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RI Vs. Old

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vintage are no doubt (in Most cases) better guitars, But! RI's are Much better value. that vintage crap is a joke, no way its worth that extra few grand. that being said if you have the cash go vintage, you one live once and it might be a guitar that lasts your entire life.

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Well, the reissue is already a grand. Which is ludicrous for being a Japan import IMO. I guess the sales went up because of inflation... Anyway, that being said I'm having a hard time finding a vintage Mustang. I really want an Olympic white one around '65 era. I have plated the RI and was actually quite happy but I wonder how I would like the "real deal". Thanks.

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ive compared my 65 RI to my cousins vintage 69 mustang and the sound was similar.

but i do prefer mine over his for a few reasons

the electronics are not scratchy like vintage guitars can be

the fear of it being hurt/stolen/burned/etc is far less than compared to a vintage instrument

my reissue pickups sounded better and more gritty than the originals which sounded thinner

over all if you arent a professional high dollar musician and just want something that will sound great and serve you well i'd go for the RI

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I've played RI's and I own a 66 and the only reasons I prefer the 66 is because its old and beat up and its a part of early Fender history. If my 66 wasn't beat up i would never have bought it, That goes for any vintage guitar. I plan on getting a 69 competition blue mustang and a 65/66 jaguar and a 65/66 jazzmaster and all must be beat up somewhat or I simply wont buy them.

I like old things, semi broken things and things that show their age.

As far as the mustang is concerned, it has nothing to do with sound IMO. They (RI & Old) both sound pretty much the same thru any dirt pedal anyway. If you are playing them crystal clean into a twin reverb or something then maybe the vintage ones may sound a little better but I'm not 100% on that.

RI mustangs were good enough for Cobain so they are good enough for me (or anyone IMO)too, I just happened to be in the position to buy when my 66 mustang came up so I bought it, I was planning on getting a RI comp stang before hand though.

In my experience the difference between RI's and vintage is NOT apples and oranges.

One thing though, the vintage ones feel nicer in your hands to some degree....but then, that could all be in ya head too as you get a buzz out of playing a 43 YO guitar!

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Learning the objective facts about Mustangs, and all guitars really, interests me and motivates my playing, so I'm glad you got this thread going. I don't have alot of technical knowledge along these lines but I'll add my 2 cents.

My pre-CBS '65 Mustang has the long-scale neck and is in really good condition. It looks almost identical to Bandit's natural finished Mustang in the photo above, but mine has the original pickups. The neck's small and fast with easy access all the way up. I prefer these traditional frets myself and don't know if RI Mustang frets are bigger. My hands are medium-sized (I'm a 6' mesomorph) and get a bit crampy after playing lots of barre chords for more than five minutes. I think a chunkier neck would prevent this but I do not know if the RI necks are the same size as vintage necks or a bit larger.

The '65 vintage Mustang's surprisingly light and comfortable to wear all night. The slab is Poplar and very thin, and these two features account for the light weight and what I'd call a "comfortable fit". After about 1969 I think, Mustang bodies became thicker and heavier, but they were given an ergonomic sculpting at the back upper-right for more comfort.

For single coils that are 44 years old, I get surprisingly little hum, like 1 on a 1 to 10 scale. Now that's at home with no neon and few fluorescent lights; playing in a honkey-tonk I might hear something different. Some folks have said their old pups are a bit thin. Maybe my decent amp, a Peavey Classic 30, compensates for that, or maybe I'm not experienced enough with more up-to-date guitars. I know that playing my bridge pickup with the tone cranked up, and with the amp gain at 1 o'clock and reverb at noon, my upper three strings give a surprisingly strong, almost aggressive lead tone and good sustain as well. This is with the amp volume on about 3, guitar volume all the way up, and using 10 gauge strings. More gain, more sustain. Don't know about feedback. I just haven't experimented with finding that, yet

The in-phase, out-of-phase switches are fun to play with. With both pickups out-of-phase and the tone cranked up, this old axe honks & barks. Then, with the amp gain between 1 and 3 o'clock, I find earthy, gritty tones...I don't get these tones from my semi-hollowbody Epi Casino. I haven't found the "heavy whipping cream" blues-rock tone which I prefer, but I do get nice grainy rock tones like Faces and early Stones.

The trem system works great...she stays in tune! And with the 10s, she bends with the best.

I replaced a broken switch; added a NOS bridge cover and trem bar, parts long lost from most vintage Mustangs. The original switch is in the OHSC, which is in very good, slightly worn condition, adding to the vintage appeal and value. Everything else is original and working perfectly. Here's the best part...

I got this handsome, great playing piece of rock histroy from a reputable vintage dealer for $850.00 The reason I got a good deal is it had been refinished. So if you're patient, willing to compromise on vintage purity, and do some good hunting, you could find a reasonably-priced vintage Mustang that's a really good player.

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Doug, it was nice to read what you had to say. That is really awesome/inspiring that you found a great playing vintage Mustang!

Update: I decided to grab a Mustang '65 RI because I have played it before and loved it. I would love to hunt for a good vintage one day but the cost and time it took me to find a vintage Marshall was just too stressful! I also got to buy some more pedals with the left over money!

Thanks guys, glad to be a Mustang owner!


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IMHO, if you want vintage, then get one. You won't be satisfied with anything less. If age is not important, then a reissue should suffice. Reissues will not hold their value like a vintage. But then, who is concerned with that? If built well and setup properly, it should play every bit like a vintage, but for a smaller price tag.

Side note:

Since my 69 Mustang Comp came back from the spa, she has easily become my primary electric... again. She stays in tune... period. I put 010 Elixir Nanos on her... mmmm tasty! Sounds great, plays great, looks great, is lighter than my Strat Plus and far lighter than my LP clones. As for pup hum, I never really noticed any. Neck thickness has never bothered me. I change from Mustang to LP to Ovation to 12 string without a problem. But thats just me.

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Some great posts in this thread. The only thing i can emphasize is THE NECK!

There is something beautiful about a vintage neck. Maybe its that worn in feel like your favorite pair of Cons on your feet, im not sure, maybe its psychological mojo playing with you... but its sure good.

I have a 3 60s necks on various short scales and 1 70s, i have also had 2 other 70s necks that i sold (duh) and i can honestly say they are amazing.

Something surprised me a few weeks ago, i use my 65 Mustang in a Punk covers band i play in besides my main band and at this venue the Mustang drew more attention than anything. Old Punks were asking me if they could have a go on it and none of them could put it down. They all loved the neck.

RI's are damn good guitars though, definitely pro standard with maybe the odd tweak. In a real world i think everyone should aspire to the Vintage guitar of their dreams but dont get disilusioned, RI's are more practical for many reasons, especially for live work.

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I would go for an RI too. Not for sonic reasons, but more because I would not feel right owning a vintage instrument. I'm not sure why, but I can be a bit odd that way. I think I would feel too precious about playing it, and I would treat it more like an investment than like a tool.

And to second what Fran said, gotta agree. The feel of the neck on the guitar is such a huge factor. That is what your hands are interacting with. It's the heart of the instrument. Im not sure if the profile is the same on the RI's as it is on older insruments...

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm new here - I can only compare a '69 Vintage (white) and a '69 CIJ Reissue (aged white). The vintage has not "yellowed" nearly as much as the RI would suggest. Plus the pickguard on the vintage is actually red, whereas the RI is more of a ruddy brown. The RI has more hum, a sloppier tremolo bar, and a really sloppy bridge that doesn't center properly, so goes out of tune within 2-3 minutes - especially if the tremolo is used. However, it has a raunchier tone and plays equally as well, except for the tuning thing.

Does anyone have a solution / fix /replacement for the very wobbly bridge on the RI? I was considering a sleeve of vinyl or latex tubing over the post to fill the gap in the ferrule. Or should I try to replace it with a better-designed bridge?

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