FENDER manufactured the first version of the BULLET between 1981 and 1983. It was designed to be a low cost student instrument to replace the discontinued Mustang and Musicmaster instruments. There were two original models the Bullet Deluxe and a standard Bullet. Both were made in the USA using a design derived from the Telecaster but with budget parts and lower build quality . It comprised a single cutaway Telecaster-shaped body with a 21 fret rosewood neck and Telecaster-style head stock.
The Bullet Deluxe had a plastic pick guard with a hard tail bridge. The Bullet Standard model had a metal combined pick guard and bridge painted white or black. A metal tab at the edge of the pick guard was bent upwards and strings and individual saddles were attached to it. Both models had 2 single coil pickups with a three-way selector switch. The original Fender Bullet was available in red or ivory finish - with black or white pickguards.
The Bullet was designed by luthier John Page who explained the origin of the silver star on the Bullet's head stock:
"When I designed the Bullet I was still giggin' a lot and still reading the trades... like Billboard. The Billboard charts always had a silver star around the number of singles/albums that were shooting up the charts quickly. They were usually the "hits" So I thought that the phrase "Number one with a bullet" which was a classic DJ/industry phrase, would be a great advertising campaign for it. Fender marketing chose not to go with it... so the decal never made any sense. But what was funny, as a side note, the very next NAMM show after I released it, an import company... maybe Tokai or Hondo, basically ripped off the design and called it the All Star... silver star with the numeral one in it and all. "
In 1982 Fender introduced the second version of the Bullet, which had more of a Stratocaster shape.