SOLD!: 1966 Fender Mustang Guitar, Daphne Blue Refinish

  • Posted by Krishna
  • at 4/10/2008 12:51:00 PM -
Yet another project I recently took on - a stripped 1966 Mustang guitar. The guitar is mostly all there, with the exception of the finish on the body. The guitar was originally Daphne Blue and given what a nice color that is, and the Kurt Cobain connection, I have decided I will return this guitar to its original color.

As with many members of the Mustang/Musicmaster family of guitars and basses, the body appears to be made of poplar as opposed to the alder that Fender usually used. I say poplar because of the greenish color of the grain.

The changes to the guitar are limited to the following:
- two slider switches replaced with toggles
- one pot replaced with a 68 pot
- tremelo bar missing
- strap buttons replaced
- body stripped

The guitar is in very good condition and with a refin and a setup will be an excellent example of this classic 60s guitar. The case is worn but all there, and is covered in the proper silver-grey material with a burnt orange interior.

The main thing that has to be done is that the body must be sanded down and then refinished. Fortunately the body doesn't appear to have been too roughly stripped and the clear refinish appears to be lacquer of some sort, so sanding it smooth may actually provide a good sealer coat for the refin.

The first step is to disassemble the guitar. Note the traces of the original finish in the neck pocket and bridge cavities.

The pickups have hand written dates of "8-2-1966" on their bobbins to match the August 1966 neck stamp.

One last interesting feature are the two letters "ES" stamped into the wood under the pickguard - these may have been added later by one of the guitars many owners or may be from the factory - as the lettering is in the same style that Fender applied to factory refins during the 1960s - though I have no idea what "ES" would stand for.

I have ordered a gallon of Daphne Blue nitrocellulose from Eastern ChemLac for this guitar and expect to refinish it within the next week or so - check back for updates!

(Update, April 19th 2008)

The guitar body is now painted Daphne Blue - below are two pictures of the color coat, just after wet sanding and awaiting clear coating.

( Update April 22nd, 2008)

From Clay Herrel's alway's informative site ( - here is an explantion of the "ES" stamp under the pickguard of this Mustang:

" In 1966, Fender used the "ES" code a lot on their custom color instruments. At least for 1966, the ES code was used as some sort of default for custom colored instruments (be it Teles, or Strats or Jazz Basses). This two letters ("ES" for "Enter Special") seems to denote a special order, at least for 1966. Again this is has been seen lots of times on 1966 documented original custom color instruments. I have also seen the "ES" stamp on some 1966 sunburst instruments! (Perhaps these guitars were special show models, so extra care was taken in their finish.) The 1/2" tall 2-letter code were a factory color code, and are completely different than the 1/2" tall three-digit codes. The two-letter code appears to be CBS/Fender's way of specifying bodies to be painted a custom color for a special order once the body was in the spray booth. If a guitar has a two letter code on the body *only* (and not the neck), again this confirms the 2-letter code was an original factory color code (and does not indicate a factory refinish order). But then there is this question: why do only some 1965-1968 custom color Fenders have this two letter code and others do not? It may have to do with how many custom colored guitars were being painted at any point in time, and the 2-letter code was applied to avoid confusion. Or it was applied just for particular special orders (like a Fender NAMM show guitar or a special dealer/artist order)."

So there you have it - someone wanted a Daphne Blue Mustang - and they wanted it NOW !!!

After clear coating - the body had a tinted clear coat applied , which slightly greens out and dulls the color - so that the finish looks more like an older Daphne Blue finish. This is with a little ambering - I will clear coat it again and then buff out the finish to a nice shine. This guitar should be ready this coming week!

With the parts just sitting in place - still need to replace those switches - but starting to look good !

(Update May 11 2008)

Ok another project completed and ready to go - this turned out to be a very cool little guitar. I was able to find a nice wiring diagram online and a few pictures of the wiring for an all original 'stang - which enabled me to replace the two switches and wire everything up correctly. I had to use some reissue cloth wire in a few places but was also able to save a bit of the 42 year old wiring.

I also replaced the one incorrect pot with a recent CTS pot, but the other pot, capacitor and jack are original.

The crazy dual switch set up of the Mustang guitar allows for some serious tonal variation - kind of cool, but I guess you'd really have to remember which combinations you want for which sounds. I found the one PHAT setting - very nice!

Finally - after wet sanding and buffing out the body - the guitar was ready for reassembly - and it turned out well - see below for a selection of pictures. I replaced the super light strings it had on it with a set of medium/heavy strings and loosened up the over-tightened truss rod - and the guitar dialed right in.

Just like good ol' Kurt Cobain used to play - except not a lefty !

I will be adding more pictures in the near future.

I am asking $1100 plus shipping for this guitar - though I am willing to negotiate downwards if you don't want the original 1966 neckplate.

SOLD - thank you to Axel in Germany - enjoy it !!


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  1. I bought a 1965 Mustang that had been refinished. It was originally Dakota Red and had a fair number of dings and deep scratches so a previous owner had refinished it in Dakota Red leaving the dings and scratches untouched.

    I want a natural wood look without the dings & scratches so I've stripped and sanded the slab. Oooops! Now I know what Poplar is. While your Mustang is a nice slab of fairly uniform color and texture, mine is two pieces of Poplar, one dark brown and one light tan, each with pronounced variegation...not unusual for Poplar.

    I've gel stained the brown side with light tan; and gel stained the tan side with a butterscotch. This softened the contrast and left the grain visible. This slab'll never look like one peice of wood but I think I can further bring the two colors into harmony by spraying several coats of Fender Neck Amber. The body will nearly match the neck and the grain will be visible...this is what I'd hoped for.

    If you or anyone reading this has suggestions, I'd be interested to hear.

    Doug Pratt

  2. Where did you find the wiring diagram for this guitar?

  3. I sent an email about doing a similar job to your email.

  4. Hi there - email just replied to - sorry for the delay!!

  5. I have a 66 Mustang Daphne Blue al original with case, manual and receipt - the guitar is set-up nice and plays well but the body is in tough shape! I paid $1,600 - The was not the student guitar but a full length neck.

  6. I have a 1965 Mustang that has also been stripped of its paint which used to be Dakota question is, why on earth what someone just sand the paint off of a guitar? this guitar would be worth so much more if it still had the original paint. the parts are all original but still..