Bass Project #2: Squier Bass VI (part 1)

I’m sorry for the long absence between the last couple of blogs. I have been busy with quite a few things besides guitars and making music. I’m trying to organize a lot of my unfinished projects, getting the parts necessary and finally getting around to finishing them. It doesn’t help that I also suffer from GAS-syndrome, which is why this current bass entered my life.

Being a fan of weird guitars and basses I am always looking out for the next instrument to tickle my fancy. The Fender Bass VI has been on my watch list for quite some time. Being a fan of both the Cure and Cream I always wanted to own one. Also the allure of a 6 string bass with a tremolo ticked all the right boxes in my head. A few years back the only way of getting one was finding an original VI from the 60s/70s or ordering one from the Custom Shop. This was even before Fender Japan started making reissues I believe, although I am not an expert on Japan’s domestic guitar catalog. Needless to say that was way above anything I could afford at the time and even now I wouldn’t want to shill out that kind money. There were alternatives like the Fender Bottom Master and Baritone Custom, but these were also quite expensive and not even really reissues of the original VI’s.

Besides the Japanese reissues, which weren’t really available in Europe at the time, Fender introduced the Mexican-made Pawn Shop Bass VI and the Squier VM Bass VI (made in Indonesia) a few years back. Although I really liked the Candy Apple Red Pawn Shop version it was missing the crucial switching system like the originals, replacing it with a 5-way Strat switch. I tried out 2 sunburst Squiers at different shops but both were quite disappointing. I might have bought a Pawn Shop one but most shops didn’t stock them at the time and when I finally wanted to really try one they were discontinued.

Fast-forward to the present and I developed a serious itch from that infectious GAS-syndrome. Most shops here seemed to have stopped stocking the Squier version, at least the black VI was nowhere to be found and the stores that had VI’s were all in sunburst finishes. My guess is the recent SITES concerning rosewood-use on guitars means Fender is replacing the entire Squier line, Mexican- and part of their USA-built instruments with different fretboard materials and the last rosewood models are being sold off before final replacement. Anyway, I preferred Olympic White over sunburst and I was able to find a shop which had a few left in stock. Luckily it also played better than the previous two I had tried out, so I happily bought it. I am really impressed by the build quality for the price, even though there are definitely significant flaws warranting a fix. After a few days I was adjusted to the smaller string spacing and using the bass with fingerstyle is no problem. It makes a fine bass on its own without the chordal options. The pickup options are also really nice, so far I’m glad I chose this over a Pawn Shop VI.

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It’s not a project without any mods, so what am I going to be changing out on bass? First and foremost; the strings. Not a mod of course, but words can not describe how much I hate these stock strings. I really don’t know why Fender/Squier ever opted for a string set with such a thin low E string. The instrument is completely unplayable in my opinion. The rest of strings are fine, the A string maybe a bit to thin as well. Fretting anywhere on the E is almost impossible without bending it out of tune or hitting it hard without a lot of fret buzz. I haven’t settled on flats or rounds, I’ll be buying La Bella’s either way.

The real ‘mods’ are replacing the cheaper parts with higher quality ones to make it a better instrument overall, such as an AVRI tailpiece (for the locking function mostly) and a Staytrem bridge as well as CTS pots. I might also change the pickguard. I am a stickler for nice tortoise-shell pickguards but a Spitfire guard isn’t cheap and I don’t want to be spending more on this bass than the actual price I bought it for. We’ll see!

This project won’t take as long as it is just ordering the different parts and replacing them. I’m not in a hurry anyway although I would like to record and play with this bass when it is all done and setup properly. I still have 2 projects I also want to finish soon. The Billy Corgan Stratocaster is almost done. I know, I said the same thing the last time… Besides some minor polishing of the lacquer, it is only a matter of soldering the electronics and screwing everything together. Fingers crossed. šŸ™‚ The Ibanez bass is on the back burner for now. I have found a mudbucker from a 70s Japanese EB-0 copy with its pots and wiring. All I need is second pickup and a custom pickguard to fit this weird bass.

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Bass Project #1: Ibanez 2452DX / Ripper copy (part 1)

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s… wait. What is that?!

Ever wonder what the ‘ugliest’ guitar mod is you’ve ever seen? I think this bass will be quite high on that list… I’m still boggled and confused what happened to this poor instrument, since it seems so random and some parts seem to have been done by a professional while others seem to be more the result of some kind of industrial accident. Pictures of this transformation are down below, it goes good to worse.

The backstory: I was browsing the local ‘Craigslist’ and came across an ad for the weirdest looking bass with a matching title that was pretty on the noose: Ibanez Pole Bass (or Stick, depends which translation you prefer). The seller described the bass as “Ibanez Ripper lawsuit copy with structural weight reduction”, especially that last part made me grin. This mutilated bass looked like something Devo would have used live in the 70s. Being quite intrigued I contacted the seller and the price was so low I just had to have it! I was afraid this ‘Ibanez’ might not be constructionally sound after its weight-loss. The seller guaranteed me it was solid so I picked it up.

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What is the situation? Well the bass is still built like a tank, the neck has a very nice profile and surprisingly the play-ability and sustain of this instrument is still pretty good. Neck dive is off the chart though. The action is a bit high in places and the D-string is buzzing around the 12th fret but nothing that can’t be adjusted for. What puzzles me most is the Ibanez was converted to a fretless bass, the fretboard being completed replaced by a newer ebony board, which was done professionally (at least to my eyes) but the body seems to be mangled by an amateur with a hack saw. The treble side and headstock for sure, the bass side is done fairly nice actually. The seller told me the bass was his brothers who got it for free in the early 90s (figures…). He had it converted to a fretless but it eventually ended up in this state. No idea what the exact timeline of abuse this bass suffered is but it must be quite a story.

Apart from the hack job it is missing all of its electronics, besides a lone ground-wire from the bridge. Originally these Ibanez Ripper copies came with a set of chrome ‘mudbuckers’ like those found in Gibson EB-0, -2 and -3’s. The two-point bridge design appears to have also been lifted from these same models, unlike the three-point bridges on ‘real’ Rippers. The pickup routes are large enough to fit almost anything but that leads me to the final question: what am I going to do with this bass?

I’m not quite sure yet. I bought it not expecting much but there is certainly much potential coming off this bass. The Devo vibe is also to good to be true, where is the rest of my new cover band?! I think I’ll start with adding some cheap pickups and electronics just to see what sounds I can get out of this bass before throwing any more money at it. Because of the lack of wood it’ll be quite a challenge adding the necessary pots and switches. Room for an output jack is routed on the lower half but I have no idea if this bass ever had much electronics in its then current state, if any. Suggestions much appreciated!

I’ll update this blog if anything progresses, I’m curious what will become of this strange, lanky bass guitar. Side note; the Billy Corgan Stratocaster will likely be finished in the coming weeks after I find a suitable neck and wire the electronics. Hopefully it won’t last as long as another certain project…

Guitar Project #1: Fender ā€˜Ronald Jonesā€™ tribute Jaguar (part 2)

At long last! The final part of my first guitar project: the Fender ‘Ronald Jones’ Jaguar. What I thought would take several weeks to complete ended up taking several months…

Quite a bit has happened since I wrote the first part on Ronald’s guitar. After diving into the extended discography of the Flaming Lips I discovered a lot more audio bootlegs and videos with Ronald in the band. Also I finally listened to the ‘Heady Nuggs: 20 Years After Clouds Taste Metallic’ album which was a pleasant aural experience while completing this guitar. Furthermore I found out Ronald continued to play music after the Lips, which was a big surprise. He recorded with Richard Davies, with whom the Lips have performed as backing band as well as touring with Richard and his own band, the Moles. Check out this Lips live performance of them playing a MolesĀ  cover:Ā https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jf7JHKwHqUA Anyway, the album Ronald played on is called ‘Telegraph’. It’s on YouTube in its entirety so check it out. It is really good standalone album, even you factor out the whole Ronald Jones association. Richard Davies has a lot more great albums (like ‘Cardinal’) I noticed, so thanks Ronald for introducing me to his music!

Continuing with the completion of the Jaguar. In the previous installment I didn’t have all the parts and the electronics weren’t wired up yet. Anyways, soldering was a pain and at first it didn’t work and shorted out somewhere. Luckily it only took one attempt at trouble-shooting. The top rhythm controls turned out to not be properly grounded, luckily an extra wire to the bridge ground did the trick. After plugging it in an amp everything seemed to be working OK. Not to shabby for a quite complex circuit like a Jaguar! The vibrato tailpiece is a new AVRI Jaguar/Jazzmaster tremolo. It was pricey but a whole lot better than the cheap Chinese tremolo that was on this guitar before I bought it. The AVRI also has the ability to lock the vibrato spring making it more stable when not in use. The electronics and vibrato were finished a while back as I am writing this blog. A while back meaning early November… The guitar was working but I couldn’t play the damn thing! The neck was the final pieces of the puzzle.

I was going to buy a new Jaguar neck from Stratosphere on eBay. Originally I wanted to find an original Jaguar neck from the 60s or 70s but you can’t really find these locally and prices are too high on sites like eBay. But long story short, it was also quite pricey to get a new one shipped from America to the Netherlands with added shipping and import costs (the dollar is also relatively high to the euro). My quest for a neck therefore began locally. I didn’t find one for a long time which is the reason it took so long for this blog to be updated. The Universe seemed to magically disappear any neck I would find. 3 different Mustang necks from ’65/’66 all slipped through my fingers because of stupid reasons, i.e. the seller not responding to my messages after awhile. Very frustrating when you want to finish the damn guitar! Finally this ’78 Fender Mustang neck came along. Although I was hoping to get a Fender neck from the same year as theĀ  60s pickguard and neck pickup like Ronald’s original Jag(s), I do like these slightly chunkier 70s Mustang necks. It must have been faith because the guy who sold it to me was also named Ronald!

The neck wasn’t complete though. I had to buy new tuners and string guides since both were missing from the neck. These 70s reissue Fender tuners aren’t really like the original chrome Klusons found on Jaguars but adding these meant having to drill new holes on the neck. 60s and 70s Mustang guitars had this same style of tuners but with white plastic buttons on top. At least the added chrome parts with the reissue tuners matches nicely with this Jaguar.

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How does she sound? I had to adjust the Jag quite a bit to get it to play comfortable and to match the different pickup outputs. The ‘stock’ Jag neck pickup is loud enough by itself, but the Hot Rails are really high output in comparison. Finding a bit of a balance was essential. I might not go for playing both pickups on at the same time, at least when switching between both I think I have it setup pretty nice now. I haven’t had the chance to play the Jag a lot but she sounds great clean or with overdrive and a ton of effects. I get why Ronald used Jaguars with Hot Rails, you get the best of both worlds with this combination of pickups. The neck is really comfortable to play, very smooth and fast profile. I might want to change the strings to something a bit thicker but I’m satisfied at the moment.

This January I went to a Flaming Lips concert for the first time ever. I was much too young to have seen them live in the 90s, even-so Steven said during the show he didn’t remember the last time they performed in the Netherlands. Probably even before he joined in ’91 or not at all… I’m not the greatest fan of their recent album(s), the show was amazing nonetheless so it didn’t bother me. It were mostly songs from previous albums, although I disliked the Lips didn’t play any songs prior to ‘Soft Bulletin’. Speaking of concerts, Future Heart posted a little backstory of Ronald’s final concert with the band: https://thefutureheart.com/2016/08/25/flaming-lips-ronald-jones-guitar-guitarist-reading-1996/ Interesting read, more-so because they also posted a couple of songs from that last show. Great audio and the performances were stellar from a band that was about to splinter…

Lastly, someone made a ‘short’ documentary on Ronald Jones and his time with the Flaming Lips. It’s nothing officially or anything by the way. Not for everyone I guess but I certainly found it interesting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kgj2-R5ci8E

Well, I’m so glad I got to finish this guitar after all these months. It has been almost a year since I first had the idea to build this tribute, too bizarre. Thanks Ronald!

(PS: the Billy Corgan Stratocaster is also coming along for any one who was curious what happened to that project! I have also recently acquired a chopped-up Ibanez Ripper bass. It’s the weirdest thing I’ve seen in awhile and that’s an understatement!)

Guitar Project #3: 90s Fender Duo-Sonic

Didn’t expect this in-between guitar project, I didn’t even know of the existence of this particular reissue. I came across this guitar when browsing the local Craigslist-variant on the look-out for a neck for my Fender Jaguar. Unfortunately, still haven’t found one but more on that later. The Duo-Sonic parts were pretty cheap, so I figured why not? If I don’t like it in the long run I could probably sell it for a nice profit.

These Duo-Sonics were introduced in 1993 by Fender Mexico and made until 1997. The color options were Arctic White, Black or Torino Red, although there was also a (very limited?) series featuring the ‘Competition’ colors with the racing stripes. The body is made from poplar like most guitars from Mexico at the time. This ‘reissue’ is a weird mix from the different years of the original run of the Duo-Sonic from the 50s and 60s. The neck is the strangest thing on this guitar. It has a scale length of 22.7 inches, 20 frets and has a rather big nut width compared to its shortscale size. I’d almost compare it to the nut width of a modern Stratocaster.

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As you can see in the pictures the Duo-Sonic was missing a few parts; I only got the body, neck, pickguard and bridge. Luckily, the electronics were few and the Kluson tuners cheap. I decided to use the two Lace Sensor single coil pickups I originally intended to use in my Billy Corgan tribute Strat which is still in the works. More on that later as well.

The original 90s reissue had Stratocaster-style pickups and a matching set of Strat volume and tone knobs, as seen above on the page header. I’m really used to the black Jazz Bass-style knobs on my Fender Mustangs so I opted for these instead. The three-way toggle I bought is a more heavy-duty toggle compared to the mini toggles found on most Duo-Sonics, which are rather flimsy and small. The body rout is a bit small to accommodate some larger switches, bit of advice if someone wants to switch these out. The tuners used on these 90s Duo-Sonics are crappy and have a strange shape and size. Finding replacement tuners that fit exactly is impossible. The bushings are also very small (didn’t come with the guitar) and I had to rout the tuner holes to fit the Kluson bushings. I couldn’t find any smaller bushings, but I had to drill new holes for the tuners so I figured modding the neck for new bushings wasn’t that big of a deal.

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The sound of this particular Duo-Sonic is very interesting because of its super-shortscale size and the Lace pickups. It packs quite a punch for its diminutive size and I’m really loving the neck profile. The string tension is quite low with a regular set of .010’s, I’d recommend something a bit thicker if you’re going to play in E standard. I was also worried about the intonation because of the two-strings-per-saddle bridge design and the shorter scale in general. The strings haven’t settled in perfectly but the intonation and tuning stability is definitely far better than I expected. I also really, really like the color combination of the red, white and black with the maple fretboard on this guitar!

A small update on the Ronald Jones Jaguar and Billy Corgan Stratocaster: I still haven’t found a neck for this guitar. It really bums me out as I would have liked to have finished it months ago. If I can’t find one in the area in the next month I guess I’ll have to try eBay but that’s pricey… The Stratocaster body will be refinished in the next few weeks, hoping I can get the electronics done by then. Although I just cannibalized two of these Lace Sensors for this Duo-Sonic I found an original 90s set of Red, Silver and Blue Laces like Corgan used! I’ll post some pics when I finish the body and install the new hardware.

Guitar Project #2: Fender ‘Billy Corgan’ tribute Stratocaster (part 1)

Now for a guitar player most people will have heard about hahaha. Billy Corgan is known as the (lead) guitarist and vocalist of the group the Smashing Pumpkins. Emerging from the late 80s dreampop/indie scene the Pumpkins mixed 70s arena rock with shoegaze, heavy metal and psychedelic elements. Billy Corgan’s guitar sound is very easily recognizable, particularly his intense lead tone (for example: ‘Cherub Rock’ or ‘Hummer’). Which reminds me I still need a good Big Muff pedal…

Credit where credit is due, all members of the Smashing Pumpkins were talented individuals in their own right (yes, even D’arcy!). James Iha is an incredibly talented guitar player, even while he was sometimes overshadowed by Corgan in the Pumpkins. Jimmy Chamberlin is still one of my favorite drummers. His jazzy style and fills helped make the sound of band so different and unique even to this day. D’arcy Wretzky’s bass lines were sometimes unexpectedly groovy for some songs (in a positive way), her bass playing was always solid and locked in with Chamberlin. Check out this live performance from the Pumpkins at Pinkpop ’94 and witness how tight and dynamic they were as a band: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmSlGFuS7oQ

This Stratocaster is loosely based on the Strats Corgan used in the early and mid 90s with the Pumpkins. Corgan favored several 70s Strats with Lace Sensor pickups during this period. He also used a ’57 sunburst AVRI, again equipped with Lace Sensors. I will be using Lace Sensor pickups as well, but not quite what Corgan was using. Also the electronics will feature some extra bonuses to ‘upgrade’ the standard Stratocaster wiring, more on that later.

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Like the ‘Ronald Jones’ Jaguar it’s missing a few crucial parts, mainly the neck. Good thing Strat necks aren’t hard to come by, at least compared to finding the right Jag neck… more on that later. The body is perfect for this project, the psychedelics just ooze from that groovy etching. It’s not an original Fender body but a homemade ash one. According to the guy who sold it it is from the 70s which would explain the whole hummingbird/floral-themed etching. At least it’s from the same period as Corgan’s Strats. The wood grain is quite beautiful so I want a nice transparent lacquer, but I haven’t gotten around to finish it yet. Plus natural lacquer is something I strongly associate with the 70s. It is also a two-piece body, normally pretty pricey on most guitars. Originally my brother bought this body and he routed an extra cavity under the pickups, which was done very crudely with a drill. Since then I have tried to clean it up by properly routing the cavity. The body was/is quite heavy for a Strat (probably because it’s ash), so the back has been sanded down quite a bit. The cavity also relieves some of the weight though.

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The pickups are a ‘set’ of vintage Lace Sensors pickups from the late 80s, a ‘Dually Red-Red’ bridge, ‘Gold’ middle and ‘Blue’ neck pickup. The person who sold these pickups claimed they were from a Stratocaster Ultra, but I don’t believe this to be true. They are definitely from the late 80s but no way from the same guitar or an Ultra for that matter. Not that I care, I bought them for a fair price. Black covers were never used on Ultras, only white ones. On the front the neck and middle pickups are stamped ‘AGI’, the company who produced these for Lace, while the bridge humbucker is labelled ‘Fender Lace Sensor’. The pickups made for Fender where labelled like the latter example the AGI ones were sold directly from Lace in the late 80s. Likely the humbucker came from a Telecaster Plus and the other pickups were from a different guitar(s).

Corgan used a set of ‘Red’, ‘Silver’ and ‘Blue’ single coil Lace Sensors, so mine aren’t exactly what he used. The ‘Gold’ middle pickup is more akin to a 50s Stratocaster while a ‘Silver’ has a hotter output comparable to a 70s one. Other changes I’ll be adding is a three-way toggle for the humbucker to switch between both coils or combine them, just like on a Telecaster Plus. The second tone pots on Stratocasters have always seemed pretty useless to me. CTS makes a handy gizmo called a ‘Blender’ pot. This pot can be installed to replace the second tone pot. When it’s turned all the way up clockwise it is taken out of the circuit (no-load). If you turn it counter-clockwise it will blend in certain pickups depending on the five-way pickup selector. In position 1 and 5 it will add the neck (or bridge) pickup with the bridge (or neck) pickup like on a regular Telecaster, normally impossible on a Stratocaster. Likewise in position 2 and 4 it allows you to turn on all pickups! I have high hopes from this wiring and love to hear all the possible combinations, also with the added three-way bridge toggle.

In the coming few weeks I’ll try to finish the Stratocaster (get it?), so I’ll only be needing a neck. The electronics are a challenge but compared to the Jaguar it will likely be a breeze. Very glad all the electronics are working properly on the Ronald Jones Jag, it was a pain to wire. I am still looking for a neck for the Jaguar, haven’t given up just yet. If anyone has a (vintage) Jaguar, Mustang, Musicmaster, Bronco or even a Jag-Stang neck for sale contact me! Preferably in the Netherlands though.

Guitar Project #1: Fender ‘Ronald Jones’ tribute Jaguar (part 1)

Very few people will likely be familiar with the name ‘Ronald Jones’, but for those who do: good for you, pad yourselves on the back! In all seriousness, I think he is one of the most underrated guitar players of the 90s, definitively up there with guitarists like Jonny Greenwood, Kevin Shields or Graham Coxon. In terms of creativity and style I have yet to hear someone on that level of playing, making at times such bizarre sounds and weird phrases, that still make me wonder: “How? What just happened?” His creative ways of using certain effects and techniques was completely his own. The only one I know who does even something vaguely similar is Nick Reinhart from the band Tera Melos.

For all of you (everyone?) who don’t know who I’m talking about, Ronald Jones was the guitar player for the American band the Flaming Lips from 1992 till 1996. I have never seen him play live in person (a little too young then unfortunately). Hearing the Flaming Lips for the first time didn’t leave much of an impression on me at first. I was raised with a lot of music around me at the time, back when MTV still showed mostly music videos. Hearing music from the 90s left me with a taste of things to come at an early age. ‘She Don’t Use Jelly’, the biggest hit of the Lips from that period, must have been on several times, although my memory is blurry. Fast forward years later and discovering their vast discography I was drawn to that one specific period in the history of the Flaming Lips: the “Ronald Jones era”.

The Lips only made two albums with Ronald on-board, ’93s “Transmissions from the Satellite Heart” and two years later “Clouds Taste Metallic”. If you haven’t ever listened to these albums, check them out! After Ronald left the music and the band changed, I still like a lot of it but the ‘golden era’ of the Lips was definitely over, for me at least. The sound of his guitar on many live shows/recordings was the pinnacle of psychedelic noise rock weirdness, adding so much textures and covering multiple grounds with his sound; slide guitar, pick scratches, musical ring modulation, crazy synth, fuzzed-out leads, orchestral and otherworldly delays and reverb. Check out this concert from 1995 for a sample of Ronald’s guitar witchcraft (and occasional back-up vocals). Bonus: it’s got good audio too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOvWQrkRb-4.

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Coming to the instruments of the man himself: his main guitars were two nearly identical mid 60s Jaguars. Jones was mostly spotted with a ’65/’66 surf green Fender Jaguar (with neck binding and pearl dot inlays). These Jaguars were only built for a short while before switching to binding with pearl block inlays, which lasted until production ended in 1975. The most recognizable about this Jaguar was that he modded it with Seymour Duncan Hot Rails pickups and a tune-o-matic bridge. Wayne Coyne, the singer/other guitarist of the Lips, had a ’67 Jazzmaster modded in the same way (much to the chagrin of Steven Drozd at first, the drummer and actual owner of the guitar). I don’t know who inspired who though…

Anyways, at first the Jaguar only had one Hot Rails pickup in the bridge position (like the Jazzmaster) but sometime around/before early ’93 a second Hot Rails was installed in the middle position. Notice the screw holes for the middle pickup in the photos below. A custom pickup selector plate also replaced the stock triple switches of regular Jaguars, instead opting for a single five-way toggle switch as used on Stratocasters. Apparently the guitar was modded even further in 1995 sometime after their performance on David Letterman, completing the Holy Trinity of Hot Rails with a third Hot Rails installed in the neck position! Finding good pictures of this guitar was difficult. Ironically the best photos I could find were of this guitar being played by Derek Brown, who alongside Drozd is the current guitar player of the Flaming Lips, the Jaguar still remaining in the band after Ronald’s departure in 1996.

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The other Jag was a ’65/’66 sunburst Fender Jaguar. The neck also had pearl inlays but no binding, making it (probably) slighter older than the other guitar. 1965 and 1966 was a transitional year for Fender after being bought by CBS. Many features like the logo and other cosmetics were used interchangeably on Fender guitars and basses, so it’s possible to get weird combinations like the newer logo on an older neck, the newly introduced neck binding on an older body, etc, etc. The sunburst one also had the same mods done to it as the surf green Jag, albeit the neck pickup was never changed to a Hot Rails (at least to my knowledge). I haven’t seen any clear pictures of this guitar so no idea if it also had the custom 5-way pickup selector plate (edit: it appears it didn’t after watching some live footage from San Francisco 1995). This Jaguar doesn’t appear to have went to the band after ’96, so I guess/hope Ronald still has it somewhere?!

Other guitars Jones used were a black Fender Stratocaster (with white pickguard), used for the very first shows with the Lips in 1992, a red Supro guitar from the 60s, seen in the ‘Be My Head’ and alternate ‘Turn It On’ music video (edit: used live at KC Lollapalooza ’94), a white/blonde Fender Telecaster, seen in various music videos (edit: the Tele was also used live at Roskilde 1996), a blue ‘Rickenbacker’ copy 12 string, seen in the ‘She Don’t Use Jelly’ video. Besides the Strat, Supro and Tele, there were various guitars seen in mostly music videos and likely belonged to the band. Other examples are a 60s sunburst Fender Coronado and a Harmony Rocket H54/1 (Wayne’s guitar). Some would have been used for recording, but I haven’t found much footage or info on these particular guitars.

The tribute guitar is built according to some of the specs of Ronald’s original Jaguars, diverging only ‘slightly’. It’s a tribute remember, not a replica! I want to build a replica someday though, be patient, maybe in a couple of years or so…

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As you can see it is still a work in progress, missing the neck, vibrato tailpiece and part of the electronics (edit: now all wired up!). The ash body is from Warmoth, finished in the color ‘Transparent Amber’. If you check out their website this exact Jaguar body is still used as their model for this particular finish. Instead of the tune-o-matic bridge I’ll be using a Warmoth modified Mustang bridge. Mustang bridges were/are used as a cure for the saddle problem of Jaguar and Jazzmaster bridges. TOM bridges can also be used, which is what Ronald and Wayne did, but you’d have to mod the body slightly. The Warmoth ones are drop-in replacements and even offer height adjustment that original Mustang bridges don’t.

The tortoise pickguard is an original Jaguar pickguard from 1965, same as the neck pickup and the main control plate (plus knobs). These pickguards have a much nicer look to them than the reissue tortoise guards. These are either brown tortoise or the graphics aren’t pronounced at all, so I opted getting an original 60s pickguard. It just so happened that the guy who offered one also had a spare pickup and plate which he kindly sold to me for a fair price. The bridge pickup is of course a black Seymour Duncan Hot Rails. I was thinking of adding a second one, but then I’d have to rout the body and the pickguard. The pickguard still being original would probably give me bad karma… The lower switching system will be the regular Jaguar triple selectors, at least being faithful to Ronald’s ‘Mk 1 Hot Rails’ Jaguar.

I’ll be finishing up the guitar in the next few weeks, so stay tuned for pics of the completed tribute guitar and some final words! Hopefully it will sound and play as good as it looks.