1966 Fender Mustang Restoration: Taking Stock

First things first, I need to see what I’ve got myself into here.

The good news is it seems reasonably complete. It’s missing one pickup cover, one tuning peg, and the tremelo arm, but otherwise everything else is there. Too early to declare how much of it is original, but we’ll uncover that as we go.

The fretboard seems in reasonable condition with only a little wear. Still very playable. I can’t see any signs of a refret, but if it has been, it was a very good job. I suspect maybe the paint job is an old one and it hasn’t been played much since…can’t imagine why 🙂

Date on the neck supports the seller’s claim that it’s a 66 (well, the neck anyway).

The picture below (taken from www.fendermustangstory.com) shows the 3 different colour combinations available on the 65/66 Mustangs. It’s a little hard to see, but the the white body/red pickguard combo on the right has light coloured switches, matching the pickup covers. Mine has black switches, meaning it was originally one of the two on the left. Under all that paint hopefully I’ve got a white tortoiseshell pickguard.

It has a F-series neck plate, and the serial puts it in the ballpark of 66/67.

Unscrewing the scratch plate, the electronics look old but in pretty good condition, but I’ll need to do some more research. What I’ve been able to find so far supports the 66 dating.

Overspray in the body cavities suggests it has been red at some stage, but whether that is the original colour or not remains to be seen.

Under that black paint, things got a little interesting. On the front the layers appear to be black, red, then some sort of yellowish stain then timber. On the back, however, it’s black, then grey, then the yellowish stain. Not sure that the story is behind why the back would have a grey primer but not the front, and no sign of the red.

Front finish.
No sign of the red on the back, but what’s with the grey?

The pickup assembly and switchplate were connected to the brass shielding using these connectors which definitely feel unoriginal.  The wires were simply twisted together and pushed up into these caps.

Rubbing carefully through the paint on the pickguard at first revealed what looked like red tortoiseshell, which didn’t jibe with the colour combinations and switch colours mentioned before.

That red is deceiving, note the white showing through on the curved edge.

I admit to feeling quite disappointed at this point, as it appeared to be less intact than I originally thought. However, on closer inspection this was red spraypaint on top of a white tortoiseshell pickguard, so the poor thing seems to have been “updated” more than once. Pleased these might still be the original bits, but not looking forward to getting that pickguard cleaned up.

Everything is now photographed, bagged and tagged. Assuming my research backs up my impression so far, it looks promising that most of the parts are original.

Leave a Reply