Fender MG69-BECK. I love, love, love this guitar to pieces. I posted a couple other Japanese offsets recently (a Jaguar and a Pawn Shop Special Mustang) and mentioned about both that I didn’t feel like taking on a new project. Well, when I bought this guitar, I did.
It’s based on a ‘69 Mustang used in a manga/anime called Beck, which I admit I’ve never read or seen - I’m not an anime fan, honestly. I purchased it because it’s by far the most accurate replica of a proper ‘69 competition Mustang that Fender offers. It’s only sold in Japan, however, so I had to import one.
It has the correct neck profile, 7.25” fretboard radius, and low frets of a 1969 model. It also has the correct poplar body (Fender favors basswood on most reissues), and the body is actually the correct thickness AND has the correct edge bevel radius, which is pretty remarkable - most Fender repros have thicker bodies and more tightly radiused edges. It also has an orange painted headstock with the white Fender decal, and is in fact the only Fender repro I know of that uses this white decal. The orange headstock paint is slightly wrong, though: it covers the sloped end of the rosewood fretboard. It’s an odd mistake to make, since other Japanese Fenders with painted headstocks have done it correctly.
So the main issue here was the guts. It has the typical CIJ mini pots and bad switches and whatever. I decided to rewire it with CTS pots, Switchcraft switches and jack, a vintage surplus cap, and cloth shielded wire. Unfortunately, I only had solid core wire - braided core would have been more ideal as long lengths of solid core can break. I had to drill out the control plate with a drill press to make this all fit, which was fun. Eventually, I replaced its pickups with the ‘66 single coils from the Duo-Sonic II in the last photo.
The wiring is nonstandard, by the way. Normal Mustangs have two 3-way switches that control pickups as follows: On/Off/On, Reverse Phase. The thing is there’s no point in a two-pickup guitar having two phase switches, since the pickups are either in phase with one another or they’re not, meaning having both switches in position 1 is the same as having both in position 3, and so on. Mine is wired so that the neck position switch is standard (on/off/phase) and the bridge position is (on/off/series-parallel). This way, I still get all the normal control options of a Mustang but also the pickups-in-series tonal options of an original Duo-Sonic. It kind of owns: this guitar sounds mean as hell with its pickups in series.
Finally, I swapped the bridge for a Mastery - a very expensive part, but any Fender offset owner who’s used one can tell you why it’s such a great piece. It offers massive stability benefits, eliminates string jumping, and is just a fantastically designed and built part. I also replaced with set screw that tensions the trem arm with a thumbscrew so you can actually adjust it on the fly without tools.
And yes, I have a spare Mastery bridge kicking around. I’m kind of a nut about offset Fenders and I like to keep one handy in case I get another.