1963 Fender Jaguar

The more of these guitars that I work on the more I like them, great looking instrument, love the mix of chrome and plastic and they really suit pastel colours, which I love on guitars. This one came to me from a customer who has had it for years, typically its been through a few changes lets face it "closet classics" are pretty rare these days so this one just really needed a general tidy up and refinish since it was stripped of any paint, some more text between the pictures.

Here's the body sanded back to wood, I rarely use any form of electric sander and there was certainly no need on this guitar just careful hand sanding, I tend not to strip the cavities I find that this can do more damage than good, also Jaguars and Jazzmasters have the brass cavity linings which can be awkward to remove so some careful masking is often the best way to go.

...And the back, I always take care to go light with the sanding as I really don't want to remove any wood, as for dents my preference is to leave them alone unless the customer wants otherwise, sometimes they can be removed with a steam iron.

I've skipped a step here which was the clear sanding sealer, so here we are with the cellulose white undercoat requiring sanding before the colour and clear coat. The customer wanted sea foam green which I'd never used before, I'm a huge fan of surf green and there's only a few shades between the two, Sea foam being slightly darker and more green and a lovely colour.

Well, jumping a good few steps forward....The finished job, I was really pleased when Mat (the customer) said that he wanted the finish with no relicing, I'm of the mind that "it is what it is" a vintage guitar that's needed a bit of tlc and there's no facade, Mat also wanted a matching headstock which again I think looks great and really sets off the guitar.

Such a pretty guitar. There's quite a knack to setting-up these and finally I'm getting them right. A lot of people say that the tremolo is junk but in actual fact there's nothing at all wrong with it, the trem part is really good and looks cool, I think the bridge is a bit fiddly and definitely could be improved upon.

Firstly make sure that all the little screws work, especially those small grub screws on the feet of the bridge, these are adjusted with an allen ket through small holes at the top of the bridge post. Next have a couple of shims under the back of the neck, two slithers of wood veneer should be ok this gives the neck more of a tilt and therefore the strings are higher at the bridge. The main problem with these guitars is the break angle between the bridge and tailpiece, with an essentially flat body to neck angle there's not enough downward pressure from the strings on the bridge and when using light strings you'll end up with a whole lot of strings that buzz and/or have poor sustain, the only solution then is to use much heavier gauge strings. With the neck shims and more of a neck tilt you can coax much lighter strings to work fine, I've fitted this with 9s and they're great.

...And the matching headstock, carrying on from above getting the grub screws on the bridge feet to work properly is the only way to get the bridge height adjusted properly, so many of these guitars have all sorts of junk pushed in the bridge mounting holes to pack the bridge higher which is a real bodge.

The wiring on these guitars is a tad more complicated than a Strat or Tele but not really that difficult to get your head around, it needed a bit of work to get some of the original features working but all is good now.

...And this is what Mat the owner said..

"Incredible work sir, I'm a very happy person"


All I can say is "thanks for letting me restore such a lovely guitar"