Drilling my H/H Jaguar body for a tremolo. Ensuring the tremolo and neck are fitted straight and true.
Clearly - the original Fender Jazzmaster / Jaguar bridge has it's issues. For many - that's enough of a reason to look for alternatives. However, I want to try and stick to the technology of the time on my "62" Jaguar project. If I can't fix the bridge entirely - perhaps I can find a way to tame it, and make it work better by setting it up right.
As I've gradually grown my collection of completed builds - I think this natural Ash Stratocaster is the one which has taught me the most. Consequently - just about every component has been swapped out, at least once, over the last couple of years. With the latest modifications however... I think it might finally be where I want it to be.
One of the "received truths" about the Jaguar - seems to be that the original bridge design is at fault for just about everything - (although there are a whole series of common mods which address some sonic characteristics as well). With the bridge however - many of the "fixes" appear to cause problems, or unwanted knock-on effects, themselves. ...what does that mean for the setup itself? Is there a way to achieve a perfect balance between archtop form, and solid-body function?
Comparing the various Jaguar bridge options got me thinking. I just couldn't work out what that Fender Tune-o-matic bridge was trying to achieve. Since I plan to have a few offsets to set up over the next few months, I need to work out how to solve some of the technical differences which make Stratocasters and Jaguars so, apparently, different. I began to realise, I'd have to look at things in a different way...
With two new offset projects, and an existing Jaguar build to upgrade - I need to make a few choices. I've collected a few different bridge options over the past few months. Now might be a good time to go through the options, and work out which bridge might best suit each build.
I try to make improvements to the playing "feel", every time I set the guitar up. In fact - every time I change strings - there's a chance to tweak things a little. I've already set the Ash Strat up a few times now. This time - the new body has meant there's a better geometry at the neck pocket, and I can do away with the shim that was there previously. That provides an opportunity to really give things a good shake out.
So... the global epidemic caught me right in the middle of my cataract treatment. I've now got one repaired eye, and another still badly blurred. With all non-essential surgery cancelled, and with an extended period in Covid-19 lockdown leaving hours to fill, I'm left looking for things to do whilst still not having great vision. But I just can't sit here, doing nothing...
It doesn't always go according to any particular plan. Sometimes, a new project just presents itself. With my recent gold leafed Strat throwing up as many questions as it has answers, I recently bought a second hand Stratocaster body, with the intention of using it as an, ultimately disposable, low-risk candidate for some further experiments in gilding. But perhaps it's just too good for that...
The Ash Stratocaster I built last year has become one of my "go-to" guitars. As one of my first builds - I'm especially fond of it. However, with a few key components left over from other projects, I've had the chance to upgrade the guitar into something really special.