In praise of the oft-maligned/underrated/misunderstood Jaguar...

srblue5

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Apologies if this has been posted about ad nauseam -- I myself am guilty of having frequently posted about Jags since trading in a CV Mustang for a CV Jag last year.

The Jag has always been a strange animal (no pun intended) for me. In my teenage years, I inherited what I think was an MIJ Jag reissue from an older sibling but I didn't like that it didn't help me to sound like Buddy Guy (once I got a Strat, I got closer but I still didn't have Buddy's fingers and brain...gadzooks!), so I sold it for a song and bought a Strat. Stupid, stupid me. Don't get me wrong, the Strat (has) served me well. And I've read all the posts/reviews about how Jags aren't as good as the other three famous Fenders, etc. But there was always something about the Jag that intrigued me, even though I couldn't see myself owning one again (until the last couple of years, that is).

A friend recently invited me to record some "quirky" (his word, not mine) background music with him for a short film he's working on. Usually, I'd bring my Tele, G&L ASAT Classic, or Epiphone hollowbody, as those are my most versatile guitars with which I can get most sounds short of death metal (which I don't play anyway). However, I was feeling "quirky" myself and decided to bring along the Jag. It was a bit of an impulsive choice, since my Jag is in dire need of a setup lately (with all the recent humidity and temperature fluctuations) -- the action is currently lower than I would like and quite buzzy as a result.

Regardless, I was mightily impressed with the Jag's ability to handle a variety of different music styles. We played blues, jazz, funk, surf, Stones-y rock, ska -- clean and overdriven -- and never once did I find myself wishing I'd brought a different guitar to the session. Sure, the sustain wasn't amazing but for what we were playing, it was absolutely perfect. The Jag's tone was unique but still fit each of those genre styles.

Maybe someday I'll upgrade to a Fender Jag or get one of the less-maligned Jazzmasters, but this Jag really impressed me with what it could do in my hands.

Anyways, thanks for letting me ramble on in my astonishment.
 

985plowboy

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DA6EFE42-8EE6-4698-81AA-F9E176750DBD.jpeg
I owned this ‘71 for a while.
It was comfortable to play and had vibe for days, but it sounded thin and weak compared to my Tele.
Still, I enjoyed playing something a little different.
I sold it to a fella who really wanted it and used the proceeds towards my Gibson J-45 Standard.
I don’t intend to hunt down another Jag.
 

chris m.

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I picked up a CV 70s Jaguar like this one used off CL. It needed a neck shim, truss rod adjustment, action adjustment, intonation adjustment, and then it was good to go. It already came with 11s so that was good. I also experimented with different values of resistors and caps until I had a treble bleed circuit that I liked since the stock wiring really dumps treble incredibly rapidly as you roll off volume.

I was pretty enthralled with it during the initial honeymoon period. However, it is quite "plinky" with very little sustain. I can see why shoe-gaze and some other genres really like it because it goes with fuzz like peanut butter and chocolate. That very bright treble signal, using the "strangle switch" if you want even more treble-- it's a high pass filter that cuts out the low tones-- works wonders for fuzz.

But after using it in a gig or two I realize its voicing is just a bit too extreme for me. I think I like Teles, Strats, and Jazzmaster better. But I think I'll keep it because for certain things such as messing around when recording I can see using it. It also looks cool as hell, IMO. And the vibrato system that it shares with the JM is truly excellent, IMO.

1656365041577.png
 

LOSTVENTURE

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My connection to the Jaguar is primarily sentimental. My guitar mentor bought one in1962 and it became the first Fender that I ever played. Now I have the American Vintage 65 and enjoy it for it's uniqueness.
 

fraser

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I played strats for years, then a tele or two.
i decided i wanted to add some different flavours,
and one of the things i got was a 94 mij jag.
the thing is crazy nice, came stock with brass plates in the routes and everything, just like the originals.

i love it, but i dont use it often.
its kind of a time and sound sort of guitar for me.
for clean, reverbish ambient things it kills.
and i like using it for slide at times.

though i dont pull it out much, it would take some kind of crazy good trade to take it from me.
 

fretbuzzard

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If you haven’t had a chance to play one of the Johnny Marr Jaguars (affectionately known as “Marrguars” by some of the offset crowd) you owe it to yourself to seek one out. IMHO they are the best of the type. They keep the good quirks and fix the annoying issues with the original design.
 

Fiesta Red

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I love their looks and sound. They’re cool guitars.

I don’t like short-scale guitars and strongly dislike those vibratos…so I’ll just enjoy them in other people’s hands.
 

TheMattJones88

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I've been a Jag fan for a while and I'm a huge fan of my Marrguar. Sure, it's a bit thinner sounding than a Tele, but I feel like the bridge pickup isn't any thinner than a Strat's. It just sounds better to me than a JM too, the JM bridge pickup sounds like a total icepick to me, while the Jag seems to be slightly heftier in the low mids vs. the upper mids spike of the JM. It does a great garage rock tone on the bridge pickup, but can sound sweet and syrupy on the other pickup settings. The series position on the Marr is awesome too, chunky but not muddy. Every Jag should come with that option.

Also, it's the best trem system, imho. I couldn't knock mine out of tune if I tried.
 

cyclopean

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If you haven’t had a chance to play one of the Johnny Marr Jaguars (affectionately known as “Marrguars” by some of the offset crowd) you owe it to yourself to seek one out. IMHO they are the best of the type. They keep the good quirks and fix the annoying issues with the original design.
I’m intrigued but they’re so much more expensive than a lot of the other jags. I spent $700 on my classic player and i have a hard time imagining spending more than that on a solid body guitar.
 

billy logan

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@985plowboy post #2, Is that a 6 string muting device between the saddles and the bridge p/u? Like a piece of foam? Was that standard? Or is it an after-market p/u?

@chris m. post #4 - Did somebody steal that device offa your Jaguar?

And, everybody, how can a guitar with just 2 p/u's have all that many switches?
 

TheMattJones88

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@985plowboy post #2, Is that a 6 string muting device between the saddles and the bridge p/u? Like a piece of foam? Was that standard? Or is it an after-market p/u?

@chris m. post #4 - Did somebody steal that device offa your Jaguar?

And, everybody, how can a guitar with just 2 p/u's have all that many switches?

The switches aren't that difficult.
Bottom switches, front to back:
Neck Pickup On/Off
Bridge Pickup On/Off
High Pass Filter (Strangle Switch) On/Off

Top switch:
Rhythm Circuit (Darker sound)
Rhythm Circuit Volume
Rhythm Circuit Tone
 

mexicanyella

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I’ve never played a Jag but would like to sometime. The one in the right in @schoolie ’s photo above is a beauty. Well, they both are...I like sunburst and chrome too...but that one on the right...wow.
 

bendercaster

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I picked up a CV 70s Jaguar like this one used off CL. It needed a neck shim, truss rod adjustment, action adjustment, intonation adjustment, and then it was good to go. It already came with 11s so that was good. I also experimented with different values of resistors and caps until I had a treble bleed circuit that I liked since the stock wiring really dumps treble incredibly rapidly as you roll off volume.

I was pretty enthralled with it during the initial honeymoon period. However, it is quite "plinky" with very little sustain. I can see why shoe-gaze and some other genres really like it because it goes with fuzz like peanut butter and chocolate. That very bright treble signal, using the "strangle switch" if you want even more treble-- it's a high pass filter that cuts out the low tones-- works wonders for fuzz.

But after using it in a gig or two I realize its voicing is just a bit too extreme for me. I think I like Teles, Strats, and Jazzmaster better. But I think I'll keep it because for certain things such as messing around when recording I can see using it. It also looks cool as hell, IMO. And the vibrato system that it shares with the JM is truly excellent, IMO.

View attachment 998477
I have the same guitar and had to make all the same adjustments, but it's become my favorite guitar for playing with the band. On it's own, I agree it can be a little plinky (agree with you about how great it works with Fuzz too though, and tend the soak it in fuzz for lead stuff), but it is a very versatile rhythm guitar and sits in the mix really well. I find myself using the strangle switch with the neck pickup a lot for strumming clean chords and the bridge pickup without the strangle is great for jangly parts. I imagine it depends on what kind of music you are playing, but for the covers and original/indie stuff we do, the Jag has become my go-to.
 

schoolie

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I’ve never played a Jag but would like to sometime. The one in the right in @schoolie ’s photo above is a beauty. Well, they both are...I like sunburst and chrome too...but that one on the right...wow.
Thanks! I put the one on the right together with a Guitar Mill body and Allparts neck. Took me a year to finish because of San Francisco fog ;)
 

kuch

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The 1st guitar I ever bought was a 3 tone sunburst 63 jag. It went really well with my 63 blonde tremolux. The combination sounded amazing. The cover band I was in played stuff from Creedence to Zep to Jimi to Classics 4 and everything in between. It was a really versatile guitar and I loved it.

Fast forward to about 20 years ago, I got a 80's(?) MIJ jag in the same 3 tone sunburst and played it for a few years. I got rid of it after several years because by this time I really appreciated the feel of strats, teles, and gibbys better. They still hold a special place in my memories....
 

chris m.

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@985plowboy post #2, Is that a 6 string muting device between the saddles and the bridge p/u? Like a piece of foam? Was that standard? Or is it an after-market p/u?

@chris m. post #4 - Did somebody steal that device offa your Jaguar?

And, everybody, how can a guitar with just 2 p/u's have all that many switches?
The string mute thingamabob only comes on a few vintage reissue models.
 




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