In 2012 Fender issued a new guitar – the Johnny Marr Signature Edition Jaguar.
I’d been a huge fan of Johnny Marr since the early 1980s, and had followed what his was doing from the Smiths, through Electronic, the Healers, the Cribs, up to the present day and the birth of his new solo career.
I’d witnessed his association with the Line 6 Variax and felt that was, well… not quite right. Although it’s not my place to say, obviously.
Conversely, the Johnny Marr Signature Edition Jaguar did seem right and I was delighted to see one of my guitar heroes bringing out a signature edition guitar that they had actually had some input into changing in some really interesting ways.
Did I want one? Maybe. Probably. But not absolutely.
I saw one in a glass display case in my local Dawsons music store. It looked amazing. But it wasn’t cheap and – truth be told – I didn’t really like the colour options.
There is also, of course, the Sherwood Green Metallic version, which really is quite lovely – but only a very small number were made; they’re hard to get hold of and when they do appear on the market it’s at a premium.
For a while I thought about buying one and having it re-sprayed. But the thought of having to disassemble a guitar didn’t do much for me.
And then it happened … on eBay I found someone who had done precisely that – taken an Olympic White (that’s cream, remember) Johnny Marr Signature Edition Jaguar, broken it down into its component parts and put them all up for sale separately.
Once I’d got over my initial reaction (who the hell takes a perfectly good guitar and breaks it up just to profit from selling the bits..?) it felt like I’d received a sign.
So I figured, quite reasonably I thought, that I’d buy the body – which had been stripped of everything bar the scratchplate (pick-ups, switches, volume pots, vibrato unit, bridge, the lot – all gone) – and have it re-sprayed. I’d need the neck as well, obviously. I could put any neck with it, within reason, but I decided the original neck was too important not to get.
That was the decision then – buy the neck and the body, have the latter re-sprayed, but essentially maintain the integrity of the guitar by rejoining the original neck and body.
It turned out not to be quite that straightforward though.
Before I’d even started parting with any money I realised it couldn’t just end with the body and the neck. There were too many other important parts of the guitar, which all contributed to the tone.