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NGD: 1963 Fender Jaguar + refret and 1st Plek experience

Icandrive55

Active member
Joined
Oct 26, 2019
Messages
166
This was a heck of a lucky find. I have been on the hunt for a Jaguar for a very long time. There was a music store I had purchased an Echoplex from a while back. They told me if I was ever looking for something, to give them a call. I had this nagging feeling all week to call this store. So I give them a call, and they happen to have just gotten what they thought was a '64 Jaguar in the store. It was a freaky coincidence. And they were planning on posting it to Reverb but I got to them first. So I snagged it for a phenomenal deal. It allegedly needed a refret, which wasn't a dealbreaker for me.

I received the guitar and the original frets looked barely played on. So I was thinking there's no way it needed a refret. It just had an awful bridge setup and the truss rod needed adjusting. A couple of hours working on it and I got it all setup and playing great.

But here's when things get interesting! Immediately, I notice the flat pole pickups. So then I checked the pot codes, which dated to 1963. And after I removed the neck, I could see it was stamped November 1963. So that was a very cool surprise! I did not think there was any way I was going to be able to get a '63 Jaguar in this market.

The pictures really don't do these sunbursts justice. I always thought I would prefer a custom color but I'm crazy about how this looks. Could not be happier!

IMG_9793.jpgIMG_9766.jpgIMG_9788.jpgIMG_9798 2.jpgIMG_9775.jpg
 

J T

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 20, 2005
Messages
10,524
Nice one! Great find.

I have one like that It's not vintage but a Vintage Reissue. I took off the bridge and swapped it with a Mastery bridge. I broke the vibrato arm connector inside the tailpiece so I put in the Mastery tailpiece too. That is a really nice sounding twangy guitar. I leave the arm in inside the case. The Mastery people said that relieves tension on the neck for storage. Funny thing is I open the case, pull out the guitar, and it is nearly perfectly in tune. That's OK with me. Now I don't struggle with that weird bridge and intonation. It had the damper I never used it but I still have it.

The Jaguar has the strangle switch! You know what I'm talking about.

txdfMv2.jpg
 

Icandrive55

Active member
Joined
Oct 26, 2019
Messages
166
Nice one! Great find.

I have one like that It's not vintage but a Vintage Reissue. I took off the bridge and swapped it with a Mastery bridge. I broke the vibrato arm connector inside the tailpiece so I put in the Mastery tailpiece too. That is a really nice sounding twangy guitar. I leave the arm in inside the case. The Mastery people said that relieves tension on the neck for storage. Funny thing is I open the case, pull out the guitar, and it is nearly perfectly in tune. That's OK with me. Now I don't struggle with that weird bridge and intonation. It had the damper I never used it but I still have it.

The Jaguar has the strangle switch! You know what I'm talking about.

txdfMv2.jpg

Nice looking Jag! This was my first experience dealing with that bridge. It is indeed very quirky. That locking mechanism took me a min to figure out. I was able to get the intonation right but the guitar had a very poorly done shim so it's at my guitar tech right now. It was a small piece at the bottom of the neck pocket when it's best to have a gradual piece covering the entire neck pocket.

I was expecting mine to be twangier like yours. It's pretty warm and fat sounding. From what I've read, that's characteristic of the earlier flat pole pickups. I think they get twangier in the mid 60s and later. It sounds like a Strat with a fuller bridge pickup. But I love the middle position! That's something I haven't heard on anything else I have. It's so full and clear without being muddy. Amazing for clean parts.
 

J T

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 20, 2005
Messages
10,524
Yeah there is definitely a sound I dont get with a Strat or a Tele. Maybe the short scale has something to do with it.
 

rockabilly69

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 29, 2001
Messages
2,897
GREAT SCORE!!! That one looks like in the perfect condition to get playing!!!!

I own two Jags, one partscaster that I put some serious l love into... it has a Halon bridge and vibrato, EP Custom pickups, and a complete vintage style wiring harness, and one Wildwood Thin Skin reissue that's bone stock, and I love them. They are one of my favorite guitars to play as I love the short scale...

partscaster

thin skin
 

rockabilly69

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 29, 2001
Messages
2,897
Nice looking Jag! This was my first experience dealing with that bridge. It is indeed very quirky. That locking mechanism took me a min to figure out. I was able to get the intonation right but the guitar had a very poorly done shim so it's at my guitar tech right now. It was a small piece at the bottom of the neck pocket when it's best to have a gradual piece covering the entire neck pocket.

I was expecting mine to be twangier like yours. It's pretty warm and fat sounding. From what I've read, that's characteristic of the earlier flat pole pickups. I think they get twangier in the mid 60s and later. It sounds like a Strat with a fuller bridge pickup. But I love the middle position! That's something I haven't heard on anything else I have. It's so full and clear without being muddy. Amazing for clean parts.
I use StewMac full contact shims and they really help getting the break angle at the bridge right. I also find the minimum gauge strings to use are .011s on Jags. The heavier string keeps the strings in the slots, especially with the better break agle from the shim. The feel slinkier with the short scale, more like .010s.
 

rockabilly69

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 29, 2001
Messages
2,897
Yeah there is definitely a sound I dont get with a Strat or a Tele. Maybe the short scale has something to do with it.
I'm convinced the short scale has an effect on the tone, and I love it! Nothing sounds like my Jags. And in IMNSHO the vibrato on Jags/Jazzmasters is the best Fender ever did.
 

Icandrive55

Active member
Joined
Oct 26, 2019
Messages
166
GREAT SCORE!!! That one looks like in the perfect condition to get playing!!!!

I own two Jags, one partscaster that I put some serious l love into... it has a Halon bridge and vibrato, EP Custom pickups, and a complete vintage style wiring harness, and one Wildwood Thin Skin reissue that's bone stock, and I love them. They are one of my favorite guitars to play as I love the short scale...

partscaster

thin skin
Those recordings are killer! Great playing!! I'm a fan.

I almost bought a shell pink thin skin but I didn't move on it quickly enough. They look like awesome guitars.

And thanks for the tips! I so far haven't had issues with .10's but I can see .11's working really well. Especially, for recordings.

These have to be my favorite Fender's now. Strat's don't really suit me (and I always hit the middle pickup), and Tele's are sometimes too specific a sound. Jaguar's just sound beautiful, clear, and open. It's more on the player what you do with it. They're also stunning in person. I get why a lot of Gibson player's like them. They're a little fancier (like a Les Paul), have the shorter scale length, and are really versatile.
 

rockabilly69

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 29, 2001
Messages
2,897
Those recordings are killer! Great playing!! I'm a fan.

I almost bought a shell pink thin skin but I didn't move on it quickly enough. They look like awesome guitars.

And thanks for the tips! I so far haven't had issues with .10's but I can see .11's working really well. Especially, for recordings.

These have to be my favorite Fender's now. Strat's don't really suit me (and I always hit the middle pickup), and Tele's are sometimes too specific a sound. Jaguar's just sound beautiful, clear, and open. It's more on the player what you do with it. They're also stunning in person. I get why a lot of Gibson player's like them. They're a little fancier (like a Les Paul), have the shorter scale length, and are really versatile.
You will really like .011s, especially if you want to get aggressive once in while with your right hand. And that's when you notice the bridge moving unnecessarily. The bigger .011s are the perfect size strings for Jags, and really do wonders for keeping the bridge in place.

Like you, Jags are my favorite Fenders, and I own good example(s) of each type of Fender.

BTW I like shell pink too!!! I bought a limited edition lacquer shell pink G&L Legacy a fews ago. But although it's a good guitar, I rarely play it since I built a really great sounding '56 style Strat partscaster.

Too many guitars, not enough time :)

Here's the G&L...
LFWdEhd.jpg
 

Icandrive55

Active member
Joined
Oct 26, 2019
Messages
166
You will really like .011s, especially if you want to get aggressive once in while with your right hand. And that's when you notice the bridge moving unnecessarily. The bigger .011s are the perfect size strings for Jags, and really do wonders for keeping the bridge in place.

Like you, Jags are my favorite Fenders, and I own good example(s) of each type of Fender.

BTW I like shell pink too!!! I bought a limited edition lacquer shell pink G&L Legacy a fews ago. But although it's a good guitar, I rarely play it since I built a really great sounding '56 style Strat partscaster.

Too many guitars, not enough time :)

Here's the G&L...
LFWdEhd.jpg
I will definitely give the .011's a try!

Never seen a G&L like that! Looks great in shell pink. What I really want to do is a custom order for a champagne sparkle Jaguar with a matching headstock. But that's definitely not happening in the near future.

Sounds like we have very similar collections. I also have good examples of Strats and Tele's. The nicest is probably my custom shop all rosewood Tele. That guitar is a studio monster. It sounds good on everything. I always tell everyone to buy one if you can. It's a totally different sound than my traditional Tele. I also built a partscaster from a stripped 70's body and I designed a neck for it. It sounds and plays so well I've had no desire to buy another Strat. Sometimes you just get lucky with those and all the parts work together really well.
IMG_8685.JPGIMG_6209.JPG
 

rockabilly69

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 29, 2001
Messages
2,897
I will definitely give the .011's a try!

Never seen a G&L like that! Looks great in shell pink. What I really want to do is a custom order for a champagne sparkle Jaguar with a matching headstock. But that's definitely not happening in the near future.

Sounds like we have very similar collections. I also have good examples of Strats and Tele's. The nicest is probably my custom shop all rosewood Tele. That guitar is a studio monster. It sounds good on everything. I always tell everyone to buy one if you can. It's a totally different sound than my traditional Tele. I also built a partscaster from a stripped 70's body and I designed a neck for it. It sounds and plays so well I've had no desire to buy another Strat. Sometimes you just get lucky with those and all the parts work together really well.
View attachment 21668View attachment 21669
Oh yeah a sparkly Jag would rock!!!

I've never played a rosewood Tele but a very good guitarist friend of mine had one and loved it, 'till somebody stole it a few ago. He waxes poetically about it every time I see him.

I love the big headstocks so much that I just put this together...
lCnsEcX.jpg


And I love Black Cons. Back in 2005 my duet won Utah's Best Original Band Showdown to South By Southwest contest, when we got to Austin to do our showcase, Converse was there as a sponsor. and gave all the SXSW contest winners free sneakers in any color we wanted. Black high top Chuck Taylor's for me thank you :)
 

Phil 52

Active member
Joined
Sep 7, 2005
Messages
830
That axe looks really cool.
Love Teles with HB P/ups.
DiMarzio?
 

Icandrive55

Active member
Joined
Oct 26, 2019
Messages
166
Big headstock club all day! I always liked them on everything. I have to pickup a Tele Deluxe style guitar like yours someday.

Can't go wrong with black Converse! I think those will be the only shoe still around 1000 years from now.
 

Icandrive55

Active member
Joined
Oct 26, 2019
Messages
166
I wanted to post a little update. As anyone with a Jaguar will know, the setup can be a struggle. No matter how the shim, bridge etc. was adjusted, I just couldn't get great playability higher on the neck. I took it in for a Plek to see if there was any way to improve it. But they said the frets were a little too low to make it work. So I ended up getting an entire refret and Plek job.

It was worth every penny and I think priced very reasonably. There is so little room for error on these guitars that I think it's especially useful on these. I can play and bend strings up and down the fretboard without any issues. The guitar just feels more slinky and fast. I know there is some debate whether the Plek is hyped a little much. So I just wanted to share my own experience. It dramatically improved my guitar.

IMG_0694.jpg
 

JASIII

Active member
Joined
Sep 19, 2020
Messages
113
I'm a big fan of Plek machines, 2 of my guitars have been Plek'ed and they both play amazingly. I don't think it's hype.
 
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