While I have been happy with my Strat (pictured above), I liked the idea of having a surf-specific guitar. I play a lot of blues and Hendrix on it and do a lot of bending, so I didn't want to put heavy strings on it.
To be honest, I always assumed that Jaguars were just Strats without the middle pup, and the Jazzmaster was very similar, but slightly different pups.
After reading this thread I became intrigued by Jaguars, Jazzmasters, and Mosrites.
I spent a good deal of time on YouTube listening to some surf music played on these guitars. I first researched Mosrites. Funny thing was that most of the live footage of The Ventures had Nokie on Strats (and he sounded like Nokie on both guitars)! I did manage to find some proper samples of the Mosrite sound. I liked the sound but, other then the pickups being a little hotter, I didn't think it was enough of a different flavor than the Strat.
I have always loved the sound of The Astronauts, so really explored Jazzmasters. In the end, though it was the Jaguar sound that got me. I also liked the idea of the short scale that would allow me to use 12s and still have the same playability as my strat.
I think I really could have been happy with any of the three, but I just placed and order for a AVRI sunburst Jag.
The Jaguar was a major component of early Surf. Some feel that it's the ultimate Surf guitar, and while I agree that it has its own unique charms, one could make an equally persuasive argument that the Strat was the ultimate Surf axe. Having owned and played both, I would only venture to say that either guitar is quite capable of being a great Surf instrument, but they are quite different from one another.
The control set on a Jaguar is really quite appealing to me. To be able to preset the rhythm sound you want and switch in and out of that mode easily strikes me as a great idea. The main control set still functions normally and no flexibility is lost by having a separate control set for the rhythm preset. I assume that Leo Fender dreamed this up, and as was usually the case, his idea was pretty good.
One thing a Jaguar does surprisingly well is a bright, Bakersfield sound. For a while I played in a quartet and the other guitarist had a Tele. We played a Country song and I took a solo on it which ended up sounding more like a Tele than the other guitarist's actual Tele. It surprised both of us.—
The artist formerly known as: Synchro
When Surf Guitar is outlawed only outlaws will play Surf Guitar.
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