Musings on the Johnny Marr Jaguar

Discussion of newer designs, copies and reissue offset-waist instruments.
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galaxy08
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Musings on the Johnny Marr Jaguar

Post by galaxy08 » Wed Jun 16, 2021 2:19 pm

After years of thinking, debating and wanting, I finally own a Johnny Marr Jaguar in Olympic White. I'd tried out a few over the years -- one each in white, KO and LPB -- and, interestingly, they all struck me differently each time. Sometimes the neck felt amazing, other times just meh. Sometimes the pickups sounded like a dream, sometimes... nothing special. Sometimes the body contours felt supremely comfortable, other times it felt like every other Jag. But each one has consistently played and sounded like a fine guitar. Mine is no exception. The build quality is outstanding, the sound is nice, and it plays very comfortably. Earlier this year I picked up a well used AV65 Jaguar in Sunburst that I thought would be fun for a while before moving it along, but after a pro setup, it became a different beast -- really outstanding in every way. So much so that my JM Jag seems less impressive out of the gate, which I'm finding very surprising.

Have other JM Jaguar owners had this experience? I feel a bit guilty for spending so much money and not being immediately blown away. Maybe it'll take a little time to bond, or it'll elevate after a proper setup, particularly after adjusting the pickups?

Also, it's noticeably noisier than my AV65, and that was never the case with the other JM Jags I'd sampled. Any thoughts from other owners? Is the noise simply a shielding issue, or could this issue be remedied with a pickup height adjustment? And could different individual guitars of the same model elicit a different response?

I'd love to hear from y'all.

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Re: Musings on the Johnny Marr Jaguar

Post by mediocreplayer » Wed Jun 16, 2021 4:05 pm

I am an ex-owner of a Marr. My experience is similar to what you are describing. It's a fine guitar but it did not blow me away. I bought it used, and I was very pleasantly surprised to find that the previous owner had it strung with flats. They sounded great!

Ultimately, I did not like the neck (most important component of any guitar imo) and the deeper body cut was too toilet bowl-ish. The pickups were ok -- I don't recall the guitar being noisier than my other Jags, but I also think these pickups are not wired to cancel hum in the middle position?

I have owned pretty much every Jag production model and liked something about each of them. I then had a custom Jag made that combined my favorite features of all these other Jags. The feature that I included from the Marr is the 4-way switch. Other than that I did not find something too compelling about it. But it is at the intersection of my favorite Fender guitar model (Jag) and the association with one of the coolest guitar players of all time.

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Re: Musings on the Johnny Marr Jaguar

Post by cestlamort » Wed Jun 16, 2021 4:57 pm

Maybe I lucked out with a good one. I love mine (Oly white), in feel (that neck), in sound, and how it plays. I got it used, and it was horribly set up. I tweaked some stuff here and there and installed a staytrem bridge. My only real complaint is a black-bean sized ding (to wood) above the bridge pickup from its former life, and a couple small chips that have appeared on my watch.
I previously had a (beautiful) shoreline gold thin skin (from the first run, so 2008?) and the JM jaguar is better across the boards (excepting maybe the color and matching headstock. I hated the huge frets). I still have a refin'd 1964 jaguar, but I honestly like the Marr better for everything other than aesthetics and vintage cachet.
I do find that I like it best when I dedicate a lot of time to only playing it, rather than hopping from one guitar to another.

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Re: Musings on the Johnny Marr Jaguar

Post by Surfysonic » Wed Jun 16, 2021 10:12 pm

Recently, I reacquired my JM Jag and couldn't be happier to have it back. During my initial ownership of it, I found the stock Bare Knuckle pickups a little anemic when playing surf stuff, so I swapped them out for Fender Pure VIntage '65 Jaguar pickups and then it became a surf monster. Also, as most folks on here know, I had it professionally refinished in Fiesta Red.

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During the time I didn't own it, I had put some Fender Pure VIntage '65 Jaguar pickups in my not-so-professionally refinished by me Sherwood Green Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar.

Image

The stock Bare Knuckle pickups came back with the JM Jag (still with the PV '65 Jag pickups installed). I don't really need two Jags with the same pickups, so thought I'd give the Bare Knuckles another try and reinstalled them. It's been about a week with them back in and well, I'm still finding them sort of meh, even with some tweaking the pickups' height. They're OK for non-surf music...but I'm probably going to get some Curtis Novak Jag-V pickups.

Otherwise, I love this guitar - I love the neck profile and I don't mind the 7.25" radius. I'm glad to have it back. :)
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Re: Musings on the Johnny Marr Jaguar

Post by JamesSGBrown » Thu Jun 17, 2021 12:51 am

I love love LOVE my JM Jag. Even though it's not currently my main guitar due to being usurped by my TVL JM, that's mainly just due to new-toy-syndrome.

I had to shim the bridge pickup to get enough output out of it. I've ragged the thing in all sorts of tunings for 5 years now, and it's had nothing more than a slight fret dress. It feels truly indestructible.

Sonically, there's no denying that it has its quirks. It's not a 'do it all' guitar, but at the same time it'd be my desert island guitar anyway. It sounds HUGE with tons of gain, but admittedly can sound plinky and bright with low gain (which I feel is exactly how a Jag should sound anyway). In the studio I tend to use a Tele and a p90 LP more as they complement each other beautifully, but when I need something with a bit more character that lets you dig in a bit more, that's when I reach for the JM.

It definitely requires some sort of preamp right out the gate. If I could justify it I'd have another SS/BS mini simply to add a tad compression and a bit of bass. But I feel the JM Jag has a far more malleable sound than most guitars, yet somehow still retains its own character. I have a friend with an AV65 who I've been trying to convince to sell me for 2 years now, however when I tried them they really weren't terribly different. Maybe the 65 sounded slightly more compressed and a tad louder.

So yeah... I love my JM Jag.

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Re: Musings on the Johnny Marr Jaguar

Post by Maggieo » Thu Jun 17, 2021 9:35 am

My JM Jag is almost perfect for me. The contours are a perfect fit, the neck is everything I'd want, and it fits into my style and sound of playing. (Huge Marr fan, so duh.)

The Sherwood Green is amazing, the pickups go from spiky to Gretsch-y smooth, and I can coax all sorts of timbres out of it with different pedals. It loves the Strymon Deco, for instance.

So, yeah, total love affair with Green Arrow.

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All About Johnny Marr, June 24, 2019 by Maggie Osterberg, on Flickr
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Re: Musings on the Johnny Marr Jaguar

Post by Surfysonic » Thu Jun 17, 2021 10:27 am

I love your Sherwood Green JM Jag, Maggie! :?

My fave JM Jag colors (aside from my custom Fiesta Red) in order:

1. Sherwood Green
2. Lake Placid Blue
3. Olympic White
4. Black
4. KO Metallic OJ
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Re: Musings on the Johnny Marr Jaguar

Post by BlueMelody » Thu Jun 17, 2021 8:29 pm

I’ve never seen the Marrguar as having any shortcomings at all, everything about it is superb.

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Re: Musings on the Johnny Marr Jaguar

Post by galaxy08 » Sat Jun 19, 2021 4:55 am

Thank you all for the replies!

Here's a funny thing: The other day while having my morning coffee, I picked up my JM Jaguar and lo & behold it all clicked. Just like that. It sounded so good and felt amazing. The only difference from before is that this time I was playing it through my Vox Pathfinder 15R instead of my Fender Princeton Reverb 68 Custom, which has some serious built-in low end. Now I'm thinking about swapping my Princeton for a Vox AC10 since the Vox and the Marr combo seems to capture the sound I like. As much as I dig some of the Princeton's sounds -- not to mention the lush reverb -- the low end of that amp doesn't always do it for me. Maybe because it needs to be properly cranked to get the full effect, and I'm just using it for practicing and recording at home?

Anyway, I'm looking forward to putting in more hours with this guitar. It's such a distinctive model, and a nice option to my AV65 and Squier CV Jaguar (in Shell Pink, natch).

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Re: Musings on the Johnny Marr Jaguar

Post by Meriphew » Sat Jun 19, 2021 6:43 am

I've got two Marr Jags (LPB and KO). Both are awesome. The KO has a few mods, the LPB is stock.

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Re: Musings on the Johnny Marr Jaguar

Post by Surfysonic » Sat Jun 19, 2021 9:46 am

galaxy08 wrote:
Sat Jun 19, 2021 4:55 am
Thank you all for the replies!

Here's a funny thing: The other day while having my morning coffee, I picked up my JM Jaguar and lo & behold it all clicked. Just like that. It sounded so good and felt amazing. The only difference from before is that this time I was playing it through my Vox Pathfinder 15R instead of my Fender Princeton Reverb 68 Custom, which has some serious built-in low end. Now I'm thinking about swapping my Princeton for a Vox AC10 since the Vox and the Marr combo seems to capture the sound I like. As much as I dig some of the Princeton's sounds -- not to mention the lush reverb -- the low end of that amp doesn't always do it for me. Maybe because it needs to be properly cranked to get the full effect, and I'm just using it for practicing and recording at home?

Anyway, I'm looking forward to putting in more hours with this guitar. It's such a distinctive model, and a nice option to my AV65 and Squier CV Jaguar (in Shell Pink, natch).
Very happy it's coming together for you! You make an excellent point about using your Vox amp that I think will grant my Bare Knuckle pickups a reprieve. 90% of the time, I play my guitars out of my Fender amps. I'm going to start using the Marr Jag with my Vox AC15C1-TV and Allen Encore (while still Fender-ish, it's a little different). I'll probably still get some Novak JAG-V pickups to try out, but I'll put them in my Squier CV '70s Jag.
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Re: Musings on the Johnny Marr Jaguar

Post by Dan Human » Sat Jun 19, 2021 3:46 pm

I’ve also had the Marr and an AVRI. I agree that the Marr is relatively noisy. That’s its only major con for me.

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Re: Musings on the Johnny Marr Jaguar

Post by Maggieo » Sun Jun 20, 2021 10:33 am

Dan Human wrote:
Sat Jun 19, 2021 3:46 pm
I’ve also had the Marr and an AVRI. I agree that the Marr is relatively noisy. That’s its only major con for me.
Huh. My experience has been quite the opposite. Sample variation, no doubt.
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Re: Musings on the Johnny Marr Jaguar

Post by galaxy08 » Sun Jun 20, 2021 1:22 pm

Maggieo wrote:
Sun Jun 20, 2021 10:33 am
Dan Human wrote:
Sat Jun 19, 2021 3:46 pm
I’ve also had the Marr and an AVRI. I agree that the Marr is relatively noisy. That’s its only major con for me.
Huh. My experience has been quite the opposite. Sample variation, no doubt.
Yup, mine definitely has more buzzing than my AV65, but if I turn away from the amp, it's pretty quiet. Maybe it's the electric in my 120 y.o. house? Who knows, but I'm realizing it's not that big a deal compared with how good it sounds and fun it is to play. No doubt, the Beatles' guitars were buzzing up a storm back in the day and they managed to do ok.

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Re: Musings on the Johnny Marr Jaguar

Post by BlueMelody » Sun Jun 20, 2021 9:06 pm

Maggieo wrote:
Sun Jun 20, 2021 10:33 am
Dan Human wrote:
Sat Jun 19, 2021 3:46 pm
I’ve also had the Marr and an AVRI. I agree that the Marr is relatively noisy. That’s its only major con for me.
Huh. My experience has been quite the opposite. Sample variation, no doubt.
Interesting, mine isn’t particularly noisy at all either, even when I’m running gainy fuzzes with it.

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