The Fender Bullet was an electric guitar originally designed by John Page and manufactured and marketed by the Fender Musical Instruments Corporation. It was first introduced as a line of "student" guitars to replace the outgoing Mustang and Musicmaster models.
Fender marketed two original models made in the U.S.A.—the Bullet Deluxe and a standard Bullet. These two models had a single cutaway body shape similar to that of the Fender Telecaster with a 21 fret rosewood neck and Telecaster-style headstock. Similarly to preceding student models like the Mustang, Bronco and Musicmaster, cost savings were made by using inexpensive hardware and parts that were quick to assemble and labour saving. The standard model originally retailed at $199.00. The Bullet Deluxe had a plastic pickguard with a separate, traditional hardtail bridge while the standard model featured a metal pickguard-bridge combo painted white or black, with separate saddles for each string. Both models had 2 single coil pickups with a three-way selector switch. The pickups the same enclosed units used on the Mustang. Series 1 Bullets were available in red (with a white or black pick guard) and ivory.
In 1982, Fender introduced a revised version of the Bullet, including two bass models. This series featured a double cutaway body similar to the Fender Stratocaster without body contouring. Headstocks retained the version one (Telecaster) profile. Five models were marketed—the Standard Bullet, Bullet Deluxe (S-2), S-3, H-1, and H-2—in addition to the two new bass models (a regular scale "B-34" and short scale "B-30"). The standard Bullet had the previous style metal pickguard-bridge combination with two single coils and three-way switch. The Deluxe (S-2) had a plastic pickguard and separate hardtail bridge with the same pickup configuration. The new S-3 had a separate plastic guard, traditional hardtail bridge, and three single coils with a five-way switch. The H-1 sported the metal pickguard-bridge combination with one humbucker. It also had a coil tapping button. The H-2 had a plastic guard, traditional hardtail bridge, and two humbuckers each with their own coil tapping button. The humbucking pickups were really two single coil pickups with alnico rod magnets side-by-side. All models in 1982 used the Fender "F" logo chrome tuners, made by Schaller in W. Germany. The basses each had plastic guards and traditional bridges. They had the old Mustang bass style pickups. They differed only in scale. The popular second version Bullets were available in standard colors of red, ivory, brown sunburst or walnut, as well as in custom colors.
In mid 1983, Fender ceased production of the Bullet and Bullet Deluxe models in the USA and began production of the new Squier Bullet models in Japan. At this time the remaining inventory of USA-made Bullet necks were mated to Telecaster bodies and distributed to select dealers as the Fender Bullet Telecaster guitar. Aside from the Fender Bullet decal on the headstock, this transitional model was nearly identical to the standard production Fender Telecaster. The Fender Bullet Telecaster was available only in late 1983, with production ending when the remaining stocks of USA-made Bullet necks were used up. This was the last Bullet model to feature the Fender name prominently on the headstock, as well as the last Bullet model to be made in the USA.
From 1983 the Bullet has been manufactured in Japan and other countries and is marketed under the Squier trademark as the Squier Bullet. Humbucking pickups from the original (early 80s) consisted of the same paired single coil configuration as the American-made models but used steel rods as pole pieces with a ceramic bar magnet. The three single coil pickup pattern like the Fender Stratocaster was also available as well as tremolo and hard tail bridges. These were available in Black and Brown Sunburst.
Squier introduced a new, Chinese-made version of the Bullet in 2007, sporting a built-in tremolo arm, rosewood fingerboard, and one of six body finishes (Pink, Arctic White, Daphne Blue, Fiesta Red, Brown Sunburst, or Black) with a single-ply white pickguard.
From around 1999 to 2004, Fender produced a single pickup Squier Bullet Special guitar. It had a fixed, hardtail bridge, a dual-coil (humbucker) bridge pickup, one volume control, and a 21 fret rosewood fingerboard bolt on neck. The body was made out of plywood and it was made in six colors: Black, Ice Blue Metallic, Red Metallic, Cobalt Blue Metallic, Orange, and Satin Silver. The Red and Orange bodies were made with black hardware; all other colors had chrome hardware. All Bullet Specials had a 1 ply black pickguard. Most of the Squier Bullet Specials made in 2002 came with a special 20th Anniversary engraved neck plate. The logo on the headstock reads "Squier Bullet" with no mention of "Special". Some 2002 versions of the black and Frost Red Metallic Squier Bullet Special are known to have the Affinity brand on the headstock as well.
All Squier Bullet Special guitars were made in Indonesia at the Cort factory. The serial numbers start with IC followed by two digits that designate the year the guitar was made. The remaining digits indicate month of production, color, and sequence. IC02xxxxxxx indicates a guitar made in 2002.
Fender also markets guitar strings under the Bullet brand. Introduced in the early 1970s, these strings differ by having cylindrical bullet-shaped ends instead of the "ball ends" common to other manufacturers. Fender states the bullet ends create a tighter fit in the tremolo block on Stratocaster guitars, leading to greater tuning stability when the tremolo is used. In the early 1990s Fender switched from using zinc-plated steel for the bullet ends to brass, improving sustain. Today nickel is also used. Stainless steel strings with bullet ends are also offered since the late '90s.