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Breathing a Little Life into a Mustang?

 
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Clipman3
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Joined: 26 May 2013
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Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 12:03 am    Post subject: Breathing a Little Life into a Mustang? Reply with quote

In August I bought a '64 Mustang... It's an awesome guitar, but a total beater lol. Refinished LPB, super rusty bridge, neck worn down like crazy and the original pickups are broken Rolling Eyes
My only issue with it, though, is how dense it sounds. It's almost as if, on some strings, I'm muting the strings a little bit. Like I know that Mustangs aren't quite as sustain-y as other guitars, but this is on an entirely different level. The body still resonates well, but I can't find the source of the issue. My guess is the rusty saddles or possibly a dry nut? I've also got the thing strung up with 12's. I wanted to check here before I do anything Very Happy

I'd post pics, but the guitars at my dads. I'm goin back on Friday though.

[EDIT]







Last edited by Clipman3 on Sun Apr 13, 2014 5:37 am; edited 2 times in total
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DGNR8
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Joined: 30 Sep 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 12:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, you may want to show pics and even a clip of it. It's hard to say from just that. It could also be that the trem is not fully releasing.
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Thomas
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The switches are the first thing to go in them too, they're probably the issue, not the pickups.
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cur
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you think it is the switches and scratchy bad contact, you can probably clean them up and make them like new again. I just did that non long ago on a guitar of about the vintage of yours. Take them apart and clean up the tarnish on the contact spots. link to where I did it.
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apreswho
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Joined: 18 Jan 2014
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 3:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If its happening acoustically, in my experience, all signs will point to the nut. You could even try running some sandpaper through the slots and trying to widen it a hair and angling down toward the headstock if you're feeling like you may need to get it replaced anyway (so if you somehow make it worse you gave it your best anyway.) I've actually got a similar issue with my 72 mustang but its certainly a nut issue that i cant be bother to fix haha Especially if its even when its open strings you can definitely credit it to the nut or bridge and eliminate setup and frets.
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cur
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 3:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You know, if the odd fret has lifted a bit you will get a dead note. Check to see if they are all seated properly.
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Clipman3
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Joined: 26 May 2013
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 5:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whoops, I didn't realize more people replied lol. I finally got a chance to upload some pictures.
I recently cleaned the switch contacts after they stopped working. I also ended up putting foam under the switches to ensure that the contact is consistent (mine don't have springs :/ )
It's mostly the G string (lol), but the whole guitar is extremely mellow and muted. The G string ironically has the least amount of rust on the saddle though, so I'm guessing it's the nut?.. I haven't lubricated it or filed it at all. Any pointers? I've never really had to do anything to a nut before Rolling Eyes
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MatthewK
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Joined: 11 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 11:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deadness at the nut ONLY affects open strings. If it sounds dead when you play other notes on the G, it's the saddle. Doesn't need to be rust - it could be pinched, or the underside of the saddle might not make good contact with the bridge plate.
Also don't overlook the idea of a restring - some string sets have a bad string in them. Start with a new set.
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Fakir Mustache
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a theory that it's because the bridge is so low, it sounds more muffled. I have written about it in this same subforum, no one believes me though.

But in essence, I think if you put a shim in and raise the bridge, the tonality will alter dramatically. Although you say the body resonates well, so I may not be understanding this.

edit: also check the pickup height of that humbucker. Can't really tell the height from a pic, but it looks really close to the bass strings and if too close will keep the strings from vibrating.
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MatthewK
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd start by cleaning the bridge thoroughly, if you loosen the strings it will just pop out. As a start just blast it with WD40 or RP7 or another spray oil like that, and scrub everything hard with an old toothbrush, top and bottom of the saddles if you can. And as Fakir says, drop that bridge humbucker, pickups too close to the strings will deaden the sound badly.
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Clipman3
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 4:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did everything here, as well as lubricating the nut with some graphite, and it seriously improved the tone! It sounds much better now, thanks guys. The only thing I have to do now, which makes me a little nervous, is widen the G string's slot at the nut. It pinches the string and deadens the open note. Do I use sandpaper as mentioned above? I really don't want to ruin it.

Fakir Mustache wrote:
I have a theory that it's because the bridge is so low, it sounds more muffled. I have written about it in this same subforum, no one believes me though.

But in essence, I think if you put a shim in and raise the bridge, the tonality will alter dramatically. Although you say the body resonates well, so I may not be understanding this.

edit: also check the pickup height of that humbucker. Can't really tell the height from a pic, but it looks really close to the bass strings and if too close will keep the strings from vibrating.


Uhh I'd say the actions pretty spot on when it comes to Mustangs... The bridge is designed specifically to fit the break angle, and isn't really adjustable in terms height for a reason I'd say. I mean, yeah, the higher the action could make the guitar louder, but I think that increasing the neck angle on a guitar like a Mustang would result in intonation issues.
I dunno, that's just my guess... I could be totally wrong and not be getting it at all though lol
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MatthewK
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 7:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The bridge height is very adjustable on Mustangs actually - if you put the right size allen key down the holes in the baseplate, the screws sticking out the bottom of the bridge legs can be screwed up and down. The saddle heights aren't adjustable, but the bridge as a whole can be raised, angled and lowered easily.
EDIT - I wrote all the stuff below before I realised the tuners are not strung up correctly in the pictures. The cut end of the string needs to go down the hole in the centre of the tuner slot, then you wind on from there. Hold the end into the hole with a toothpick if you can't wind on without it slipping out. If the tuners are not strung correctly you are going to have problems.
If there are still problems after fixing this -
For the nut slot, you want to widen but not deepen. Some 400 grit wet-and-dry sandpaper folded around a piece of G string will help (or just the folded crease of the paper in the slot) but run the bottom of the fold across something else until the grit is dulled, so it can't sand the bottom of the string slot. If that makes sense.
Be sure that it's too tight, though. For example if you tune up to pitch, then push the string down on the far side of the nut, the note should go sharp. I can't figure out how pinching the string would make the open note go dead, if anything it sounds like it's letting the string vibrate in the slot, losing energy.
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Clipman3
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Joined: 26 May 2013
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MatthewK wrote:

EDIT - I wrote all the stuff below before I realised the tuners are not strung up correctly in the pictures. The cut end of the string needs to go down the hole in the centre of the tuner slot, then you wind on from there. Hold the end into the hole with a toothpick if you can't wind on without it slipping out. If the tuners are not strung correctly you are going to have problems.
If there are still problems after fixing this -
For the nut slot, you want to widen but not deepen. Some 400 grit wet-and-dry sandpaper folded around a piece of G string will help (or just the folded crease of the paper in the slot) but run the bottom of the fold across something else until the grit is dulled, so it can't sand the bottom of the string slot. If that makes sense.
Be sure that it's too tight, though. For example if you tune up to pitch, then push the string down on the far side of the nut, the note should go sharp. I can't figure out how pinching the string would make the open note go dead, if anything it sounds like it's letting the string vibrate in the slot, losing energy.


Thanks a ton - it's much better now! And thanks for the stringing tips lol I thought that's what I was supposed to do, but I wasn't sure.
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