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Hi everyone! Longtime viewer but a first time poster! My apologies as I’ve been using the wisdom you provide here for years without providing any of my own, so serves me right for my current conundrum! Here’s hoping you can help me, everyone!


I bought a (presumably) 2012-14 C.I.I. (Crafted in Indonesia) Surf Green Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar and a Sonic Blue Jazzmaster. They are both SWEET guitars, set up great from the factory (albeit with rubber-band-like 9s or maybe even 8s I promptly removed. I play my MIJ Jagu w/12s, as a point of contrast…) and I swapped the “Duncan Designed” Jazzmaster pickups for American Vintage ones no problem…but… 


* I cannot for the life of me get my lead pickup to work in ANY capacity! I have NO idea what to do! *


Okay, I’m pretty familiar with the Jaguar pickup selector system as I’ve been playing my 90s MIJ for years, and the logic I went through to rule things out is below… Where have I gone wrong? 


[Keep in mind, I’m an experienced player, but a COMPLETELY AMATEUR electrician and DIY-repairman, so I won’t take any “did you try….” remarks as condescension. I just want to learn!]


1. The rhythm pickup works just fine… Both using the dedicated rhythm circuit (at the “top” of the body when across my knee, playing) and the tone/volume wheels both work fine. 


2. Using the lead selector switch at the “bottom,” it works just fine tone/volume knobs work just fine.


3. The bass cut switch also works just fine when using the rhythm pickup only with the “lead circuit.”


4. When I try to use both pickups, I get nothing… it sounds as though the pickups are indeed switched on, but only barely…


5. When I try to use the lead pickup alone, I get nothing. Dead. 


6. I have concluded that it must be a bad switch, no? I am pretty awful at soldering for sure, but also: I can’t find a wiring diagram for the Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar… it’s a bit different (or at least mine is?) from the wiring diagram included in the Fender Vintage 65 pickups package I got. In fact, it’s quite different. 


Could it be that I have installed the wrong pickups in the wrong places?


For one, the colors of the wires are frustratingly backward in that the stock rhythm pickup (“Duncan-Designed”) I pulled from the guitar had a black and yellow wire attached and the lead pickup had a black and a white wire attached… If the wiring diagram included in the Fender American Vintage 65 package is to be believed, it’s the opposite: lead pickup has a yellow wire and rhythm has a white wire. 


Also, the black ground wire went someplace completely different than this diagram suggests? When I removed the stock pickups, I tried to reconnect everything to where it was, but now it’s a mess of solder and no signal… 


If you DO know how to help, what’s the best way to do it? Start from scratch and pick up [no pun intended ;) ] some new switches? Is it a bad wire or bad new pickup from the box? Should I give this to a professional at this point?


No clue, whatsoever… but mighty frustrating! 


** Incidentally, because I’m a complete idiot, I don’t have a good picture of the “before” (of course…) for the lead circuit. I anticipated this rhythm one giving me more trouble, but lesson learned there… So if anyone has looked under the hood and snapped a photo of what the Squier Vintage Modified Jaguars are “supposed to look like” stock, please please please post a picture! That alone would help massively! I can post some pictures later in the day!


Thanks in advance for any help!

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  • 9 months later...

I too suffered from a similar issue, rewiring the toggle switches of a jaguar is a tedious and confusing task. I've ultimately decided to just take the thing out entirely in substitute for a one-pickup one-volume setup to bypass all the confusion. Probably not the advice you were looking for but it vastly improves ease of use.


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Going off of your post, sounds like you have a short somewhere involving the bridge pickup and grounding, so when you flip that switch on, it's sending the entire signal to ground like if your volume or both pickups are off, killing the whole guitar.  I would look for shorts, and also make sure that the pickup is not shorted as well (ie, bridge pickup should read 11.5ish K Ohms on a Squier VM Jaguar - they are very very hot bridge position single coils - I love em').

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