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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Gear »

Permalink NGD Jagmaster

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New to me anyway. I bought a 2001 Squier Jagmaster, 25.5 scale and alder body. I’m thinking of changing the pickups. It has some Humbuckers in it stock. So the options are something in that size or a new pickguard and then it’s jokers wild. So what are your suggestions for something in dual buy surf worthy? Help a brother out.


You got a new car! Nice! I have to say, this isn't technically a Jagmaster - the Vista series and the later Vintage Modified are a Jaguar neck on a Jazzmaster body, which is where the name comes from. This is a Jazzmaster neck on a Jazzmaster body... it's essentially the same as the recent Affinity Jazzmaster, just with humbuckers.


As you might imagine, I do not see this as a detriment. Here's my two - and apologies if you've read the histories of these before. Lefty there is almost stock. The nut is different, the trem block and arm have been replaced (something I STRONGLY recommend, if you can find someone who'll machine you new ones) - and finally, it recently got a Switchcraft jack because I was replacing some badly done wiring, and I didn't want to re-solder again to such an old, cheap jack. I love it - and the replacement block actually cleaned up the muddiness of the stock humbuckers, something unexpected but not unwelcome. Honestly, the pot metal blocks are trash - they don't hold the arm well, and they are a genuine tone suck - something I didn't believe in before this swap. I also spent the last 10 years thinking I'd had CTS pots and a dropcap put in - nope, all stock from 2003. So, no need to replace any of that unless it's actually broken (and not just dirty).

As for moddy on the right - nut, block and arm again - this one was a donor for the left one after some broken tuners, so has Sperzel's. They've actually needed a lot more maintenance than the Squier ones - other than my accidentally shattering a few of the latter - I used to be a lot rougher on my guitars. Again, unless yours are actually broken and you can't get more of the Squiers, there's no reason to change them.

Here's what it used to look like:


The P-Rails certainly made a good job of giving "standard single coil" and "fat single coil" in the bridge, and by middle-position-ing it with the neck humbucker (actually the stock bridge humbucker) I was able to get some great emulations of neck single coils by using the push-pull switches to turn the bridge coils off independently. Now, I'm designing my own pickups for it (the empty bobbins you see in the first photo) to try and get a sound closer to a Jazzmaster - because you can't put real JM pickups in without removing wood. Hasn't stopped a couple people here doing it, but it's not something I was willing to do on an almost-vintage guitar (5 years to go!) I've owned for 15 years. Very Happy

I've also seen a three-single load-out like a Harley Benton, but on this guitar with a Strat neck and a Strat bridge - you'd just have a strat. The Mustang set-up has also been done (in that SG101 link above) which is a bit more interesting. And I've seen things like P94's and Gold Foils a number of times on other sites.

I still really like the P-Rails as a solution for the Jagmaster - and I really found that the rails+humbucker gave me plenty of versatility - "P90" plus neck gave a great stratty neck sound, "Strat Rail" plus neck gave a great P90 sound due to the way the phasing worked. The only reason I pulled it was because the pickguard was shot and I wanted to try something new. To be honest - a pair of white P-Rails is kind of my fallback if the DIY pickups don't work out.

Well, regardless - it's a great, great guitar and it'll sound amazing. But I really do recommend trying to get a replacement block for the bridge. I can put you in touch with a guy, but he's in Wales UK - so that might cause you some issues. Very Happy

- "The Mysterious" Tqi.

I have a 90’s Vista Jagmaster, and it’s one of my favorite guitars. Very comfortable to play and sounds great. I have a set of Phat Cats in mine - just be sure to shield the cavity if you go this route. I’ve also heard Surf 90’s work well, but haven’t tried them myself.

Additionally, you could get a custom pickguard made and use two Strat single coils. I did this for a while with a pair of SD Antiquity Surfers, before going back to P90s. I play Surf, but I also play 60's garage rock, and P90s work best for both.

For mods... aside from pickups, I recommend String Saver saddles (as used by Dick Dale) and locking tuners.


I want to hear Caravan with a drum solo.

Last edited: Nov 17, 2023 22:05:52

While I love my Jaguars, sometimes a 25.5” scale is very nice to have. I remember playing one of those, back in the day, and came away impressed. Enjoy.

The artist formerly known as: Synchro

When Surf Guitar is outlawed only outlaws will play Surf Guitar.

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