By Damian Fanelli
Even though the Fender Jaguar has a short, 24-inch scale, 22-fret neck and knobs and switches that are as confusing as the control panel on a single-engine 1983 Piper Seminole, it’s a very chill-astic 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 took off like the Strat and the Tele did), the model has a massive cult following.
But despite the all love, players have to admit that the Jaguar doesn’t have the sustain of a Strat, and -- from personal experience -- it sometimes has a weird string-buzz thing going on.
Which is one of the reasons I sold my Jaguar for beer money in 2007.
As a member of a New York-based heavy trad instrumental surf rock band, I know a lot of Jaguar and Jazzmaster players. Some of them — including Dave Wronski of Southern California’s Slacktone (also an occasional 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.