When is a Jagstang not a Jagstang?

This is one for the offseters ....

Anyone who knows me well or follows me on any social media will know how much I love the Fender Jagstang. I remember vividly seeing one in the Fender magazine back in '95 and just instantly falling in love with it. It looked traditional and new at the same time. I especially loved the blue one as it looked very 60's and I'd always loved that colour scheme on a Mustang.

I ended up owning quite a few Jagstangs and have owned and sold over 25 over the years. I kept my favourite one, which I used live a bit and I have a sentimental attachment to it because of that instant love when I first saw them, and of course because of the Nirvana connection. My first "original" Tym guitar, my Vibratone from '97 was essentially a flipped over Jagstang.

I can't remember when I first saw one of these but I think it was in the mid to late 2000's when I was importing a lot of guitars from Japan, but to be honest I really don't know a lot about them and there's nothing (a dead end link on OSG) on the net about them, or the name on the headstock. I assume they were made before the Fender re-issue in 2003 but they could very well have been during or even after that series when they finished in 2006. 

 

The name on the headstock is "Rox Stars" (not the name used by GMP guitars) and is written in a very convincing Fender spaghetti logo. Searches on this bring up very little (except the aforementioned OSG) and I've only seen one for sale recently in Japan so I'm just going to tell you about the actual guitar.

 

The body is solid alder and is based heavily on of course, the Fender Jagstang. At first glance it looks to be an exact copy but on closer inspection things start to really stand out. It of course has elbow and belly contours and, it looks ... smaller? That's because it is. At first I thought it was the contours making it look smaller but no, lay it on top of a Jagstang and it's a slightly different shape and smaller. 

The neck is the standard 24" scale made from a really nice piece of rock maple with a nice rosewood fretboard. It's "slightly" thicker than an original Jagstang neck which, to be honest, feels really good, and I like thin necks. It's still thin and short but has a great shape and slightly bigger frets than the original, which normally I'd be against but this one feels GREAT.

Tuners are good quality Kluson copies on an exact copy of the big CBS Fender headstock, and it has a bone nut as standard. The fretwork is very nicely done and the neck is straight with the standard X trussrod adjuster at the heel end, all like the original.

 

The body is well made and finished and has more of a swimming pool rout under the plate for the pickups and electronics. I thought maybe they were an aftermarket body like a Warmath (which has the contours) but the under guard routs are completely different. The finish is not as thick as a typical Fender Japan finish and is VERY well applied.

The scratchplate is a nice white pearl with a deep "smashed glass" look and is a slightly different shape to a standard Jagstang. 

 

The electronics are all top notch with (made in the US) Noble 250K pots and Switchcraft jack and good quality slider switches which are smaller and different to the original wiring. The back switch (nearest the bridge) is a 3 way with humbucker Parallel / OFF / Series and the front switch is a 2 way with neck ON / OFF. This makes a lot of sense and gives some great options. The bridge pickup is a DiMarzio DP104 and the neck pickup is an unbranded Strat style single coil. Both pickups sound MUCH better than the original Fender Jagstang pickups and the quality of the electronics in this appear to all be standard factory and are of a much higher quality than the originals. I quickly changed my original Jagstang to an SD JB in the bridge straight to a volume pot and out and blocked the vibrato and bridge which improved the tone dramatically. This one has a much "fuller" tone than my moded one.

The hardware is all unbranded Mustang and is good quality with the bridge looking like the older version that Allparts used to sell. The chrome is great on everything and the overall finish and feel of the guitar is excellent. 

 

To me, this guitar feels and looks like something made in Japan (I've owned LOTS of Japanese guitars) but as I can't find any info at all about them, I'm just making an educated guess. Maybe a domestic market guitar that wasn't made for long? The guitar is solid and feels and plays great. It sounds, to me, better than a standard Fender Jagstang (remember, I LOVE them) and the body contours just seem like something the original should have had? Apparently Fender were working on suggestions made by Kurt at the time of his death and body contours were on the list. It just feels more Mustang (and Jaguar) than the original slab body version. 

All in all this is a really nice guitar. For someone who loves offsets and/or Jagstangs (as I do) it's a weird and wonderful piece of strange guitar history. It's not often you come across a modern guitar with so little info about it available. Regardless of what it ends up being, I love it.

Sep 21 2017 Written By: Tim Brennan