mustang vs bronco playing frustration

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by pcake, Jun 17, 2020.

  1. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    as some of you may know, i bought a spiffy surf green MiM mustang a while ago. it sounds truly wonderful to me, but it hurts my previously damaged right shoulder to play it for more than a minute or two.

    and yet i can play my bronco all freaking night most days with no issues.

    the bodies are SO similar that i thought that the bronco basically used the mustang as a body template, as they look the same. yet after i found i could play one but not the other, i measured various areas, and there are subtle differences. they're so subtle i can't figure out why there's such a major difference. btw, it's my right shoulder that experiences pain from the "reaching over" position caused by basses that raise my arm at the point of contact with the bass.

    i've been considering selling my mustang as i haven't been able to play it, and about half an hour ago, i took it out, started to play it sitting in my normal position, and within seconds my right shoulder started to develop that all-too familiar deep ache that usually takes days to weeks to go away.

    and yet i played my bronco last night in the same chair and same position for a couple hours. no pain at all.

    i thought "maybe i could put the mustang pickups in a mikro or something similar", but i could buy fender PJ pickups for less than what i'd get for selling my mustang. nothing else in my collection sounds as good to me as my mustang.

    what would you do in my situation?
  2. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    Sounds like the Mustang has to go, what good is a bass no matter how good it sounds if you can't play it?
    What I would do is sell the Mustang and use the funds to mod the Bronco to have PJ pickups and also replace the bridge to be similar or even better internally and electronics to the Mustang.
  3. BassyFred


    May 22, 2020
    Did you try to change your position with a footrest? If I play on the sam chair with a footrest it feels more comfortable. When I sit down on a low chair the same bass feels not the same.
    123Nil likes this.
  4. Volker Kirstein

    Volker Kirstein Blippy the Wonder Slug

    I've noticed a similar phenomenon with my Bronco and Bronco clone (and more recently the Mini P) in relation to my other shortys. The other shortys aren't as comfy to play as the Broncos/Mini. They're easily playable, and lightweight, but they just don't "fit me" like the Broncos/Mini.

    Even between the 3/4 P (30") and the Mini P (28.5") the difference is noticeable. Which is weird because they look almost identical side by side. But as you've noted, there are millimeters of difference between the two.

    If you were on this side of the ocean I'd offer to take the Mustang off your hands. :roflmao:
  5. RSBBass


    Jun 11, 2011
    You could try different positions like playing in a high stool or the suggested foot rest but if you can't get comfortable, let it go. Also, your Bronco is a good bass. If it feels that good, I would just play it. A huge portion of "tone" is really in your fingers. A bass that feels good to play will inspire you to play. You will find your tone with your bass.
    123Nil likes this.
  6. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    the bridge on the MiM mustang isn't great and isn't a drop-in. if i was going to do that, i'd buy a different bridge - a wider one - and route whatever was needed.

    i was thinking more of doing this with a mikro because A) i love my bronco and B) we tried putting the mustang pickups into an ibanez GSR100EX and discovered there's a lot we don't know - it never sounded very good, so i figure dropping them into a 2 pickup bass might help us sort that out.

    btw, the fender wiring guide to mustangs with my serial number have been proven wrong on at least a couple of issues, so we don't really have a guide to what to use and how to wire.

    that makes it worse. my problem is the arm is too high, but if i try lowering my leg, the bass falls off...
    alaskaleftybass and Maxdusty like this.
  7. jallenbass

    jallenbass Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    Does the neck angle stay the same when playing either bass? One thought I have is that maybe the Mustang has more neck dive and therefore raises the back of the bass up higher.
    SidNitzerglobin likes this.
  8. bassdude51

    bassdude51 "You never even called me by my name." Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2008
    Central Ohio
    Man, sorry about your Mustang dilemma. That is a head scratcher problem. I have a Bronco and it has rounded edges but no arm or tummy contour. Doesn't the Mustang have an arm contour? ?????? Is that the difference?

    My son gave the Bronco to me as a gift. It has been my one and only short scale bass. I did switch out the pickup for a Dragonfire dual blade AlNiCo magnet Strat humbucker. At the time, eBay was selling them for $39. Now I think that they are $49.

    The Dragonfire turned the Bronco into a very fantastic sounding bass guitar. Blindfold, a person would not know the difference compared to a full scale P Bass.

    We certainly hope that you can resolve your Mustang problem! It sounds like an easy fix but certainly an unusual strange problem! DSCF8723.JPG DSCF8727.JPG
  9. CallMeAl


    Dec 2, 2016
    Ithaca Ny
    I have been A/Bing my 2 Precision Basses. They are nearly identical, down to weight and neck profile. But one just feels better. It’s got the je ne sais quoi. Except lucky for me, the better player sounds better to me as well. Still...

    I will always choose ergonomics/ playability over sound. That bronco seems to have the “it” factor for you. I don’t think you’re suggesting trying to mod it with PJ (are you?) but I would definitely look into a new pickup, try to make it the best bronco it can be! That dragonfire idea above is very interesting....
  10. hopwheels

    hopwheels Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2015
    Atlanta, GA
    Just curious. Do you use a strap adjusted to carry the weight of your bass while you’re seated? I have to sometimes because of an issue with resting the bass on my right leg. I notice I have less shoulder pain afterwards. I can only figure the micro movements to support the bass at the same time as playing contribute to muscle and joint fatigue? Hope you sort the issue. Chronic pain sucks.
    pcake likes this.
  11. Steve Dallman

    Steve Dallman Supporting Member

    I'm guessing the big difference is headstock weight, with the heavier tuners on the Mustang.
    sabre79 likes this.
  12. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    i can't use a strap for any but the very lightest basses due to issues with the other shoulder *sigh *

    the body measurements are different in several spots - weird differences i would never spot on my own. it took a tape measure and calipers to figure out that there are a variety of differences in the body that lead to the lower bout pushing up where my arm meets it, and that's always a problem for me.

    it's also possible that the lack of a fingerboard contributes in some way, but in general my bass issues have to due with my right arm being pushed upward when playing. i had tearing in that both shoulders but the right one was hyperextended and in over 10 years is better but still has very unforgiving issues.
  13. BassyFred


    May 22, 2020
  14. BassyFred


    May 22, 2020
    Fix a stopper on your leg or chair or create a separate stand in playing position.
    -Asdfgh- likes this.
  15. lazarusdoom

    lazarusdoom Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2013
    meridian ms
  16. RayWithFlats


    Mar 22, 2020
    on the 1
    I’d go with the Bronco, 100%. I’m sure you know better than I do that if the Mustang is causing pain now it may also be creating issues which will get worse in the future. If the Bronco is ‘the One’ ergonomically, then move the Mustang on and invest the money in making the Bronco sound as good as it feels. You can have as many basses as you like but you only get one body. Good luck, I hope you find a solution that works for you soon.

    One last thought, if you do move on the Mustang, maybe spending the money on a kick-ass preamp pedal will get the Bronco closer to the sound you’re looking for. You might get what you want without having to carve up the Bronco.
    alaskaleftybass and mikewalker like this.
  17. As has been said here, maybe the headstock and tuner weight makes the Mustang more work on your shoulder?

    I have two Musicmasters and a Bronco. Other than the fact that the Squier version of the Musicmaster is heavier than the other two, I have no real issues with any of them in playing.

    Now this may not be helpful at all, or a lucky guess but have you changed the strap? I used to use a gel shoulder pad on my straps when I originally had some issues/weakness with my left arm and shoulder. That all turned out to be a major (to me anyway) surgery in my cervical spine.

    After the surgery I had months of recovery time where I could not play my basses due to soreness and the weight. I was fortunate enough to have a friend that loaned me a Hofner Club violin bass to play while I recovered, very light and at least I was able to play even if I didn't particularly love the bass.

    Anyway, I bought one of these straps for the Squier Musicmaster (remember it's the heaviest) and it made such a difference I now have one on all 3 of my basses. SUPER comfortable, they're so well padded. Just a thought, if you like the Mustang it might make a difference. That is assuming you gig standing and not sitting of course.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2020
  18. Avigdor


    Aug 23, 2018
    I would take both basses to a physiotherapist, and demonstrate playing (holding) them both. I'm always very impressed how well and accurately they will diagnose things. With an accurate diagnosis you can then contemplate next steps, or even better, find out how to make the mustang play nicely with your physique.

    Where I sit in the UK it's a £30 one off for a diagnostic consultation at my physio of choice, and I'd consider that a good investment. YMMV. Plus think of the bragging rights for that physio at the next hangout: "You'll never guess what, but last week I had a musician with not ONE, but TWO basses, yes, electric bass guitars, come in... yes, I'll have another, thank you very much." :)
    eccles77, Waltsdog, dmt and 10 others like this.
  19. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    Yeah, I wouldn't touch the Bronco if it already works for you. I'm not very handy in terms of soldering and electronics work so on my Peavey Fury, I just bought the pickups and wiring harness already all hooked up from a CV Squier P bass and plopped it in there. The Fury's wiring and pots needed replacing, wasn't too sure about the pickup, so it's essentially the body, weight and neck of the Fury with the complete innards of a CV bass. It works out really well for me, bass is terrific. You're right, the Mikro body/neck might be a better candidate for something similar to this.
    I'm pretty much in the same boat with my shoulder, picked up a MIM Fender Urge due to the lighter weight, smaller body and medium scale length. It's got a great neck on it too. It's a very comfortable bass for me and serves as my Jazz bass alternative.
    BassBuzzRS, mikewalker and pcake like this.
  20. funkinbottom

    funkinbottom Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2006
    Northern CA.
    Personally, I would sell the 'Stang to fund the modding of the Bronco. I would go the P/J config since that seems to be your preference. If routing for a split P is too much a PITA, I would be tempted to go with 50s type single coil P at the neck, and a J in the bridge. Maybe 2 single Ps with Jazz spacing? I know Sentell makes a very good sounding one, as well as Seymour Duncan 50s Antiquity, and both of those are right around $90 each.