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1966 Fender Bronco
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visitedspace
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 5:40 pm    Post subject: 1966 Fender Bronco Reply with quote

Hey folks!

Just joined the forum. Great discussions on shortscales!

I own a 1966 Fender Bronco. This is odd, because Bronco's were produced between 1967 - 1981, judging by the info I can find online. However, all the pots and electronics on the guitar date to mid-late 1966. Also, the Fender logo on the headstock does not contain "Bronco". It's weird, and rare. I wonder if this is a prototype or something.

Anybody know more details on the production of the Bronco?

The original booklet for the Fender Bronco dates to 1966, and there is a drawing of the guitar inside the book. On the drawing, the headstock logo is similar...without the "Bronco".

Here's a link to the booklet from Fender.com: http://www.fender.com/support/manuals/pdfs/instr_owners/Bronco_1966.pdf

The guitar plays beautifully. As soon as I tried it out in the shop, I knew I wanted it. The pick-up sounds great...what tone!

Some pics:












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SKC Willie
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know much about Broncos but to me it just seems like a very early version of the guitar. If the dates are stamped mid to late 66 and they were produced in 67, that doesn't seem too far off to me.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have personally seen and held other pre-production prototype Bronco's, in a local guitar shop, so you might in fact have one also. I know they went through a few designs before '67. I'll see if I can find any more info about trying to positively ID them.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pots dated 66 on later guitars is not uncommon, I've read that Fender made a TON of pots in 66 and used them for several years, way up into the early 70s in some cases. I know I have a 69 Musicmaster thats 100% original with 66 dated pots. What is the heel date on the neck? I find it very odd that the Fender decal is the pre-CBS "Spaghetti" logo, whereas the tuners are the post CBS "F" Tuners, as is the neck plate. Not to say it's not original, as I'm sure there were decals left over after the switch in 65, but I'd like to know what the date on the heel of that neck reads. Also odd is the 2 string trees, as normally they would have only had one. Not to say it's that odd to have a string tree added later, but raises some question to me as to if the decal could have been changed later as well. Interesting piece for sure...
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thumb side of the headstock looks off past the nut
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Phil O'Keefe
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 9:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, your guitar is a bit of an oddball... mainly due to the headstock logo IMO.

The '66 pot dates can be explained fairly easily, since as has already been mentioned, there are a lot of examples of fully original Fenders from later years that have pots with '66 dates on them.

Another thing I find somewhat odd is the second string tree. Most Fenders only had one prior to the early 1970's, although adding a second one is not an unheard of user modification.

According to this site:

http://www.guitardaterproject.org/fender.aspx

your neck plate serial number dates from 1968.

According to this site:

http://home.provide.net/~cfh/fender.html#serial

It's a '69.

According to Fender's website ( http://www.fender.com/support/usa_instruments.php ), it's a '68-'70.

I have never seen a Bronco with a pre-CBS spaghetti logo on it. I'm not saying it couldn't be factory stock, but it's enough of an oddball that I'm suspicious that it might be an old refinish on the neck and a replacement NOS or reproduction decal. The logo itself looks HUGE to me - much larger than the spaghetti logo on my reissue and vintage Strats. I doubt the neck or guitar is a forgery - no one is going to try to fake a Bronco neck; or at least no one would have done so ten or twenty years ago. Laughing

I'd recommend two things for starters. Unbolt the neck and see if there is anything stamped on the neck heel in terms of a date. Fender used rubber stamps to date their neck heels in the mid / late 1960's, and it should have something that indicates the model and date. If there is anything either written or stamped on the neck heel, please post it here and I'll decode it for you.

While you have the neck off, you can use a SMALL amount of lacquer thinner on the end of a cotton swab / Q-Tip to see if you can "melt" the finish on the back of the neck heel (in a spot that will be invisible when the neck is reattached; such as near one of the four bolt holes). If the finish melts from the lacquer thinner / naphtha, it's lacquer - if it doesn't, it's poly. Fender stopped using nitrocellulose lacquer around 1968... of course, that doesn't tell us for certain if it's been refinished by someone with lacquer or not... but it will let you know if it's finished in lacquer or poly, and that's yet another fact that can be useful in helping to accurately "date" the guitar.

Finally, if you can take some close up pictures of the electronics (especially the pots and output jack), I can probably let you know if they are all original or not in terms of the wiring and solder joints - which again, is further evidence of originality / date vs modifications / tampering.

My best guess based on the pictures is that it's a lacquer neck refinish with a replacement logo, or a factory finished neck with a leftover spaghetti logo (much less likely but not impossible) and the guitar dates from circa 1968.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My '67 had 1966 dated pots. With that serial number I bet the neck date will be '68. Somebody has mucked with the logo. If the neck has the white side marker dots it is definitely sixties (and very nice as well). Second string tree? Who knows. It does have the plastic bushing though. It could have been done early in it's life. The finish looks awfully thin. It definitely would have something to do with the sound. Good score none the less!
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 1:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the great feedback guys!

I'm having tons of fun playing my new Bronco (she really plays like a champ), so I haven't gone as far as taken the pickguard off and mucked around with the electronics. I was told by the guys in the vintage shop (where I purchased it) that the pots date to '66. I will get around to it, my curiosity has certainly been piqued.

I did, however, take pics of the neck heel dates and some other numbers...I'm definitely thinking now the neck may not be original...it doesn't sit completely flush with the body when bolted in, but this could be due to age and the nature of the alder and/or maple (i'm guessing madly here). Another thing, someone has stuck a small piece of wood in the neck bolt position, as if the boost the neck by a couple millimeters.

If it's not an original Bronco neck...what the heck is it I wonder?

Here's the pics:






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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 2:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a Duo Sonic, Musicmaster II or a Mustang neck. I'm sure the first batch of Bronco decalled necks was April '67. Code 16 was the 24" neck for all of the above.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 2:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

looks like the shim has been there for quite some time, not surprised my `65 mustang had a shim under the neck.
and it is possible that that is the original neck, as fender had a bunch of parts kicking around in 66/67/68 from earlier years in the shortscale veriety (can't remember the link to that discussion at the moment)
however it could have been a parts bronco, really tough to say
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 2:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

this is an A+ thread. lotsa good info
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 5:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

16JUN66B:

16 was a model code - specifically for 24" scale Mustang / Musicmaster II / Duo Sonic II and, if I'm not mistaken, early Bronco necks too. Later that code changed to 49 for all of those models, and a year or less earlier, it was 8. I have a Mustang neck stamped 8DEC65B. It is NOT the day of the month though, which is what a lot of people mistakenly assume. I have never seen a Bronco neck with an 8 stamped on it.

JUN is, of course, the month. June.

66 is the year. 1966.

B is the neck width. You will see A and B on 24" scale necks most often, but there are A, B, C and D neck widths. B is by far the most common, although A is not all that rare - especially on "3/4" (22.5") scale necks. A = 1 ", B = 1 5/8", C = 1 " and D = 1 7/8". You'll also hear people using letters to describe the neck profile - usually with the letters C, D, V and U... but that has to do with the shape (or profile) of the back of the neck and not the actual width of it.

I suspect your guitar is either a fairly early Bronco with a leftover / old neck, or more likely, a "partscaster" that was built from a Bronco body and a neck from another old Fender shortscale. Regardless of its origins, it looks cool, and you said it sounds and plays great, and IMO, those are the things that matter the most. Cool
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the balanced and informed feedback, Phil. You are a credit to this forum.

Thanks everyone for the great info!

I'm super excited about my new Bronco. I'm also looking for a good deal on a vintage Jaguar or Jazzmaster. I have a '61 AV re-issue of the latter, and a 1997 CIJ of the former. It's time I get a truly vintage Jaguar or Jazzmaster. There was a nice eBay auction a few weeks ago for a '68 Jag...but it was a bit out of my price range. 60's era Jazzmasters are even worse (pricey!).

Anyhoo, the Bronco will keep me satiated for the next little while. I can't believe how strong the pick-up has remained over the years...this thing is loud Smile
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome guitar! Just like Buddy Holly's.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nice and interesting guitar... still, i think the logo might not be the original one.
specially if yer guitar might have been down here (south of the border), i've seen SO many old fender with spaghetti logos that someone here apparently slaps on them. my '65 jazzmaster is one of them...



paul (stereordinary over at the OSG forum) also got his old jazzy in/from mexico and it has that weird logo.

who knows, whatever it is, it's cool. i love broncos!
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2010 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can pick up a repro decal. I sure would.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2010 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

westtexasred wrote:
Awesome guitar! Just like Buddy Holly's.


Haha! Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2010 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pacafeliz wrote:





If you come across some more of these decals down in Mexico please let me know, I badly want one for a project. I only want that cool baby blue Fender part so the rest of it would get cut off anyway... I've never see a Fender decal like that one, and it's awesome.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

serfx wrote:
and it is possible that that is the original neck, as fender had a bunch of parts kicking around in 66/67/68 from earlier years in the shortscale veriety (can't remember the link to that discussion at the moment)


you might be thinking of the 22.5" scale necks used on swingers, all or most of which have a '66 date stamp though the guitars themselves were made in 1969.
the neck could be original, but likely isn't. the decal is the suspicious part. it's highly unlikely fender would be using up old decal stock so late in the game. especially owing to the fact that fender used up old stock until it was gone before moving on to the new stuff. which is why you see clay dots and spaghetti logos in early '65 but not really any later. they'd pretty much used them all up by then. and if they really needed a decal for a prototype bronco, it's much more likely they would have chopped the model designation off a CBS logo and used that. would've been a lot easier than digging to the bottom of a bin for an old one.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thats nice, I just got a 73 Bronco a bit ago. Except mine didn't come with Bronco knobs Sad
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