The Dreamcaster

AdmiralEasychord

New member
Messages
4
Hello, everyone. I'm new to this board, obviously, and I've got plenty of questions.

A friend of mine works at a local music store, and he recently bought a customized Warmoth-made Telecaster. It's extremely beautiful, and he highly recommends Warmoth.

I haven't played guitar for very long, but I'm very sure on where I want to go with it, and how I want a guitar made for me, but there's tons of things I'm not very knowledgeable about, nor am I experienced enough to decide on my own. So, here's the lowdown:

I'm pretty big on indie and alternative rock. Although not specifically a shoegazer, I want to incorporate elements of that scene into my playing. Blending distortion and reverb, lots of washing waves of guitar through delay, etc. I've been told that the two main guitars that are staples of the shoegaze scene are the Fender siblings: the Jaguar and the Jazzmaster.

Well, I've never played either of them, so their unique circuitry and lead/rhythm features that they boast... I'm not keen on them. I'm unable to experience them for myself before I purchase one (and I've looked pretty far for a shop that has them in stock, so I can test them. No dice.)

So, after seeing my friend's tele, I started thinking alot about making a dream guitar. Basic specs in mind:

- Jaguar body, painted solid black.

- On the control plate, instead of having both a tone and volume knob, I'd like to switch out the tone knob and only keep the volume. That would be to make room to have a customized plate that would contain a strat-style input, which is my preferred style. I hate side-inputs, and I don't like my chord sticking straight out of the body.

- The most heretical part of my guitar set-up, however, would be completely removing the feature that makes the Jag so special - the circuitry. Instead, I'd like to wire the two rolling knobs on the upper control plate to become Tone Knobs for the bridge and neck pickups. The switch on the that control plate, I would like to wire into a three-position switch that would act as a pickup selector, with the options being Neck pickup, both pickups, and Bridge Pickup.

- The lower control plate, I would like to take out the middle switch and have the other two switches become three-position switches. They would act as pickup controls. I'd like to put in the Fender humbuckers, with a coil-split available in both. The pick-up controls would allow me to choose whether I want each pickup to act as a humbucker, single-coil, or have them turn off.

- Maple neck with a rosewood fretboard, all the maple painted black. Here, I was wondering if it was possible to substitute the 24" neck with a 25.5" one, as I'm used to playing a strat. I don't know if that is doable without screwing up the intonation of the guitar. Secondly, and this is totally aesthetic, but I was hoping to switch out the Fender headstock and slap on an Epiphone Thunderbird headstock that might be slightly modified to accommodate the guitar's tuning heads.

- And then, I would also like the Jaguar trem set-up with the Warmoth modified Mustang Bridge, and whatever tuning heads would keep it the strings in tune with extensive whammy-usage.

*Deep breath.* Whew.
Thanks for taking the time to read all that.

So how much of this is and isn't doable?
 

mayfly

Senior member
Messages
8,225
Hi there and welcome to the board.

Well, anything you can dream up is do-able - especially when it comes to custom guitars.  The finish and electronics are no problem.  The Pickups are no problem - W even has them in stock at the moment.  The only slightly weird thing is the firebird headstock with the 25.5" scale length (BTW - Firebird is the guitar version, Thunderbird is the bass version).  This is not a typically available option, but fortunately there are three firebird necks in the showcase left over from a batch that W did a few years ago.  Here's one:

MN993a.jpg


I'm not sure if it will be intonatable - for that you need to give warmoth a call.  Perhaps they can place the bridge so that it will be, but be prepared to pay a premium for that.

Finally, regarding the tuning machines, the original firebird tuners were banjo tuners.  However, Stu-mac as an interesting alternative that should stand up to some serious wammying:

Steinberger_Gearless_Tuners_Detail.jpg


Good luck with your project!

Edit - why don't you just use a Jazzmaster body and have it routed as you like?  That might be simpler than trying to make the Jag body work.
 

tfarny

Senior member
Messages
4,481
Good luck on everything, I'm sure you'll be able to do it pretty much as you described except the neck scale which is a big problem for the jag body. But, I don't get it - you wanna master volume, two tone controls, and two humbuckers with coil tap options, and a 25.5 scale, a strat top jack, and a good tremolo that you'll use a lot? That screams "superstrat" with a wilkie trem to me. Nothing that you want is 'natural' to a jag body style. You can use a 5-way switch to integrate coil-tapping options with two HBs like: 1. neck hb 2. Both with coils tapped 3. both hb 4 neck tap, bridge hb, 5 bridge HB. That kind of thing - your most common options. The system you've described (and the original jag and JM systems) seems clunky and too star-trek to me.

Except for style, I'd say get a H-H strat with a wilkie trem - you'll have hugely more options from Warmoth including hundreds of great showcase bodies.
Stylistically, to me an all-black Jag with a big thunderbird neck sounds weird, but hey it's your dime and I could always be wrong.
BTW, please don't get a jag just because lots of mopey young guys with eye makeup play them.
 

nathan a

Senior member
Messages
1,836
I highly, highly recommend considering the Jazzmaster body instead of the jaguar. They look almost completely identical, except that the jazzmaster can be used to create what you are talking about.

JM is 25.5" scale, so you are set there. Firebird neck, no problem.

JM pickguard doesn't involve the metal control plates. Your electronics setup will be way easier then. You can buy the plastic guard from warmoth and drill the unconventional holes yourself! (Warmoth won't do it for you, depending on what exactly you want)

Warmoth cannot do the 25.5" scale necks for the jaguar. I am not sure if they will do a strat jack on the JM or the jag.
 

AdmiralEasychord

New member
Messages
4
Really, the Thunderbird head is simply an aesthetic thing. They are by far my favorite headstocks. Really, I only like two specific heads, and those are the all-black Thunderbird heads and the classic Fender heads, so not being able to have a custom neck isn't really a huge loss - it's merely the ideal one.

Hah. No, I don't want a jag because of the "mopey" guys who play them. Actually, see, like I've said before, I'm heavily interested in Shoegaze and the guitars that were the staple of that sound were the Jazzmaster and Jaguar. I've flip-flopped about a hundred times trying to decide which I wanted, and I've asked about a hundred people and get different answers each time.

The only way to really tell would be to hook each one up to my pedalboard and test them out individually, but that isn't an option.

Which, then, should I choose? I need an in-depth and objective look at each guitar, and I can't get that from ads or any dealer. And nobody that I talk to has ever played both.
 

PitchShifter

Senior member
Messages
292
Hello....I'm a Shoegazing, Indy, Post-punk kinda guy too.

I'm in the process of putting together a Jazzmaster and I have it routed for a Strat style input jack (I'm with you on the side-jack thing). There's a pic of the body in this in another thread.  Xmas and the "World Economic Crisis" [i.e. the Aussie dollar dropping from 95c to 60 c US] has put a temporary hold on this build.

There are apparently a lot of Jag/JM players who remove the Rhythm circuit from the guitar too, both physically and electronically.  You can find plenty more specific info, great pics and plenty of mods at  http://www.offsetguitars.com/forums/.  The JM I'm putting together has a 3rd pickup in the middle and I'm using the rhythm circuit  as a tone/volume for that pickup instead.

I'm having a new pickguard cut to have three mustang slide switches similar to what you see on lower horn of the Jaguar.  These switches will be Full/Off/Cut for the P90s, and On/Off/Out of phase for the SC.

I also think the Firebird headstock would look really good on the offset style of guitar- I thought long and hard about one for my JM.

mock.jpg
.

 

NonsenseTele

Senior member
Messages
8,256
You have not understood what the guys said...

Jaguar is a 24" scale guitar and the 25.5" scale FIREbird neck won't fit it...

Jazzmaster is almost identical, but it's 25.5" scale and the firebird neck WILL fit it...

You the better talk with the guys at Warmoth if that plates from Jaguar can be used on Jazzmaster or if they can put the switches' holes in the pickguard... If they don't do it, probably a luthier can...
 

nathan a

Senior member
Messages
1,836
Pitchshifter to the rescue!! Seriously, how applicable.

Not sure I have seen that guitar yet. It looks really really great so far though... I love the looks of the jazz/jag trems.
 

AdmiralEasychord

New member
Messages
4
A new question has arisen:

The rhythm/lead circuit on the Jazzmaster.

I've been looking at wiring diagrams.. and to me, it seems that all it is, really, is a pickup selector, switching between the neck and bridge pickups, and each with a set of volume and tone controls.

Is that really all it is?

And how does the Jaguar's control circuit work?
 

PitchShifter

Senior member
Messages
292
The guitar allows you to have 2 preset "voices" that can be switched between without needing to twiddle knobs. It's a little more complex than a pickup selector as one of the pickups is selected in both schemes.

The Jaguars owner manual has a good paragraph on the circuit. http://www.fender.com/support/manuals/pdfs/instr_owners/Jaguar_1965.pdf

I use stomp boxes to change between lead and rhythm, so it's a little obsolete for me, hence why I intend to switch it out as a dedicated tone/volume.

Were you after a schematic? or just the info?
 
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