Jeff Owens writes in an [article](http://www2.fender.com/experience/guitarchive/the-jag-stang/) published by Fender, "The Jag-Stang was designed by Kurt Cobain, and the design process was rather simple - he took Polaroids of half of a Jaguar and half of a Mustang, and taped them together. After making a few small drawn modifications and notes, the design was sent to Fender Custom Shop master builder Larry Brooks. The Jag-Stang wasn't used very often while Kurt had it, not only due to some glitches that still needed to be worked out, but also the fact that Kurt got the Sonic Blue one not too long before he died. Fender released the Jag-Stang to the public in both Sonic Blue and Fiesta Red in 1995-1996. It was reissued in 2005-2006."more
In [this interview](http://noisey.vice.com/blog/unknown-mortal-orchestras-ruban-nielson-is-fine-staying-indoors-thanks) with Noisey, Ruben says, "I really like them; they change the way that I play. I used to play a regular scale Telecaster in a punk band I was in [The Mint Chicks], but when I changed to the Jag-Stang, I could play much more intricate stuff. It's a really subtle difference, but it makes a big difference."more
I bought Jagstang [CIJ 1997] in Ukraine in 2011 from a guy who traded second-hand stuff from Japan. He had no idea about this guitar so I got it for quite good price. I can't call myself Kurt Cobain's biggest fan , but I always wanted to purchase some Fender offset guitar. Especially it's quite rare guitar for Ukraine that is twice as pleasant. I got a guitar in a perfect cosmetic condition and probably without any modification. Jagstang's flat, slab-like body shape differs from the "comfort contour body" of Jazzmaster and Jaguar, at the same time guitar has perfect 24" short scale neck. Bridge humbucker sounds nice but i use it seldomly, neck single pickup is one of the best sounding pickups which I ever heard. My guitar finished in Fiesta Red, but Sonic Blue also looks awesome.
Stock this guitar really isn't that good. It's why a lot of people, that kept their Jag-Stangs over the years, have modded them. The most simple mod that most people do is getting rid of the awful Fender Santa Ana humbucker. The neck, however, is an absolute dream and the best neck I've ever experienced on a guitar.
The Fender Jag-Stang in it's stock form is a decent enough guitar, but I play one with EMG pickups in it that I got on my 17th birthday that has been my favorite "go-to" ever since, and she's got the scars to show for it.
In it's stock Format, the Jag-Stang is a quality instrument built from Fujigen Gakki (1995-1997) or Dyna Gakki (1997-2001, 2003-2006) in Japan for Fender Japan. Despite being a "unfinished" design as the second prototype was to go to designer and Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain the day he died that fateful day in 1994, it's surprisingly great. It's only real shortcomings only being the bridge pickup which is a bit anemic at 7.4-8.2K ohms on the earlier models (which had a DiMarzio sourced H3 or H8 humbucker) - the later Alder bodied variants featured a Fender Santa Ana humbucker that addressed all these tonal issues. In my case, the previous owner replaced the original pickups with an EMG SA in the neck, and an EMG 81 in the bridge sometime about 1998 per date code on the pickups (my Jag-Stang is a 1995 1st run model with the 60th Anniversary and "Designed by Kurt Cobain" stickers on the back of the headstock, confirmed by body and neck build dates).
The early Jag-Stangs were made of basswood, which tends to absorb extreme highs and mids a bit, making it a much woolier guitar. Playing an alder model gave a more balanced response due to a thicker wood density. This also affects finish durability - my 95' is a literal relic, dents, dings, scratches everywhere, all of them from 17 years of hard gigging and studio work. It does not help that the paint on these, particularly the early ones, was just one giant thick glopping coat of sonic blue or Fiesta Red.
Now to one of my favorite features, the vibrato. The Fender Dynamic Vibrato is one of my favorite units of all time. It's smooth, like a Kahler, but I don't need to drag an entire pile of hex keys with me to tune, or make small adjustments. It's also more economically sound than a Floyd Rose because replacment parts are cheap, and I burn through things like pivot points and knife edges a LOT less as fast as I do on my Floyd Rose guitars. I can whammy all day on this thing and it never goes out of tune.
However, in 17 years, I have made some mods and improvements. The EMG Pickups in this thing sound amazing - TBH, I've only ever played one out of the hundreds of guitars I've played that matched the Jag-Stang with that particular set of pickups, and it was a Fender Prodigy. I added a Pi2 Phase inverter preamp to allow me to still get the out-of-phase sounds the Jag-Stang is somewhat known for having (but minus the volume loss), added tone recovery cap brought to an extreme, giving me more tonal versitiliy, no-load tone control. All of these turned the Jag-Stang from a great "grunge" guitar into a Pensa Suhr terrifying, Tom Anderson scaring tonal chameleon. It makes an EXCELLENT platform for hopped up circuitry once you figure out how those 3-way switches work. Also, my modification improved on the pickup selection on-the-fly because I designated one switch to pickup selection and the other to tonal edits.
17 years of everyday hour or more play on this thing and of course I had to replace some parts. I had to replace the tuners in 2006 because the originals wore plum out from all the tuning changes I do, CGDGBE, Drop-D, whole step down, 1/2 step down, and back again a lot. The Ping sourced Kluson copies are just not up to the task for a lifetime, I ultimately got a set of proper fitting Kluson Revolutions on there and had my split shaft sealed gear cake and eat it too.
Another thing is that Cobain bumped into the perfect combination of size and shape on this by accident (with help of Fender Custom Shop luthier Larry Brooks) - the result is a guitar that looks a little odd at first glance but is extremely comfortable despite not having contours, and the way the shape sits makes it not look stupid on hulky tall guys like me - like I've been told Mustangs tend to do to me.
Basically put, the Jag-Stang is a well balanced (especially the later stock models), fast playing, great sounding guitar with a few quirks that are easily ironed out. Sure some might want to ride the Nirvana legacy to death, but after picking up a pre-modded version, I felt like taking the Jag-Stang into it's own place, which it also can do just as well as any Strat or Telecaster.
The first half of the 1990's had quite the lineup of innovative and groundbreaking acts: Ministry. Nine Inch Nails. Faith No More. Sonic Youth. Nirvana. The list goes on... I could print a whole encyclopedia on this genre and still get corrected. But that's not why we are here... Or is it?
The death of Kurt Cobain was a milestone. Whether you like it or not, everybody remembers how life was before and after Nirvana. Most of us were never the same again. Some of us were even inspired.
"Who will sing for those millions now?" -David Fricke
Bought for $700 cdn in 1996, the Jagstang is the weirdest guitar I've ever played. It's offset non contour body resembles the hybrid of a jaguar and a pre CBS mustang, with humbucker at the bridge position and a Texas Hot Rail to match it, and it's curved end makes the whole thing very body heavy. The bridges themselves were stock mustang design; I hoped for adjustomatic, as Cobain preferred TuneoMatics, but not surprised they went with stock; I still use them and they sound as great as they day I bought it. You can hear the Jagstang in action here.. Both the intro and outro were naturally sonic Jagstang spotlights. The humbuckers combined with the Texas special, when cranked and against a speaker stack just wails, as if in seance, to summon the machine's very creator. By the end of the track your hair may stand on end and wonder if it was recorded by Steve Albini. Nope. Greg Reely mixed this one.