(updated January 10, 2007)
Modified with EMG PIckups
Gotoh Sealed Tuning Machines (Black)
(added July 07, 2007)
My Jag-Stang Story
I wanted one initially after they first came out in late 95'/early 96'ish, I remember getting the Guitar Player magazine with the first review for it and immediatley wanted one, except I wanted to put EMG pickups in it because they "looked like Mustang versions of a single coil and humbucker" due to their smooth flat tops, remember, this is before the invention and/or widespread knowledge of "Robroe" covers. To try the idea out, I drew up a Jag-Stang using the photos in the magazine as a guide, and did a picture of a Sonic-Blue Jag-Stang with an EMG 81 and the EMG "single style" pickup in the neck, that I would later learn was the SA-1.
Anyway, about 2-4 years later, I think it was 99ish or so, I walked to the guitar store one morning to check out what they had in stock, and saw a suspicious looking headstock peering over the edge of the table for the window display with unlabeled kluson style tuners, a gold anniversary sticker, and the letters "ain" on the headstock. Something about it's shape screamed one of my 4 favorite guitars, Jaguar, Jazzmaster, Jag-Stang, or Mustang. Anyway, I come back an hour later, they were open, and sitting in the rack was the same EXACT guitar I drew a picture of several years before. Of course, I tried it out, and fell in love with it right away...the tone, the playability, the fact that I could rub it in everyones face that the Fender Dynamic Tremelo actually DOES stay in tune, plus the fact that if the bar falls out I can still use it (unlike a Floyd Rose, which is next to impossible).
For almost a year, I was the only one who touched the guitar in the shop, as most Alternative kids were put off by it having "heavy metal active pickups", and the Metal Kids didn't like the "fruit-loopy 60's looks" of the thing despite the pickups, making it the perfect guitar for me as I'm pretty much non-polar in the argument. Finally someone from San Francisco expressed interest in the instrument, and it was right there I got a good deal on it on layaway, complete with hardshell case. Mom finished payment on my birthday and brought it home, it immediately took over as my main guitar, and has remained so since.
So far it remains highly unmodified, the only changes have been done to either replace something worn out, or to take care of the only one or two drawbacks the instrument had (mainly very muffled sound with the volume down, and cutting myself off mid-song with the individual pickup switches, which are virtually useless with active pickups due to the nature of their wiring). The addition of a Treble-Bleed capacitor allowing the guitar to go from full metal sludge to a nice clean airy tele-like twang with the volume cranked back, and some switching modifications (one's a pickup selector, the other a special tone-switch). I also replaced the original knobs with screw on dome knobs when I had to replace a 25K volume pot and it came with a solid shaft instead of a split knurled shaft. Only one output jack replacement in almost 8-9 years. Also, the Trem bar is slightly modified to keep it level with the pickguard when the trem is centered, as the tailblock leans back at about a 45 degree angle because of the way I set it up, I also have a stock 60's-style Mustang bar I use with it interchangeably (which ironically, came with my Fender Jaguar, go figure). Also, the tuning machines were replaced in 2005 because the old ones were worn plum out to the point it would not stay in tune anymore, especially the E and A that I drop down to D/C, and G respectively nearly half the time. The tuners I have now are black plated Gotoh's, but I have plans to put on some of those "New Klusons" or "Tonepros" that look like a hybrid between the old and new style tuners.
I have only ever used 9 gauge strings on the guitar. I once accidentally bought 13's and I did not like how they made the trem more Bigsby-like without some readjustment, so I went back to the 009-042 strings.
I also have a special setup for the trem that I outlined in the thread "How I Set Up My Jag-Stang for Heavy Whammy Abuse" or something like that. It's sort of like a high-performance car overhaul, except for a non-locking trem to keep it in tune. I only do that about once every 2-3 years, mostly to clean the gunk, inspect the pivots for wear, and see if the springs need replaced eventually. So far, unlike my Floyd Rose guitars, the Jag-Stang's original trem is still on the guitar, still working properly, and staying in tune. Shoot, the pivots are rather worn, like my floyd rose style trems, but unlike the floyds with worn pivots, it centers right where it should and stays in tune, go figure. It's one of the best guitars I've ever owned.