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How lucky am I to have such amazing friends? This Fender Japan Traditional 60s Jaguar came to me around Christmas time in 2019. A brand-new, shiny Jag, gifted to me by a good friend of mine from Japan. After returning from a trip to Tokyo, he handed me this as a gift to which I was a little overcome. It's not everyday somebody buys you a guitar, let alone one of this quality and pedigree.
It is indeed a very nice guitar. While I love it I'm one of those players who gets frustrated with its "Characteristics" shall we say. Especially those surrounding the bridge assembly.
Initially I replaced the floating bridge piece with a roller-saddle tuno-matic. That fixed a lot of issues for me, even though the tuno-matic is made with a radius of about 12" and this Jaguar has a vintage radius of 7.25". The fact is that I didn't feel any problems with such a mis-matched radius between the bridge and the fretboard. None at all. In fact I think I liked it a little better.
After a couple of years of use (mainly studio) and trying different setups: A buzzstop (did something weird to the tone that I didn't like), Mustang bridge (didn't like it), Keeping the bridge lock button ON to make it like a hardtail (ok, but some un-wanted resonance) I looked into doing something a bit more unorthodox for a Jaguar.
Most players wil say that the whole point of a Jaguar is for the bridge unit and I totally understand that. However I am definitely not most players and so true to form and most likely in danger of triggering Offset die-hards, I took out the vibrato bridge and replaced it with a fixed tailpiece!
Not only that I changed ALL the wiring! Gone are the 1 meg pots and instead 250k volume and tone with a 3-way switch... Aaaaaand I put in a piezo-equipped tuno-matic bridge! The two magnetic pickups are selected in the same way as a Telecaster and the piezo pickup takes over and goes direct to the jack when I flip the switch on the upper control plate.
I could probably buy a new control plate with just one switch hole in it, but it was getting really expensive. I had to buy the tailpiece and the 3-way switch plate - custom parts that are not cheap and the cost was starting to mount up. If I'm feeling flush any time I might buy the plate, but it's only an aesthetic. I quite like how it looks anyway with the spare control holes covered from the underside by some thin, white plastic.
I refinished the guitar too. It was originally white, but the colour really started to yellow quite a lot and the edges and curves started going a strange, browning, greyish colour. I figured I could repaint it white myself and in the future it's easy enough to paint again.
Which I am thinking about doing (although not in any rush) in Lake Placid Blue because I already have a spare mint-green pickguard and the original tortoiseshell one. Either of those would look great with a LPB Jag (probably my favourite colour for a Jaguar).
It's an odd-ball guitar but it has loads of attitude and sounds absolutely glorious with lots of gain!