Fender calls the Jag-Stang a “collision of contemporary features fused together to create a radical new Fender guitar.” The name ‘Jag-Stang’ gives the first clue as to where the guitar comes from. It borrows features from both the Fender Jaguar and the Fender Mustang.
Kurt Cobain came up with the Jag-Stang idea. He liked the Fender Mustang but there were things about the Jaguar the he liked also. His idea combined the styles of both guitars. When the Fender Custom shop was told of Kurt’s idea, Larry Brooks and Mark Wittenberg went to meet with him. What guitar company would pass up a chance to have a guitar endorsed by someone like Kurt?
To get his idea across, Kurt took pictures of the Jaguar and Mustang. He then cut each of those pictures and put them together in a way that has the upper half mostly like a Mustang and the lower half of a Jaguar.(Check out his sketch at the right)
You’ll notice the “horn” on the top half is more like the Jaguar’s upper horn and that the “point” on the bottom half of the Jag-Stang is more Mustang-ish. So its not exactly top half Mustang, bottom half Jaguar.
Quote from Fender’s Larry Brooks:
“He(Kurt) was really easy to work with. I had a chance to sit and talk with him, then we built a prototype. He played it a while and then wrote some suggestions on the guitar and sent it back to us. The second time around, we got it right”.
The prototype had a Fender Texas Special single coil in the neck position and a DiMarzio H-3 humbucker in the bridge position. (Yes, the H-3 humbucker does exist. Click here to learn about it.) It also had a Mustang-style short-scale neck that was a copy of Kurt’s favorite neck.(he sent his favorite neck to Fender to be copied)
Kurt requested two colors for the Jag-Stang, a blue and a red version, technically called Sonic Blue and Fiesta Red. The Sonic Blue version was given to Kurt and used just a few times on the ‘In Utero’ tour. Fender was just getting ready to ship the Fiesta Red guitar when they received news of his death.
Due to Kurt’s death, no more changes were made to the Jag-Stang and it was put into production in sort of “un-finished” form. Also the guitar doesn’t come from the factory with a real Fender Texas Special single coil or DiMarzio H-3 humbucker. It comes with Fender’s cheaper replicas of those pickups.
Each pickup has a 3-position switch that gives the Jag-Stang a very wide tonal range. The Jag-Stang also comes with a floating bridge and “Dynamic” Fender vibrato tail-piece borrowed from the Mustang. The small neck is a rhythm players delight while many soloist may not like just how “tiny” it feels. Check out the Technical Specs.
- Guitar World, March 1995
- Guitar World, August 1997
- Kurt Cobain Equipment FAQ
- Fender Frontline – Date??, issue with Kurt Cobain interview
- Fender Frontline – Spring 1996