JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

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AcrylicSuperman
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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by AcrylicSuperman » Sat May 11, 2019 10:43 am

I have a quick update for you all.

I spoke to Jason Smith, son of Dan Smith, who is a Master Builder at the Custom Shop.

I was deeply heartbroken to discover that in 1993, the Custom Shop failed to keep records on everything. There is no historical record of the prototype in Fender's possession. That means the one person who would know for certain took the information to his grave as the Master Builder responsible for the Jagstang is Larry Brooks.

However, I'm not defeated.

I will be doing research on interviews with Larry Brooks and I will see if he specifically identifies a color used.

Alternatively, I found out that Peter Buck is playing in Portland, Oregon tonight. I used to live around the area so I am trying to get some friends to speak to Peter on our behalf. In the event that that fails, I have two fail safes in motion. The first is that I contacted Linda Pittmon, the drummer of Filthy Friends, the band that Peter is currently playing with.

I will keep you all posted as I know thing. Wish me luck.

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by Rgand » Sat May 11, 2019 10:49 am

I have to compliment you for doing such thorough research. Your end result will be spectacular and certainly as close to the original as possible.

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by AcrylicSuperman » Sat May 11, 2019 12:45 pm

Rgand wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 10:49 am
I have to compliment you for doing such thorough research. Your end result will be spectacular and certainly as close to the original as possible.
Thanks. I appreciate it. If paint is all that is lost to history, then I guess I can be ok with that.

Well folks, I found the answer, straight out of Larry Brooks mouth. However, I found inaccuracies in his statement, enough that I can't really take his testimony seriously. The following is a scan of the article from Guitar Shop, May 1997 and I'm going to breakdown the article and we are going to sort fact from fiction.

Image

"The project started in February of '93" - correct! We determined this was the case in a previous post.

"Kurt said that he would like to have a guitar that was like half of a Jaguar and half of a Mustang- as if you just cut the guitars in half- with a Mustang neck." - Both true and false. Yes, he requested a guitar matching that description. But when it comes to the neck, Kurt's sketches tell the exact opposite tale. Kurt often claimed the Mustang was his favorite guitar which is probably why the Jagstang took a more mustang like appearance, however, he wouldn't let anyone touch the Jaguar. The Jagstang didn't end up with a Mustang neck because Kurt sent a neck to be cloned. It ended up with a Mustang neck because Dan Smith had two of his 69 RI necks sent to the custom shop unfinished. The first time Kurt's "Favorite Neck" is ever mentioned is when the production models are announced. It is Fender marketing at best. Even if Kurt sent the compstang neck out, as we know he did send his favorite neck out to be cloned but couldn't determine what it was, we still know his favorite neck wasn't cloned and Fender lied to you about it. But despite all of Kurt's sketches, let's take this as truth for a moment. There is an argument to support this claim, which I will touch on in a moment.

"I changed it, cut the neck slot, put the neck in it..." - I believe we have seen evidence of this. Remember this pic and how close the Compstang got? Despite the evidence initially pointing the opposite direction, I think we can say that the neck to be cloned was the compstang neck.

Image

Immediately following this exchange, he talks about cutting a new body and reshaping it due to Kurt's revisions and this may very well explain why the cutout for what was perceived as the blue prototype also doesn't match the prototype body, because it was based on the V1 body pre prototype and not the V2 body pre prototype.

"He said he would like to have it in the really light blue-Sonic Blue. So I went ahead and built the guitar in that color and sent it to him." - Well, straight out of the horses mouth, you got your answer. A light shade of sonic blue in american spec automotive paint. At this point, without Peter Buck scanning the prototype, this is as close of an answer as we can get.

"He got it in April '93." - Wrong! So wrong! We determined that he likely received the guitar on 10/23/93. Apart from the evidence that I previously provided on this subject, I want to provide a fresh piece.

This is a portion from a Guitar World article. Jim Vincent, one of Nirvana's techs said:

"Kurt wasn`t really all that happy when he got the first Jag-stang. He liked his Mustangs much better, even the new ones. For the month he had it, he hated it and wouldn`t play it because there was no contour--it`s as thick as a Telecaster--and it was kind of misbalanced. It was really tough to set up. Earnie immediately swapped out the pickups. Right when we got it, he routed it out and put a Duncan JB humbucker in the bridge."

Why is this important? Because Earnie put the JB in the Jagstang on 11/18/93 and Jim Vincent was believed to be the tech on the In Utero tour from December 93 to March 94. Clearly, Jim was there in November as well, as he witnessed this change having been made.

Image

Now back to scheduled programming.

"He wasn't picky at all, except for the neck. Of course, I already had the neck to match [Kurt's own Mustang neck], so it was really easy to make a neck for him." - woah, woah, woah, slow the **** down there, Turbo. There are 3 things wrong with this statement. First, it reveals that Kurt was picky about the neck. We've seen this in his own sketches. But it also states that Kurt's neck, whatever he sent, didn't matter. Larry already had a compstang neck and was determined this is what Kurt would have wanted. So maybe he didn't send the Mustang neck at all. Maybe he did send the Jaguar neck. Maybe he didn't. Clearly, Larry didn't bother to take measurements either way, he was determined that it was going to be a Mustang neck. But remember kids, if you buy a Jagstang, you'll get a clone of Kurt's favorite neck. Again, I can not express this enough. This was all a marketing gimmick by Fender. So with that slip of the tongue, we know Kurt's neck, no matter which it was, wasn't actually involved. And perhaps Kurt's neck doesn't fit the cardboard cutout because it was never Kurt's neck, but rather Larry's. If he had the neck in the shop. It would make sense to cut out the neck pocket and put the neck in it.

Also, Larry never built the necks. Scott Zimmerman did. So, way to take credit for work that you didn't do.


"I ended up using Alder instead of Ash" - fact

"The switches work exactly like a Mustang." - Well, actually, they don't. Having said that, we know a lot of mods took place in a span of 28 days. Could it have came to Kurt that way? I suppose it is possible. But I have had two techs state otherwise. It could be possible that Earnie made the change. However, if that is the case, we know the change made it's way to the red prototype because the production models got the red prototype wiring, which also happens to be the wiring in the blue one last anybody knew.

So that's a pretty thorough breakdown. There is some seriously obvious inaccuracies in his statements. But this is the first time, as best as I can tell, that Kurt's Jagstang finish is classified. Is it sonic blue?
*shrugs*
I don't know. He isn't alive to tell you at this point, be it lie or truth. But seeing as the custom shop has no records, and this is coming from the man himself, I think this is as close as we will ever get to that answer without a Peter Buck miracle.

I am curious to see what the first runs come back as, but over all, I'm going to take Larry's word for it on this one. It is the only historical record we have for this and it comes at a time when he is no longer at Fender. So sonic blue seems to have come from Larry Brooks and not Fender.

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by Amon 7.L » Sat May 11, 2019 3:06 pm

What can I say.... Man, you've done a great job.
Hats off to you.
AcrylicSuperman wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 12:45 pm
I am curious to see what the first runs come back as, but over all, I'm going to take Larry's word for it on this one. It is the only historical record we have for this and it comes at a time when he is no longer at Fender. So sonic blue seems to have come from Larry Brooks and not Fender.
I think we're safe saying that the body scan's result would be the icying on the cake.

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by AcrylicSuperman » Sat May 11, 2019 3:22 pm

Amon 7.L wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 3:06 pm
I think we're safe saying that the body scan's result would be the icying on the cake.
Yep. I mean, we know that american sonic and japanese sonic are slightly different, but honestly, if it shows up as sonic blue or even near spectrum to sonic blue, I think that will be confirmation. We know for sure the second run was. Why the two seem to have different colors is beyond me.

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by Amon 7.L » Sat May 11, 2019 3:40 pm

AcrylicSuperman wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 3:22 pm
Amon 7.L wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 3:06 pm
I think we're safe saying that the body scan's result would be the icying on the cake.
Yep. I mean, we know that american sonic and japanese sonic are slightly different, but honestly, if it shows up as sonic blue or even near spectrum to sonic blue, I think that will be confirmation. We know for sure the second run was. Why the two seem to have different colors is beyond me.
It's due to the fact that, for some reason, during the first run of production, Fender Japan used a different batch of paint.

I think we can sum things up as it follows:
A. ) Jagstang Prototype = American sonic blue
B. ) Jagstang earlier Production model = waiting for scan's result (let's call it Aqua blue for the time being)
C. ) Jagstang later Production model = Japan sonic blue (the same used for the Mustang 69 RI)

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by AcrylicSuperman » Sun May 12, 2019 10:01 am

Interestingly enough, I talked to Jason again this morning. Jason saw the guitar after it was made. He had this to say.

"We haven't had anything to do with that guitar since the prototypes were made. All production models were made off shore. The blue one, I believe, is Daphne Blue."

So it comes down to a testimony of someone who saw the guitar 25 years ago vs the builder who claims it to be sonic blue but also provided a lot of inaccuracies in his interview.

Personally, Jason has been nothing but straight forward with me. He works around the stuff constantly. He would know a Daphne from a Sonic.

It would make sense why it reacts different to light. It is possible that the production models are based on sonic blue because Larry told them it was sonic blue. After all, it does seem like Larry was just winging it.

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by Amon 7.L » Sun May 12, 2019 10:17 am

:fp:
What a twist.
For some reason, I'm not surprised. Daphne is the colour all the comparison pictures and references already provided leads to.
As far as my personal opinion goes, from now on, unless someone trustworthy provides a record that states otherwise: the prototype was Daphne.

More than ever I'd like to know about the JS body scan.

This investigation is a blast ;D
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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by AcrylicSuperman » Sun May 12, 2019 10:29 am

Amon 7.L wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 10:17 am
:fp:
What a twist.
For some reason, I'm not surprised. Daphne is the colour all the comparison pictures and references already provided leads to.
As far as my personal opinion goes, from now on, unless someone trustworthy provides a record that states otherwise: the prototype was Daphne.

More than even I'd like to know about the JS body scan.

This investigation is a blast ;D
I agree. We have living testimony of someone who has lived and breathed Fender all his life. I can still remember things vividly from 25 years ago. Daphne is the color of the of Mustangs, but maybe there is a half truth to what Larry said too. Maybe his idea of aqua was a more faded version rather than a true color.

In the long run, I'm going to say it is in the Daphne family. There is just too much wrong with Larry's testimony for me to take him too seriously.

I suppose the beauty is that Kurt likely wouldn't have cared. Lol.

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by HNB » Sun May 12, 2019 12:14 pm

Makes sense to me. Kurt's Jag-Stang looked white sometimes in pictures. A light daphne blue would make sense.

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by AcrylicSuperman » Sun May 12, 2019 12:25 pm

HNB wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 12:14 pm
Makes sense to me. Kurt's Jag-Stang looked white sometimes in pictures. A light daphne blue would make sense.

Image
That's my thoughts too.

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by AcrylicSuperman » Thu May 16, 2019 2:42 pm

Quick update for everyone:

In my last update where we were dissecting Larry Brooks testimony, I gave a quote from Jim Vincent. After reading that over a couple more times, I realized that he stated that Earnie had to route out the guitar for the JB. Now, this doesn't make much sense as the prototype was already routed for a humbucker. Unless, of course, Earnie used a long leg humbucker and mounted it directly to the wood. Interestingly enough, the sonic blue mustangs of his seem to have these wood mounted humbuckers, however, his red one does not. Since the prototype likely arrived with the shipment of two of those sonic blue mustangs, it is plausible.

Having said that, I've scoured every picture I could find of the prototype and there are absolutely no shots of that guitar in my possession that can conclusively determine whether the humbucker is mounted to the pickguard or not.

I've been trying to find a way to contact Jim Vincent, but he seems to be a ghost. He was a tech for The Nationals a few years back. If anyone reading this has a contact for Jim, please, ask him about the humbucker or invite him to come here and tell use what he knows.

Alternatively, there are a handful of things on Amon's end that he needs answers to. The biggest need right now is the round over radius of a first run production model. Next, we could use pickup cavity depth measurements. If anyone can provide those pieces of the puzzle, it would be greatly appreciated.

As for myself, I wont be around for about a week. There has been a family emergency and I have to fly back home. I will try to do research when I can and if I find anything, I'll let you know when possible.

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by volhoo » Thu May 16, 2019 5:40 pm

Well done man - I applaud your vision and passion.

-

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by supersonicjazzmaster » Sun May 19, 2019 4:35 am

I compared the thickness of the two bodies of my sonic blue 1997 and the 2002 fiesta red Jagstang.
The 1997 body is a bit thinner.

Image

Image

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by supersonicjazzmaster » Sun May 19, 2019 4:49 am

Anyway, I need more time to search for a professional color analysis. I am not in town the next week. After this week I will find some time for more research. :)
What I have seen is that the color on the 1997 Jagstang looks more sonic blue in the neck pocket. There is a part where it looks total blue without a green inside. Check the pics:

Image



And here you can see a slighty slightly difference in the body color under the pickguard and around:


Image



and this. I don´t know what this megaprofessional routing should be. I bought it in this way. You can see a part in the pickguard for this routing... :fp:
But at last I don´t care, it´s under the pickguard. The neck pickup was also inside. It´s a 1962 Duo Sonic pickup. In the bridge pickup position I installed a Jaguar Pickup by Pickupwizard. ...ok, this has nothing to do with this thread... I know. :) But you also can see the coloring here.:

Image


talk soon :)
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