JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by dc » Wed May 01, 2019 9:39 am

dude, you are possessed! :w00t: ;D this is like CSI: Jagstang, forensic luthiery ... great stuff! 8)
in this land / right now / some are insane / and they're in charge

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by AcrylicSuperman » Wed May 01, 2019 10:39 am

Honestly, unless I get a sketch back, I don't think you can get much closer. I think it is just about as spot on as it can be without having the real deal in hand.

I also think you got the thickness pretty well determined. It does seem thick and I can definitely see why Earnie described it as being Telecaster like. Even in the pic of the rear view I sent, I thought the neck joint looked awfully thick and I thought the same from the Mills shot. Having said that though, I have been on an SG kick and havent played a Fender in a while. Gonna chalk that up to eye deception. Lol. Really great job, man.

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by Amon 7.L » Wed May 01, 2019 1:44 pm

dc wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 9:39 am
dude, you are possessed! :w00t: ;D this is like CSI: Jagstang, forensic luthiery ... great stuff! 8)
Haha, that would explain a lot. :fp: Paging Father Merrin for an exorcism :D
Thank you, dc.. I appreciate your kind words. :-[
AcrylicSuperman wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 10:39 am
Honestly, unless I get a sketch back, I don't think you can get much closer. I think it is just about as spot on as it can be without having the real deal in hand.

I also think you got the thickness pretty well determined. It does seem thick and I can definitely see why Earnie described it as being Telecaster like. Even in the pic of the rear view I sent, I thought the neck joint looked awfully thick and I thought the same from the Mills shot. Having said that though, I have been on an SG kick and havent played a Fender in a while. Gonna chalk that up to eye deception. Lol. Really great job, man.
Yup.. I think this is the furthest I could go without that sketch.. If it were to show up out of the blue, well.. it would be amazing to say the least :D
RE the thickness, I used the 44mm reference given at the Jag-stang.com, looks about right and definitely in the tele ballpark.

A special THANKS to you, AcrylicSuperman for providing such a lot amount of insight on the backstory of this instrument and for the constant participation :)

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by AcrylicSuperman » Wed May 01, 2019 2:03 pm

Amon 7.L wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 1:44 pm
dc wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 9:39 am
dude, you are possessed! :w00t: ;D this is like CSI: Jagstang, forensic luthiery ... great stuff! 8)
Haha, that would explain a lot. :fp: Paging Father Merrin for an exorcism :D
Thank you, dc.. I appreciate your kind words. :-[
AcrylicSuperman wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 10:39 am
Honestly, unless I get a sketch back, I don't think you can get much closer. I think it is just about as spot on as it can be without having the real deal in hand.

I also think you got the thickness pretty well determined. It does seem thick and I can definitely see why Earnie described it as being Telecaster like. Even in the pic of the rear view I sent, I thought the neck joint looked awfully thick and I thought the same from the Mills shot. Having said that though, I have been on an SG kick and havent played a Fender in a while. Gonna chalk that up to eye deception. Lol. Really great job, man.
Yup.. I think this is the furthest I could go without that sketch.. If it were to show up out of the blue, well.. it would be amazing to say the least :D
RE the thickness, I used the 44mm reference given at the Jag-stang.com, looks about right and definitely in the tele ballpark.

A special THANKS to you, AcrylicSuperman for providing such a lot amount of insight on the backstory of this instrument and for the constant participation :)
Lol, yeah, I drug my 73 tele out of the case and it definitely looks right. I've just been in love with my SG too much lately.

Thanks for helping me see this guitar come to life. I'm a pretty average guitar player in my opinion, but I have always been more attracted to the history of Fender instruments. The Jagstang was always really that one mysterious Fender that you just couldn't touch. At least, not really. It has been a lot of research and a lot of the people involved are gone from this world. I mean, sure, I would love to get my hands on the prototype Jagstang and rock out, but more importantly, whatever history can be preserved, I want to see it preserved because there will come a point in our lives where that history will otherwise be gone forever. And while I have no doubt internet legends will keep both Kurt and the Jagstang alive, I want to get it right. At least do the best I can to get it right.

I think that in the end, between the two of us, we did exactly that.

The history of the instruments that ultimately created this combination are almost as equally interesting. From the In Utero Mustangs to the Jaguar itself, they all had this really wild history about them.

One of these days, when the right time comes, maybe we can do the Jagstang as requested by Kurt and compare the two.

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by AcrylicSuperman » Wed May 01, 2019 3:31 pm

Yo, shout out to Dakota Scott and the Nirvana Guitars and Gear! group on facebook for sharing this with the community.

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by Amon 7.L » Thu May 02, 2019 1:49 am

AcrylicSuperman wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 2:03 pm
One of these days, when the right time comes, maybe we can do the Jagstang as requested by Kurt and compare the two.
Which version? If you mean the blue sketch, there's already a comparison posted earlier in the thread:
http://www.offsetguitars.com/forums/vie ... 0#p1560105

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by AcrylicSuperman » Thu May 02, 2019 7:22 am

Amon 7.L wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 1:49 am
AcrylicSuperman wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 2:03 pm
One of these days, when the right time comes, maybe we can do the Jagstang as requested by Kurt and compare the two.
Which version? If you mean the blue sketch, there's already a comparison posted earlier in the thread:
http://www.offsetguitars.com/forums/vie ... 0#p1560105
I was thinking more along the lines of giving it the neck and set up he wanted, not the one he got. Lol

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by Amon 7.L » Thu May 02, 2019 10:48 am

AcrylicSuperman wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 7:22 am
Amon 7.L wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 1:49 am
AcrylicSuperman wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 2:03 pm
One of these days, when the right time comes, maybe we can do the Jagstang as requested by Kurt and compare the two.
Which version? If you mean the blue sketch, there's already a comparison posted earlier in the thread:
http://www.offsetguitars.com/forums/vie ... 0#p1560105
I was thinking more along the lines of giving it the neck and set up he wanted, not the one he got. Lol
Ah! Fair enough ;D

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by AcrylicSuperman » Sat May 04, 2019 10:59 pm

The ultimate purpose of this thread has been to recreate the sonic blue Jag-Stang prototype and to compile the information that would historically recreate it. When researching topics such as this, there are times when it becomes borderline archaeology and the more layers you peel back, the more you begin to uncover history and the more that history begins to tell a story.

For those of you who have followed this thread closely, you will recall my post on Kurt's requested neck and how I theorized and provided evidence for the neck being his Jaguar neck. Tonight, I want to further provide evidence that it was likely that the Jaguar neck was sent to be cloned though ultimately never was.

The Jag-Stang was planned in February of 1993, just before Nirvana went to record In Utero. This means that Kurt talked to Fender sometime between February 1-11 as recording started February 12th.

According to Mark Wittenberg, former Fender Director of Artist Relations, Fender sent Kurt a Jagstang body. Kurt then made some tweaks to the shape and sent it back to Fender. As Amon pointed out, the full sized cutout was the blue prototype, so when you see this cutout, you will notice that it has the large CBS headstock, despite the fact that the photo he specifically sent Fender called for the small headstock. So why did the neck in the cutout have the CBS headstock? The answer to that is simple. I believe Kurt bolted the 69 competition neck to the original Jagstang body and traced the guitar and reshaped the body with that neck attached. The result was that cutout.

In an interview with Earnie Bailey written by Reverb.com, Earnie had this to say about Kurt's gear:

"For the In Utero recording, Kurt used his competition blue Mustang, his Fender Jaguar and Albini’s aluminum Veleno guitar."

I think it is absolutely safe to say that Kurt loved both of these guitars. So the favorite neck that Kurt requested to be cloned is likely one of these two and considering the specific neck features he requested in his sketches for both the Jagstang and the Ferrington, I think that he requested the Jaguar neck despite tracing the Mustang neck.

I do believe that Kurt's favorite guitar in the world was the Mustang. However, the Mustang was pretty much babied. The Jaguar was always with him. It was consistently toured. The Mustang may have been his favorite overall guitar, but there were absolutely features of the Jaguar that he loved as well.

We know that the Jagstang prototypes ended up with the same necks that were on Kurt's In Utero Mustangs. So the question is, did Kurt have these Mustangs and clone one of these necks or did Fender just refuse to clone the neck provided?

Well, again, we know the Jagstang conversation happened in February of 1993. According to Scott Zimmerman, the man who built the Mustangs and the Jagstang necks, he claims that he sent out 1 fiesta red and 1 sonic blue on 6/28/93, 2 sonic blue on 10/22/93 and 2 red on 2/4/94. He also claims to have shipped the Jagstang necks to Fender sometime between the second and third Mustang shipment, which we know is fact because the sonic blue Jagstang prototype makes it's live debut in December of 1993. Because of the dates given, it is physically impossible for Kurt to have provided one of these Mustang necks and with Kurt's competition Mustang neck not really being much different than the 69 RI necks, there would have really been no point for that neck to have been the one that was sent to be cloned. Especially when we know that Larry Brooks never built the neck to begin with.

Because of the dates provided, we now know that the neck that was sent to be cloned may have had it's measurements taken, but ultimately, these measurements were completely ignored.

It also came to my attention that while Fender was working on the second prototype, Earnie Bailey spoke to Mark Wittenberg about changes to the guitar. Such changes included in this conversation were the body contours and the tuneomatic bridge. Unfortunately, Mark died and these changes never got made to the red prototype. Realistically, if Fender had been forced to use the tuneomatic, they would have known that the neck would require a flatter radius, but because both necks were made at exactly the same time, even if these changes had met the ears of Larry Brooks, it went completely ignored simply because the custom shop couldn't make short scale necks at the time and the second jagstang neck was already prematurely provided.

Regardless whether you believe that the neck he wanted cloned was the competition neck as per internet legend or the Jaguar neck as provided by Kurt's sketches, one thing is certain: both of those guitars had their hands in the design of the Jagstang neck. Once Kurt got a body, perhaps he thought the CBS headstock looked better. Regardless, we can all look at the Fender marketing about the Jagstang and call bullshit on the production models featuring Kurt's favorite neck, since the supposed favorite neck didn't even exist during the cloning period.

Now knowing that the blue prototype is really a V2 body, the real question is: What happened to the original Jagstang body? The world may never know.

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by Amon 7.L » Sun May 05, 2019 7:40 am

You are once more proving that indeed the jaguar neck was a more plausible candidate for the job.
It crosses my mind that, if it managed to see the light of the day as a finished and "as per requested specs with no compromises" the final Jag-Stang neck could have been a crossover of the two parents: CBS Mustang headstock on top of the Jaguar's neck main specs in terms of fretboard radius and back profile. The best of both worlds in terms of aesthetics and playability, I guess.

I was aware of the existence of a blank body on which revision notes have been based off and it's what has made me choose to say which of the necked/neckless cardboard is supposed to be. And, bear in mind, I reiterate what I said earlier in the thread: NONE of them matches the outline of the blue prototype nor the production model. There’s surely a missing piece in this intricate puzzle.
As they are so different from each other, I have reason to think that Kurt traced "on the fly" by facing down the body & bolted-on neck against the cardboard, pencil-lined the general outline (you can see for yourself how the silhouettes are not harmonious as they would be if you were to trace an actual naked body that lays flat), cut down and draw free hand on top of it. THEN, whatever the two cardboards are referenced to, have been re-designed/manipulated up to the final incarnated blue and furtherly updated red prototype.
AcrylicSuperman wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 10:59 pm
It also came to my attention that while Fender was working on the second prototype, Earnie Bailey spoke to Mark Wittenberg about changes to the guitar. Such changes included in this conversation were the body contours and the tuneomatic bridge. Unfortunately, Mark died and these changes never got made to the red prototype. Realistically, if Fender had been forced to use the tuneomatic, they would have known that the neck would require a flatter radius, but because both necks were made at exactly the same time, even if these changes had met the ears of Larry Brooks, it went completely ignored simply because the custom shop couldn't make short scale necks at the time and the second jagstang neck was already prematurely provided.
On a personal note, I can’t really compute with the idea that Fender CUSTOM Shop could not make a short scale. I mean… Unless you provided a CNC-made short scale neck to a master builder to tweak a fretboard radius/back profile, the custom shop couldn’t do anything like… you know… from scratch?
In my book, doing a 12” radius fretboard is not copyright infringement. From a builder’s point of view, to radius a fretboard with a 7.25” radius sanding block vs a 12” doesn’t make any difference. Same goes with back profiles: customer chooses the shape, luthier carves it.
Furthermore, if the requested TOM was “too Gibson” for Fender at that time, couldn’t they simply re-machined the saddles of a standard Mustang bridge to match the 12” radius according to the flatter radius of the mating neck? Wouldn’t be in the realm of a custom-shop abilities?

One thing is sure, instead of following the customer's, the requests have been satisfied indeed as CUSTOM as per Fender's own preference.
Last edited by Amon 7.L on Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by AcrylicSuperman » Sun May 05, 2019 8:06 am

I agree with your assessment of the cardboard cutouts. He definitely appears to have done it on the fly and with everything bolted together. That could easily be enough to alter angles and shapes. Plus, we have no real idea of what the first body really looked like or how many of these blanks he may have received.

As for the custom shop, I do tend to agree, it is a little weird, but both Fender USA and the Custom Shop were getting back on their feet and in infant stages at the time. What bothers me is that Kurt's customized 69 RI Mustangs were made in Japan because Fender USA supposedly couldn't make a short scale, yet the custom shop manages to make a body. And you would think building a short scale neck wouldn't be too difficult for them. As for the radius, I can honestly see them potentially not wanting to go down that road. If it was indeed the Jaguar neck, then the radius to that wasn't exactly straight and flat. I can also see them refusing to use the tuneomatic. It is more likely that they just shipped all the Mustang hardware from Japan and based the guitar around that. Realistically, I think it is most plausible to say that it wasn't that Fender COULDN't build a short scale, but they couldn't yet manufacture the hardware. No matter which way you look at the custom shop or which excuse is made for them, it does seem to always go back to laziness on their behalf.

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by mackerelmint » Sun May 05, 2019 1:59 pm

This level of detail in research is so far beyond my capacity to relate to... which makes me respect it all the more. This is great stuff.
This is an excellent rectangle

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by AcrylicSuperman » Sun May 05, 2019 3:55 pm

mackerelmint wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 1:59 pm
This level of detail in research is so far beyond my capacity to relate to... which makes me respect it all the more. This is great stuff.
Thanks. It is extremely difficult to obtain info, especially when most people involved in creating this guitar are dead. But every now and then, we can see something that stands out or hear something new from someone that puts the pieces of the puzzle together.

Imagine if the internet back then was what it is today. This guitar could have been better preserved to history. But at last, there will likely be certain minor details lost to time.

I noticed a small detail that I talked to Amon about today, while I can't speak for him on the subject, I'm not quite ready to reveal it yet because I want to heavily evaluate the European leg before I do, but there was a small minor detail we overlooked and I personally found it interesting. Kind of had to put myself in Kurt's shoes for that one.

So stay tuned. Info will likely be relatively slow at this point, but there are still details being discovered.

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by JSutter » Mon May 06, 2019 6:01 pm

In this thread, viewtopic.php?f=6&t=112331#top, parry says he has played Kurt's guitar. Have you talk with parry?

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by AcrylicSuperman » Mon May 06, 2019 11:24 pm

JSutter wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 6:01 pm
In this thread, viewtopic.php?f=6&t=112331#top, parry says he has played Kurt's guitar. Have you talk with parry?
I have never talked to Parry. I've only ever talked to Scott Zimmerman, Nirvana's techs, Krist Novoselic and Kurt's own writings. Any other details are based on photographic evidence.

I've seen that thread though. I personally don't take Parry as credible at first impression.

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