Fender Jaguar: models, specifications and history

Fender Jaguar: models, specifications and history

The Fender Jaguar: models, characteristics and history of the guitar that generates passions in guitarists from clean styles such as Surf to Alternative Rock.

Beginning of the Fender Jaguar

Fender released the Jaguar guitar in 1962 as a top-of-the-line guitar. The Jaguar guitar was the fourth in the line of standard guitars. Based on its predecessor and sister the 1958 Jazzmaster but with some new specifications. Thus, the Jaguar was the only one of the four great Fender guitars born in the 1960s. The Jaguar was, along with the jazzmaster, very famous in the “surf rock” groups of the 60s, and was popular again in the 90’s when it was adopted by alternative rock groups.

Fender 1967 Jaguar 3-color Sunburst with rectangular block inlays and valance.
1967 Fender Jaguar

When it was released in 1962, the Jaguar was Fender’s most expensive solid body guitar at $379.50. While the Stratocaster was offered at $259.50; the Telecaster was selling for $209.50; finally, the Jazzmaster, which had been released in 1958, was priced at $349.50, the closest to the Jaguar.

If you want, you can also read about the best Telecaster and the best Stratocaster according to the years of manufacture.

Fender Jaguar Specs

The Jaguar has 22 frets and a significantly shorter scale length than Fender’s other 24-inch guitars. Fender’s standard scale is 25.5 inches and 21 frets.

1962 Fender Jaguar Sunburst 3-color.
1962 Fender Jaguar

The Jaguar guitar’s scale was deliberately closer to Gibson’s standard scale length of 24.75 inches. Fender’s goal with the shorter scale and extra fret was to offer a “faster and more comfortable” playing guitar and to appeal to Gibson players, according to the Fender website.

Thus, the Jaguar was heralded as the new feature-packed top-of-the-line guitar. The guitar has the same offset body as the Fender Jazzmaster guitar. Also, the guitar features separate floating vibrato and bridge units. Also, the large amount of chrome and controls make it very distinctive from the rest of the electric guitars.

Diagram with classic Fender Jaguar controls.

Finally, the introduction of the Jaguar guitar marked the appearance of a new Fender headstock logo. This so-called transition logo was the bridge between the original “spaghetti” type of the 1950’s and the heavy black logo adopted in the late 1960’s.

Headstock with Fender Jaguar 1962 Sunburst 3 Color "Transition" Logo.
1962 Fender Jaguar

Electronic circuit of the Fender Jaguar

The Jaguar guitar has the most complex and elaborate circuitry of any Fender instrument. Although the Jaguar and Jazzmaster are dual-circuit guitars with their “lead” and “rhythm” guitar modes, the Jaguar’s lead circuit is more complex, with three slider switches on a chrome plate on the lower horn compared to the the Jazzmaster’s single toggle switch.

The first two are on and off switches for each pickup; the third turns on a capacitor that serves as a low-frequency filter, producing a sharper high-pitched tone. The latter is informally known as the “strangle” or “tone-cut” switch. The Jaguar’s rhythm circuit consists of a single slider switch on the top horn that produces a more bass-heavy neck pickup sound, with its own adjacent volume and inset tone wheels, all mounted on a chrome plate.

If you want to know in more detail the differences between both models, we recommend that you visit Fender Jazzmaster vs Jaguar, specifications, similarities and differences.

Fender Jaguar guitar pickups

The Fender Jaguar has pickups that at first glance look like a Strat, but they are different. Jaguar guitar pickups are tall, narrow, high-output pickups that are surrounded by notched metal rings similar to “claws” to reduce the hum of single-coil pickups and concentrated the magnetic field under the strings. This is a rare feature on Fender guitars that is only found on the 1961 Bass VI.

Variety of mast widths available

The Fender Jaguar was also the first guitar to be offered in a variety of neck widths. There were four choices of guitar necks: A, B, C, and D from narrowest to widest: standard, slightly narrower than standard, and two wider than standard. These options later became available on the Stratocaster and Jazzmaster as well.

Top guitarists who play or played Fender Jaguar

Johnny Marr playing his Fender Jaguar JM Signature.
  • John Frusciante (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
  • Kurt Cobain (Nirvana)
  • Tom Verlaine (Television)
  • Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth)
  • Jonny Buckland (Coldplay)
  • Carl Wilson (Beach Boys)
  • Jeff Wooton (Gorillaz)
  • Johnny Marr (Smiths, The The, Modest Mouse)
  • John Squire (Stone Roses)
  • Kevin Shields and Bilinda Butcher (My Bloody Valentine)
  • Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins)
  • Ira Kaplan (Yo La Tengo)
  • Graham Coxon (Blur)
  • Mark Gardener (Ride)
  • Will Sergeant (Echo & the Bunnymen)
  • Blixa Bargeld (Einstürzende Neubauten, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds)
  • James Johnston (Gallon Drunk, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds)
  • Troy Van Leeuwen (A Perfect Circle, Queens of the Stone Age)
  • Win Butler (Arcade Fire)
  • PJ Harvey
  • Brian Molko (Placebo)
  • Bradford Cox and Lockett Pundt (Deerhunter)
Fender Kurt Cobain Jaguar, made in Mexico.

Available models of the Fender Jaguar

Fender currently offers eight models of the Fender Jaguar, four of them made in the United States and four in Mexico:

  • Player Jaguar made in Mexico
  • Vintera ’60s Jaguar made in Mexico
  • Vintera ’60s Jaguar Modified HH made in Mexico
  • American Original ’60s Jaguar Made in the USA
  • Kurt Cobain Jaguar made in Mexico
  • Johnny Marr Jaguar made in the USA
  • 60th Anniversary Ultra Luxe Jaguar Made in the USA
  • 60th Anniversary Jaguar Made in the USA

Fender Jaguar Player

Fender Player Jaguar Tidepool made in Mexico.

The Fender Jaguar Player is the standard model of the Mexico line with contemporary specifications. Thus, it comes with a traditional Jaguar pickup in the neck position, but a humbucking pickup in the bridge position. Also, the Jaguar Player guitar has a different circuit, with a four-way selector instead of the triple switch plate on the lower horn of the body. Thus, its main characteristics of the Fender Jaguar Player are:

  • Maple neck with “Modern C” profile and neck truss rod adjustment mechanism located on the headstock.
  • Pau Ferro fingerboard with a 9.5” radius and 22 Medium Jumbo frets.
  • Guitar scale: 24 inches.
  • Alder body with gloss polyester finish in 3-color Capri Orange, Tidepool, Black and Sunburst.
  • HS Pickup Configuration: Player Series Alnico 3 Jaguar Humbucking pickup in the bridge and Player Series Alnico 2 Jaguar Single-Coil in the neck.
  • Custom circuit: 3-position pickup selector and 2-position switch to split the coils of the bridge humbucking pickup.
  • 6-saddle vintage-style adjustable bridge with “floating” tremolo tailpiece.
  • Sale Price: $879 / €700 / £600

Fender Jaguar Vintera ’60s

Fender Jaguar Vintera '60s Sunburst 3 color made in Mexico.

The Fender Jaguar Vintera ’60s is the vintage-spec model in the Mexico line. Thus, it comes with two traditional Jaguar pickups and the standard circuit. The main features of the Fender Jaguar Vintera ’60s are:

  • Maple neck with ’60s “C” profile and neck truss rod adjustment mechanism located in the heel.
  • 7.25-inch-radius Pau Ferro fretboard with 22 vintage-style frets.
  • Guitar scale: 24 inches.
  • Alder body with gloss polyester finish in 3-color Sunburst and Ocean Turquose.
  • ’60s Jaguar single-coil pickups in SS configuration.
  • Standard Jaguar guitar circuit with lead guitar and rhythm guitar modes.
  • 6-saddle vintage-style adjustable bridge with “floating” tremolo tailpiece.
  • Sale Price: $1,250 / €950 / £835

Fender Jaguar ’60s Vintera Modified HH

Fender Jaguar '60s Vintera Modified HH Surf Green made in Mexico.

The Fender Jaguar ’60s Vintera Modified HH is the vintage-spec model with modern modifications in the Mexico line. Thus, it comes with the standard circuit of Jaguar guitars, but with two Atomic humbucking pickups. It also has contemporary spec profile, radius and frets. Thus, the main characteristics of the Fender Jaguar Vintera ’60s Modified HH are:

  • Maple neck with “Modern C” profile and neck truss rod adjustment mechanism located in the heel.
  • 9.5-inch-radius Pau Ferro fingerboard with 22 Medium Jumbo frets.
  • Guitar scale: 24 inches.
  • Alder body with gloss polyester finish in Sonic Blue and Surf Green.
  • High gain Atomic Humbuckers pickups in HH configuration.
  • Standard Jaguar guitar circuit with lead guitar and rhythm guitar modes.
  • 6-saddle vintage-style adjustable bridge with “floating” tremolo tailpiece.
  • Selling Price: $1,380 / €1,060 / £930

Fender Jaguar Original ’60s

Fender Jaguar American Original '60s Daphne Blue made in the USA.

The Fender Jaguar Original ’60s is the vintage-spec model made in America, but with some modifications to improve playability. Thus, it comes with two traditional Jaguar pickups and the standard circuit; but with a 9.5″ radius that does not change the essence of the model, but it does improve its playability. The main features of the Fender Jaguar Original ’60s are:

  • Maple neck with ’60s “C” profile and neck truss rod adjustment mechanism located in the heel.
  • 9.5-inch radius Round-Lam rosewood fretboard with 22 vintage-style frets – Vintage Tall -.
  • Guitar scale: 24 inches.
  • Alder body with gloss polyurethane lacquer finish in 3-color Sunburst, Daphne Blue and Surf Green.
  • Pure Vintage ’62 Single-Coil Jaguar pickups in SS configuration.
  • Standard Jaguar guitar circuit with lead guitar and rhythm guitar modes.
  • 6-saddle vintage-style adjustable bridge with “floating” tremolo tailpiece.
  • Sale Price: $2,250 / €2,000 / £1,666

Fender 60th Anniversary Jaguar

Fender 60th Anniversary Jaguar in Mystic Red Dakota made in the USA.

The Fender 60th Anniversary Jaguar is the vintage-correct spec limited-edition anniversary model made in the USA. Thus, it comes with two traditional Jaguar pickups and the standard circuit. The main features of the Fender 60th Anniversary Jaguar are:

  • Maple neck with 1966 Jaguar® “C” profile and neck truss rod adjustment mechanism located in the heel.
  • 9.5-inch radius Round-Lam rosewood fingerboard with 22 vintage-style frets – Vintage Tall -.
  • Rectangular mother-of-pearl inlays and border on the guitar fretboard.
  • Guitar scale: 24 inches.
  • Alder body with gloss nitrocellulose lacquer finish in Mystic Dakota Red and Mystic Lake Placid Blue.
  • 60th Anniversary Jaguar® Single-Coil pickups in SS configuration.
  • Standard Jaguar guitar circuit with lead guitar and rhythm guitar modes.
  • 6-saddle vintage-style adjustable bridge with “floating” tremolo tailpiece.
  • Sale Price: $2,500 / €2,700 / £2,275

Fender 60th Anniversary Ultra Luxe Jaguar

Fender 60th Anniversary Ultra Luxe Jaguar in Texas Tea made in the USA.

The Fender 60th Anniversary Ultra Luxe Jaguar is the modified specification limited edition anniversary model made in the USA. Thus, it comes with two Wide Range humbucking pickups and a custom circuit. Additionally, the neck on this Jaguar guitar comes with a 25.5″ long scale, “D” profile, 10-14″ compound radius with an ebony fretboard. Thus, the main characteristics of the Fender 60th Anniversary Ultra Luxe Jaguar are:

  • Maple neck with “increased D” profile and neck truss rod adjustment mechanism located on the headstock.
  • 10-14″ compound radius ebony fingerboard with 22 Medium Jumbo frets.
  • Guitar Scale: 25.5 inches.
  • Alder body with gloss lacquer finish in Texas Tea.
  • Custom Double Tap Humbucker pickups in HH configuration.
  • Custom circuit: 2 x 2-way slide switches for «Double Tap activation», selector of three pickup positions.
  • Adjusto-Matic bridge with String-through body.
  • Sale Price: $2,500 / €2,600 / £2,299

Fender Jaguar Kurt Cobain

Fender Jaguar Kurt Cobain in 3-color Sunburst in Mexico.

The Fender Kurt Cobain Jaguar is inspired by the Fender 1965 Jaguar used by the Nirvana frontman in the ’90s. The guitar has a custom circuit and DiMarzio Humbucker pickups. This guitar is made in Mexico and is available in left and right handed versions. Thus, the main characteristics of the Fender Jaguar Kurt Cobain are:

  • Maple neck based on Johnny Marr’s 1965 Jaguar, with custom profile and neck truss rod adjustment mechanism located in the heel.
  • 7.25” radius rosewood fretboard with 22 vintage-style frets.
  • Alder body finished in Olympic White and Metallic KO.
  • Guitar scale: 24 inches.
  • Two Bare Knuckle® Johnny Marr single-coil, custom-wound pickups.
  • Custom circuit: Four-position selector located on the metal plate on the lower horn. Two slider switches located on the top horn: Overall Brightness and Pickup Brightness in position 4.
  • Jaguar bridge with Mustang® saddles, nylon inserts for better stability and chrome cover.
  • Vintage-style floating tailpiece and taller tremolo lever with nylon reinforcement to prevent looseness and wobble.
  • Selling Price: $2,250 / €2,665 / £2,249

Fender Jaguar Johnny Marr

Fender Jaguar Johnny Marr in Olympic White made in the USA.

The Fender Johnny Marr Jaguar is inspired by the 1965 Fender Jaguar of Smith, The The and Modest Muse guitarist. The guitar has custom circuitry, with a four-way selector in place of the triple switch plate on the lower horn of the body. This guitar is made in the USA. Thus, the main characteristics of the Fender Jaguar Johnny Marr are:

  • Maple neck based on Johnny Marr’s 1965 Jaguar, with custom profile and neck truss rod adjustment mechanism located in the heel.
  • 7.25” radius rosewood fingerboard with 22 vintage-style frets.
  • Alder body finished in gloss polyester in Sunburst.
  • Guitar scale: 24 inches.
  • DiMarzio DP103 PAF 36th Anniversary humbucker pickups in the neck position and DP100 Super Distortion in the bridge position in HH configuration.
  • Classic Jaguar special design dual circuit with two position lead/rhythm switch.
  • Jaguar bridge with Mustang® saddles, nylon inserts for better stability and chrome cover.
  • Vintage-style floating tailpiece and taller tremolo lever with nylon reinforcement to prevent looseness and wobble.
  • Selling Price: $2,250 / €2,665 / £2,249

Do you like “Jags”? Have you tried a Fender Jaguar? Would you like to buy a Jaguar guitar? Leave your comment below.

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