Tell Me About the Fender Mustang

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by erikzen, Mar 12, 2015.

  1. erikzen

    erikzen Member

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    I have a sentimental attachment to this guitar. My first electric was an early 70s (I think) Mustang I bought from a friend for $100. It was refinished with housepaint and the pickup wires were held together with Band-Aids. Still, it was my first electric and I loved it, but somehow it disappeared from my mother's house many years ago.

    I'd love to pick up another Mustang but don't know much about the re-issues. I'm also not very familiar with any variations that were available from the original run and if there are any sleepers out there. Where do you find the best value?

    Tell me about your Mustang experience and what models are best to target for acquisition. I'd love to get a vintage example but don't want to pay a ton of money for what was originally a student guitar. A new American Special is $1000 and I wouldn't want to spend much more than that.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2015
  2. buzzp

    buzzp Member

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    I can't offer any advice on where to look, but I also really like the tone they get.

    I believe the lead singer / one of the guitarists in a local(ish) band plays one through some sort of Fender Tweed RI and I love the tone he gets. Check out the Districts on Spotify, their first EP is solid IMO and has some great tones.
     
  3. analogsystem

    analogsystem Member

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    I had a really cool "parts" guitar made up of a 70s Muscicmaster neck (same 24" mustang scale) with an unknown (possibly MIJ) Mustang body, swapped electronics, etc. It was my first venture into modding and partscasters and was definitely a blast to play. Sadly, it was stolen in a home burgly but I do have fond memories of that beast.

    The thing I learned was to go for a "B" width neck, which is the more common Fender width. They made lots of "A" width necks for Mustangs and Musicmasters so you might want to avoid those as they are tiny little toothpicks.

    The Mustang bridge is loved by some and hated by others. There is a shortscale forum and an offset guitars forum that should both have lots of good Mustang info. Good luck!
     
  4. Thedude99

    Thedude99 Member

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    Poke around a bit. You can find vintage Mustangs for not a lot more than that $1000 - especially if you are okay with a refin or some minor changes like replacement pots.
     
  5. Rotten

    Rotten Silver Supporting Member

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    Here's my first electric. Back in the day, we couldn't modify all of our guitars fast enough. I routed mine for a humbucker and a middle single-coil and then had an on/off microswitch for each pickup. I don't play it much anymore, but sure loved that guitar when I was a kid.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. poolshark

    poolshark Supporting Member

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    I love Mustangs. Love the look, feel, size and sound. In comparison to Strats and Teles, they do require a little more care in setup, but even in stock form, they're totally serviceable in that regard. Very unique instruments, IMO.

    As for which one to get, as others have said, it's not hard to get a reasonably clean vintage example in your price range. It's a bit more of a dice roll with regard to quality, but it'll hold value if you ever sell. If you want something a little more readily available, the Japanese reissues ('65, '69, '73, etc.) are generally pretty high quality; I have plenty of worry-free gig time on my MG73. As for the American Special, it's a neat guitar if you like that sort of thing, but outside of the shape, it's not much of a Mustang; the Squier VM series is closer, but quality varies. Either way, there's quite a variety available in your price range.
     
  7. Dave Wakely

    Dave Wakely Member

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    The two things I've never really get a handle on (never having olayed an oldie) are:

    How different a tone is it compared with Strats, Teles and Jazzmasters (I have all three)?

    How stable is the trem and how much range does it have? (I love the JM trem, but wish it had a greater pitch range)?
     
  8. jusdepoissons

    jusdepoissons Member

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    I had a '66 mustang for a while and in compared to the other fenders i've had, it was very acoustically lively and had shorter sustain. It was a really satisfying guitar to play rhythm on.
    The trem was fun to manipulate with my palm for those Modest Mouse-esque whistly noises. Getting it to return to pitch was pretty impossible for me though.
     
  9. erikzen

    erikzen Member

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    Thanks for the responses so far. Was definitely wondering how good the quality is on the Japanese reissues. They look like the way to go in terms of getting a good value, but would love something a bit more vintage.

    Not really that interested in the American Special but threw it out there as a benchmark in terms of price. I get that you're paying for different things when you're talking about vintage vs brand new but still, hard to justify in my mind paying top dollar for a guitar that was entry level when first introduced. It's not an Esquire or a Nocaster or Eric Johnson's '62 Strat.

    I've read the trem on these are pretty bad in terms of staying in tune as others have pointed out. Not really a concern for me. If I want to rock the whammy bar, I'll use my Strat.
     
  10. SciFlyer

    SciFlyer Supporting Member

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    The Japanese reissues are great. A buddy of mine has a MIJ one that I really like.
     
  11. analogsystem

    analogsystem Member

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    Oh yeah, it's cool to leave the bar off the trem and just grab the bridge for a little wobble. Anything more and you be better be at the end of a song or a long rest (tuning time). haha
     
  12. Bryce_dude13

    Bryce_dude13 Member

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    The MIJ reissues are actually really great if you're going for mustang tones. I used to have one that was bone stock and it had a wonderful neck tone.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2015
  13. poolshark

    poolshark Supporting Member

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    I have no problem keeping the vibratos on mine in tune, even with heavy use. Actual bridge setup is much like a Jazzmaster or Jag, but the vibrato itself is a lot more sensitive to input, and has a range as great or greater than a Strat. It's designed to float, which comes with its own set of positives and negatives, but most tuning problems will come from poorly stretched strings, a badly cut nut or other non-Mustang-specific problems.

    As for the sound, I really dig it. The neck is full and beefy like a Strat, and the bridge twangs almost to Tele levels. It is a drier, less sustain-y sound, IMO thanks to the bridge design.
     
  14. erikzen

    erikzen Member

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    Any opinions on the "Pawn Shop" version? Hard tail bridge and humbuckers. Is this just a nominal Mustang? Seems like they are fairly readily available at around $500.
     
  15. tuj

    tuj Member

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    The pawn shop versions are actually good guitars. A lot of people block off the tremolo or convert to hard-tail anyway. Reminds me a lot of the Jaguar HH.
     
  16. erikzen

    erikzen Member

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    I'm surprised at how much vintage examples are going for, or at least how much people are trying to get for them. Hard to find one under $1000 even with a refinish or changed out pots.
     
  17. Devin

    Devin Low Voltage Supporting Member

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    I had mine on here for 3 months at 900 + shipping. Not a bite.

    They are not popular. I think they sound great though. Especially in the neck position. Not allot of vintage fender electrics that are affordable. Mine has the vibe. Enamel wire 1965 pickups that are not very different from strat pickups. I put a mastery on mine.
     
  18. erikzen

    erikzen Member

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    Actually, I see a lot of the vintage ones being listed in the $1000-$1600 range and sometimes even higher - $2000-$4000 range - for really clean examples. ($4000 for a Mustang, really?) However, I've also seen quite a few eBay auctions and BINs end without a sale. I think people just throw out a high price because it's a vintage Fender and hope someone will bite.
     
  19. Buelligan

    Buelligan Member

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    I had a '65 model. The bridge basically made the guitar impossible to keep in tune. I have no fond memories of it.
     
  20. treeofpain

    treeofpain Supporting Member

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    You should be able to find a refinished 60's Mustang for a little over a grand if you are patient. Those are my favorite version of the Mustang. The best feeling necks and overall vibe are 1964-1967 models IMO.

    In the later 60's, the body went from a slab to one with contours similar to a Strat.

    The 70's models added more colors and thicker finishes.

    It was discontinued around 1980 and replaced with the Lead Series.

    Reissued in the 90's when grunge made offsets and lower line Fenders popular.
     

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