Even though the Fender Jaguar has a short, 24-inch scale, 22-fret neck and knobs and switches that can be as confusing as the control panel on a single-engine 1983 Piper Seminole, it’s an undeniably cool guitar, and it looks and sounds awesome.
Although it wasn’t a huge hit for Fender in the early ’60s (Let’s just say it never quite took off like the Strat and the Tele), the model had, and has, a massive cult following.
But despite the all love, some players complain that the Jaguar doesn’t have the sustain of a Strat, and — from personal experience — it often has this weird string-buzz thing going on.
Which is one of the reasons I sold my Jaguar for beer money in 2007 (I did eventually crawl back into this corner of the universe when I bought a Jazzmaster in 2011).
As a member of a New York-based heavy trad instrumental surf rock band called Mister Neutron, I know a lot of Jaguar players. Some of them — including Dave Wronski of Southern California’s Slacktone (also an occasional GuitarWorld.com blogger) — use something called a Buzz Stop to address this problem.
The Buzz Stop, which is made by a company called Whizzo, is a piece of hardware that attaches to the tailpiece of a Jaguar or Jazzmaster. It has a roller, which the strings go under. The benefit is the added down-pressure of the strings against the bridge saddles, which makes for a more “solid” contact.
“The Buzz Stop helps reduce rattles and the tendency of the strings to jump off the bridge saddles when playing aggressively,” Wronski says. “Without it, a lot of string-vibration energy is lost by way of the rattles. I use them on my Jaguars, except for my ’63 sunburst model, which doesn’t seem to need it because the angle and height of the neck pocket are optimal for a good rattle-free setup. The ’63 is well-made; the saddles were better on those old guitars.”
For much more about the Whizzo Buzz Stop (Consider this blog post merely a teaser on the topic), visit North Coast Music's Buzz Stop page. You'll find photos, diagrams, FAQs and dealers.
In the meantime, check out Slacktone in action. That's Dave Wronski on the Jaguar, Dusty Watson on drums and Sam Bolle on bass:
Damian Fanelli is the online managing editor at Guitar World.Follow him on Twitter, I mean, if you want ...