10.12.2017

The Squire Jaguar Bridge Hack

Custom Squire Fiesta Red Jaguar
Custom Squire Jaguar
   Squire made this Frankenstein model in an attempt to look like it had been living on the wall of a smoke laden music store for decades. Fender later came out with their own Pawn Shop Series which had a similar aesthetic. It does look old, but the amalgamation of parts turned out to be a bummer. The Toronado bridge they chose looks interesting and dated, however it is impossible to set intonation.
   I had waffled over purchasing this Fiesta Red Jaguar for several years, there were a few other details that had kept me from pulling the trigger as well. Instead of waiting any longer and possibly missing out, I trusted my gut, and decided to take on the challenge and solve those handful of quirky problems myself.
   My longtime quest has been the search for a lightweight replacement for my Les Paul. It has been hard to replicate that heavy mahogany sound. Thanks to the searing tone of the Duncan designed humbucker set, I now have it.
   I already owned a custom Jagmaster from the same Vintage Modified series, and it had been my number one for the last five years. The Jagmaster fell short of my tone desires because of it's tremelo, and even with the trem blocked into a hardtail, it was thin on treble sustain. Since I adored everything else about my Jagmaster, I wanted to essentially create a clone, starting with this basic Jaguar and its solid body.
   In order to test the guitar's potential and expedite this project, I opted for a top-load StewMac bridge (I was not ready to drill through body ferrules, yet.) I properly located the placement of the new bridge and carefully shaved the original pickguard to fit.
   Another problem that I noted was the toggle switch location, I needed to move it to the lower horn which left a hole in the pickguard. I found a glossy black, automotive hole plug that did the job well enough. While the strings were off, I wanted to go ahead and simplify the electronics. I was not a fan of the huge, double stacked knobs sticking out and I did not need their individual controls. I admit that at this point in my playing, I just want the basics, which ironically is the antithesis of a loaded Fender Jaguar. I found a Semour Duncan schematic and wired one volume pot, and one tone pot to the three-way toggle switch. Perfect!
   Sometimes you have to make what you want in life, if your skills permit. I have watched the different iterations of Jags over the years and none of them have included all the items on my wishlist. I would not have had the nerve to mess with a more valuable model, but these Squire's are a great starting point for project guitars. With a few modifications and a good setup, they can be brought into the realm of their much more expensive cousins.

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