Joined: 21 Aug 2010
Location: Atlanta, Georgia and Cashiers, North Carolina
|Posted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 7:20 pm Post subject:
Mr. Maxima's The Fender Mustang Story1:
Expanded with Extensive New Footnotes by Doug Pratt
Hi! After being off the internet for over a year (Sept 2000 to Jan 2002), I finally got the page back up. I had a job change, was relocated to a different country (thus my ISP changed), and since I work murderous hours and have a family, I really haven't had a chance to do a quality job on this website. Some things are broken, but hey! It’s better than nothing. The content hasn't changed at all except for some minor tweaks. It's sad to note that many of the cool sites I had links to no longer exist.... Sorry for not putting my contact info, but like I said, I'm so busy and won't have time to reply to your comments, questions so I rather not receive them. Anyways, enjoy!
This is the story of the Fender Mustang electric guitar. This story was compiled from many articles with information on the Fender Mustangs as well as from my ownership of various Fender Mustangs over the years. This site will continue to grow with information provided by readers like you!
First, there was the Musicmaster
In the spring of 1956, Fender released a pair of "student" electrics with 22˝" scale and 21-frets. The one pickup version was the Musicmaster ($119.50) and the two pickup version was the Duo-Sonic ($149.50). Both of these guitars were equipped with anodized gold finished metal pickguards, a one piece maple neck and stark white pickup cover(s). Both models had one volume and one tone control and used the same knurled knobs found on the Telecaster & Precision Bass. The Duo-Sonic had a three position switch on the shorter horn of the body. These models were offered only in Desert Sand (sort of an opaque "Blond" color that was already being applied to lap steels). In mid-'59, the fingerboard was changed to a slab of Rosewood on these models, along with the rest of the Fender line.
At that time the standard finish was changed to a tan color (name unknown), the pickup covers were changed to dark brown plastic and the pickguards were changed to a cream colored plastic. By mid-'61 the standard color was changed to Shaded Sunburst (sometimes called "Maroon Burst" or Sienna Burst) and the plastic pickguards became stark white. By mid-'62 the fretboard went from slab to curved Rosewood, and by mid-'63 the standard color changed from Shaded Sunburst to White. White guitars were fitted with Tortoise Shell pickguards with stark white pickup covers. These models were unchanged until mid-'64 when the overall design was upgraded to match the new Mustang.
The Duo-Sonic's selector switch was changed to two slider switches also found on the Mustang. The color availability was commonized with the Mustang offering also. These models were then made available with a 24" scale and 22-fret and were reintroduced (at the same time as the Mustang) as the Musicmaster II and Duo-Sonic II respectively. The optional scale lengths (22˝" and 24") were shared with the Mustangs.2
The 1964 Fender Mustang
The Fender Mustang was introduced in August 1964.3 This guitar was essentially a Duo-Sonic with the Dynamic Fender Vibrato. It was available in three colors: Red, Blue, and White. Although similar to Fender's custom colors of the time: Dakota Red, Daphne Blue, and Olympic White, these namings were apparently never used on the Mustang. They were just plain Red, Blue, and White. The Red and Blue ones came with white pearl pickguards (white pearl-black-white), black pickup covers with no pole piece holes, and
black slider switches. The White ones came with red tortoise-pearl pickguards (red pearl-black-white) and white (creamish) pickup covers and white slider switches. The white slider switches were made of different material than the pickup covers and tended to stay whiter and not age to a greenish gray color like the pickup covers.
The following specifications for Fender Mustangs change relatively little over the years. Here are the 21 basic specs of the Mustang in 1964:
1. Poplar or Mahogany slab body 4
The specifications for Fender Mustangs (continued from previous page):
2. "Patriotic Colors" Red, White, and Blue
3. Maple neck with rosewood fingerboard5
4. Two single coil pickups with black base plate
5. Small headstock with Transition Fender Logo
6. One string guide
7. Kluson tuners with plastic oval knobs; 1965 began “F” logo Fender tuners;
8. White dot finger board markers (sometimes faux pearl dot inlays)
9. White pearl neck side markers on the seam of maple and rosewood
10. Brass shielding plate in the pickup, slider switch, and control cavity
11. Two slider switches ON-OFF-ON for each of the two pickups
12. 12 screw pickguard
13. 3-screw polished metal control plate
14. Dynamic Fender Vibrato6
The specifications for Fender Mustangs (continued from previous page):
15. White Tremolo Bar Tip
16. L-series neck plate7
17. One volume, one tone control with black plastic knobs and white marker line
18. Headstock numbers (early '64): DES. 186,826 PAT. 2,960,900 2,741,146 &
19. Headstock numbers (late '64): DES. 186,826 PAT. 2,960,900 2,741,146
3,143,028 & PAT. PEND.
20. 24" scale with 22-frets standard (optional 22˝" scale with 21-frets).8
21. Most '64 Mustangs appear to be shipped with short scale length necks with "A"
neck widths (1-1/2"). 9
10The "United Colors of 3/4 Mustangs." A set of Red, White, and Blue 3/4 scale Mustangs. Photo courtesy Tim Pershing
Richard Rutenbeck's 1966 Mustang with Mahogany body. Photo courtesy Martin Willis
The 1965-1966 Fender Mustang
A couple of things changed in late 1965 to early 1966. The biggest change was the enlargement of the headstock, in line with the BIG HEADSTOCK found on other Fender guitars of the time. The tuners also changed to the "F-keys" with sort of square-ish white plastic pegs. The neck plate changes to the "F-series." The pickup's base plate changes to gray color. An additional patent number appears on the Headstock. So, to summarize the changes:
F-key tuners with white plastic squarish knobs
F-series neck plate
Single coil pickups with gray base plate
Headstock numbers: DES. 186,826 PAT. 2,960,900 2,741,146 3,143,028
2,817,261 & PAT. PEND.
Here's the 1965 Fender Color Chart. On the bottom, it says:
"Not available for Mustang, Duo-Sonic and Musicmaster Colors subject to change"
This indicates that the "Custom Colors" were not available on the Mustang of this era.11
The Mustang has two angled single-coil pickups, each with an adjacent on-off-on switch, and a master tone and volume control. The Mustang is unusual in having neither a pickup selector nor a circuit selector switch, instead just using the two pickup switches to allow the pickups to be used either singly or in parallel. The second on position reverses the phase of the selected pickup, allowing the pickups to be either in or out of phase when in parallel. This phasing option was also unusual for 1964.
It also meant that, as both pickups were floating with respect to ground, it was possible to modify the wiring to put the pickups into series either in or out of phase without excessive noise. The unusual switching could also be replaced by a conventional pickup change switch using the unused body routing already provided for compatibility with the Duo-Sonic, requiring only modification of the pickguard, and freeing the two eight-terminal pickup switches for other uses. As with many student guitars, aftermarket pickup additions and changes were also popular.
The 1967-1968 Fender Mustang
Around 1967, a couple of little details change on the Mustang. First the "OFFSET Contour Body" decal on the headstock disappears (this reappears somewhere down the road). Second, the "Dynamic Fender Vibrato" which used to say "PAT PEND" acquires a patent number. Third, the headstock patent numbers change again (I don't know what it changed to since I don't have a 1967 anymore, but it's usually the same as Stratocaster of the same vintage). 12
1. No OFFSET Contour Body decal on headstock
2. Patent Numbered Dynamic Fender Vibrato: PAT. NO. 3,241,418
3. Headstock numbers: PAT. 2,741,146 2,960,900 3,143,028 3,241,418 DES.
The 1969 Fender Mustang / Competition Mustang
As I have not collected anything beyond a 1967 Mustang, I can't speak with much authority on these later Mustangs. The biggest change to the Mustang occurred in 1969. The forearm contour and the back contour are added to the body. This marks the end of the slab bodied Mustangs. The "Made-In-Japan Fender '69 Mustangs" are reissue of this era of Mustangs. Also, this is the year the Competition Mustangs were introduced. Basically, the Competition Mustangs are Mustangs with different paint scheme. They came in Red Competition (w/cream stripes), Blue Competition (w/light blue stripes), and
Orange Competition (w/dark orange stripes) colors with contrasting racing stripes right around the forearm contour on the front side of the body. The stripes were "thin-thick-thin" stripes with the base body color showing between the stripes. The stripes were only applied on the front of the body and not on the back. The Competition models apparently came standard with matching headstocks. However, there are a significant number of these Competition Mustangs with non-matching headstocks, so it probably could have
been both ways. My guess would be that the earlier ('69 through mid-'71) Competitions all had matching headstocks and the later (mid-'71 through '72) ones had non-matching headstocks.
The 22˝" scale Mustangs were apparently phased out during the Competition era. I have yet to see a shortscale Mustang with a non-matching headstock, so I would guess that the shortscale Mustangs were phased out before or during '71.
1. Competition Colors phases in and replaces the Patriotic Colors
2. Matching headstocks from '69 to mid-'71. Non-matching thereafter.
3. Headstock Fender logo gets "®."
4. Matching headstock versions get cream colored labeling.
5. 22˝" scale models discontinued (c. 1971)
Mustang Photo Gallery
A pair of Competition Orange Mustang and Mustang Bass photo courtesy John Cola of New York
Competition Orange Mustang Bass showing its "Tan Line" photo courtesy John Cola of New York
Short scaled Orange Competition Mustang w/matching headstock photo courtesy Bernardo Cocco
The early '70s Fender Mustang / Competition Mustang
Around 1970, the regular Mustangs were discontinued and replaced by the Competition Mustangs. None of the features on Mustangs really change until about 1973 and since a '67 Mustang isn't really worth more than a '72 Mustang, I don't think anybody really took great interest during this era unlike the more expensive Stratocasters and Telecasters. Besides, Fender stopped dating the neck in this time frame and started using codes that
require deciphering, making it doubly difficult to tell the manufacture date (yes, you can still look at the pot dates). Greg Gagliano has deciphered the neck coding of this era, check his article out in the link just below. I know as a fact that there are Red, White, and Blue Mustangs with body contours so my guess would be that the regular Mustangs continued into 1969 and was replaced by the Competition Mustangs sometime during 1969. The Competition Mustangs were made in lefty versions also, although they were
probably a special order item.
Here's a 1970 Fender Color Chart. It shows the following colors for the Mustang:
510 Competition Orange
511 Competition Burgundy (I think they really meant Competition Blue)
512 Competition Red
This chart also shows the plain "Red" (color code 515) and plain "Blue" (color code 517) used on the Musicmasters and Duo-Sonic. These colors were used on the pre-'69 Mustangs and were not called "Dakota Red" or "Daphne Blue." Competition Orange is not shown on the 1972 Color Chart so it looks like this color was dropped after one or two years.
70's Fender Neck Code Deciphering
Dating 1970s Fender Guitars by the Neck Code by Greg Gagliano. Around 1972, the Competition Mustangs were discontinued. At about the same time, the pearl pickguards were discontinued and the pickguard was changed to a regular white plastic pickguards (white-black-white). 3-tone Sunburst, Natural, Walnut, Black, White, and Blonde were colors available in the post-Competition era. The Fender Logo changes to the black modern logo in 1972. Around 1974, the second string tree was added to the headstock, a bit later than Stratocasters and Telecasters - Competition Mustangs (1970-1972)
typically only have one string guides but black pickguard Mustangs (1976 -1982) all have two string guides. I owned a 1974 that had two string guides. Fender probably resisted adding the second string guide on the Mustang to save 10˘ on production cost.... The "F-key" tuners now have chrome squarish knobs and are commonized with Stratocasters and Telecasters. The body of this era can be Poplar or Ash. The Ash body is gradually reinstated on non-Blond Stratocaster from around this time. The Ash body appears to have been used on Blonde and Natural colored Mustangs only. The side marker dot changes around this time to black dots on the maple part of the neck.
1. Competition Colors discontinued
2. Poplar or Ash body
3. Modern black Fender Logo
4. White-black-white plastic pickguards
5. Second sting guide on headstock
6. F-key tuners with chrome squarish knobs
7. Black plastic side marker dots
The mid '70s Fender Mustang
Around 1976, the black pickguard (black-white-black) replaces the white
pickguard, the volume and tone knobs are changed to black ones used on the
Stratocaster, and the tremolo bar tip is changed from white to black. One
piece maple neck is available as an option. Along with the rest of the
Fender line-up, all Mustangs had Ash body around this time frame.
1. Black-white-black plastic pickguards
2. Ash body
3. Optional one-piece Maple Neck
4. Headstock numbers: PAT. 2,741,146 2,960,900 3,241,418 3,143,028 3,290,980
5. DES. 204,098
The late '70s to early '80s Fender Mustang
In the late '70s, Antigua is added as a new color to the Mustang. In 1977, the serial numbers move to the headstock (from the neckplate). These have the "S7xxxxx," "S8xxxxx," and "S9xxxxx" serial number sequences. The "S" stands for "Seventies" (and later "E" stands for "Eighties") and the second digit denoting the year of the decade (i.e. S7=77, S8=78, and S9=79). All Mustangs made in the '80s wear the "S9xxxxx" serial number. Fender probably made too many stickers in '79 and didn't want to waste it so kept on using them. Mustang line is discontinued around 1981 or 1982 associated
with CBS's sale of the company to Fenders' management headed by Bill Shultz.
1. Antigua Mustang introduced
2. Serial Numbers on the Headstock
3. Mustangs discontinued
4. "Mustang 84"
5. Apparently in 1984, Fender made one last batch of U.S. made Mustangs for
6. Yamano Music Store (a major Fender distributor in Japan) as the 20th
7. Anniversary of the Mustang. These Mustangs apparently had funky features as
8. listed below.
9. No serial numbers (usually, this era Fender had the "S9xxxxx.." serial
10. number on the headstock)
11. Creamish white body color
12. Two string guides
13. Brownish "Red Tortoise Shell" pickguard
14. White pickup covers with rosewood fretboards or black pickup covers with
15. one piece maple neck
16. Black pickup selector switches
Fender Mustang Photo Archive
Here you will find the photo archives of detail changes to the Mustang mostly though the Competition Era. Tim Pershing gets full credit for this section:
Fender Mustang Headstock Labels
A very early '64 (July-September '64) Mustang Headstock Label with 1 DES, 2 PAT, and PAT PEND photo courtesy Tim Pershing
A late '64 (October-early '65) Mustang Headstock Label 1 DES, 3 PAT, and PAT PEND photo courtesy Tim Pershing
'65 Mustang Headstock Label with 1 DES, 4 PAT, and PAT PEND. Photo courtesy Tim Pershing
'67 Mustang Headstock Label with "®," 4 PAT and 2 DES. and no "Offset Contour" decal photo courtesy Tim Pershing
'69 Matching Competition Mustang Headstock Label with "®," 4 PAT and 2 DES. and no "Offset Contour" decal photo courtesy Tim Pershing
'72 Mustang Headstock Label - Left over Competition Label used on non-matching headstock photo courtesy Tim Pershing
Fender Mustang Neck and Body Dates
A pre-Mustang 3/4 (22˝") scale Fender "Student" guitar. This "3/4"stamping was never used on the Mustangs. photo courtesy Tim Pershing
An early short scale (22˝") Mustang neck. The early shortscale necks had a "9" prefix and usually an "A" suffix indicating a 1˝" neck width at the nut. photo courtesy Tim Pershing
An early long scale (24") Mustang neck. These early "8" prefix necks usually had "A" suffix neck widths. photo courtesy Tim Pershing
A late '65 long scale (24") neck with slab Rosewood fingerboard. Slab Rosewood fingerboards appear on Mustangs from around SEP65 to JAN66. The "B" suffix necks have 1 5/8" neck widths at the nut. photo courtesy Tim Pershing
A "16" prefix long scale (24") neck which appears with the institution of change from Kluson tuners to F-Key tuners. photo courtesy Tim Pershing
A side-by-side comparison of curved and slab Rosewood fingerboards. photo courtesy Tim Pershing
Body date (OCT 6 found on the neck pocket of some late '60s Mustangs.
photo courtesy Tim Pershing
Fender Mustang Pickups and Body Route
Early '64 gray bottom bobbins with dates penciled in. The pickup on the top of the photos is the "Bridge" pickup. Note that the leads have changed (?) to almost dark blue and yellow compared to black and white on the neck pickup. photo courtesy Tim Pershing
A '65 pickup with the yellow date stamps on the "face side" of the pickup. Note that the pickup magnets are almost flush with the face bobbin, just barely protruding. The "AY" initial is for Abby Ybarra who still winds pickup at the Fender Custom Shop. photo courtesy Tim Pershing
Gray bottom bobbins with the dates marked with felt tip marker. photo courtesy Tim Pershing
A black bottom bobbin on a '67 Mustang with the full electronics assembled on the back of the pickguard. photo courtesy Greg Gagliano
Black bottom bobbin with black stamp used from 1969 through the 70's. photo courtesy Tim Pershing
A photo of the Mustang body with the pickguard removed to show the body route. photo courtesy Tim Pershing
Miscellaneous Information on Fender Mustang
"The Pickup Controversy."
The Mustang rear pickups were Reverse-Wound Reverse-Poled to get a noise cancelling effect when both pickups are in the "ON" position in-phase. This probably explains why the front pickups have white/black wires while the rear pickups have yellow/blue wires.
The pickups on the Fender Mustangs are not the same as that on the Stratocaster or Telecasters. They were unique pickups made for use on the Mustangs and probably on the Musicmasters and Duo-Sonics. The pole pieces of these pickups are flush on both the front and the back face of the pickup bobbins. Also, the cloth wires on the bridge pickups tend to yellow much more than the neck pickup for some unknown reasons. The dating on the early pickups are sometime stamped and sometime handwritten.
Fender Mustang Wiring Diagram: Link to Seymour Duncan's Fender Mustang Wiring Diagram
Fender Mustang Pickup Switching Configuration: Click here to see a PDF file that shows the Mustang Pickup Switching possibilities. (NA)
The Mustangs are strung by inserting the strings into the tailpiece from the bridge side. The strings then come out of the tailpiece on the bottom strap button side and is wrapped around the underside of the tailpiece and over the bridge and then onto the tuners. Here's a jpeg that shows a side view of a properly strung Mustang. If the strings are threaded
incorrectly through the bottom strap button side of the tailpiece and over the bridge, the tremolo arms will be way low against the body. The tremolo arms of a Mustang according to Fender specs should be parallel to the strings. In the jpeg the two blue lines (one for the tremolo arm and the other for the strings) should be parallel to each other. However, I
personally don't like Fender specs on this matter and have the tremolo arm angled further away from the body then called for by the Fender spec. The tremolo arm angle is adjusted by raising or lowering the tail piece. The tremolo arm will be more parallel to the strings if the bridge is set higher or it will be angled away from the body if the bridge is set lower.
So, how do you adjust the tailpiece height? There are two holes on the tailpiece marked by the red arrows. You stick a .050" Allen key wrench into these holes and fish around to find the screw head. You turn the screw to raise or lower the tail piece. Same thing with the bridge. You stick the same Allen key wrench in the two holes on the bridge marked by the blue arrows and try to find the screw head. Turn the screw to raise or lower the
Fender specs call for a string height of 3/64" on the treble E string and 5/64" on the bass E string at the 12th fret. The neck relief should be .012" on all strings at the 7th fret. You can try to make it lower than this, but it becomes a delicate adjustment trying to get the lowest string height without getting the strings to "fret out" when you choke them.
Typically, you will experience the "Fender Kick" on the neck above 15 fret that had the shim installed in the neck pocket to raise the end of neck to allow for proper string height over the bridge. Necks with this condition will fret out when you choke around the 12th fret. Otherwise, the neck in a true Fender fashion is relatively trouble free.
Mustang Neck Dates
I currently have four '65 to '66 Fender Mustangs. The neck dating on these guitars are:
Mustangs come with neck code of "9" (short scale), "8" (early long scale), or "16" (later long scale). The change from "8" to "16" is a weird one since nothing really changed for all I can tell. This change occurred around the time of change to F-Key tuners (from Klusons). "3/4" used on short scale MusicMasters and Duo-Sonics were never used on Mustangs. The neck dating on Fender guitars were stopped around 1972. To determine the dates of these later guitars, you'll just have to compare the features of the guitar and look at the pot dates to determine the birthday of your guitar. Or, you can go to Greg Gagliano's site and use his deciphering method.
"The Body Color Controversy"
The clear coat (usually lacquer) yellows on Mustangs through the Competition era. This results in "rare" Surf Green color -- which is just a yellowed blue Mustang -- and the Sonic Blue color -- which is just a Blue Mustang faded to a lighter color. The "rare"
Metallic Green Mustang, I believe, is just a yellowed Competition Blue. I believe the "rare" Competition Copper is a faded Competition Red and the Competition Burgundy (which may really exist) is a yellowed Competition Red. Don't be fooled by the "rare" nomenclature used on occasions. A Blue '66 Mustang that turned green.... The original blue color is visible under the control plate.
The mythical Purple Burst Mustang seems to be just regular Competition Blue Mustangs with too much clear coat near the edge of the body. The edge of the body needs to be painted with clear also and there will be overspray to the surfaces of the body when they are trying to paint the edge. This causes the clear coat to build up near the edge. This thick layer of clear coat will yellow a lot, much more than a thin coat of yellow making the Mustang look like it was painted in "Purple Burst" color. But look closely to the
headstock of this guitar. It really looks like somebody painted this to look like a burst to begin with....
A Purple Burst Mustang from the early Competition era. Photo courtesy John Cola of New York.
"The Body Wood Controversy."
Through the Competition-era, Mustangs mostly used "Poplar" as the body wood and few were "Mahogany." As or March 2000, I'm reversing my earlier opinion that "some Mustangs were made with Alder" to "No Mustang was ever made with Alder." It has been over two years since this site first went up and I have been getting lots of information from you all. I've also been looking closely at every Mustang I could find at guitar stores and shows. It's hard to know which wood was used as all Mustangs through the Competition era were painted with solid color paint. I can now say conclusively that all the Mustangs that I have seen (hundreds of them) were Poplar (very common), Mahogany (very rare), or Ash (Ash was introduced starting around 1974, and all were ash by 1976).
Pretty much every Mustang that I have played over the year (none of which are "Ash") sounded the same, so I don't really think body wood affects the tone of this guitar. However, I have occasionally noted lighter weight Mustangs over the year (but the guitar is already light to begin with so it doesn't matter much) so it is possible that a different type of wood caused the difference in weight. Given the wide availability of Alder in the 1960's as well as their relatively low cost, it is hard to imagine that Fender would need to use different types of wood for the Mustang such as Poplar or Mahogany -- Mahogany would need to be imported from Honduras or somewhere. But then again, poplar is a lot cheaper than alder on any given day, even back in the 1960's. To the best of my knowledge, the only Fender guitar or bass that did not use either Ash or Alder body wood in the late '60s is the Fender Telecaster Thinline which had a choice between Mahogany or Ash body. Oh, yeah, and there are those 1964 Strats that were made with Basswood...(look at page 48 on "Guitar Graphic #6--A Photographic History of the Fender Stratocaster" by Rittor Music).
However, given that Fender never wasted anything, it is entirely possible that they just used any left over body blanks to make the body of a solid colored guitar like the Mustang, Musicmaster, and Duo-Sonic...
Here are some photos of Mahogany bodied Duo-Sonic and Musicmaster and Mahogany and Poplar bodied Mustang.
A '64 Duo-Sonic with Mahogany body photo courtesy Tim Pershing
A '64 Musicmaster with Mahogany body
A '64 short scale (22˝") Mustang with Poplar (?) body photo courtesy Tim Pershing
Richard Rutenbeck's 1966 Mustang with Mahogany body photo courtesy Martin Willis
Fact or Fiction?
A late 50's Musicmaster with Pine (?) body. It's got knots and everything (including some charming ornament).
“Rarity" As far as rarity is concerned, my vote would be for Long Scale "B" neck Mustangs with neck dates in 1964, especially in blue or white color – I have yet to see one as they all seem to be Short Scale or Long Scale "A" neck for '64. Second to that would be the Long Scale Competition Orange Mustangs with matching headstock which has the shortest life of any Mustang configuration (there seems to be quite a few Short Scale Competition Oranges).
Fender Patent and Design Number Guide
PAT/DES # (grant date) = Description on Application -- What it really is.
DES 186,826 (??/??/??) = ???
PAT 2,573,254 (10/30/1951) = "Combination Bridge and Pick-up Assembly for
String Instruments" -- Telecaster Bridge Plate
DES 169,062 (3/24/1953) = "Original and Ornamental Design for a Guitar" --
Precision Bass Body Shape
PAT 2,741,146 (4/10/1956) = "Tremolo Device for Stringed Instruments" --
Stratocaster Synchronized Tremolo
PAT 2,817,261 (12/24/1957) = "Pick-up and Circuit for Stringed Musical
Instrument" -- Humbucking Pickups used on Lap Steel Guitars
PAT 2,960,900 (11/22/1960) = "Guitar" Contour Body
PAT 3,143,028 (8/4/1964) = "Adjustable Neck Construction for Guitars and
the Like" -- Adjustable Neck
DES 204,098(?) (??/??/??) = ???
PAT 3,241,418(?) (??/??/??) = ??? -- Dynamic Vibrato (probably)
PAT 3,290,980 (?) (??/??/??) = ???
PAT 3,550,496 (12/29/1970) = "Tiltable Guitar Neck Incorporating
Thrust-Absorbing, Pivot and Locking Element" -- Micro Tilt Neck
Fender Mustang Copy Guitar
Yes, they exist. Here is a look at the Fernandes Mustang from the '80s in a kind of a Burgundy Metallic Color. Why buy a real one when you can buy a copy for more? Mustang copies of various qualities were made by Greco, Burney, Frescher, Tomson, Memphis, and pretty much all major Japanese brands. Mustangs were "BIG" in Japan in the late eighties which leads to Fender Japan's reissue of the Mustang as we know it, which were later exported all over the world with varying market success.
Reissue '69 Mustangs -- Fender "Collectables"
Fender Japan started manufacturing the '69 Reissue Mustangs sometimes in the late '80s to the early '90s as part of their "collectibles" series. These Mustangs have the 24" Long Scale with "A" neck width. Two colors – Vintage White and Sonic Blue - were offered with the correct trimming - well sort of - for the White one. Because of that, all the pieces were the wrong color for the Blue one. Besides, the Blue one isn't even the right color for vintage Mustangs. As of March 2000, these Mustangs are still made and are available in Japan. These bodies are made of the dreaded Basswood. Basswood has a bad name as they are commonly used on low-end Fender Japan and Ibanez guitar and perceived as "cheap wood" (which is true) and "Wood without Tone" (which is mostly caused by other cheap parts on the guitar such as the pickups). In reality, Basswood is not a bad wood; it just has a bad reputation. By the way, I have a book that shows photos of '64 Fender Strats that were made of Basswood. In my opinion, these reissue Mustangs are no where near the vintage Mustangs in vibe, feel, tone, etc., (not that the real ones really amounted to much either). For example, the US made reissue '57/'62 Strats and '52 Tele are pretty good guitars, but they don't live up to "real" Fenders from those years.
The reissue Mustangs don't do as good a job as the US reissue Strats and Tele in replicating the original vibe, feel, and tone, etc. But then again, many of today's Fender Custom Shop guitars are much better than the originals they depict - such as the "Relic Stratocaster" series which is truly an amazing guitar - although the concept of selling "beat up guitars" as new may baffle many people. Reissue Competition Mustangs were also offered for the Japanese market only. These guitars have the "Made In Japan" decal on the back of the neck just above the body joint so it's easy to distinguish from the "real" ones.
Other Reissue Mustangs
Fender Japan made quite a few limited edition Mustangs exclusively for the Japanese Market. This includes the Custom Mustang, the '66 Mustang Reissue, and the '69 Competition Mustang Reissue. The '66 has been reissued in both the Blue and White around 1992 and the '69 has been reissued in Blue, Red, and Orange Competition models with matching headstocks around 1996 (although the Orange was more of a Capri Orange used as part of the International Color series in Fender in 1981). All of these reissues are based on the 24" long scale with "A" neck width. There is also the reissue Mustang Bass from Fender Japan.
Around 1999, the "Silver Mustang" was produced as a limited edition model for the Japanese Market. The body is silver as is the headstock as is the back of the neck. Everything is painted silver!! Also, in 1999, a music store chain in Japan called "KEY - Music Land" had a limited run on Competition Mustangs made in Orange and Blue Competition. These don't have matching headstock like the earlier "Fender Limited Edition" and has "Crafted in Japan" decal on the back of the neck instead of the more common "Made in Japan" decal. Too bad all these reissues are made with "A" neck
width, just the same as the regular Reissue Mustangs, which is too narrow for most of us with regular sized hands.
Several of the readers of this site have attempted to contact the shops in Japan that carry the Reissue Mustang and the Reissue Competition Mustangs. But nobody seems to have gotten a reply from any of the stores. I guess they won't reply unless you send them e-mail in Japanese. Maybe, this is reason enough to learn how to read and write Japanese? Don't bother asking me how you can get one because I can't help you. Also, over at Ikebe Gakki, they have their Fender Japan Limited Edition Kurt Cobain Mustangs. It's basically a reissue Mustang with a humbucker pickup in the bridge position. It comes in the slab body style '66 model and the contoured body style '69 model. You can get this guitar with an optional Tune-O-Matic bridge!! I think that makes it just like Cobain's, but I doubt that your tremolo will work with a fixed Tune-O-Matic bridge (normal Mustang bridge rolls with the tremolo)... If you want one, you can try contacting them, but I doubt you'll get one unless you can read and write Japanese and live in Japan. In any case, don't bother asking me about how to get one because I can't help you. They also have the Kurt Cobain Jaguar with double humbuckers and a Kurt Cobain Strat with a humbucker in the bridge position.
The Fender Mustang Bass
Here are some photos I found on the web to look at. No text here since I
don't really care about this brother of the Fender Mustang.
1967 Fender Mustang Bass - Red
1967 Fender Mustang Bass - White
1969 Fender Mustang Bass - Competition Red
1970 Fender Mustang Bass - Competition Orange
1971 Fender Mustang Bass - Competition Blue
1973 Fender Mustang Bass - Sunburst
...well, that's it. This is pretty much everything I know about the Fender Mustang. As it isn't a very collectible instrument, not much has been written on this guitar and nobody really seems to care. I've been on search of information about the Fender Mustang for a while because I just love this wacky guitar. It's light, it's small, it plays well, it's cool looking, and it's got good vibes. I'm sure that the Stratocasters of the same era has more of that, but I just can't afford one.
Gruhn's Guide to Vintage Guitars by George Gruhn and Walter Carter
The Fender Book by Tony Bacon and Paul Day
The Fender Stratocaster by A.R. Duchossoir
The Fender 1 STRATOCASTER by Rittor Music
The Galaxy of Stratocaster by Yasuhiko Iwanade
Special thanks to John Cola, Greg Gagliano, Bernardo Cocco, Richard Rutenbeck, and Mike Stroud for their contributions to this website. Extra special thanks to Tim Pershing for all the time he spent helping me add depth and accuracy to this site. Greg and Tim's excellent work can be found on the pages of 20th Century Guitar Magazine.
Text - Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 JTM Creations TM
Revised - January 26, 2002 [JTM]
Instructions for Stringing the Mustang
Wire cutters & Guitar tuner are helpful.
1. Step 1
Loosen the locking mechanism behind the tuning peg and pull the string out of the groove. Drag the loose string through the tailpiece to completely remove it from the guitar.
2. Step 2
Insert the new string into the tailpiece toward the hip-side strap button.
3. Step 3
Wrap the string under the tailpiece and pull it toward the neck of the guitar until the ball of the string locks into place. Once the string is pulled through, you can place it on the bridge to help hold it down while you tune it.
4. Step 4
Pull the string until it is straight, but not too tight, and wrap it once around the peg before inserting the end through the hole on the tuning peg. Tighten the locking mechanism found behind the tuning peg.
5. Step 5
Using a guitar tuner, tighten the string until it reaches the note E (or the number 6, depending on your tuner's setup).
6. Step 6
Cut off the excess string, as close to the tuning peg as possible.
7. Step 7
Repeat these steps for each of the other five strings.