JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by HNB » Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:55 pm

My Vandalism strat has a neck 59 in the bridge also. It sounds really good.
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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by AcrylicSuperman » Fri Nov 20, 2020 3:00 pm

HNB wrote:
Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:55 pm
My Vandalism strat has a neck 59 in the bridge also. It sounds really good.
I love the 59. There are times I want something a little beefier, but I always tend to go back to one.

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by HNB » Fri Nov 20, 2020 6:51 pm

I did use a different sticker for mine though. :)

Image20180222_174416 by Christopher Louck, on Flickr
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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by AcrylicSuperman » Sat Nov 21, 2020 9:04 am

Image

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by Amon 7.L » Sun Nov 22, 2020 3:10 am

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Final Chapter - Part 5: “Production Model: the shape-shifter”
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….So, what do you do when the scene you’ve been presented doesn’t look right?
The answer is: You stop. Take a deep breath, walk a few steps back, try to take a new look with fresh eyes and see what you get.

Timeline-wise, we are now at a point where Larry Brooks is nowhere to be found as he’s, by all accounts: dead.

This means we’ve got to find another way to get the answer(s) we’re looking for.

"What do we know for sure? What do we have that we know is bulletproof and not requiring further investigation?"

We need to go back to the origin: The Blue prototype with its geometry and development.

The JAG-STANG is just -structurally-wise- a re-shaped Mustang;
Factor which implies that things like scale length & bridge placements are ruled by Math and are not questionable;
We also knew that Fender Custom Shop wasn’t equipped to produce the hardware and that Fender Japan sent two Mustang kits for the JAG-STANGs.

It’s also important to remind we had a letter by Scott Zimmerman stating he built the necks for the two prototypes alongside the 10 Custom Mustangs he was building for Kurt.
Therefore, instead of a Kurt’s USA-spec’d Competition Mustang neck, the prototypes would have been equipped with what essentially is a Japanese spec’d MG69 RI.
A bit of a contradiction in there but “No big deal” you might say, right?;
Sure, how much would this be mudding the waters in the end?
I had no idea. WE had no idea.

Cut to the chase, there are plenty of unique features I could mention and dive into but the bullet points out of Blue’s reconstruction I want you to get the focus on are:
  • An overall unique shape;
  • A lower horn shape that differs from Mustang’s;
  • Contact points between pickguard and metal plates that are gapless;
  • Unique quirk of the Prototype: it has ONLY 3 screws -instead of 5- in the upper side of the pickguard.

Once again, I’ve stopped… took a deep breath & looked again at the two prototypes only to submit to this very striking thought:

“how in the Hell is possible that Red is less refined than Blue even though is supposed to be the finalised version? The craftsmanship looks awful!”;
“Is this really Custom Shop Master Built level??!”



What I’m seeing on Red is:
  • A less refined shape;
  • The pickguard is crudely cut and mounted at an angle with screws forced into position;
  • The lower horn and the pickguard are not mating each other;
  • Contact points between pickguard and metal plates have CROOKED gaps;
  • The neck is mounted well south of the central line, so much so that the high e-string is dangerously close to the edge of the fretboard;
  • 5 screws instead of 3 at the top of the pickguard.


Now, look at this picture below and pay attention:

Image

There’s indication to a detail I haven’t put among the bullet points.
Take a closer & deeper look. Spotted?

Do you remember I mentioned my constant feeling of something being off?
A memorable quote comes to mind:
“just because you’re paranoid, don’t mean they’re not after you” (Nirvana – “Territorial Pissings”)
Well, if you spotted it, congratulations, you’ve got the detective eye.
For those who didn't, the answer is: the mismatching angle of the pickups.
It was again after me;
I saw that angle somewhere else before.


I don’t have the slightest doubt that at this point you are 100% sure I’m totally crazy and, I confess you: I can’t blame you.
I thought that myself in the first place.
All those countless hours on CAD dealing with the shape of Blue must have cause some short in my fuses.
Anyway, before giving up to the auto-diagnosis and get myself proper treatment, I wanted to descend deeper into the madness, it was too much fun to give up.
So, dear people… you are kind of warned about where the ship is now steering.
Do you?
‘Cause I certainly don’t. (yet.)

My wheels were spinning and plenty of discussion went on behind the scenes with my fellow AcrylicSuperman.
Nothing conclusive though, only suppositions on our parts and the feeling that in fact things “weren’t right” for several increasing reasons.

As in any respectable thriller: there’s a plot twist. Another of those aforementioned Fortuities.
Larry is not dead; he’s actually alive & kicking.
AcrylicSuperman has gotten in contact with him and interviewed him.

We were astonished to learn that:
  • Larry built both necks along with the two JS bodies (keep in mind Scott Zimmerman’s letter in which he states he built the necks);
  • Larry never knew about the cardboard cut-outs until he asked him about;
  • Templates of the Jaguar and Mustang weren’t available at Fender at that time, so Larry had to use the available template of a Jazzmaster and the template he made off his own Mustang.
    (Even to this day, if you order a Custom Shop Mustang, it’s gonna be made after that very same template.)
  • Kurt favourite neck was confirmed to be his Mustang’s. It was eventually Larry’s own Mustang’s neck the one that has been used to create the JAG-STANG’s as it was close enough;
  • We’ve got confirmation that the actual colours were “Daphne Blue” and “Dakota Red”;
  • Blue prototype’s pickguard was a custom design based on his USA Mustang;
  • The longer lower horn was Kurt’s specific request. (so we’ve got explanation for the geometry I was getting during the reconstruction and confirmation of being a correct calculation);
  • AcrylicSuperman reported he shown Larry one of the renders and asked him to go over it thoroughly as proof that we are doing what we claim to be doing. Larry got back to him and gave him his stamp of approval on it, saying that it looks right. (Hence: we were on the right tracks. Nothing short of PURE JOY for me getting the seal of approval from the Master himself. Thanks OCD for been useful for once).

There’s of course more to come as that was only our new starting point.
Yes, plenty of our questions had finally found concrete answers, but a bag of new ones was coming to the surface as something still didn’t look right to me.
And it wasn’t just Red’s mismatching pickup angle.

More crossing evidence and other intersecting anomalies were putting Red and Production Model on the same path. Actually, right on a rail-crossing to be precise.

Familiar mismatching angles, production model changing in shape… Where do we go now?
Head or Tail?

Fine: It’s full Production Model time.

It doesn’t match Red but what is all that amount of anomalies?
Alright, fair enough, it was a comparison made against a 2nd gen MIJ 1996 (the later shape) and at that time we didn’t know its shape was a revision.

Visually speaking , the main differences with the earlier 1st gen of MIG 1995 are in the horns down inwards to the neck pocket.
Implies a less sturdy neck pocket in the 1st gen, which it could explain the shape modification to get “bigger walls” around the neck pocket. An overall structural improvement, if you will.
Still, it was never reported, we want to know what’s the deal with it.


Again, I wanted Math to speak its voice.
We learned the hard way how much pictures can be deceiving and I wanted to triple-check the data before making any bold statement.
This of course required to find a Production Model JAG-STANG of each generation to be digitally traced and furtherly analysed.

Whereas our very own Patrick Cross kindly came to the rescue and pencil-traced the template he made off his 2nd gen MIJ 1996, founding the owner of a 1st gen of MIJ 1995 was actually a rather difficult task.
It took me almost 4 months of research, but the OSG community has proven to be great & very friendly as I have in fact ended up having not 1 but 2 owners willing to trace their guitar and taking the measurements I needed to translate them into vectors I could study.

The incoming analysis is therefore based on these actual JAG-STANGS:
MIJ U020117 (1995) Fiesta Red – courtesy of Patrick Cross
MIJ U027757 (1995) Sonic Blue (vectorised) – courtesy of Michael aka “jagstang”
MIJ U028202 (1995) Sonic Blue (vectorised) – courtesy of Paul aka “Acidhouse”
MIJ V024145 (1996) Fiesta Red (vectorised) – courtesy of Patrick Cross

I promise you, these gentlemen have been nothing short of awesome and very helpful.
THANK YOU ALL, GUYS.

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by Amon 7.L » Sun Nov 22, 2020 6:23 am

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Final Chapter - Part 6: “USA vs Japanese - The forensic luthiery long lost CSI episode.”
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


DOGMA 1: Larry’s Prototypes are USA specs; Production Models are Japanese specs. Checked.
DOGMA 2: It’s all down to Imperial VS Metric. Checked.

Now, on one hand we have a letter from Scott Zimmerman in which he states he built the two JAG-STANGS necks (hence Japanese specs);
On the other we have word from Larry Brooks himself that he actually built them (hence USA specs).
I want to believe their word and turn it into DOGMA 3: “They both built JAG-STANG prototype necks.”

You are confused, I know. So were we. It’s ok though… you now have a tiny idea of how messy things were at that stage and you can also now imagine what kind of discussion me & AcrylicSuperman were having behind the scenes. Welcome to our world.

It was indeed time to shake something off the overload and try another approach to bear with our ordeal.

Follow me as this is very important:
Anyone who went to the “parts-caster route” knows that putting together vintage and aftermarket parts from different sources is likely to encounter a certain degree of hurdles.
He who mixes USA with Japanese parts is definitely going to get all sorts of mixed scenarios: Gaps/Neck & pocket mismatch/Impossible fit.
It’s well known, it needs some degree of tampering to make things work.

I do apology for making you tip-tap back & forth and repeat myself but some points require it.
Let’s deal with the USA vs Japanese dilemma once for all:
Back again to square one and Blue’s retro-engineering. I’ll now make order.

First things first: I decided the necks can be put out of the equation.
  • The actual DOGMA I wanted to follow was that Blue’s (and Red, of course) body & its routes were based off a Vintage USA Mustang. I’ll stick to it, rigorously.

The study of the pickguard has been essential to get the entire body shape clocked.
It is in fact the very element around which the entire reconstruction of Blue revolved.
Moreover, I’m gonna show you why you get a positive match with USA specs and a negative result with Japanese specs.

My first approach was to use what I had at my disposal, which was only the hi-res JAG-STANG picture taken off the internet and my own CIJ Mustang 69 RI.
After all: “Close enough is good enough”, right?
Well, it is unless your OCD kicks while you’re digitalising a Vintage 60’s Mustang pickguard and you spot that 1mm-something "variation on the theme".

There you go: USA vs Japanese:
Image

It might not look a big deal in the great scheme of life but, on this particular occasion, those few millimeters here & there make for a dramatic difference if your calculations are based off the wrong foundation.
First foreseeable result: putting a Japanese guard on to replace a Vintage equipped body means you’d get gaps.

Let’s disregard the lower section entirely as for Larry basically wing it, what matters in the retro-engineering are:
  1. The horizontal length from neck pocket to the dynamic vibrato plate;
    2. The placement of the control plate cutaway.
Point 1 is marginal at this stage, but I can guarantee that point 2 is the Ruler of the entire body offset geometry.
If you were to shape the lower body cutaway based off the Japanese guard, you would end up with a majestic issue:
  • The lower body cutaway would end-up placed closer to the neck, resulting the entire offset axis being non-parallel with the angle of the pickups.
    On the contrary, by using its USA counterpart, all the proportions match the photographic data and also, the angle of the body offset gets completely parallel with the pickups angle.
Speaking of pickup angles…:
Image
Does it make any bell ring? Do you remember the feeling I was talking about earlier?
Do you see it?
You can argue it’s nothing major but you can’t deny it’s a rather peculiar feature. Yet: IT’S THERE.
Whilst the USA pickguard sports parallel pickup cut-outs, on the CIJ we found the bridge pickup tilted backwards.

That still wasn’t that big of a deal until the focus moved on the vectorization of the Production Model(s).
Funny enough, as soon as I had it in front of me, this was clear: THAT ANGLE was indeed haunting me. Wherever I go, it’s there. Time & time again.

Enters Patrick’s MIJ (2nd gen) 1996 JAG-STANG pickguard, let’s go:
Image
It’s dead-on.
I have also tested a pickguard from a 1st gen 1995 MIJ JAG-STANG and the result is exactly the same: the bridge pickup is tilted backwards just like the MG69 RI

Now… Are you guys surprised?
Do you know what are the implications? Have you seen THAT ANGLE somewhere else before?
Don’t tell me the bell hasn’t rang yet…

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by Veitchy » Sun Nov 22, 2020 4:28 pm

I'm sitting here with a mug of black coffee reading this like a detective novel. This is great.

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by Amon 7.L » Mon Nov 23, 2020 3:19 am

Veitchy wrote:
Sun Nov 22, 2020 4:28 pm
I'm sitting here with a mug of black coffee reading this like a detective novel. This is great.
Thank you Veitchy (and all of you guys) for the support, I'm glad you're enjoying the ride :) .

I'm gonna grab a bite and then I'll post the next chapter... stick around as we're about to get into very hot waters! :ph34r:

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by jagstanger » Mon Nov 23, 2020 3:53 am

Ohhhhhh yeah!!!! It's great. Taking breaks from work for a coffee and a cigarette is much more fun, when tuning in to this detective work.

Really great job guys. And cool, how you're putting it all together in chapters for us. Makes fun to have cliffhangers and wait for the next episode :)
Just because you're paranoid, don't mean they're not after you!

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by Amon 7.L » Mon Nov 23, 2020 4:42 am

jagstanger wrote:
Mon Nov 23, 2020 3:53 am
Ohhhhhh yeah!!!! It's great. Taking breaks from work for a coffee and a cigarette is much more fun, when tuning in to this detective work.

Really great job guys. And cool, how you're putting it all together in chapters for us. Makes fun to have cliffhangers and wait for the next episode :)
Thanks, jagstanger!
I've gotta confess you that I wasn't expecting that even translating each chapter from .doc to this board would have taken so long to edit with colours, italics, hyperlinks and all that jazz.
Each one really takes me hours, which means that I wouldn't have been able to deliver all them in one go without making you guys wait much much longer.

Anyhow, the next one is done and ready for your next coffee & cigarette break!
Get your notebooks ready to start laying down your own theories :ph34r:

Cheers

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by Amon 7.L » Mon Nov 23, 2020 5:04 am

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Final Chapter - Part 7: “Houston, we have a problem.”
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Alright, let me show you this USA-spec American-Made Blue Prototype and its angles:
Image

…and now compare USA Vintage accuracy against this USA-spec American-Made Red Prototype:
Image
Interesting, isn’t?

Don’t worry, there’s more….

As a confirmation of the visualised differences , here’s an overlay of the vectorised version of 1st gen VS 2nd gen JAG-STANGS:
Image

(the two JS 95 are so similar to be virtually identical, I put only one tracing for visual clearance)

It’s time for an updated recap:
  • We know Larry built Blue and Red with USA specs of his Vintage Mustang;
  • We know the final shape was followed by an aluminium CNC template costing Kurt 8.000$ each;
    If we count two shapes, Kurt paid 16.000$ only in metal templates without considering all the other processes involved during its development;
  • An aluminium template doesn’t shrink as old nitro pickguards do. If it’s made with USA specs, it stays that way, it won’t morph;


YET, we get all these contradictions:
  • For some reason, Red shows all those many peculiarities of MIJ specs;
  • The Production Model itself, as early as the very first ones where made, are MIJ specs even though we know Fender had the aluminium CNC metal templates with USA specs;
  • The Production Model itself undergoes some further revision at some point in 1996;
  • The Production Model looks like it has no real 1:1 replica;


Further considerations & deductions off the study of the Production Model
Blue and Red’s prototype have been conceived to be in the likeness of a Vintage Mustang whilst still retaining a few differentiating characters from its parent such as:
  • 3 instead5 screws on top of the pickguard;
  • the colour combo white-on-white of pickup covers & pickguard VS black-on-white (pearloid) pickup combo;
    HS vs SS;

Eventually, one other quirk that was evident is another contradiction in the timeline of the evolution from prototype to production models. Focus on the pickguard:
  • Vintage Mustang’s pickguard were three layers: pearloid-white-black, wide bevel;
  • Blue’s prototype was 1 ply white, no bevels (hence: different from Vintage Mustang’s);
  • Red shows FOUR ply pearloid-white-black-white, small bevel (hence: modern, more stylish counterpart);
  • Production Models, on the other hand, had -from the start ‘til the very end of production- the very same type of Vintage Mustang styled pickguard: pearloid-white-black, but with the modern small bevel;


When me and Patrick were discussing his two 1995 and 1996 JAG-STANGS, he mentioned this additional detail:
“there’s a difference in the pickguard material.
The 96 has a much more appealing larger swirl pattern whereas the 95 looks a lot cheaper”.

This very detail made me ring another bell at the echo of how said early 95 JAG-STANG is "less refined compared to its next of kin" (as expectable) and how, on the contrary, Red prototype is still LESS REFINED that its predecessor.


All of these things got me question:
“Why does the JAG-STANG starts with Vintage Mustang’s specs pickguard on Blue, goes 4 ply modern with Red and then, even thought they were supposed to be made in the liking of Red itself, the production model ends up having again the Vintage Mustang’s original 3 ply (minus the wide bevel)?”

Red is the constant anomaly in the whole picture.


Are you thinking what I'm thinking?
I don’t read minds but I can assure you that me & AcrylicSuperman came to the very same conclusion:
“Could it be that something happened to Red that required some replacements?"
"(Or do we really have to think it is actually…. Wink-Wink).”



We still can’t explain why both Larry Brooks and Scott Zimmerman said they built the necks for the prototype though.
Let’s throw to the mix another assessment we clocked much earlier-on:
the photographic proof that Red’s neck does eventually match a MG69 RI pretty spot-on.

We’re even more convinced that the mother of all question marks must have something to do with the change of templates occurring at some point in time in 1996.


Let’s go check the archive.
I went on the
JAG-STANG registry
to consult the serial numbers along with corresponding dating;
We see that along with the change of shape, there’s also a direct jump of serial numbers from U to V happening exactly from 1996 onwards.

The last MIJ 1995 on that registry is a Fiesta Red listed with serial U999999 but description shows that the decal was scratched off and the owner doesn't know what the actual serial was.

So far, none of the 95ers displayed a V serial.
The first V serial on that registry is a V000501 from 1996 though.

In this page you can insert your serial number and get the dating.

Then I remembered the fact that Red Prototype has a serial number too, and -what a lovely coincidence- it starts with V!
“V069200”. Folks, I told you before it was VERY IMPORTANT, right? You forgot?


…and in the corner of my brain there’s still that big question mark that is suddenly turning into a clue:
the letter from Scott Zimmerman in which he states he built the Custom Mustangs AND also JAG-STANG necks;
…. So… Japan necks... mmm….;
If memory serves me right, we proved Red’s neck being a 1:1 with a MG69 right?;

…And we know that FujiGen never had a JAG-STANG neck template for the Production Model as they used a slightly tweaked MG69 neck as a foundation… Clue & Clue… mmm… mmm... then...



Out of sheer curiosity I tried putting Red’s serial number on each "MIJ" and "CIJ" box and the year of production comes out as being respectfully: approx1996 and approx1997.
Of course there's not a registered owner.


So, just random question arises:
Why is that a pre-1995 USA-made prototype has a 1996 MIJ-coded serial number?
And why does its serial number EXACTLY start with the same letter V that defines the change of templates at FujiGen?


Marty McFly?

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by BeeTL » Mon Nov 23, 2020 9:50 am

I'm getting the impression the red "prototype" may be a fake.

Am I on the right track here?
Last edited by BeeTL on Mon Nov 23, 2020 12:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by Amon 7.L » Mon Nov 23, 2020 12:47 pm

BeeTL wrote:
Mon Nov 23, 2020 9:50 am
I'm getting the impression the red "prototype" may be a fake.

Am I on the right track here?
Detective Lowe, you'll be reported for insubordination.

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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by BeeTL » Mon Nov 23, 2020 12:56 pm

Reported? Insubordination? Heresy? Oh, my...
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Re: JAG-STANG Prototype - Reverse Engineering

Post by Amon 7.L » Mon Nov 23, 2020 1:05 pm

Detective, in my office: now. :ph34r:

...and take a sit.

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