The 64 Catalog

Stang Circa 1999

1964 Fender Mustang

Happy 40th!

Owning a guitar over 30 years, for me at least, is a little goofy. It's been kinda like having a wife of sorts, or an on again-off again relationship with an object. I've had a lot of guitars, but this one, my first "good" guitar, never got stolen, sold, or traded.

My brother bought it for $110 from a guy in Kensington, MD in 1972, never learned how to play, and so I got it.  The $75 'Stang was the first guitar I owned that was easy to play. The small neck fits my hands just right.

Holloween Rockin

Holloween Rockin' with the 'Stang in the late 70's
with Scotty Decker and Andy Operchuck

Anybody who's hung up on the "All Original" Mustang concept get over it. I gave up years ago. Mustangs were never worth more than $300 until recently. Let's face it, it's not a Strat or Tele and never will be. About $800 to $1200 for a mint pre-CBS is the going rate. I have a really clean stock white '65 pickguard with two custom wound Joe Barden's if I get the urge to go back to Leo's idea.

Also, not being a Nirvana fan, I never heard of a JagStang until last year. Looks like Mr. Kurt Kobain had some cool ideas and got Fender to mix it up a little. I don't care for the lead humbucker but the rest looks pretty cool. Where's the damn toggle switch.


The Original
1964 Fender Mustang
Serial # L50576
Alder Body - Olympic White
White Crushed Pearloid Pickguard
Maple Neck (8Nov64A)
Rosewood Fingerboard
Pearl Dots
Clay Side Markers
Kluson Tuners
2 Single Coil pickups
(one never worked)
1 Meg Volume - 250k Tone - .047 cap
Over The Years Mods
Schaller Gold Mini Tuners - ('75)
Blocked Tremolo / Rev Tailpiece - ('76)
DiMarzio Fat Strat Neck - ('75 -'98)
65 Fender Jaguar Bridge P/U - ('79)
Low E Jaguar bridge piece - ('79)
3 String Trees - ('79)
1st 3-way Toggle Switch - ('79)
Total rewire and new switches - ('97)
64 Fender Jaguar Neck P/U - ('98)
Current 2004 Birthday Setup
New White Pearloid Pickguard
(w/out switch holes)
Les Paul Style 3 way Switch
Vol. and Tone moved to lower holes
65 Fender Jaguar Bridge P/U
64 Fender Jaguar Neck P/U
No Jag pickup covers or claw
Jackplate on Side
Fully Shielded Wiring
250k Volume - 250k Tone - same cap

Old Fix-it Guy with 50's BucksI doubt Leo Fender had any idea his guitar world would be "here" back in '49. His simple basic designs have stood the test of time and are still rocking 50 years later, despite the "relic" hype.

Best Leo I've read; "I was always able to see the defects in the design of an instrument which overlooked completely the need of its maintenance. If something is easy to repair, it is easy to construct." 
Old Fix-it Guy.

Any serious Mustang player knows the flaws in the beast. As a players instrument, the pickup switching sucks. The '56 Duo-Sonic had the right idea, a toggle switch.  My guess is to keep it cheap to make and address the ground buzz, the slider switches were chosen.


The WinderAfter a stint winding pickups for Joe Barden, I got a lot more info on the wiring and setup of Fender guitars. Joe used to joke, "guitar wiring was invented by a little Mexican lady."

Well here she is, Abigail Ybarra. Legend has it she started in '56, started winding pickups in '59, and has been there ever since. No loyalty like that nowadays. Having been a winder, I know she dozed a bit.

Her proud job has completed life's circle. Nowadays she makes pickups the way she started in '59, dates and signs them "Abby", and they are triple the price. Go Figure.

Current 2004 Birthday Bash Setup
Step By Step


This is the 2001 setup - Worked good but I hated the polished Stainless Steel cover over the switch holes. 3 Way Switch Mod - Requires drilling hole for new jackplate or Tele style jack. Jack can get in the way of tone pot clearance wise so I used a new 12mm 250k pot.
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2001 Setup - Jag pickups screwed into wood. Noisy on switching and playing due to transmission through body. Note the sheilding paint in the cavity, about 6 coats. Worth every bit of the $26 for a pint can from Stew-Mac. New Warmoth pearloid pickguard with no switch holes cut and stock Strat pickup routs. They will custom cut any pickguard for any common pickups, but wouldn't do a 'Stang pickguard with Jag pickups, covers, and claws.
Copper foiled Warmoth pickguard trimmed up like a stripper beaver. Body required some whittling in the neck pickup rout and pickguard specs were off a little due to body aging. Jaguar pickups installed without the covers or claws. Old cloth wire removed and replaced with shielded Joe Barden wire. I slit the PVC and pulled the grounds out to keep the hot lead shielded almost all the way to the other eyelet.
Close up of previous. Note surgical tubing instead of springs with much better isolation. The yellow tubing will deteriorate with age, the clear/white nylon stuff will last 1000 years. Oval Stew-Mac jackplate with '64 jack. Requires 3/4" hole and guts to move a drill close to a guitar body. The Mustang body is rounded over and the plate is kinda flat across the bout so I hit the plate with a hammer a little in a vise.

The 40th Mods

Jag pickups and new guard without switch holes installed. Note a strat pickup cover DOES NOT fit on a Jaguar pickup. It'll take a while to get used to the non-crushed pearloid  pickguard but I think I like it. Got it back together and plays like a dream. The sound is slightly different with a 250k volume pot and the feedback problem is gone because of it. Might try a 500k just to see.
Also I switched to a 560pF bypass cap which works great. Should last another 40 years!

Here's a datasheet from a 70's Mustang - front  --  back  -   and a Fender Mustang Wiring Diagram


Bob Vogt
1964 Fender Mustang
  Bob Vogt 2004 - All Rights Reserved