So I have this 62 Jag...

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So I have this 62 Jag...

Post by flyerman1202 » Thu Apr 18, 2019 3:01 pm

Hey everyone! This is my (sort of) first post here, and I thought I would make it about something close to my heart. So a bit a backstory, when I started to learn guitar my dad gave me a one to learn on, It was a super rad but super worn 62 Jaguar (I have no clue on why he trusted me with it but i'm not complaining), The guitar was modded to hell by whoever owned it before my dad, totally redid the wiring, Painted the thing white and butcher cut a humbucker into the bridge, on top of that the headstock was cracked and was fixed by the previous owner, though it was a OK repair job. When my dad got it he stripped of the over paint (the previous owner hadn't even stripped it). When he gave it to me we restored the wiring, got a new pickup and guard.
Here's some pictures, The lighting sucks but it is what is.
Image
https://imgur.com/Wdm6rGE
Image
https://imgur.com/BJK8qYK
So what I've been wondering is if I should restore where they cut the wood for the humbucker, Basically route out out the area around and fill it in with a block of ash, Me and my dad have been talking about it as a short little project over the summer. The cut they made was a total hack-job but you can't see it under the pickguard.
I can't pull up the current pickguard but here a picture of the old one to give you an idea of their "precision".
Image
https://imgur.com/sTbwHMe
I'm really split on what to do, on one hand I don't want to touch it, right now it works fine. But on the other hand I want to make it as original as I can, plus I think I would be a good little project to occupy my time and bond over.

Also as a quick tack on question, anyone know anything about Desert sand Jags? I haven't found anything on them, but maybe I haven't been looking hard enough.

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Re: So I have this 62 Jag...

Post by TinyEv » Fri Apr 19, 2019 12:39 am

Hey flyerman1202! Looks like a great restoration project to get stuck in to. Well worth while. Such a shame the old pickguard got savaged it looks like it was one of those lovely red swirly tortoiseshell guards that Fender seem either unable or unwilling to recreate on new guitars. Good luck with the restoration!
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Re: So I have this 62 Jag...

Post by øøøøøøø » Sat Apr 20, 2019 2:54 pm

Working backwards-- Desert Sand was not a color that was ever offered on jaguars... as a top coat.

However, what "desert sand" actually was was the primer basecoat that Fender used on all custom color guitars in this period. On some student models like Musicmasters and Duo Sonics, they'd just buff out the primer and call it good... this was "desert sand."

There are two likely scenarios for your guitar, and two less-likely scenarios.

I regret that this may be disappointing, but judging from the pictures, it's my opinion that most likely, in the course of removing the overspray, someone inadvertently sanded all the way down to the primer coat, blasting right through the original paint. This would've been especially likely if the over-paint was close to the same color as the original top coat, and if the person doing the restoration wasn't experienced in restoring painted-over Fender finishes (it really requires a lot of caution). Considering that it's all the way to the wood in many places, this seems rather most likely here.

A second possibility is that it's actually Olympic White with no primer (this did happen!) and has yellowed to an extent that you've confused it with Desert Sand.

A third, far-more-remote possibility is that you have an über-rare blond-over-ash Jaguar.

The least-likely possibility of all is that someone really loved the look of Musicmasters and Duo-Sonics in the "Desert Sand" color, but wanted the top-of-the-line guitar and custom-ordered a Jaguar in that color.

As for the rest-- unless you're:
  • a) experienced in luthierie AND
  • b) you plan on reselling AND
  • c) you're writing off the Desert Sand primer(?) coat as a loss...
...I wouldn't try to restore the humbucker rout. If it's really sloppy as you say, you COULD have someone clean it up a bit with a router and template (this would have to be done if it were to be patched with wood anyway). But if it were MY guitar, and was a guitar I was playing and enjoying... I would leave it alone for the time being. It can always be fixed later.

If you do decide to repair, the correct patch would be alder, not ash... UNLESS what you've surmised as "Desert Sand" is actually the ultra-rare (on Jags) blond-over-ash.

But I'd strongly caution--and I say this in the spirit of being helpful--this is not a project for your first attempt at restoration (especially if it's the rare blond-over-ash, but really in any case). Eventually, this half-century-old instrument is worth restoring properly, and there is no "undo" on a 57 year old instrument. The risk of error is far too great for DIY. The (likely) loss of the original paint is probably a testament to this (I don't mean to sound harsh, but it's really a good built-in cautionary tale... had the original paint been fully saved, the guitar would've been worth significantly more).

I'd recommend a nice Spitfire tortoiseshell pickguard. There are not many ways to get a guard that looks period-correct and is as nice as they used to look.

Good luck, whatever you decide!

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Re: So I have this 62 Jag...

Post by flyerman1202 » Sat Apr 20, 2019 7:30 pm

Thanks for the info man! It really helped me.
I think you're right on the the fixing the rout, It doesn't do anything as far as I can tell to the playability.

Now the one think I am wondering is if it is a jag stripped to its primer coat or a some strange one-off Desert sand Jag/A blonde over jag. One way or the other It doesn't make a big difference. I'm defiantly a fan of how it looks now.
Are there any distinctive features that could tell me for sure?

Oh and if posting more pictures would help let me know

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Re: So I have this 62 Jag...

Post by øøøøøøø » Sun Apr 21, 2019 3:22 am

flyerman1202 wrote:
Sat Apr 20, 2019 7:30 pm

Now the one think I am wondering is if it is a jag stripped to its primer coat or a some strange one-off Desert sand Jag/A blonde over jag....

...Are there any distinctive features that could tell me for sure?
I think Occam's Razor is probably our best guide here.

If it were a custom one-off Desert Sand jag, it would very likely be the only one in existence... certainly the only one I've ever seen! Not only that, it would be the only 60s Fender I've ever seen in factory Desert Sand that wasn't a Musicmaster, Duo-Sonic, or a lap steel. In the 50s, I've heard of exactly ONE early custom Desert Sand strat (with an all-rosewood neck!) But nothing after that. Actually, come to think of it, Desert Sand was being phased out entirely before the Jaguar even joined the Fender lineup (more on that in a second...).

The beige Desert Sand was a very common undercoat on custom colors in the early '60s, however. On Musicmasters and Duo-Sonics, it was discontinued in '61, but you continue to see it as an undercoat under custom colors on all models well into '63. It's likely that after it was discontinued, they had stock they needed to use up, and were spraying it as a primer undercoat on custom colors just to use it up (the opaque, beige Desert Sand would give cheap coverage of the wood grain, allowing them to use less of the expensive custom color paint).

Another strike against-- as-mentioned earlier, true one-off customs were far less common after Fender standardized custom colors in 1960. The vast, vast, vast majority of non-sunburst guitars will be things you see on the color chart. The exceptions here will be trade show guitars, which are often flashy colors like metal flakes, designed to be eye-catching on a trade show floor or stage. As a beige color, Desert Sand is... well... the opposite of that!

None of this entirely rules out the possibility that this is a true one-off custom, a one-of-a-kind Desert Sand jag. Similarly, we cannot entirely rule out that I was visited in my sleep by extraterrestrials last night. :)

But looking at the circumstantial evidence, it would be quite a reach to conclude without some sort of provenance.

Finally, one thing you could look for-- a true custom color '60s Fender will sometimes have an identifying stamp under the pickguard, right down into the wood. Letters or numbers burned into the wood with a soldering iron as pointillistic dots, or a stamped-into-the-wood "ES" stamp. This is all very rare to see. Sometimes you'd also see identifying letters or numbers in the event of a guitar that went back to the factory for a refin, so it's not conclusive in this case... but it would be another data point in your favor.

You could also check the neck pickup route, and the neck pocket, for evidence of original finish. Post pictures of the same, next time you disassemble the guitar. It could give us clues.

But looking at the photos again... are we REALLY sure this isn't just garden-variety yellowed Olympic White? It doesn't look very Desert Sand to me in the photos, though admittedly it could just be the light. Desert sand is quite beige... this guitar looks a bit lighter than I might expect if I were looking for Desert Sand.

Anyway, enjoy the guitar!!

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Re: So I have this 62 Jag...

Post by flyerman1202 » Sun Apr 21, 2019 12:12 pm

I think normally I would agree with you on the hole Occam's Razor thing

But theirs some stuff that really make me scratch my head;
I really don't think its white. Looking at the paint...
Image
Image
I'm nearly positive is desert sand at least, which narrows down to only the two possibilities.
I also discovered a bit more on my end...
I talked to the guy who stripped it down, and he was positive he didn't see anything when stripping it, plus from what I understand the coat had already been yellowed and checked when it was uncovered.
(And is it the clear coat or the paint that yellows? I remember reading somewhere that its the clear coat, but i'm no expert with DuPont paints so i'm not entirely sure).

Also something I forgot to bring up was that its dated January (Across most of the parts) and has an A neck, I was talking with someone and they said it might be significant.

I'm sorry I keep dragging you back into this, but this guitar is super special so anything I can learn about it is super interesting to me.

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Re: So I have this 62 Jag...

Post by øøøøøøø » Sun Apr 21, 2019 12:15 pm

The A width neck is rare. January 62 is early. Beyond that it’s hard to say... for some reason I can’t see the pics now. Will check back later

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Re: So I have this 62 Jag...

Post by flyerman1202 » Sun Apr 21, 2019 12:41 pm


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Re: So I have this 62 Jag...

Post by øøøøøøø » Sun Apr 21, 2019 3:52 pm

To me, if anything, that looks like it may have been Olympic White over Desert Sand primer.

Look at the upper right cutaway bout here:

Image

See the spots that are more of a darker beige, rather than a yellowed white?

Now look at the very edge on the forearm contour... there's a bit of beige there, too, again right adjacent to the raw wood. Now move your eye across the forearm contour toward the bridge... see how it progresses through several shades of yellowish-white, becoming beige again? Notice how the entire guitar's surface has a rather mottled appearance, inconsistent in hue?

This very likely speaks to a guitar that was once Olympic White, with a nitrocellulose clearcoat over top of the white acrylic lacquer, over top of a Desert Sand primer. Much of the clear and parts of the white have been removed with aggressive sanding, leaving spots where there's yellowed clear-over-white, spots where the clear is gone and there's slightly-yellowed white, spots where there's thin coverage of Olympic with traces of beige primer showing through, and spots that are all the way down to the primer (and indeed all the way down to the wood).

And given the guitar's history, it seems this is almost-certainly what has happened here. I'll add a caveat, though, that it can be hard to tell from these pics. If you have a chance to grab some in really good light, that might help? Or take it to a good vintage guitar appraiser and ask for their opinion.

This is a fairly representative example of Desert Sand, in my experience:

Image

If I squint at the pics of your jag just right, I could imagine that there's bits of that as a primer coat showing through. And I can imagine that there are parts of the white top coat that are SO thin that the primer underneath is affecting the color. And I can imagine there are parts that are fairly well-preserved, yellowed nitrocellulose clear and all.

And in those dings and parts on the edges where there are major sandthroughs, it really does look like a Desert Sand primer. But the large faces of the guitar look like a highly-distressed Olympic.

Important to remember.... Fender custom colors were typically sprayed as thin as possible, to save production costs. And the nitrocellulose continues to shrink with age, as does the acrylic lacquer color coat. It's VERY easy to blast right through the clear and then the color and not even know you've done so.

To that end-- the number of sandthroughs are on this guitar lend further credence to my theory. The forearm contour is sanded right down to wood. The entire perimeter of the guitar was sanded through. While the person who did the sanding may have felt they were being careful, to really do a job like this and save as much original finish as possible requires another standard of care--it's almost forensic in nature (like those archaeologists who excavate with paintbrushes instead of shovels). :)

I'll reiterate, it's a cool guitar and it looks awesome. Play it with no regrets! Consider keeping an eye out for some period-correct original pickups and guard, or perhaps a Spitfire reproduction tort guard (they really do look much better than anything you can buy new now).

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Re: So I have this 62 Jag...

Post by øøøøøøø » Sun Apr 21, 2019 4:19 pm

One more thing--

I'd really like to see a shot of the date on the end of the neck. If it's really a January '62 it would have a pencil date 1-62 written by hand. Fender started using ink stamps on the butt ends of necks in about April '62, complete with the neck width at the end (normally "B").

If the neck date is in pencil 1-62, then it's very early or possibly pre-production, and it would be a slab board and would look like this:

Image

...but then we'd need provenance for the "A" width, and how you arrived at that conclusion. :)

If it's an ink stamp that says 1JAN62A, then you actually have a 1963 guitar and someone forgot to roll year on the ink stamp over on their first day back at work after the holidays. If that sounds crazy, it's not. There's a whole month of Fender amp tube charts with the wrong year because someone at the factory made that exact same error!

In that case, it would most likely be a veneer board*, with the rosewood layer curved on the bottom (as opposed to flat like on the above pic) and would look like this:

Image

*I HAVE, in rare cases, seen slab boards on '63 guitars, with '63 date stamps.... and I've seen them as late as '66 on Mustangs. Most likely from time to time an old neck blank would lay around and then just get used later. But I have never seen an ink-stamped neck date prior to April of '62.

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Re: So I have this 62 Jag...

Post by flyerman1202 » Sun Apr 21, 2019 8:13 pm

I'll see about taking the neck off tomorrow and sending some pictures, though for sure its slab boards
Same for any pictures in good lighting.
On the point of the Olympic White I don't entirely see what your talking about
The only trace of white I see is the remains of the bad paint job
But I think that probably a mix of inexperience on my side and lack of good pictures going over to you.
I'll see about taking to a guitar tech I know who's really knowledgeable on these things.
Also seriously thanks for the help. I really find all this interesting.

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Re: So I have this 62 Jag...

Post by andy_tchp » Sun Apr 21, 2019 8:35 pm

Photos aren't great and viewing on a mobile phone, but it just looks like Oly White with a lot of over-sanding to me?
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Re: So I have this 62 Jag...

Post by flyerman1202 » Mon Apr 22, 2019 2:54 pm

Wait. Are you talking about white specks all over the guitar, or are you seeing something I don't?
If your taking about the white specks, thats the remains of a coat of spraypaint (Like the home Depot stuff) that someone used on the guitar.
I'll try to get some better pictures at some point today

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Re: So I have this 62 Jag...

Post by øøøøøøø » Mon Apr 22, 2019 3:46 pm

flyerman1202 wrote:
Mon Apr 22, 2019 2:54 pm
Wait. Are you talking about white specks all over the guitar, or are you seeing something I don't?
If your taking about the white specks, thats the remains of a coat of spraypaint (Like the home Depot stuff) that someone used on the guitar.
I'll try to get some better pictures at some point today
Not talking about the white specks, it's rather clear that those are remnants of the over-paint, I'd say.

I can't speak for Andy, but I'm talking about the appearance of a mottled, non-uniform finish that's consistent with an over-sanded guitar... in other words, it appears that it could be yellowed-clear over yellowed-white over beige primer, in varying thicknesses and amounts, such that an inconsistent and mottled look results.

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Re: So I have this 62 Jag...

Post by andy_tchp » Mon Apr 22, 2019 4:04 pm

^ Yep.
"I don't know why we asked him to join the band 'cause the rest of us don't like country music all that much; we just like Graham Lee."
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