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Fender Jaguar

Fender Jaguar
Image:Fender Jaguar.jpg
Manufacturer Fender
Period 1962 - 1975; 1999 - present
Body type Solid
Neck joint Bolt-on
Body Alder (Basswood on Japanese models)
Neck Maple
Fretboard Rosewood
Bridge "Floating" Tremolo
Pickup(s) 2 Single-coil, specially designed
Colors available
(American Vintage Series, as of 2005) 3-Color Sunburst, Olympic White, Black, Ocean Turquoise, Surf Green, Ice Blue Metallic (other colors may be available)

The Fender Jaguar guitar was introduced in 1962. The Jaguar was originally marketed and seen as a surf guitar, along with its sister guitar, the Fender Jazzmaster both of which became popular among surf rock groups in the early to mid 1960s. It became popular again in the 1990s when it was used by a number of alternative rock players; a fact which remains to this day.


The Jaguar was based on the Jazzmaster, with the same "offset waist" body and "synchronized tremolo" system. Unlike the Jazzmaster the Jaguar was fitted with a shorter 24-inch scale, 22-fret neck (the first Fender guitar to have 22 frets) and featured smaller single-coil pickups with notched side plates that improved RF shielding, making the Jaguar less prone to interference than the more popular Stratocaster and Telecaster.

Although the Jaguar and the Jazzmaster shared the same dual-circuit scheme, the Jaguar had a more complex second (lead) circuit consisting of three switches on the lower bout: the first two were on/off switches for the neck and bridge pickups, respectively, the third switch engaged a capacitor that served as a high-pass filter. This switch was often called the "strangle" switch among players, due to the fact that when it is switched on, the Jaguar attains a strange, treble-accented tone quality. Another of the Jaguar's features was a spring-loaded rubber string mute, apparently designed for "surf" guitarists who often had to palm mute for extended periods. This feature proved less than popular as it sent the guitar out of tune when engaged.

Like the Jazzmaster and Bass VI, the Jaguar has an unusual floating tremolo tremolo arm mechanism that was a complete departure from the synchronized tremolo system found on the Fender Stratocaster. Leo Fender believed that this new design was superior to previous designs since the bridge actually moved backwards and forwards along with the strings during tremolo use, thereby maintaining proper intonation even under duress. This floating bridge concept was also later used in the Fender Dynamic Vibrato, another design used on the Fender Mustang. The floating tremolo mechanism also features a built-in tremolo lock, which helped the player preserve the guitar's tuning in the event of a string breakage. While these ideas seemed good on paper, the actual unit was prone to malfunction, making it one of the more problematic aspects of the Jaguar and Jazzmaster.

Intended as Fender's top of the line guitar upon its release in 1962, the Jaguar never enjoyed the popularity that the Stratocaster enjoyed. After several upgrades (custom finishes, a bound neck and pearloid inlays), the entire Jaguar range was eventually discontinued in 1975 after a thirteen year production run.

Many guitar players found fault with the design of the original Jaguar bridge, which features saddles that have many grooves cut into them (similar to screw threads). The idea behind this design was that you could space your strings to best suit your needs. In reality, the strings would jump out of the grooves while playing with any sort of force. As a solution, many players replace the bridge with a Fender Mustang style bridge, which only has one string groove per saddle, evenly spaced. Another common modification is the addition of a "Buzz Stop", a bar that mounts above the tremolo system and increases the angle of the strings behind the bridge, increasing sustain while decreasing string buzz (another common problem with the original Jaguar bridge).


In the 1990s the popularity of the Jaguar & Jazzmaster exploded when they saw heavy use by various alternative rock/grunge bands such as Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr and Nirvana (Kurt Cobain used a modified 1965 Jaguar with DiMarzio and Seymour Duncan humbucking pickups, a Gibson Tune-O-Matic bridge and modified circuitry). More recent players include Brian Molko of Placebo, Gavin Rossdale of Bush, Grimur por Vilhjalmsson of The Beautifuls , James Dean Bradfield of the Manic Street Preachers, Boyan Chowdhury of The Zutons, John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Win Butler of Arcade Fire.

Fender reissued the 1962 version of the Jaguar in 1999 as part of its American Vintage Series (lower cost Japanese-made versions have been available since 1986/87). Since then, several other variations have been released, including several humbucking pickup versions and a Jaguar bass guitar in 2006. The recent Fender Toronado line of guitars shares the same body shape as the Jaguar.


Fender Jaguar HH.
Fender Jaguar HH.
Fender Jaguar Baritone Special HH.
Fender Jaguar Baritone Special HH.

Fender Jaguar HH. Identical to the standard Jaguar, except that it's equipped with two humbucking pickups, a fixed adjust-o-matic bridge (similar to a Gibson Tune-O-Matic), and chrome knobs.

Fender Jaguar Baritone Special HH. Similar to the Jaguar HH, except that it has less switching options, and a longer 27" scale length (as opposed to the normal 24"), and is designed to be tuned B E A D G B.

Fender Jaguar Baritone Custom. More or less a combination of a Jaguar and a Fender Bass VI. It has a fixed bridge, a 28.5" scale length and heavier strings to achieve a tuning of E A D G B E one octave lower than standard guitar tuning.

Fender Jaguar Bass. Essentially a Fender Jazz Bass with a Jaguar-shaped body and Jaguar-styled switching options. Features a switchable on-board preamp with bass/treble controls.

Fender Jag-Stang In the later years of Kurt Cobain's life he brought blueprints to Fender of a mix between the Mustang and Jaguar. The result was the soon mass produced Jag-Stang which has been quite popular among the Fender and Nirvana fans.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Document License
It uses material from the Wikipedia article - Fender Jaguar