1996 Fender Jag-Stang, as made famous by Kurt Cobain

 

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Not only as made famous by, but also as designed by Kurt Cobain, shortly before his untimely death - the Fender Jaguar/Mustang hybrid that became an icon across the world.

The story behind this guitar is wonderfully documented on the Fender web-site (see Sources & Links).  Proposed by Kurt Cobain, using cut-up polaroid pictures of a Fender Jaguar and a Fender Mustang, annotated, prototyped, adapted, and then sent out on the road with Kurt, in Sonic Blue finish, in the year of his death.  He played it rarely, though most famously throughout Nirvana's final full concert at Tivoli Hall in Ljubljana, Slovenia.  After his death, Courtney Love gave the Sonic Blue Jag-Stang prototype to Peter Buck, who plays it In the video for 1994 single “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?”.  All this before the guitar went into two runs of commercial production, since when it has continued to hold the adoration of a devoted set of guitarists and fans.

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Specification

Make

Fender

Model

Jag-Stang

Colour

Sonic Blue

Year

1996

Serial  Number

V021240

Number of Frets

21

Fretboard

Rosewood

Neck

Maple

Body

Basswood

Tuners

Fender Vintage Style

Pick-ups

Fender Vintage Style Single Coil & Fender Special Design Humbucker

Bridge

Fender Floating Tremelo

Scale Length

24.00"

Full Length

40.125"

Further Information:

  • The guitar didn't go into full production until after Kurt's death, with a 4-year run to 1999, and a 2003 - 2005 run around the 10th anniversary of his death.

  • As with the prototypes, it was produced in Sonic Blue and Fiesta Red finishes.  Kurt never got to play the prototype in Fiesta Red.  Fender were just packaging the guitar up to send to him when the news of his death came through.

  • It's not simply a top-half Mustang and bottom-half Jaguar.  Kurt designed the guitar with a sharper top horn, like a Mustang, and an extended lower bout, like a Jaguar.  The prototype was built with a Fender Texas Special Single-Coil pick-up in the neck position and a DiMarzio H-3 humbucker in the bridge position.  Production models reverted to the more standard "Vintage Style" and "Special Design" pick-ups.

  • The single-coil neck pick-up comes with fixed staggered pole pieces, set to accentuate the mid-lower range of the guitar (to the extent that the B-string pole sits almost flat against the pick-up casing).

  • This particular guitar comes from the first full year of production, also the 50th anniversary of Fender, with a small commemorative badge on the back of the headstock.

  • The thin neck is said to give this more of a rhythm-player's feel and ease of playing, which considering Kurt's style, makes this the perfect guitar to recreate that unique Nirvana sound.

Sources & Links