Strat-stang – combination Stratocaster and Mustang

[The following article was submitted by jag-stang.com visitor Lonnie. He was inspired to share the story of his strat-stang creation after reading about the Fender Mu-uar in a previous post. Please enjoy Lonnie’s great story below. ]

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Back in 1981 a high school buddy loaned me 1966 Mustang and allowed me to string it left-handed to try it out. Even with that awkward setup that neck fit my hand perfectly. I could not find a lefty Mustang anywhere so I ended up buying a Strat instead, which had its own nice features, but I never forgot how much I liked the feel of that Mustang neck.

Then in 1994 I walked into a music store and saw a new lefty reissue Mustang. I wanted it badly but I was unemployed and broke so I had to pass it up, swearing that I would someday come back and buy it. A year later I had a good job and was on my feet again, but when I went back to that music store I found out the Mustang had already been discontinued.

I kept looking and in 1998 I bought a `96 Jag-Stang (image) new for an astonishing $330. The neck was fantastic–heavenly! It felt just like the neck on my friend’s old Mustang. The body, however, was a different story. Sitting or standing, I just couldn’t get comfortable with it. I wished I could put that Jag-Stang neck on a Strat body but I knew they would not be compatible.

strat-stang bodyThen I remembered Warmoth made a 7/8 scale Strat body and I contacted them and asked if it would work. The owner at the time, Ken Warmoth, explained that he had designed the 7/8 body back in the 70’s as a direct replacement for a Mustang body, so the project was a go. In 1999 I ordered an alder body with hardtail bridge (let’s face it, tremolo just does not work on a 24″ scale) and fire engine red gloss polyurethane. I also had to buy a pickguard and bridge that specifically fit this body. I sold all the extra Jag-Stang parts to finance the purchase.As any Fender tinkerer knows, American Fenders were built with S.A.E. measurements and Japanese Fenders are Metric so mixing those parts require a little bit of nudging.

I had to slightly widen the neck pocket to accept the JS neck. After a lot of sweat and prayer it came together nicely. My goal was to build a Strat-stang, a hybrid of the parts I liked from the Strat and Mustang. As you can see from the photos, I chose a Strat contoured body, pickguard, pickup setup, bridge and jack, but with a Mustang scale and knobs.

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The bridge pickup is from the Jag-stang and the other two are temporaries from a Squire Strat, and eventually they will have solid black Mustang covers. I always liked the flexibility of the Strat Elite pushbutton pickup selector and incorporated that as well. I don’t like having the volume knob so close to the bridge so I plugged that hole and used the Mustang’s 1 volume/1 tone setup. Strat knobs are numbered right-handed which makes them confusing in a lefty setup; I prefer Mustang knobs because they’re easier to grip. I chose red, white and black to mimic the color scheme of my beloved `73 Musicmaster bass.

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The guitar is a terrific success. It is a joy to play, lightweight,absolutely comfortable and sounds delicious with acres of surfy twang and slink. I coated the routings with NickelPrint, which is a conductive paint that acts as a reasonably good EMF shield, and covered the back of the pickguard with aluminum foil duct tape. The end result is a silent guitar with no crackle or hum. I use D’Addario Light Top/Heavy Bottom strings, which seem to work well with the short scale.

My boss’s band has a lefty guitarist who has played it on a few occasions and loves it, wishing he had one of his own. I had hoped to build another with humbuckers to act as a pseudo Les Paul, but that leads to the down side of the story:

Two years ago I called up Warmoth to order a 7/8 scale pickguard cut for humbuckers, with the intention that if it sounded good like that I would order another body and build a second guitar. To my dismay I found out that Warmoth had been sold and they were no longer making any 7/8 scale parts. Worse yet, they had even tossed out the old templates. So now my StratStang is literally a one-of-a-kind.

To add insult to injury, Warmoth now makes Mustang parts and Fender is producing Mustangs yet again–both right-handed only. Needless to say, my opinion of Warmoth is just as obscene as my opinion of Fender.

Additional photos below. Click thumbnails for larger images.

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[Authored by: Lonnie]

3 thoughts on “Strat-stang – combination Stratocaster and Mustang”

  1. Hi mate, you wouldn’t happen to be interested in selling whats left of the Jag-Stang would you?

    Cheers,
    Shayne

  2. Lonnie, I went the other way and built a 25.5″ (Strat) scale Mustang. This was before I knew anything about guitars, really. And it is disproportionately ugly.

    Where did you get the idea that “tremelo” (actually a vibrato bar, I think you mean) doesn’t work on a 24″ scale? I play a Jaguar everyday, and it’s a lovely guitar.

    –Paul

  3. @Shayne: As stated in the article, all spare Jag-Stang parts were auctioned to finance the project. I had to; the Warmoth body was quite expensive.

    @Paul: I opted for the more-popular-but-inaccurate term tremolo. There’s no winning that one.

    The high school buddy who had the 66 Mustang also owned a Japanese-made Jagmaster, and we could not get these vibrato systems or the original on my Jag-Stang to stay in tune like we could on Strats. If you can get yours to work, more power to you. I’m still glad I went hard tail.

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