top of page

2016 Fender Johnny Marr Jaguar

"It sounds like I'm supposed to sound." In his own words, and with his own design, the signature model that brings together everything Johnny Marr in one guitar.  A gift from a lifelong lover of guitars to lovers of guitars.

Johnny Marr has made many a guitar his icon over the years.  So much so that there's a fair range of guitars that warrant the "As Made Famous By" Marr moniker in the God's Own Collection: the 1977 Gibson ES-335, the 1985 Rickenbacker 330 Jet-glo, the 1970 Gibson ES-355TD-SV to name a few.  All examples of iconic guitars in their own right being taken up a level of recognition in the hands of such a versatile player.  Wind back to the days of The Smiths, though, and it's not a Fender that springs to mind as his guitar of choice.  But behind the scenes, it's actually a renovated 1954 Telecaster that underpins a lot of those Smiths songs.  Bought in a sorry state for £17 by producer John Porter, refurbished and lent to Johnny, it's the guitar behind some of their earliest releases, including This Charming Man.  The video may have featured the Rickenbacker, but the song was recorded with a Telecaster. 

So, Johnny Marr's association with Fenders goes back a long way.  But it wasn't until his time with Modest Mouse that he fell in love with Jaguars.  And then, as he puts it in his wonderful autobiography, Set The Boy Free, "I couldn't imagine playing anything else."  Which then became an obsession. Which then became the fulfilment of a dream, to build, road-test, refine and refine again a Jaguar that he could give to Fender "to remake it faithfully so that every one with my name on it is identical to mine."  And here it is.  First launched in 2012, this is a 2016 model.  An absolute beauty to behold, and a beauty to play, with a huge range of sonic possibilities.  As he says in the launch video (see below), he's "someone who's grown up from a little boy thinking that guitars are the greatest object in the world, bar none"  He is not alone.  

See & Hear It In Action




Johnny Marr Jaguar


Olympic White



Serial  Number


Number of Frets









Vintage Kluson-Style


Single Coil Custom Wound Bare Knuckle Johnny Marr


Jaguar Bridge with Mustang Saddles and Vintage Style "Floating" Tremolo Tailpiece

Scale Length


Full Length


Further Information:

  • Fender first introduced the Jaguar in 1962.  It was the fourth in what's now considered the classic original line-up of Fender-brand guitars, following in the footsteps of the Telecaster, Stratocaster and Jazzmaster.  In Fender's own words, it was a guitar that was launched just behind its time . . . "Introduced as Fender's high-end model, the Jaguar was initially adopted by surf guitarists just as that fad was running out of wave. Jaguars everywhere began collecting dust until the punk explosion of the '70s and its subsequent mutations took it from relic to iconic."  Oh, and then there was Kurt Cobain in the early 90s.

  • Another reason for its original failure to capture the market was its feature-heavy complexity and the price that came with that - you could pick up a Strat or a Tele for a lot less, and you wouldn't be paying for the hassle of getting your head around all those switches, all that technology.  Still, production continued for another 13 years until CBS discontinued it in 1975.  Which, ironically, seeded its rebirth: it became one of the cheaper Fenders to pick up second-hand through the 70s and 80s.

  • With further irony, that complexity also lent itself well to the Jaguar becoming one of the more modded guitars that Fender has produced - anything from the switchgear to the bridge to the tremolo system.  And that's exactly what Johnny Marr did when he set out to build his own Jaguar, as detailed with love and respect in the video that accompanied its launch (see above).

  • There's so much to love about this guitar.  The tall, narrow, high-output pickups, surrounded by notched metal rings ( or “claws”) to reduce hum, custom-built Bare Knuckles in this case.  The variety of tones that come with the four-way toggle switch and brightness switches.  The humbucker effect of the serial setting for the pick-ups in the toggle fourth position.  The design improvements that increase the robustness of the bridge and tremolo units. 

  • This is no run-of-the-mill Jaguar.  It's a Jaguar specifically designed by Johnny Marr to give him - and us - the opportunity to bring this model into the 21st century, with the very widest range of tones and possibilities . And it does that in spades.  It really is a guitar worthy of its god-like player.

Sources & Links
bottom of page