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Fender/Squier Mustang tone question

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by srblue5, Nov 27, 2020.

  1. srblue5

    srblue5 Tele-Meister

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    I don't own any offset Fenders currently but of all of them, I feel like I am the least familiar with the Mustang. For anyone who has played or owned a Fender (or Squier) Mustang, how would you describe the tone? Any good (non-grunge -- I tend to play clean or with mild overdrive) examples of a Mustang's tone?

    Two slanted single coil pickups. Should sound Tele-ish or Jaguar-ish, no? I imagine the short-scale, vibrato bridge, and other unique qualities make it different, though.

    Ok, full disclosure: I am considering acquiring a Mustang as a new toy to mess around with over the winter months (especially if Covid cases continue to rise locally). Eventually, I would like a Vintera Jazzmaster or Jag but that's not in the budget for the next year or so.
     
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  2. Steve Holt

    Steve Holt Tele-Afflicted

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    Of all the big fender guitars I've never played a mustang! I'm curious to see the answers though. I love Jags and Jazzmasters. But I've never found the mustang that appealing for some reason.
     
  3. ReverendRevolver

    ReverendRevolver Tele-Afflicted

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    Current production mustang pickups leave much to be desired.

    The 70s one I frequently borrowed had it's own thing going, they were kind of mellow, but if you used the knobs like it was a tele, you could dial in distinct and usable tones. Darker than a strat, not as diverse as a tele. Nice bottom end, but not excessive. Highs were good, but not overkill.

    Now, I've only played other vintage stuff in guitar stores, and the Japanese reissues don't sound like the old ones. They mostly have usable sounding pickups, and play great. Like a hair less bright strat pair on some. The "jd" serial numbers had good feeling necks.

    The modern MIM Mustangs and duosonics do not have great pickups. I had Buhdda make me a custom set for my Duosonic, which really brought it to life. They're like hotter versions of the 70s mustang sound, which translates to them behaving even more like a tele with the knobs.
    The modern stock mim pickups seem like just mediocre strat bridge and middle pickups. Not ideal.
    The US performer 'stangs sounded better, but not really like the old Mustangs.

    My pawnshop series mustang had pretty but boring sounding humbuckers stock, those were changed as well.

    I guess to really answer the question, any current model mustang will do, with better pickups. I cant point to direct examples of tone, but Johnny Winter used one sometimes, and several modern alt rock bands (they're normally plugged into reverby fenders).

    The switching, which is phase-off-phase on both pickups let's you do limited utility out of phase stuff, but more importantly, go from both to one with a thumbnail motion, if that's faster than a toggle for you.

    Trem is unique, and IF setup right is neat.

    The Japanese ones are best value for money right now. If super budget, the squier.
    The pickups are the worst part of most I've seen though. Duncan, Fralin, and custom winders all make replacements.
     
  4. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    I used to have one of the original early 1970's Fender Mustangs. The sound was "rounder" than a Stratocaster. Look, I hate idiotic guitar buzzwords also, but that was the first where they came to my mind. I liked the tone of those two pickups more than the three on my stratocaster.
     
  5. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I thought the two single coils sounded much the same... so I swapped out two matched strat pu's to a ceramic mex strat neck and a rails bridge....

    and changed the wiring sliders into a n/n+b/b and series/par/split for the bridge pu...

    mustang bridge.JPG
     
  6. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I also tried 2 tele neck pu's in a 'stang build.... a hotter one in the bridge and a regular one in the neck....

    sounds wonderful....:)

    clare body sm.jpg
     
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  7. Boreas

    Boreas Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I currently have a 90's MIJ Mustang reissue, and had a 69 for a few years. The 69 was a better guitar, but the MIJ isn't junk. They both sound like Mustangs. Nothing spectacular, but their own tone. Changing pots and fiddling with pup height can massage the tone considerably. To me, they sound closer to a Strat than a Tele, because the neck and bridge pickups are very closely matched. I found the 69 to have a better whammy. I had trouble getting the MIJ to return to tune because of the bridge design that seems to be using softer metal for the pivot point now. I switched mine over to a modified Chigsby and the problem was eliminated.



    upload_2020-11-27_19-36-20.jpeg 20190902_101740.jpg


    I would also say my Fender Duo Sonic sounded very similar to the Mustangs until I replaced the PUPs.
     

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  8. Hounded Dog

    Hounded Dog TDPRI Member

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    I think the Mustang trem is of questionable value. It was hard to tune and went out if touched on my '66. I think it made the guitar plinky. It sustained like a banjo. I hated it and got rid of the guitar. I hope others had better luck. That said, it had a unique voice and was great for thumping away with triads or power chords.
     
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