Fender Jaguar; I'm struggling to bond with it.

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by mrjlkelly, Apr 19, 2019.

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  1. mrjlkelly

    mrjlkelly TDPRI Member

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    Ok, I got my hands on a CIJ Fender Jaguar circa '89-90 about six months ago and I dare say that I'm struggling to bond with it. I have had a lot of work done to it; Mastery Bridge, TremLok system, SD Jaguar Antiquities and I removed the plate with the 3 PUP switches and replaced it with 3 way switch.

    I originally got the guitar for it's shorter scale neck so I could have it tuned to F# standard as I often use a capo on the 2nd fret for vocal tunes. The action was surprisingly good with .009 strings but the tone was dreadfully "plinky" when tuned up that high. My guitar tech suggested we go the opposite way and set it up for Baritone (B to B). It sounded great like this but tuning became an issue, especially when playing live.

    I've now got it set to standard and whilst I can get some fairly cool tones at home it just sounds hollow and empty with very little sustain (even with Compressor!) whenever I use it for gigs. Very frustrating.

    My live set up is into a Vox AC30 with a bunch of pedals. I mostly use a very twanggy CV Tele that also has SD Antiquities in it. The Jag just sounds very small and inconsequential when compared to the tele.

    What can I do to bring this guitar alive???
     
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  2. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

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    Trade it for a Les Paul?

    Jaguars have a very particular sound, that is the result of the pickups, electronics, bridge placement, and scale length. Seems like you don't dig that sound.

    There are things you can do to get a fatter tone- hotter pickups like the Duncan Quarter Pound (or routing it out for humbuckers!), changing the pots out for 500K and/or adding a series/parallel option. At the end of the day though, it's always going to be a Jaguar. I'd say stop trying to make it into something you like, and just get something you like.
     
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  3. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    The guitar may be just fine. Remember that the Jaguar started out as a guitar specifically for surf. What I’d do with a thin and plinky guitar is put it through a compressor. I use a Keeley 4 knob. The level will bring up the signal into your amp. Sustain will thicken the sound. Clip and Attack will fine tune the sound. If that doesn’t help, maybe you just don’t like Jaguars for anything more than their looks. I’ve dated ladies for no better reason than that but none of them turned out to be keepers.
     
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  4. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    Does that Jaguar have a 1Meg volume pot? Get a 1Meg ohm fixed resistor and clip it across the outer two lugs and that should get your effective volume pot near 500k ohm. A 300kohm fixed resistor across the volume pot outer lugs should cut the effective down around 250kohm (you can look up a 'parallel resistors calculator' online to sort for more exact results). The lower the volume pot kohms the darker the output which might work for you better.

    Pull the 3-way switch and put in a 4-way switch ($11 online plus your install time/guitar-guy-fee). This gives you the three positions plus a series humbucker position. Look up the Johnny Marr Jaguar for this -- I use it all the time on my Teles.

    .
     
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  5. LOSTVENTURE

    LOSTVENTURE Tele-Afflicted

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    First thing I would do is change strings up to at least 10's. That short scale never had any usable tone with any string lighter. One of my Jags even has 10.5's, and sounds great.
     
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  6. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    Valid point. 11’s with a wound G were light gauge in the ‘60s.
     
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  7. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    Jags and Jazzmasters have very different setup requirements than Teles, in order to be at their best.

    The "plinkiness" is just an issue of setup. You need more break over the bridge.

    The Mastery stuff is fine, but expensive and unnecessary, when all you need to do is to learn how to set one up.

    The Jaguar will be at F standard if the strings are equalized in tension to a Tele/Strat/JM. Personally, I would use 10s or 9s for F# standard as well (as I use 11s for normal tuning)...but only if the thing was set up well. Otherwise, 9s would exacerbate any poor setup issues.

    The pot values have nothing to do with it. High value pots can always just be turned down. The high value pots (some of which are also linear by design, though Jag and JM are different in the regard) are integral to the intentions of the circuit's design. These guitars were designed to be frequently operated with the knobs not dimed – to allow the user to both [simulate] an active-electronics-esque treble boost, as well as providing the typical treble cut. I very rarely run a Strat or Tele not dimed...but I do so with my Jags and JMs. I grew to like this feature so much that I now wire most of my Strat and Tele projects with 500K linear pots in order to get something similar. But none of this has anything to do with plinkiness.

    If you show us good pix of your setup, including pickup height, we can probably improve it. In short, you pretty much want to set it up something like a Gibson SG: 1.5 or more degrees of neck angle, bridge high, saddles high enough on bridge plate to prevent strings from contact with the rear lip of the bridge plate. Jags and JMs can sustain just fine and be plenty stable with a good setup.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2019
  8. jrblue

    jrblue Tele-Afflicted

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    Well, there's a reason -- actually, several -- why Jaguars were not popular when released. If you need to fiddle with string gauges, replace parts, etc. to get the guitar so you like it, that's actually totally normal because for most people, it's just not a great feeling or great sounding guitar. It works for some; not for most. I really, really want to like Jaguars, but I have learned that they're just not for me. Or for a whole lot of players.
     
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  9. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

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    True, but at "10" a 500k pot will be less bright than a 1M. Since 99% of guitarists never touch their volume pot, for all intents and purposes a 500k pot will make the guitar less bright.
     
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  10. Fearnot

    Fearnot Friend of Leo's

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    Nonsense. They were very popular when released. They were Fender's top-of-the-line guitar and well-suited to the surf-rock bands of the day. Fashions change though, and the moment Hendrix showed up with a Strat, it was over for the Jag.

    Until Kurt Cobain.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2019
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  11. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Use at least 011-049 strings.

    Light gauge strings don't work in a Jag because of the very short scale and bridge geometry.


    Google Johnny Marr in order to understand how great a Jag can sound.
     
  12. fraser

    fraser Tele-Holic

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    I have a jag as well.
    Love it, but it could never be my go-to guitar.
    It sounds different, it feels different, it makes me play different.

    That’s a good thing, and that’s why I have it.
    I will keep it and use it at times for probably the rest of my life.

    But it’ll never be my everyday guitar.
     
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  13. Danjabellza

    Danjabellza Friend of Leo's

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    Yeah with the short scale length, 11’s or even 12’s would be great and maybe even “appropriate”
     
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  14. Paul45

    Paul45 Tele-Meister

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    First thing I'd do would be to shim the neck and raise the bridge. That'll give you a better break angle over the saddles. It might make the guitar 'ring' a little better. Saying that, a certain amount of 'plinkiness' is to be expected with Jaguars.....nature of the beast in my experience.
     
  15. Matthias

    Matthias Tele-Afflicted

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    As a start, shim neck, raise the bridge and put 10s on and, if you really must, put a buzz stop on. You don’t *need* a buzz stop to make a Jag playable, but if you want a bit more string tension and sustain at the expense of the full Jag experience, they do fulfil some purpose.

    But if you really don’t like it, I’d say sell now while the market’s good for Japanese Jags. If you have the old bridge, sell the Mastery separate... They have great resale value.
     
  16. oatsoda

    oatsoda Tele-Meister

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    I briefly owned one of those modern player versions, mahogany body, p90s. Looked sweet, played ok, tuners and "Duncan designed" pups were crapola. Didn't feel good enough for me to upgrade the shiny bits. Sold to the highest bidder.
     
  17. ben smith

    ben smith Tele-Meister

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    tune-o-matic bridge conversion? those mustang style bridges have no sustain even the mastery. i was a huge offset fan but i got tired of their quirks. it's tele for me from now on...
     
  18. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Give it to me, I don’t mind doing you the favor :)
     
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  19. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

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    ALL guitars, regardless of the model, have to get a decent setup to play right and sound right.
    The only time a particular model guitar is hard to setup is when the person doing the setup doesn't know how.
    We've seen Strat's and Tele's and others that have been modded trying to get them right for that person, it's not the guitar's fault.
     
  20. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

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    However, I'm very glad that there's so much ignorance about offset setup around... I've bought a couple dirt cheap because the setup was gooched and the owners assumed their strings popping out of the saddles all the time was a design flaw so they offloaded them for peanuts. After some quality bench time, I got every one of them purring like a kitten.
     
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