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New Mustang Owners Guide?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, there's the thread I wrote years ago on the subject of getting the Fender Dynamic Vibrato to stay in tune under intense vibrato unit use. That's a good 2 or more pages worth of setup tips there.  I set all my 'Stang relatives up this way and have done so since 1999 without any problems. 



Useful Mustang Information

- Older Mustangs (64' and 65') Tend to have higher output and warmer sounding pickups than the later ones from my general concensus

- Mustangs from late 65' onward tend to have lower output/less winding, My 66' has a 5.6K Neck pickup and a 5.1K Bridge pickup

- Later Gray Bobbin pickups are excellent for feedback assisted sustain,  Fender was using some blue-coated magnet wire at the time that I think was FormVar or some other epoxy coated wire where the epoxy will bond together and create a wax-pot situation with the pickups, allowing one to stand with their mustang rather near a fully cranked stack and be able to have very controllable feedback.

- There are several varitions of Japanese FDV, and American ones can vary as well, some of the differences include

  • Vintage American units typically had an all-steel construction, Japanese units have a brass pivot plate, brass tail-bar, and brass bridge saddles, because of the lighter metal density, Japanese units tend to be a bit less brighter than their American vintage-era counterparts
  • Vintage American Units have the tail-bar closer to the bridge, and longer routs for the "legs" from the tail bar and springs, giving a bit more bar travel for dive-bombing than a modern Japanese unit.  Some Japanese units also have 3 notches instead of 2 and are longer inside the guitar, causing them to bottom out on the back of the cavity.  They can be cut shorter and that will give a little more travel. 
  • For a player like me, who is REALLY hard on this vibrato unit, you may eventually need to replace your plate, particularly on Japanese instruments where the plate is brass.  In my case, it took about 12 years of hard playing on that guitar to wear it out.  They are by far MORE economical than a licenced Floyd Rose in that regard - $30-40 every 10-12 years vs. $60-120 every 5-6.
  • MIJ units from the 90's have 2 notches, CIJ units from the later 2000's and some no-name repro units have 3 notches
  • To gain more travel out of a 3 notch, one can cut the bottom notch off with a Dremel or a Hacksaw.  That notch was added to use a factory stock setup point for .009 gauge string sets on the Mustang while keeping the trem setup on stock tolerances, it'll give you travel in line with, maybe a tad better than, an MIJ 90's unit, the only way to get a CIJ/MIJ guitar to have a "till the strings are limp" range is by lengthening the routs near the pivot posts.

I will add some more later when I have the time to make some diagrams.  I could go on a whole speil on using active pickups in Mustang/Duo/Jagstang style guitars and the various tricks required to have similar tonal options without making any permanent modifications to the instrument.  Plus some other stuff.

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