1963 Fender Jaguar Electric Guitar

Fortunately for me, this guitar is well out of my price range. I've always loved Jaguars (I remember doodling them in high school notebooks), but I also have an addiction to old instruments. When this crossed the threshold of the shop and the case opened-up I was sickened by just how incredibly good it was -- even without a proper going-through! Suffice to say, after I fixed it up I lost two and a half hours of my time to just enjoying it. As someone spoiled by choice gear, that doesn't happen too often. Later that night I had evil thoughts about what I could hock to "make it so." When I woke up I made a pact with my brain not to touch it until it leaves the shop, and now my psyche is a little more stable.

Now -- this could sound like spin, but it's not. Four other (good) guitarists later, and every one of us was suckered by it. Part of it is that the feel and playability is top-notch and the other part of it is that it puts one directly in the past. Surf and "light instrumental jazz" albums spring into your head the moment you hit a note on it. Zap!

But the particulars? This thing is 100% original and even has its "Fender Mute, "bridge cover, and original strap stowed in the (original) hard case. All the wiring is stock and it looks like no one's ever opened it up in the past at all. That said, what was to be done? It needed a fret level/dress, some heavier strings (I like 50w-11 minimum on such a short, 24" scale length), minor cleaning, and a good setup -- and all was done. It's now perfect with 1/16" action at the 12th fret overall. The trem is smooth and super-stable. Even with new strings it keeps pitch like a champ.

There's average use-wear and weather-check throughout, but the overall impression is "used but cared-for."

The neck is particularly clean-looking.

I love seeing clay dots. This has a mild-medium C-shaped back profile, tight radius to the (slab) rosewood board, and a 1 5/8" nut width.

These particular Jaguar pickups sound a lot like a cross between the guttural lower-mids of a P90 and the bite of a good Fender Strat or Mustang pickup. There's definitely a bit more girth than a Strat but less midsy wash than a P90.

The upper controls are for the rhythm circuit -- if you engage the slider switch it presets to just the neck pickup with tone and volume rolled-up or down to your choosing via the wheels. This seems like, perhaps, an over-the-top addition -- but in practice it's very cool to have a sound that can be dialed-in to "quite different" at the flip of a switch.

The lower bank is for pickup selection and also features a "bright" switch which cuts some bass from the signal if you want to go spanky.

The floating bridge design -- properly setup -- was a really genius idea of Leo's. It's simple and very effective.

The case! Did I mention the case? I did -- but still -- it's in great shape.

Here's the bridge cover and "Fender Mute." The mute was on it when it came in but... you know... that's what my palm is for.

Apparently, someone bought a Magnatone amplifier back in the day.

The StewMac shim came with it and I'm thankful for that.


TCav said…
Wow. That’s one sweet guitar. Not to rub it in but I bought it. Great review.