Monday, April 30, 2018

1997 Fender JGS-65 Jag-Stang Guitar Review


Today we are looking at a well-loved 1997 Fender Jag-Stang, that came to me straight out of Japan. I think that Kurt Cobain from Nirvana was a genius, and think that these instruments are a nice reminder of his contributions to the guitar world of today.

The Fender Jag-Stang was designed by Fender to meet Kurt Cobain’s needs. It is a 24-inch scale hybrid of the famous Fender Mustang and Jaguar guitars, with the Mustang’s Dynamic Vibrato bridge. Legend has it that the necks on these are an exact replica of the one from Kurt’s favorite Mustang. Believe it or don’t…

The original run of these guitars was made between 1995 and 2001 with basswood bodies, and the second run was made from 2003 to 2005 with ash bodies. The only two colors available were Fiesta Red and Sonic Blue. All of the guitars were built at Fender’s Japanese Custom Shop.

The electronics consist of a “vintage-style” single coil at the neck, and a “Special design” (or Dragster as they are know in Japan) humbucker at the bridge. My resistance checks showed these at 5.67k ohm for the neck and 7.60k ohm for the bridge. Each pickup has its own 3-position slide on/off phase switch, in addition to the master volume and tone knobs. Some people are pretty critical of the quality of these parts, but they sound fine to me. This is grunge, remember?

The instrument pictured here was built in 1997 (I think), and you can tell by the photos that it has a nice thick coat of Fiesta Red poly on it. It is a nice-playing guitar, with good craftsmanship. It sounds good, and the controls are useful for getting a lot of different tones from it. This guitar has been played a lot, and there is a bit of finish wear plus aging to the hardware, but this is honest playwear and not abuse. The frets are still in great shape and it is one of the easiest playing guitars I have ever owned.

The only gripe I have about the Jag-Stang is that it is so small that it feels like a toy when it is being played with my beefy hands. But on the plus side, its small size translates into a weight of only 7.5 pounds. Maybe I will keep this one around for a while…


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