schaller tuners were also used on the 2nd version Bullet, I own quite a few & many have those tuners like all things, nothing was specific in the factory, the employees would have just used whatever was supplied on the bench, so if they were waiting for the Schaller F tuners stock, other tuners would be made available, both types were also used on strats & teles.
 

edvard

Friend of Leo's
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May 15, 2016
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Location
Bremerton, WA
From what I've heard, Fender switched to the "F" tuners because they were using Kluson tuners at the time, and Kluson went out of business in '81. Can anybody confirm?
 

cuscus

Tele-Meister
Joined
Dec 25, 2012
Posts
481
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United Kingdom
From what I've heard, Fender switched to the "F" tuners because they were using Kluson tuners at the time, and Kluson went out of business in '81. Can anybody confirm?
Yes exactly that, also some of the 1st version Bullets have double line Kluson tuners with the Pat numbers stamped inside, I think that these were old stock & the same type that appeared on strats & teles from 64 - 69. The double lines were probably found in a cabinet in the factory & taken out to use up, when the stock ran out. John Page & other Fender employees have confirmed that there were parts drawers in the factory, with parts from the 50's & 60's in them, so repairs could be done on older instruments. The tooling on the slot hole on those double lines does look slightly different to the 60's tuners, we have yet to confirm 100% how these double lines came into play on the Bullet production line or if they appear on any other 80's Fender.
 

cuscus

Tele-Meister
Joined
Dec 25, 2012
Posts
481
Location
United Kingdom
I have an 1981 Bullet. serial number 100248. what is the earliest bullet known?
That is an early serial number, I have a 100 & an E100 in my collection, I think the non prefix numbers just ran on from others ordered from the supplier. Fender were not too fussed about sequencing things & certainly not concerned about the future or anyone trying to date a guitar. The decals were just in a box on the bench, the employees picked a decal & placed it on any guitar, nothing was done in sequence, so using a serial alone is never a good way to date a Fender, the pots & other parts have dates & there can be stickers & stamps in the cavities, as a whole they all narrow the date down, but it will always be a rough date.
 

lil scotty

Tele-Holic
Joined
Jun 29, 2016
Posts
722
Location
Phoenix, AZ
It is going to be hard to pass this up-

Ha, ha, I bought that guitar! Came to TDPRI to see what y’all had to say about it. Love it so far. Pretty pristine. Nice, thin neck.
C865E708-9A6B-4B6B-8726-EDAF0D9902FC.jpeg
 

cuscus

Tele-Meister
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Dec 25, 2012
Posts
481
Location
United Kingdom
Ha, ha, I bought that guitar! Came to TDPRI to see what y’all had to say about it. Love it so far. Pretty pristine. Nice, thin neck.
Nice guitar & a good price, even better if you managed to get it down, the walnut finish is my personal fave on the Bullet.

The necks on the 2nd version Bullet 82-83, were all maple with a maple skunk stripe & all machined finished to a slim D profile, a few of the earlier guitars had maple with a walnut skunk stripe, these were necks from stock of the production of the first version tele shaped Bullet 81-82.
 

lil scotty

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Jun 29, 2016
Posts
722
Location
Phoenix, AZ
Nice guitar & a good price, even better if you managed to get it down, the walnut finish is my personal fave on the Bullet.

The necks on the 2nd version Bullet 82-83, were all maple with a maple skunk stripe & all machined finished to a slim D profile, a few of the earlier guitars had maple with a walnut skunk stripe, these were necks from stock of the production of the first version tele shaped Bullet 81-82.
Thanks for info. Looks like a maple skunk stripe on mine. Attached a few more pics for anyone that is interested. Oh, I did pay full asking price, $900, which I thought was fair. It came with the original case, which I think is neat because, I believe, it is just like the Tele/Strat case of that era, but fractionally smaller (hey, kinda like the guitar!)
 

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