Unusual '74 Mustang (mystery solved, thanks everyone)!

Discussion of vintage Jazzmasters, Jaguars, Bass VIs, Electric XIIs and any other offset-waist instruments.
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Re: Unusual '74 Mustang: anyone seen one of these before?

Post by HedonismBot » Wed Jan 06, 2021 6:06 pm

Bradley-Jazz wrote:
Wed Jan 06, 2021 4:23 pm
Very hard to say from the pictures - the ones in the head, from what I can see, don’t follow the grain and are in what seems to me a weird place. They look more like they are in the lacquer, particularly as the look to run into the end of the rosewood board, but a photo can only show so much

The ones in the heel look to be running from the neck screw holes, which could be a bit of a worry, but I don’t see why they couldn’t be repaired if need be. Can you remove the neck and see more?

Do you have a trusted luthier who can give it a look over?

Oh, and is it a right hand trem sausage in backwards?
ImageImagehttps://i.imgur.com/ioXhu7o.jpg[/img]ImageImageImageImage

The sausage turns out to be a lefty unit, I guess it has to be a replacement? The crack goes both ways (towards the headstock and the neck pocket), but it seems to only be in the lacquer on the pocket side. Not sure about the neck side, but it looks like it either goes deeper than the lacquer or, maybe, some dirt got into the crack and made it look darker. I don't know any luthiers in my town, I'd have to do some research. I'm not sure if I'd be able to take it to a shop any time soon, though (Covid is worse than ever on the West Coast + I'm on a budget right now).

The dates all line up. The date stamps on the pickups look different from one another (one is in red, one is in black). I know it's hard to see in the pictures, but do the soldering joints look like they could be original? As for the paint, it must be a refinish (just as the seller said). It seems to be well done. Probably a long time ago, judging by the checking. It's actually a bit brighter in real life. I'd say it almost looks like Daphne Blue plus a tad of Surf Green. No idea about the original color or the wood, can't tell much after looking in the routing cavity or the neck pocket.

I knew I was taking a risk, but I'm a bit bummed that the seller wasn't quite transparent about the fret wear on the first 5 frets (he claimed there was barely any), the cracks in the headstock (he described them as "minor headstock damage"), and the cracks in the heel. These things weren't clearly reflected in the pictures either. But it could have been worse I guess. Keeping in mind todays prices, would you pay a thousand bucks for this guitar?

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Re: Unusual '74 Mustang: anyone seen one of these before?

Post by Bradley-Jazz » Thu Jan 07, 2021 5:25 am

Well in the UK at the moment, that sort of money seems to buy a 90s MIJ Mustang, so doesn't sound too bad to me!

Does it play well? Assuming it does, I'd keep a close eye on the cracks (as I said, really hard to tell from the photos, but they could all be in the lacquer), and enjoy it as it is for now.

Then, whenever you do get a chance, get it checked over, and a fret dress if it needs it and it will take it.
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Re: Unusual '74 Mustang: anyone seen one of these before?

Post by JVG » Thu Jan 07, 2021 11:14 am

I reckon you’ve done alright!

Keep an eye on the cracks. If they start noticeably growing you might have an issue, otherwise just enjoy as it is.

Man that nut has had a hard life.

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Re: Unusual '74 Mustang: anyone seen one of these before?

Post by HNB » Thu Jan 07, 2021 11:24 am

The neck mounting area looks fine. Just looks like finish cracks. Doesn't look like it goes with the grain. The headstock is probably fine also. :) I wouldn't worry. We have seen far worse made like new on this forum. :D
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Re: Unusual '74 Mustang: anyone seen one of these before?

Post by HedonismBot » Fri Jan 08, 2021 2:43 pm

Thanks everyone for your helpful tips (especially Bradley-Jazz)! I had to slightly adjust the angle of the neck in the neck pocket so that the distance between the edge of the fretboard and the E string is the same on both sides. It seems to play well now (sounds good too). I'm trying to negotiate a partial refund to cover the fret job and possibly, the nut replacement. Fingers crossed...

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Re: Unusual '74 Mustang: anyone seen one of these before?

Post by Pacafeliz » Fri Jan 08, 2021 10:58 pm

NICE guitar, also loving the white switches on the white guard! But man that but must go!
i love delay SO much ...that i procrastinate all the time.

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Re: Unusual '74 Mustang: anyone seen one of these before?

Post by HedonismBot » Sat Jan 09, 2021 3:44 pm

Bradley-Jazz wrote:
Wed Jan 06, 2021 4:23 pm
Oh, and is it a right hand trem sausage in backwards?
Gave it a closer look - it certainly is! You were right all along. Is there any reason for me to keep it that way? I’d rather have it on the standard way unless having it upside down helps the tuning stability or something.

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Last edited by HedonismBot on Sat Jan 09, 2021 4:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Unusual '74 Mustang: anyone seen one of these before?

Post by HedonismBot » Sat Jan 09, 2021 4:02 pm

Pacafeliz wrote:
Fri Jan 08, 2021 10:58 pm
NICE guitar, also loving the white switches on the white guard! But man that but must go!
Thanks, man! Yup, I’m intending to replace it ASAP. The question is whether the seller or myself will pay for it. I’m expecting him to pay for the fret leveling for sure cause that was totally his mistake and wasn’t visible at all in the pictures. Not sure if he’s going to give me a hard time about the nut since, technically, it was shown in the pictures (not very well, though, and nothing about the condition of the nut was mentioned in the description). But replacing the nut is not a big deal of course. Anyway, I’ll see how much the repairs will cost when I take it to a local shop next week and I’ll go from there. Sorry about the long rant. 😁

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Re: Unusual '74 Mustang (mystery solved, thanks everyone)!

Post by HedonismBot » Sat Jan 09, 2021 4:18 pm

Oh, one more thing. I like how the pickups sound, but they hum quite a bit. I know this is by no means unusual for single coils. But I noticed that whenever I put a finger on the metal control plate or one of the 4 screws around the switches, the humming stops. Same when both pickups are in the middle (“off”) position. Could this mean that the pots are causing the hum? I have some basic skills in guitar setup and soldering, but I’ve never done any real mods. I’d like to keep the guts as original as possible. Are contact spray and copper foil shielding my best options here?

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Re: Unusual '74 Mustang (mystery solved, thanks everyone)!

Post by windmill » Sat Jan 09, 2021 5:42 pm

HedonismBot wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 4:18 pm
copper foil shielding my best options here?
yes

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Re: Unusual '74 Mustang (mystery solved, thanks everyone)!

Post by HedonismBot » Sat Jan 09, 2021 9:39 pm

Black knobs, pickup covers, and the whammy bar are officially back! 8)
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Re: Unusual '74 Mustang (mystery solved, thanks everyone)!

Post by Bradley-Jazz » Sun Jan 10, 2021 4:10 am

HedonismBot wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 9:39 pm
Black knobs, pickup covers, and the whammy bar are officially back! 8)
Image
It looks great - I think that’s all turned out rather well!

As for the buzzing that stops when you touch metal parts, that all sounds normal for Fender single coils - it should also stop when you touch the strings, yes? If not, you have a grounding wire that’s gone adrift somewhere (should be an easy fix).

Shielding may well help a bit, but will add adhesive gunk and reduce originality (personally, I’d live with the noise on a guitar like this). You do already have copper shielding plates in the bases of the cavities, so they ought to be doing something. If you have a multimeter, check that the shielding plates (and strings) have continuity to the ring of the output jack. If not, you’ll need to to track down the broken link.

EDIT. Looking at your photos, I can’t see any connection between the brass plates (not copper as I said above) in the pickup and switch cavities and the actual electrical circuit. Having “floating” metal in there can actually make noise worse, not better. Assuming the plates (including the one in the control cavity) aren’t grounded, that is what you need to do. I *think* in a classic mustang, there should be a wire from the pickup brass plate to the control cavity brass plate, then one from the control cavity brass plate to the back of the volume pot, but as long as they connect to ground....

Found this on the internet - supposed to be from 1966. See the links for “brass”

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Re: Unusual '74 Mustang (mystery solved, thanks everyone)!

Post by HedonismBot » Sun Jan 10, 2021 10:23 am

Bradley-Jazz wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 4:10 am
HedonismBot wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 9:39 pm
it should also stop when you touch the strings, yes? If not, you have a grounding wire that’s gone adrift somewhere (should be an easy fix)...

...You do already have copper shielding plates in the bases of the cavities, so they ought to be doing something. If you have a multimeter, check that the shielding plates (and strings) have continuity to the ring of the output jack. If not, you’ll need to to track down the broken link.

EDIT. Looking at your photos, I can’t see any connection between the brass plates (not copper as I said above) in the pickup and switch cavities and the actual electrical circuit. Having “floating” metal in there can actually make noise worse, not better. Assuming the plates (including the one in the control cavity) aren’t grounded, that is what you need to do. I *think* in a classic mustang, there should be a wire from the pickup brass plate to the control cavity brass plate, then one from the control cavity brass plate to the back of the volume pot, but as long as they connect to ground....
Touching the strings doesn’t stop the hum, just the 4 screws and the control plate. There is a wire connecting the brass plates inside the cavities and a wire connecting the plate in the control cavity to the volume pot. I’ll have to borrow a multimeter from a friend and see if I can find the spot where the connection has gone bad. Thank you so much for all your help! I really appreciate it.

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Re: Unusual '74 Mustang (mystery solved, thanks everyone)!

Post by Bradley-Jazz » Sun Jan 10, 2021 12:10 pm

Is there also a wire going through the hole between the pickup cavity and the control cavity joining the brass plates on either side? If not, there will need to be.

It does sound like the strings aren’t grounded. I’m not sure how this would have been done originally (there are a few places it could have been) but you can just take an offcut of B string and trap it under the trem plate and then under the control plate so that it contacts both (hidden where the two plates almost meet). The strings contact the sausage which contacts the trem plate which contacts the control plate (via the new bit of B string) which contacts the vol pot bolted to it, and the vol pot is grounded. Then I would expect the buzzing to stop, or at least get quieter when you touch the strings.

A basic multimeter is really cheap and worth investing in for anyone who wants to do basic electric guitar work, IMO. Just set it to buzzer (makes a noise when there is continuity) and then you can go round all the metal parts and check they are connected to the ring of the jack socket.

Good luck with the debugging!
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