Interesting 70s BBB Jag

Discussion of vintage Jazzmasters, Jaguars, Bass VIs, Electric XIIs and any other offset-waist instruments.
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blackbox
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Interesting 70s BBB Jag

Post by blackbox » Thu Mar 28, 2019 7:00 pm

So just picked up a pretty interesting Jaguar with an eccentric history. 1972, with what appears to be an original black finish (I don't have a ton of experience with 70s Fender finishes, but a professional vintage fender dealer friend of mine says everything checks out for originality), which, if true, would make it the only original black finish/black block Jag I've ever seen.

Image

I've toyed with the idea of restoring it, though these are old mods and part of this guitar's history at this point, such that reversing them almost seems like a shame.

Finally, now for my batshit crazy theory about this guitar. Everyone knows Cobain's Jaguar had some odd mods, including wiring two volume pots for each pickup, and of course the 80s Dimarzios. There's also the fan theory that Cobain's Jaguar once belonged to Martin Jenner, as there is evidence of him using a guitar with the same mods, but with a different neck. So, people have theorized that it's the same guitar but with a switched out neck. I have another theory: they are different guitars similarly modded by the same person.

Batshit crazy theory part 2: the black jag above is also modded by the same person. The Dimarzo's and electronics inside date to the 80s (around the time the Kurt and Jenner Jags would have been modded), and while it doesn't have a third knob for tone, the two pots are both wired for volume, one for each pickup. The upper plate rhythm switch has been switched out for a toggle, similar to the lower control plate on the Kurt/Jenner jags. Finally, this guitar was originally purchased in LA by the owner before me, over a decade ago; Cobain also purchased his guitar in LA.

How many people would have been doing mods like this to Jaguars in the late 70s and 80s?

I know, I know. But...I found it to be an interesting thought.
Last edited by blackbox on Thu Mar 28, 2019 7:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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mbene085
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Re: Interesting 70s BBB Jag

Post by mbene085 » Thu Mar 28, 2019 7:12 pm

First off, that looks wicked.

Secondly, I love your hypothesis. It sounds plausible enough, which is super cool. And nobody can ever prove otherwise 8)

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Re: Interesting 70s BBB Jag

Post by HNB » Thu Mar 28, 2019 7:24 pm

I love it as is. :)
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Re: Interesting 70s BBB Jag

Post by Hyphen Nation » Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:13 pm

Dude. Really nice score. I’d definitely leave it as is.

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Re: Interesting 70s BBB Jag

Post by mordecainyc » Thu Mar 28, 2019 11:18 pm

Amazing. Leave as is!

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Re: Interesting 70s BBB Jag

Post by kimson » Fri Mar 29, 2019 2:25 am

Cool guitar and totally plausible theory.

I remember reading not that long ago a thread or an article that covered the early modding scene in L.A. involving Larry DiMarzio and maybe also Bill Lawrence, but couldn't find it now, sorry. Anyway, the way I remember it is that there was only a handful of people doing it at the time and if all three Jags were modded by the same person, I'm sure someone would remember it.

Maybe you could try contacting Larry Dimarzio himself (I seem to remember that's what they did in the thread/article) or some luthier/manufacturer/dealer that was around in that era?

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Re: Interesting 70s BBB Jag

Post by Con-Tiki! » Fri Mar 29, 2019 2:52 am

that thing is great!
Your theory works for me, I totally believe it has some Cobain provenance!

That bridge pickup might be a lawrence, although my first thought was that looked like one of those 80's Ibanez pups.
the early BL pickups were rectangular (at least the ones i've had)
I love it though, cool guitar.
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Re: Interesting 70s BBB Jag

Post by timtam » Fri Mar 29, 2019 3:10 am

Yes ... clear evidence of another LA-80s-modded guitar with Cobain-like features - as yours appears to be - would tend to swing the Cobain / Jenner guitar(s) theories more towards them being different guitars than the same guitar with a neck swap. Though if there was a guy in LA doing at least a few of this type of distinctive mod - on a then-unpopular guitar - one would think someone might have remembered it (or maybe not ?).
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Re: Interesting 70s BBB Jag

Post by blackbox » Fri Mar 29, 2019 5:53 am

Yeah, the really strange thing to me is that no tech has stepped up and said "I did the mods on the Jenner/Cobain Jag(s)." They're such unusual mods, and so specific. And, I mean, now there's an entire line of guitars with those mods. It doesn't help that Cobain and (especially) Jenner are both deceased. Because of the time involved, I suppose we can't discount the possibility that the tech who did the mods passed away.

The bridge pickup is an 80s Dimarzio X2N. Neck pickup is an 80s super distortion. Good idea to contact Larry Dimarzio!

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Re: Interesting 70s BBB Jag

Post by s_mcsleazy » Fri Mar 29, 2019 6:49 am

super distortions in the neck are always great. honestly, i dont care if it's modded by the same guy who did cobain's jag. i just think it's rad as hell. looks like it would be a noise machine.
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Re: Interesting 70s BBB Jag

Post by kimson » Fri Mar 29, 2019 7:18 am

kimson wrote:
Fri Mar 29, 2019 2:25 am
Cool guitar and totally plausible theory.

I remember reading not that long ago a thread or an article that covered the early modding scene in L.A. involving Larry DiMarzio and maybe also Bill Lawrence, but couldn't find it now, sorry. Anyway, the way I remember it is that there was only a handful of people doing it at the time and if all three Jags were modded by the same person, I'm sure someone would remember it.

Maybe you could try contacting Larry Dimarzio himself (I seem to remember that's what they did in the thread/article) or some luthier/manufacturer/dealer that was around in that era?
Now that I've had more time to think about it, it could have been Seymour Duncan instead of Larry DiMarzio, but they were both around at the time so who knows. Still couldn't find the article/thread.

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Re: Interesting 70s BBB Jag

Post by Kadenray » Fri Mar 29, 2019 11:07 am

man that's cool. please leave it as is, and if you ever decide to sell it let me know.

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Re: Interesting 70s BBB Jag

Post by jeff m. » Fri Mar 29, 2019 11:35 am

I love this sorta stuff ! As Blackbox said, though..if the mods on these guitars -particularly Cobain's- were done by the one person..where is that person today ? You didn't get much higher profile than Nirvana in that period of the 90's, so if the mods were done by someone well established i.e Larry DiMarzio or Seymour Duncan,you'd think it certainly wouldn't have escaped their attention.

Duncan being behind these mods is certainly an interesting possibility, though..he has 'form' with the infamous 'Tele-Gib' he put together for Jeff Beck ( a Telecaster routed for two humbuckers)..& I also believe he started off his career working for the Fender Soundhouse in London, which possibly explains the Martin Jenner Jaguar as well ( both Jenner & Beck being English guitarists).

Who knows :) ? Agree that it's worth contacting Di Marzio & Duncan for sure..if it's not their work, there's a chance that they may remember the guy that did these mods..routing Jaguars for humbuckers -as opposed to,say, sticking a humbucker in the bridge position of a Strat- would've been considered pretty 'out there' at the time !

Lovely & interesting guitar, mate !
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Jeff.

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Re: Interesting 70s BBB Jag

Post by timtam » Fri Mar 29, 2019 4:31 pm

blackbox wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 7:00 pm
The Dimarzo's and electronics inside date to the 80s (around the time the Kurt and Jenner Jags would have been modded), and while it doesn't have a third knob for tone, the two pots are both wired for volume, one for each pickup. The upper plate rhythm switch has been switched out for a toggle, similar to the lower control plate on the Kurt/Jenner jags. Finally, this guitar was originally purchased in LA by the owner before me, over a decade ago; Cobain also purchased his guitar in LA.
Furthering the interesting detective story .... The date of the mod is obviously a key piece of evidence. Was the way in which Cobain's jag's switching actually worked widely known prior to Fender's Cobain jag being released (in 2011) ? If not, it increases the window of time in which your guitar's mod probably had to be done by someone 'in the know'. On the other hand, if it was widely known how Cobain's switching worked since the Nirvana days, almost anyone with Jag knowledge could have done your (slightly different) mod in those years (and then additionally by simply copying elements of Fender's Cobain circuit more recently).

What is the evidence for the DiMarzios and electronics dating from the 1980's ? Just hoping to strengthen your case. ;)
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Re: Interesting 70s BBB Jag

Post by blackbox » Fri Mar 29, 2019 6:06 pm

The Dimarzio guys said by email that the pickups (which still have the original warranty cards in the case) date to either 1980 or "a little before." Both pots were replaced with Dimarzio volume pots which I'm assuming are the same general time period. I might get more serious about dating the mods by taking it to some pros who might know what to look for, just because I'm kind of curious!

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