Jaguar Modifications detailed
Jaguar modifications detailed
In this section we will take a more detailed look at the common modifications/upgrades discussed on the main Fender Jaguar page.
We'll take a closer look at the stock Fender Jaguar bridge.
Common modifications include;
i)setting the saddle grub screws with glue (super glue) or grease so they don't fall out during playing,
ii)cutting down the length of the D and G intonation screws so they do not encroach on the strings if you raise the saddles,
iii)taping the bridge posts with insulation tape so that the bridge is set rather than rocking (however this does not let the tremolo system work efficiently and is NOT recommended),
iv)filing a deeper slot on each saddle so that the strings don't jump during playing (but make sure the string lines-up with the pole pieces on the pickups). The recommended file to use is a small 'needle file' of the triangular shape. File evenly and carefully, it may only take a few strokes to gain a reasonable slot and be sure to remove any rough edges/burs.
After these few simple mods are carried out your bridge should perform as good as any, bear in mind heavier gauge strings will aid the stability of the bridge not to mention improving sustain and tone.
Your stock pickups are not wax potted if you own a Japanese Fender Jaguar. This means the cavitys within the windings/bobbin of the pickup will cause microphonic feedback if you use the guitar in high gain situations. When wax potting is carried out it encases the entire pickup so that there are no cavitys eliminating a large percentage of the possibility of microphonic feedback. Here is a wax potting link that takes you step by step through the procedure. Its not difficult to do but safety is paramount, be sure to wear eye and hand protection and put the whole pickup (cover included) into the melt wax.
Alternatively you can upgrade your pickups with Fender Jaguar replacements by a reputable brand like Seymour Duncan (SD), Fender USA re-issue, Lollar or Novak. However some players go one further by fitting such as: SD JB Jr (a humbucking pickup that fits into a single coil pickup cavity), SD Cool Rails (a single coil pickup that is hum cancelling but stays reasonably true to original Jaguar pickup specs) and even DiMarzio Super Distortion S (single coil sized) humbucker. It is all down to personal choice but remember....you own a Fender Jaguar, keep it that way and try to stay true to what the guitar is. Plus if you decide to re-sale the guitar, irreversible modifications will lower the value of it.
The Tremelo System
The Jaguars tremolo system offers many possibilities- you can set it to hard tail, lock it off so that string breakage will not send all the guitars tuning flat, set it for light "shimmers" or set for more extreme whammy bar tricks. On setting up the lock button, you have to make small adjustments with the tension screw to find the point that when the guitar is in pitch the lock button will slde effortlessly just under the plate almost touching. The reason for this as mentioned is so that when the trem is locked breaking a string will not send all the tuning flat (with the loss of tension).
If you do choose to use the trem a common adjustment is to use a piece of insulation tape near the end of the arm where it sits in the socket so that you have more control/dip when in use. However, this is'nt very stable and the arm can fall out quite easily. I found a more permanent adjustment much better, using a vice i slightly bent the arm upwards at the point it is right angled and also slightly bent it upwards where the arm's shape kicks-up about midway. This means I have maximum control/dip with the arm still firmly in the socket. On this diagram the red line represents the degree the arm was 'bent' to:
The Fender 'mute'
Fitting a Fender 'Mute' on a CIJ Jag like the vintage models have is cheap to do, it looks 'snazzy' and can open up new possibilities as far as sounds go. The mute itself cost's around $15 new, this comes without the plunger and spring so you will have to make a cylinder shape plunger out of hard plastic (or other material) and buy a suitable spring.
Also the mute does'nt have the foam on it either so i used a piece of PC mouse pad, you could also use doorstrip or similar fabric.
The other things needed are:
14mm Bradpoint drill bit
2 x 3.55mm x 20mm countersunk self tapping screws
You can see that on any Jag scratchplate there is a pre-drilled hole where the mute spring/plunger is fitted. I used this to mark the centre of where i needed to drill:
Then i removed everything that would be in the way of the drill stand so that it would sit flat to the body thus drilling a 90 degrees hole, i set the depth plunge so the bore hole would be 36mm deep:
Once cleaned up i tried the homemade plunger to see if it fitted ok...
Then started to fit the mute. The two larger holes in the mute allow the bridge posts to go through, whilst the smaller ones are to attach the mute to the body of the guitar. The mute was not countersunk for the self tappers so i did this with a metal countersink bit, if you dont the screwheads stand proud and you have to set your bridge higher. CHROME-TASTIC!:
Fitted and happy but as i set it back up and try everything out i notice you have to have your bridge set higher to compensate for the mute, this may not suit everyone and players that like low action may have to shim the neck because of the higher bridge:
Conclusion: If you have the skillz and tools this is an inexpensive mod that visually adds a bit of mojo to your CIJ Jag, in operation i noticed the mute throw the tuning a little (about a quarter note) but i'm putting that down to the material i used (mouse pad) something softer may be better. In comparison to palm muting it does sound totally different and free's your strumming hand away from the bridge.
The Fender Jaguar is renowned for it's bright tone and some people do find the guitar too trebly. There is a simple modification to resolve this other than swapping out the tone pot for one of lower value. If you wire in a 1meg resistor in parallel with the pot, it halves the resistance of the 1Meg pot to 500k and makes the pickups sound more like a strat's. This can also be done on the volume pot but you may notice a slight drop in output.