JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

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Amon 7.L
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JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by Amon 7.L » Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:48 am

Hi everyone.
This is a project I started around July 2017. As per topic label, you guess it right: it's a Jag-stang. I wanted to build a Jag-stang.
Not the usual one, nor the "Jag-stang done right" of the famous polaroid mock up, I'm talking about the sonic blue prototype that Cobain used whilst it still was at developing stage.

How this started:
Well, I'm a lefty. This means that finding a production model is as hard as you can get, prices skyrocketted and most important: it doesn't look at all like what I'm after... Hence, let's jump into something unusual.

My goal with this thread is to revive this unicorn of guitar which seems to fascinate people like me and fellow member AcrylicSuperman who'd like to see this thing back to life. (Thanks heaps for sharing your precious findings on the subject.)
Needless to say.. I call out to the entire OSG community collaboration.. if you want to help, you're more than welcome.

I'm going to describe my steps chronologically, so.. bear with me and forgive me for the time it will take to gather all the memos and stuff of these past 2 years.

Specimen in action:

Image

July 2017:
As every new build commands.. we do need a template, interwebz gave us the finger and the only reference i had at that time was this hi-res picture of the production model:

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Do you guys see it? You've spot it, right?... Nope? They DO-NOT-LOOK alike.
For now we're gonna use it as a reference in the drafting board and work our way from/to/out the cardboard tracings:

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After some inspection and some comparison with loads of online pictures I decided that the top one is the alleged prototype and the lower one is the revision for the further fiesta red counterpart. (Bear with me on this for a sec.)

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let's overlap'em to see what we get.. (I've already noticed neither of them look anything like the prototype or the production models).. take a look:

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Alright, they're made out of cardboard and we can't ask for CAD-level accuracy but.. heck.. the outlines are totally off with each others and do not reflect anything of what has turned into guitar.

Then, ongoing research online provided me this jag-stang tracing:

Image
Yes, this one is off too, the center line is bonkers, the outline is quite there but -trust me on this one- working with it on CAD showed that neck pocket is off (too long on the neck side).

let's turn this template yellow and add it to the mix:

Image

Bang. Now I can hear you say: "you see? you're blind. The yellow outline almost perfectly matches the red one, you fool!"
Well, it does if you think the cardboard was a reference that it surely has found further tweaking when CAD was involved prior to construction of the fiesta red prototype.
BUT.. this overlapping diagram proves one important thing.. the sonic blue cutout DOES NOT match the live action prototype counterpart (the lower waist just below the control plate should have been waaay fatter and rounder)
Image

Being the Jag-stang a Jaguar/Mustang crossover I thought I'd have better luck with using a straight mustang pickguard but.. nope
Image
it doesn't match the production model but it's close
Image
they look similar with some different nuances but.. none of them flows in harmony with the lower horn shape.

You're still not convinced? Check this out:
Image

This is just the prelude.. then I'll fire up the real CAD forensic prototype re-drawn I'm still working on.
for now I can anticipate this sneak peak. A quick photoshop mockup with an older revision of my CAD:
Image

(Onwards from rev. 7f I've managed to crack the entire lower horn+pickguard+lower waist side of the guitar. The top horn is what I think really needs further work)

Stay tuned.. and don't be shy, I'd like to hear from you guys :)
Last edited by Amon 7.L on Thu Aug 08, 2019 2:01 am, edited 6 times in total.

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by AcrylicSuperman » Thu Apr 18, 2019 6:31 am

As Amon 7.L has dug into the shapes of the bodies, I dug into the history behind it. Unfortunately, I wont be able to make this post as colorful as the post above.

In my research, I found that Kurt's gear is surrounded by myths and legends and rarely is the info accurate, especially when it come from Fender themselves.

In my research and conversation held with Scott Zimmerman, Kurt wanted a couple Fender USA Mustangs for the In Utero tour, however, Dan Smith and Fender USA couldn't make Mustangs in their factory at the time and instead, asked Fender Japan for a few Mustangs instead. Fender Japan refused to ship just a couple, so they made Kurt buy 10 Mustangs. According to Scott, who built the Mustangs, he was only able to ship 6 of these to Kurt before his death. Ordered were 5 Sonic Blue and 5 Fiesta Red. Received before death were 4 Sonic Blue and 2 Fiesta Red. The necks were slightly modified versions of their 69RI necks of the time.

Why is this information important? Well, Scott didn't just build those Mustangs, he also built the necks for the Jagstang prototypes. It also shows both how badly Fender didn't have their act together and how quick they were to make a buck and why these points are both important.

I believe that Kurt wanted his Jaguar neck cloned for the Jagstang. If you are a fan of his Jaguar, then you know that Kurt bought the guitar from session player Martin Jenner. While Martin passed away, I was able to track down some of his friends and people he worked with which led me to the builder of Kurt's, then Martin's, Jaguar neck. I know that this is a total tease and I apologise, but I promised the maker that I wouldn't reveal the specs that he sent me. What I will divulge about it is that the neck was pretty thin and it's radius was much better adapted to the TOM that was on the Jaguar. Because of this, I believe that Kurt didn't understand fretboard radius, but knew that the Jaguar worked with the TOM but his Mustangs didn't. Besides, if you design a guitar based on two of your favorite instruments, if the Jaguar neck wasn't Kurt's first choice, you basically have a 3/4 Justang-1/4 Jaguar hybrid and that doesn't really make sense.

I believe that Kurt approached Dan Smith or Larry Brooks at the custom shop and requested a clone of the Jaguar neck, but instead, Dan Smith put in an order for 2 unfinished necks from Fender Japan. After already seeing how quick Fender Japan was to refuse and alter agreements, Fender Japan had Scott Zimmerman make two more of Kurt's Mustang necks and shipped them to the custom shop instead. These would have been clones of Kurt's sky stangs, which were also cloned for at least the first run of production Jagstangs. So it wasn't the 69 Competition neck that legend likes to portray.

Let's examine a couple of Kurt's drawings. The first is a design that Kurt sent to Danny Ferrington for a custom guitar. Kind of Jagstang like, so it is obvious that the idea or rather the basis of the idea was there. While the Ferrington guitar came out more like a custom Mustang, Kurt did make a very simple note: "Or just a simple Jaguar neck and headstock."

Image

He also makes note of a "very thin neck" on a mockup of the Jagstang and gives it the standard small headstock, which are both features that his Jaguar had.

Image

You may ask yourself, what was in the Jagstangs? Well, I can tell you that Fender lied to you in the production runs, but only partially. The truth side is that the Jagstang prototypes both had a Texas Special bridge pickup in the neck position. The lie is that these guitars had a DiMarzio H-3 in the bridge. The truth, according to Earnie Bailey is that the guitar had a DiMarzio H-8. Earnie replaced the DiMarzio with a white Seymour Duncan SH-4 JB model from American Musical Supply on the day of MTV Unplugged. The H-8 is then put in the Duncan box and forgot about.

Image

Image

The switching is said to be that the bridge slider merely turned the bridge pickup on, no matter whether the switch was to the left or to the right, however, the neck pickup retained standard phase switching.

The hardware, as stated above, was Japanese hardware, and thus got the same electronics as the Japanese Mustangs which suited Kurt just fine as his own Mustangs were set up the same way. 250k pots, .047 capacitor.

As for modifications, we know the bridge pickup was swapped, the tremolo locked down and the bridge replaced with a TOM.

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by Amon 7.L » Thu Apr 18, 2019 12:13 pm

Thanks for chiming in with your even deeper insight.
It's unbelievable to discover how the "behind the scenes" is so intricated and different from the "ufficial" reports we've been confidently mislead.
The real specs of Jenner/Cobain's Jaguar's neck do really explain and counter-balance the uneven product Cobain finished up having in his hands.
Seriously, it feels so unprofessional on both Fender Custom Shop and Fender Japan & Co. to discover this kind of treatment a customer has had to deal with.. I'm speechless.
Last edited by Amon 7.L on Thu Aug 08, 2019 2:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by FenderBob » Thu Apr 18, 2019 12:21 pm

" I know that this is a total tease and I apologise, but I promised the maker that I wouldn't reveal the specs that he sent me. "

why would he want to keeps the specs a secret? seems fishy.

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by Amon 7.L » Thu Apr 18, 2019 1:13 pm

Let's go back on the project.
At this point (still July 2017) I was tired of keep searching online for further templates, therefore I just went ahead and worked my way on AutoCAD where by using the hi-res picture as a reference and, going by eye, started to adjust things I felt were off such as the god-awful mismatching pickguard and did a few variations.
After a looong session of copy/pasting/stretching/blending things out trying to convince myself a standard Mustang pickguard was actually used for the prototype, I've been proven not to be the case. Like by a mile.
This is when I just stopped at my Rev. 04 and went on with the building process (the red outline is the production model):
Image

Time to transfer things out on mdf templates..
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Image
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After scoring some lightweight Okoume mahogany, it was time to work on real wood:
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More to come..
Last edited by Amon 7.L on Thu Aug 08, 2019 2:15 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by prospect » Thu Apr 18, 2019 1:31 pm

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by AcrylicSuperman » Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:08 pm

prospect wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 1:31 pm
AcrylicSuperman wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 6:31 am

I believe that Kurt wanted his Jaguar neck cloned for the Jagstang. If you are a fan of his Jaguar, then you know that Kurt bought the guitar from session player Martin Jenner. While Martin passed away, I was able to track down some of his friends and people he worked with which led me to the builder of Kurt's, then Martin's, Jaguar neck. I know that this is a total tease and I apologise, but I promised the maker that I wouldn't reveal the specs that he sent me. What I will divulge about it is that the neck was pretty thin and it's radius was much better adapted to the TOM that was on the Jaguar. Because of this, I believe that Kurt didn't understand fretboard radius, but knew that the Jaguar worked with the TOM but his Mustangs didn't. Besides, if you design a guitar based on two of your favorite instruments, if the Jaguar neck wasn't Kurt's first choice, you basically have a 3/4 Justang-1/4 Jaguar hybrid and that doesn't really make sense.


Wrong. First, Kurt wanted to clone the neck of his 69 Mustang. Second, the 65 Jaguar neck was original as confirmed when they disassembled it for the signature model.
Sorry, but you are actually incorrect about this. As I said in my post, his "favorite neck" that he had cloned for the jagstang wasn't the 69 competition neck but rather ended up being the same necks on his In Utero Mustangs, so that legend is false. The In Utero necks were modified from the 69 RI necks.

As for the Jaguar neck, the jaguar body was original. But that neck wasn't. Fenders neck specs on the signature model are wrong as well. The neck was made to Martin Jenner's specifications by a luthier.
Last edited by AcrylicSuperman on Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by AcrylicSuperman » Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:12 pm

FenderBob wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 12:21 pm
" I know that this is a total tease and I apologise, but I promised the maker that I wouldn't reveal the specs that he sent me. "

why would he want to keeps the specs a secret? seems fishy.
Because the man who built it is getting up there in age. Imagine if every Cobain fan on the planet that couldn't build their own came to him for a clone of the neck by the same builder for vibe purposes. Let the man have his rest.

When he passes on, assuming I am still alive by then, then I'll release them to the public and you guys and future generations can mod your Jags to spec.

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by prospect » Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:32 pm

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by AcrylicSuperman » Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:46 pm

prospect wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:32 pm
AcrylicSuperman wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:08 pm
prospect wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 1:31 pm


Wrong. First, Kurt wanted to clone the neck of his 69 Mustang. Second, the 65 Jaguar neck was original as confirmed when they disassembled it for the signature model.
Sorry, but you are actually incorrect about this. As I said in my post, his "favorite neck" that he had cloned for the jagstang wasn't the 69 competition neck but rather ended up being the same necks on his In Utero Mustangs, so that legend is false. The In Utero necks were modified from the 69 RI necks.

As for the Jaguar neck, the jaguar body was original. But that neck wasn't. Fenders neck specs on the signature model are wrong as well. The neck was made to Martin Jenner's specifications by a luthier.
You are absolutely wrong. While they did end up using MIJ necks on the Jagstangs, Kurt sent his 69 Mustang neck as a basis to the Fender Custom Shop (its unclear if it ever got to Larry Brooks). You are incredibly wrong on the Jaguar neck. Unless of course, someone found a 65 lefty Jaguar neck and modified it before hand delivering it to Fender for measurement/photographs.
The 69 mustang neck never made it to the custom shop. And Larry Brooks never made the necks. Both necks were made at the same time in Japan by Scott Zimmerman then shipped to Brooks unfinished. Again, that information is false. The 69 Competition neck has absolutely nothing to do with the Jagstang.

Just because Fender took photographs and measurements of the neck doesn't mean the neck was made by Fender. And it also doesn't mean Fender never lied to you about the specs. They most certainly lied to you about the Jagstang.

The headstock is wrong, the dots are wrong. The fender logo is wrong, the profile is wrong. There isn't anything about that neck that is Fender spec. It was a neck that was made, illegally had a fender logo put on it that was also incorrect and was bolted on to a Fender body. That doesn't make it a Fender.

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by prospect » Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:54 pm

edited
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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by AcrylicSuperman » Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:58 pm

In other news, there was an interview with Martin Jenner. Google "Uncommon Sound: The Left Handed Guitar Players That Changed The World by John Engle"

Martin has this to say about his necks:

"Most of my instruments were custom made because I like the absolute skinniest of necks that can go on a guitar. These are V-necks with no cheeks to them whatsoever. They drop right away from the fingerboard. I'm not a grabber, I play very much over the neck."

Kurt's Jaguar wasn't a V shape, but for the era we are talking about, it was a very thin c shape, but his jaguar neck also had no cheeks and came right off the binding. You can see it pretty well in Hole's "Doll Parts" video.

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by AcrylicSuperman » Thu Apr 18, 2019 3:01 pm

prospect wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:54 pm
I'm not continuing this. I have first hand knowledge on the instruments you are spewing incorrect information on. Peace out.
Ok, then don't. You haven't provided any evidence to back your claims any way. Peace out.

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by prospect » Thu Apr 18, 2019 3:10 pm

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by AcrylicSuperman » Thu Apr 18, 2019 3:21 pm

prospect wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 3:10 pm
AcrylicSuperman wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 3:01 pm
prospect wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:54 pm
I'm not continuing this. I have first hand knowledge on the instruments you are spewing incorrect information on. Peace out.
Ok, then don't. You haven't provided any evidence to back your claims any way. Peace out.
I don't need to ;)
Sure. Whatever helps you sleep at night, dude.

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