I'm a noob with an abused, neglected, poorly-refinned 1963 Jaguar — help me bring it back to glory, OSG!

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WillPhistre
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I'm a noob with an abused, neglected, poorly-refinned 1963 Jaguar — help me bring it back to glory, OSG!

Post by WillPhistre » Mon Aug 17, 2020 6:25 pm

Hey there. Will here. So as luck would have it, I am a drummer that plays guitar sometimes, and I am in possession of a '63 Jag. For years, I thought this guitar was a cobbled-together partscaster that wasn't worth putting strings on, until one day I did just that. The pickups sounded great. It was still ridiculously difficult to play (it had the original bridge, after all), so it went back in the case. Then one day our apartment building burned down.

As we were putting our lives back together, my GF and I found that this guitar was undamaged (by the fire, anyway), so I decided to hop on here and see if you fine people knew anything about old Jag copies. Turned out this is the real deal — the neck, body, pickups, pickguard, neck plate and tremolo are all original (neck heel says Aug 1963, which jives with the neck plate's serial number). As stunned as I was, the guitar still had a ton of problems, so I put the project on the back burner until I knew more about guitars in general and had the time and money to give it the attention it deserved.

Well, that time is now. If you're down to follow me on this journey, I will be updating this thread as time goes on, all the way until it's "finished" (which to me, will mean refinished paint, relacquered neck and headstock, a matching painted headstock, and parts that while they might not necessarily be vintage or "vintage-correct," will make the guitar function the way it was intended to or better).

But I need your help. There are a bunch of things that need fixing, replacing, updating and just plain re-doing — and while I know a little bit about how guitars work, I don't know ANYTHING about soldering, sanding or paint, and to be honest I'd like to outsource those things, but even then I'm not sure who to ask. So here I am, asking you!

But let's start with what I CAN do — and what the known issues are.

The Good:

As I said, the body, neck, neck plate, pickups, pickguard and tremolo are all original and working well. The frets might need a repair here or there, but I don't think they need replacing. The tremolo seems stuck closed, but that's probably an easy fix. The three switches work (they're a little noisy), the pots work (non-original), the jack works, and the pickups work (pretty microphonic but I like it). The controls on the upper bout are all disconnected so I have no idea if they work or not, but I wouldn't care too much if they stayed that way — I've heard finding the correct parts is difficult. I've replaced the bridge with a modern Mustang bridge (I like it, but I might go Mastery later on). The pickguard has shrunk quite a bit and that's created some problems (the pickups are now too big to fit through their holes), but as it is right now, the guitar is playable, and sounds great.

The Bad:

Some time in the last 57 years, someone did a refin. They did not do a good job. They painted the body a thick black with a large brush, leaving drips everywhere and setting the guitar down on something while it was still wet (they used so much paint that I have no idea what the original color was — I'm guessing sunburst tho). They replaced the tuners, and when they did that, they moved the original string tree and added another in a different spot, then they removed all that and lacquered over the holes that the old tuners and string tree left, leaving thick lacquer drips and an uneven coating along the edges of the fretboard, which is now chipping away. They replaced the main clay dots with MoP (the side dots are still clay). They replaced the volume and tone pots with tall ones. Most of the screws are incorrect — I wouldn't care about that, but the pickup screws are too large to fit and are mostly stripped. They also (poorly) replaced the frets with jumbo ones.

The Replacement Parts I've Bought So Far:

As I said I got a Mustang bridge to make it playable, but I'm not 100% certain the radius is correct — it seems like the two E strings are really low and the four middle strings are all the same height — but maybe it's just that all the fret ends stick up a little more than they should. I also bought two 250K split-shaft short pots, some Fender tuners, and an accurate-looking waterslide decal from croxguitars.com, all of which I've yet to install.


The Replacement Parts I Still Need, But Don't Know Where To Find:

The trem bar was lost long ago. Which one do I get?
Which pickup screws should I buy, and where?
Where do I buy paint? Lacquer?


OK. You might be saying, "Dude, you have a pre-CBS Fender that sounds great, why would you paint it? Just play it!" Well, the replacement tuners not only don't match each other, they seem like they're seizing up, and tuning the thing is a bummer. And if I'm gonna replace the tuners, I might as well put the string tree back where it was, and if I do that, well, now I have two extra holes in the headstock, and since the original Fender decal fell off long ago anyway, I might as well paint the headstock to cover the holes — and if I'm going that far, the paint on the body is really terrible too... you can see where I'm going with this.

The paint we've settled on is Shell Pink. I don't think I want it "relic'd", but the metal stuff on the guitar looks old, so maybe new paint would look silly next to it? I'm up for suggestions there. Maybe just a bit of cracking in the lacquer? That's a thing, right? I'd like to keep the pickguard (it is SO COOL) but I'm not sure how the pickups will ever fit through it again short of Dremel-ing it (oh god it hurts even typing that), but maybe that's a thing people do. I don't know, I'm new!

SO. If you know someone that does this type of work — body repaint, headstock repaint, waterslide decal placement and neck lacquer — in Minneapolis or even just in Minnesota, let me know and I'll get a conversation going. So far I've reached out to Willie's American Guitars twice (voicemail and email) and gotten no answer, and DaVinci Custom Guitars once (FB message) and also gotten no answer. I've found someone to do the tuners and pots and setup stuff, but I really don't trust myself to do the paint work, so if you know someone, please reach out.

Thanks OSG!

Will

P.S. Some pics: https://imgur.com/a/UdKA4u0

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Larry Mal
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Re: I'm a noob with an abused, neglected, poorly-refinned 1963 Jaguar — help me bring it back to glory, OSG!

Post by Larry Mal » Mon Aug 17, 2020 7:08 pm

Great story, Will, welcome to the show.
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Re: I'm a noob with an abused, neglected, poorly-refinned 1963 Jaguar — help me bring it back to glory, OSG!

Post by timtam » Mon Aug 17, 2020 8:00 pm

These are jaguar pickup screws. You'll presumably have to fill the newer holes for the correct screws.
https://darrenriley.com/store/fender-ja ... 544970000/
Riley has most Fender screws, as do Angela and guitarpartsresource.

Vintage pots would be 1meg not 250k.
Hard to tell from the pics, but if the bridge is low and the string break angle therefore low (looks like no shim in the neck pocket), the original vintage bridge may work fine if you shim the neck.
Take the trem off (6 outer screws only) to see where it's jammed underneath. Trem details/setup here:
https://offset.guitars/the-goodies/sett ... lo-system/

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Re: I'm a noob with an abused, neglected, poorly-refinned 1963 Jaguar — help me bring it back to glory, OSG!

Post by marqueemoon » Mon Aug 17, 2020 9:08 pm

Very cool.

My feeling on all of this is the refin and getting the guitar set back up properly can and probably should be separate operations by separate people.

You'll definitely want to screw the pickguard down to something as soon as it comes off the guitar as it could shift around more in the time it takes a nitro refin to properly cure.

If it were me I'd try to keep the natural headstock and go Olympic White to really let that tort pop.

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Re: I'm a noob with an abused, neglected, poorly-refinned 1963 Jaguar — help me bring it back to glory, OSG!

Post by krossfader » Mon Aug 17, 2020 11:24 pm

I'll be watching this one. Sorry to hear about the fire and hope you're ok.

The metal parts might clean up and don't look bad to me. Those original tort guards are highly coveted (you might know this already). Since it's the real deal I think it's worth fixing things like botched screw holes and the rhythm circuit. I'd go to a pro who can help source parts, but stuff for the American Jag reissues should fit...AO, AV65, AVRI. Those strap buttons definitely aren't original. Mastery are in MN and might be able to give you a referral for some repairs or a refin.

Can't wait to see how it turns out!

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Re: I'm a noob with an abused, neglected, poorly-refinned 1963 Jaguar — help me bring it back to glory, OSG!

Post by PorkyPrimeCut » Tue Aug 18, 2020 6:13 am

Hey, my '59 Jazzmaster was also rescued from a fire!

Welcome to the forum. Looks like a great project already. That pickguard really pops!!
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Re: I'm a noob with an abused, neglected, poorly-refinned 1963 Jaguar — help me bring it back to glory, OSG!

Post by whitewatersky » Wed Aug 19, 2020 12:19 am

Cripes ! That ones lived a little !!! Looking forward to watching you get 'er done!!!!

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Re: I'm a noob with an abused, neglected, poorly-refinned 1963 Jaguar — help me bring it back to glory, OSG!

Post by WillPhistre » Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:19 am

timtam wrote:
Mon Aug 17, 2020 8:00 pm
Vintage pots would be 1meg not 250k.
Hard to tell from the pics, but if the bridge is low and the string break angle therefore low (looks like no shim in the neck pocket), the original vintage bridge may work fine if you shim the neck.
Take the trem off (6 outer screws only) to see where it's jammed underneath. Trem details/setup here:
https://offset.guitars/the-goodies/sett ... lo-system/
Thanks Tim! I picked up the pickup screws from Angela’s store on reverb last week. Are you sure about the pots? Not to question any of the knowledge here at all — my guitar tech guy told me to get the 250s and I just assumed he was right. 1megs are pretty serious though aren’t they?
Thx again!

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Re: I'm a noob with an abused, neglected, poorly-refinned 1963 Jaguar — help me bring it back to glory, OSG!

Post by WillPhistre » Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:26 am

krossfader wrote:
Mon Aug 17, 2020 11:24 pm
I'll be watching this one. Sorry to hear about the fire and hope you're ok.

The metal parts might clean up and don't look bad to me. Those original tort guards are highly coveted (you might know this already). Since it's the real deal I think it's worth fixing things like botched screw holes and the rhythm circuit. I'd go to a pro who can help source parts, but stuff for the American Jag reissues should fit...AO, AV65, AVRI. Those strap buttons definitely aren't original. Mastery are in MN and might be able to give you a referral for some repairs or a refin.

Can't wait to see how it turns out!
Thanks for the knowledge about the AVRI pots, I wouldn’t have thought of that!

The strap buttons are definitely not original, and have been changed since then — previous owner stripped out the holes, so instead of attempting to fix that myself, I installed those strap lock things. The screws are longer, so they worked nice. Plus the pickups are so microphonic that they would amplify a leather strap squeaking against the body (!!!), so having metal on metal there helped that a lot. I know it looks out of place on a vintage guitar but I’d rather have that than alter the pickups in any way. Unless there’s another solution anyone can think of?
Thx again!

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Re: I'm a noob with an abused, neglected, poorly-refinned 1963 Jaguar — help me bring it back to glory, OSG!

Post by WillPhistre » Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:35 am

marqueemoon wrote:
Mon Aug 17, 2020 9:08 pm
Very cool.

My feeling on all of this is the refin and getting the guitar set back up properly can and probably should be separate operations by separate people.

You'll definitely want to screw the pickguard down to something as soon as it comes off the guitar as it could shift around more in the time it takes a nitro refin to properly cure.

If it were me I'd try to keep the natural headstock and go Olympic White to really let that tort pop.
Thank you for the knowledge. I’ll definitely keep that info about the pickguard top-of-mind.

About the paint: I wanted either a nice faded sonic blue, shell pink, or to just do black again — but since the guitar technically belongs to my fiancée, she got the final say! But I’m not upset at all, in fact looking at pics online I think the red tort will look great with the shell pink. White would also look amazing tho haha
Thx again for chiming in man. You guys are nice to help me.

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Re: I'm a noob with an abused, neglected, poorly-refinned 1963 Jaguar — help me bring it back to glory, OSG!

Post by DaddyDom » Wed Aug 19, 2020 2:51 pm

Awesome story!
I would be 100% comfortable with a refin and then using the original hardware you can, once cleaned up a bit. It's gotta have some story to tell. ;)

Love the shell pink, too. Where I teach I always go for the pink instruments just so all the small boys squirm and giggle.
DD

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Re: I'm a noob with an abused, neglected, poorly-refinned 1963 Jaguar — help me bring it back to glory, OSG!

Post by timtam » Wed Aug 19, 2020 5:52 pm

WillPhistre wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:19 am
timtam wrote:
Mon Aug 17, 2020 8:00 pm
Vintage pots would be 1meg not 250k.
Hard to tell from the pics, but if the bridge is low and the string break angle therefore low (looks like no shim in the neck pocket), the original vintage bridge may work fine if you shim the neck.
Take the trem off (6 outer screws only) to see where it's jammed underneath. Trem details/setup here:
https://offset.guitars/the-goodies/sett ... lo-system/
Thanks Tim! I picked up the pickup screws from Angela’s store on reverb last week. Are you sure about the pots? Not to question any of the knowledge here at all — my guitar tech guy told me to get the 250s and I just assumed he was right. 1megs are pretty serious though aren’t they?
Thx again!
Yep, definitely 1meg for the main lead circuit volume and tone pots and the rhythm circuit volume (50k for the rhythm circuit tone). Like in Fender's current premium vintage-correct American Original 60's PDF below and vintage circuit drawing from 1962 below. All Fenders with classic style pickups have used 1megs since day one. You'll find some discussion around here about going with 500k instead for a less ice-picky response, but 250k choice very rare.
https://www.fmicassets.com/Damroot/Orig ... 6-2017.pdf
Image

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Re: I'm a noob with an abused, neglected, poorly-refinned 1963 Jaguar — help me bring it back to glory, OSG!

Post by andy_tchp » Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:29 pm

timtam wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 5:52 pm
WillPhistre wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:19 am
my guitar tech guy told me to get the 250s and I just assumed he was right. 1megs are pretty serious though aren’t they?
Thx again!
Yep, definitely 1meg for the main lead circuit volume and tone pots and the rhythm circuit volume (50k for the rhythm circuit tone). Like in Fender's current premium vintage-correct American Original 60's PDF below and vintage circuit drawing from 1962 below. All Fenders with classic style pickups have used 1megs since day one. You'll find some discussion around here about going with 500k instead for a less ice-picky response, but 250k choice very rare.
+1.

Find a new 'tech' to work on this guitar. This information is readily/easily accessible and very commonly known.
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Re: I'm a noob with an abused, neglected, poorly-refinned 1963 Jaguar — help me bring it back to glory, OSG!

Post by FrankRay » Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:19 pm

I wouldn't refinish the neck unless I really had to. Half the joy of an old guitar is the well worn neck.
Otherwise, looking good. Personally I'd get a sunburst refin, since that's what it would have originally had, but that's just me.

Great guitars, 63s. Very nice.

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Re: I'm a noob with an abused, neglected, poorly-refinned 1963 Jaguar — help me bring it back to glory, OSG!

Post by WillPhistre » Thu Aug 20, 2020 5:09 pm

andy_tchp wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:29 pm
timtam wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 5:52 pm
WillPhistre wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:19 am
my guitar tech guy told me to get the 250s and I just assumed he was right. 1megs are pretty serious though aren’t they?
Thx again!
Yep, definitely 1meg for the main lead circuit volume and tone pots and the rhythm circuit volume (50k for the rhythm circuit tone). Like in Fender's current premium vintage-correct American Original 60's PDF below and vintage circuit drawing from 1962 below. All Fenders with classic style pickups have used 1megs since day one. You'll find some discussion around here about going with 500k instead for a less ice-picky response, but 250k choice very rare.
+1.

Find a new 'tech' to work on this guitar. This information is readily/easily accessible and very commonly known.
Yeah, I probably will. So, split shaft short 1meg CTS pots? Just making sure I get it right this time. :)

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