The Fender Mustang bass, introduced in 1966, was originally marketed as a "student" bass with it's short 30" scale. It's easy to play, especially suited for those with small hands, or for guitarists used to smaller necks. It nevertheless packs a fair punch and has been used by several notable players...Bill Wyman ( Rolling Stones) , Tina Weymouth (Talking Heads), Trevor Bolder (Bowie) and Colin Moulding (XTC) spring to mind.
Here we have a sweet vintage Fender Mustang bass that I took apart to verify originality, check the set up and generally give a good clean..
The bass has the original Olympic White nitro cellulose finish which has crazed all over and has various patches of wear and dings that one would expect with a well played instrument that's over 50 years old. The body finish is nicely set off against the original red tortoiseshell pick guard.
The neck plate number , with a Fender "F" stamp and serial number 1977xx corresponds with a 1966 or 1967 instrument. The neck has not been cleaned in years, as evidenced by the ingrained dirt in the maple ... this will take some elbow grease to remove!
The transition logo on the instrument doesn't help dating the neck in this case as this logo didn't change to the all black logo until 1976 on the Mustang Bass (so this just indicates the neck is pre-1976)..for definitive dating, the neck needs to be removed. Someone has added an additional string tree for the E and A strings in the past, somewhat unnecessarily - this can be removed and the hole filled and retouched.The original cloverleaf tuners are in place and work well. The original bone nut fell out when the strings were removed, so just needs re-gluing in place. It looks rather worn but in facts functions perfectly. The frets are also in good condition and look to be original.
Removing the control plate reveals the original cloth covered wiring, capacitor and original pots ( although they are somewhat corroded and so not possible to read the dates on the back of them). The original pickups are dated 6-20-67 so this would confirm the bass is a 1967 rather than 1966 instrument. Again all the wiring is untouched. It has the original bridge plate and individual intonable saddles. A finger rest was originally located on the treble side of the pick guard, however this has been removed and a (non - original) thumb rest installed on the upper part of the pick guard. The original screw holes are still there so a finger rest can be reinstalled back to it's original position if required.
Removing the pick guard, the pickup cavity is unaltered. The neck pocket shows the pinholes and unfinished area where the body was originally supported during the spraying process. The neck date 17 May 67 B affirms that the neck is 1967 and original to the body.
Here's the bass in it's original orange lined case , the nut re-installed, and having had a good clean!
As a luthier, and also a vintage guitar enthusiast, I'll be posting articles about guitar repair, guitar construction, and also vintage instruments