Fixing the Fender Jaguar Design

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SammyT
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Fixing the Fender Jaguar Design

Post by SammyT » Fri Feb 07, 2020 3:53 am

Last year I was looking for a Fender Jaguar guitar.
But there were no cheap options for me at the time.
So I decided to build one myself.

I started looking around on the internet for some ideas and color combinations.
And after a while I came across John Frusciante's amazing 1962 Fiesta red Fender Jaguar:
Image

So my goal became copying this guitar as good as possible (without busting the bank ;) )
And my starting point was this 'jaguar' guitar kit from Aliexpress: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000126 ... 2aeeAZkNpd
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I contacted the seller, and asked him to change the neck for the kit with another neck he has for sale:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/3302597 ... 3bc2drJuQ7
Image
Why did I do this, you might ask?
A lot of (cheap) guitar kits have bad necks.
Sharp frets, not leveled, cheap dry wood and they don't look as good.
I ordered multiple times from this seller and they make high quality guitar necks,
with amazing fretwork, good quality and good looking wood and they make it custom for you.
It is a 25.5'' flame maple neck with a rosewood fretboard, 22 frets, bone nut, pearl dots and bottom truss rod adjustment (not in the picture, but the listing was for a vintage truss rod adjustment).

So I hear you thinking, 25.5''?! That does not fit!
But this is actually a modified Jazzmaster kit...
The body is routed for a Jazzmaster. And I think they did this to save money to redesign the guitar for the Jaguar configuration.
At first it was weird to me, but I actually started to like the Idea (because many guitar players don't like the 'short' 24'' Jaguar scale) and gave it a shot and ordered it.

It came in a few months later (had to be built for me specifically).
And the quality was pretty good. But the wiring was completely weird.
The kit did't have slide potentiometers on the upper control plate, but it had switches in this location.
I can't remember how it was wired, but it was really weird.
The electronics were cheap (which I expected), the pickups were cheap Strat type pickups and the 'chrome' plates were actually plastic.
But the base was good. The body was really nice (mahogany wood). And the neck looked and felt good too.
So a lot of parts had to be swapped out.
Here is a list of the parts I put in:
[*]CTS/Switchcraft Jaguar wiring Image
[*]Chrome Fender Jaguar control plates
[*]Fernandes The Revival Strat Pickups
[*]Gotoh Kluson style vintage tuners
Image
[*]60's serial Neckplate

This is where I was finishing the body: (white primer nitro and fiesta red nitro)
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I didn't make a lot of progress pictures, so here I already completed the first version of the guitar.
(as you can see I didn't receive the lower control plate yet)
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I liked the 25.5 inch scale, it feels a bit like a Strat.
But there were a couple of things I didn't like as much.
The neck was a bit glossy and dark, the bridge pickup was very bright, the bridge was a bit stiff and I didn't really like the inlays.

So first I sanded down the whole back and sides of the neck, and refinished it with Nitrocellulose amber and clear lacquer.
I got a Schaller roller bridge:
Image
I removed the old pearl dots and replaced them with clay dots.
And finally I changed the wiring, so that if the pickup switches are both down, the pickups are in series.

I used the guitar like this for some months, until I came across some vintage Jaguar pickups.
They are probably 1962/1963 with gold brackets http://www.offsetguitars.com/forums/vie ... 1&t=114183
I got them, rerouted the pickguard and put them in. And they sound amazing 8) !
So this is the 'Finished' guitar:
Image
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Let me know what you think :)

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dadsoda
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Re: Fixing the Fender Jaguar Design

Post by dadsoda » Fri Feb 07, 2020 7:06 am

I really like that neck. I might buy through them when I do my first build. That price seems hard to beat!

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Horsefeather
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Re: Fixing the Fender Jaguar Design

Post by Horsefeather » Fri Feb 07, 2020 12:36 pm

Seems like what you've really built is a Jazzmaster with Jag pickups. I like the roller bridge. That's definitely an improvement on the design. So does it sounds more like a Jazzmaster or a Jaguar?

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Re: Fixing the Fender Jaguar Design

Post by tribi9 » Fri Feb 07, 2020 12:58 pm

It doesn't look as bad as all the abominations from Aliexpress..

Still, not a Jag though.. Not with that scale...

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Re: Fixing the Fender Jaguar Design

Post by parry » Fri Feb 07, 2020 1:03 pm

I like that it looks like a cool serviceman "Jag".

Not sure about the "fixing the Fender Jaguar Design" part though. What was 'wrong' with the original design, that you fixed?
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Re: Fixing the Fender Jaguar Design

Post by tribi9 » Fri Feb 07, 2020 2:38 pm

parry wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 1:03 pm
I like that it looks like a cool serviceman "Jag".

Not sure about the "fixing the Fender Jaguar Design" part though. What was 'wrong' with the original design, that you fixed?
I think he meant acquiring a Fender Jaguar design on a fixed income.

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Re: Fixing the Fender Jaguar Design

Post by parry » Fri Feb 07, 2020 4:02 pm

tribi9 wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 2:38 pm
parry wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 1:03 pm
I like that it looks like a cool serviceman "Jag".

Not sure about the "fixing the Fender Jaguar Design" part though. What was 'wrong' with the original design, that you fixed?
I think he meant acquiring a Fender Jaguar design on a fixed income.
Hipsters... ::)

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;)
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SammyT
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Re: Fixing the Fender Jaguar Design

Post by SammyT » Sat Feb 08, 2020 2:16 am

Please let me clarify the 'fixing' part.
First of all, there's nothing 'wrong' with the original Jaguar design. But there are some things that I would change on the design.
The jaguars were the most high end Fender guitars back in the day. So a 24'' scale length (same as the mustang which is considered a student model) is a bit weird to me. Sure it would be a good alternative guitar for someone with small hands, or someone who prefers the 24" scale, but I think it is weird to make that guitar the most expensive model.
And as some of you know, the bridge on the Jaguar are not the best design. They rattle and if you are a heavy handed player, the strings pop out of the saddles all the time.
So what I did was 'fixing' the design to my preferences and (I think) a lot of other Jaguar players.

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Re: Fixing the Fender Jaguar Design

Post by SammyT » Sat Feb 08, 2020 2:30 am

Horsefeather wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 12:36 pm
Seems like what you've really built is a Jazzmaster with Jag pickups. I like the roller bridge. That's definitely an improvement on the design. So does it sounds more like a Jazzmaster or a Jaguar?
It is just how you want to look at it, it is either a jaguar with a 25.5" scale or a Jazzmaster with Jaguar pickups and chrome plates and seperate switches. It sounds like a Jaguar, the pickups and wiring make a lot of difference between them. But it plays just like a Jazzmaster (because the base is just like a Jazzmaster). But I like to call it a Jaguar, because it looks and sounds just like one, but you can only notice the difference when you pick it up.

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Re: Fixing the Fender Jaguar Design

Post by ChrisDesign » Sat Feb 08, 2020 1:33 pm

The Jaguar was built for Surf Rock. At the time, surf rock was all the rage, surf guitarists were favouring jazzmasters over strats and tellys, so it made sense to modify the Jazzmaster to give the surf guys the tone they desired.
"I own a '66 Jaguar. That's the guitar I polish, and baby - I refuse to let anyone touch it when I jump into the crowd." - Kurt Cobain

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Re: Fixing the Fender Jaguar Design

Post by loungelife » Sun Feb 09, 2020 4:55 pm

I like how it tuned out. Good mashup of jazzmaster scale and jaguar parts. Being a truly custom guitar, I would make your own headstock name/decal. That's the only thing I would change. Good work!

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Re: Fixing the Fender Jaguar Design

Post by tribi9 » Sun Feb 09, 2020 8:31 pm

The colour turned out great.

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Re: Fixing the Fender Jaguar Design

Post by Zeus » Mon Feb 10, 2020 3:03 am

ChrisDesign wrote:
Sat Feb 08, 2020 1:33 pm
The Jaguar was built for Surf Rock. At the time, surf rock was all the rage, surf guitarists were favouring jazzmasters over strats and tellys, so it made sense to modify the Jazzmaster to give the surf guys the tone they desired.
I think this is an oft-repeated urban myth.

As I understand it, both the Jaguar and the early surf records were released in 1962 (or thereabouts).

Leo would've been developing the Jaguar long before anyone had any inkling of the popularity of surf music.

I believe it was intended as a full-featured, professional electric guitar which improved upon the Jazzzmaster and also gave a nod to Gibson's shorter scale length. It's just a happy coincidence that the Jaguar is well-suited for surf guitar tones.

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Re: Fixing the Fender Jaguar Design

Post by greens » Wed Feb 12, 2020 2:58 pm

nice work!

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