Yeah! What’s not to love about offset-waist
guitars? Once my tech customized this Jaguar-inspired Samick with a Wilkinson Tele-style bridge, I was delighted. This Samick’s dual P-90-style pickups make it a great blues machine.
Customized aJaguar-inspired Samick with a Wilkinson Tele-style bridge.
A few months ago I was in South Carolina
at the Spartanburg Guitar Show, and
I spotted this Jaguar-inspired guitar within
30 seconds of walking through the door. I
looked at the $150 price tag, played it for a
few moments, and then moved on. I wanted
to see the rest of the show and assumed
I’d find something I liked better. But after
two hours of roaming the floor, I didn’t see
anything more appealing, so before leaving I
went back to the vendor and was relieved to
discover no one had bought this guitar.
I plugged it in and it sounded pretty
good, but I wasn’t crazy about the Kahler-style
whammy it sported. In typical
bottom-feeder fashion, I offered the owner
$125 cash for the guitar and he took it—even throwing in a really nice gigbag.
When I got it home and plugged it in, it
sounded even better than at the show. But
two things bothered me about this guitar: First, the locking whammy system, which
is not my thing. Second, the high-E string
was too close to the edge of the fretboard,
and this caused the string to frequently slip
off the neck when I played.
This Wilkinson 3-saddle bridge replaced a Kahler-style whammy.
To get the Wilkinson positioned correctly, my tech trimmed back its metal bridge plate.
So this called for a trip to Asheville,
North Carolina, to see my tech, Jack
Dillen. I showed him the problems and
also brought a Wilkinson bridge I had
hanging around. These 3-saddle Tele-style
bridges are my new favorites. They have the
traditional ashtray lip, but they have compensated
brass saddles that intonate almost
dead on and sound great.
Jack pointed out a problem with my
plan: The whammy removal would leave a
giant cavity in the body that the Wilkinson
could not totally cover. I told Jack to do
the best he could, while keeping the price
cheap. It took him several weeks to figure
out the best way to handle this conversion,
but when I picked up the guitar, I was truly
blown away with my new purchase.
Removing the whammy left an exposed cavity in
the body. To cover this, my tech cut a triangular
piece of pickguard material and mounted it
between the pickguard and bridge.
Jack was able to resize and relocate the
new bridge far enough from the edge of the
fretboard to no longer be a problem. He
also cut and installed a small piece of pickguard
to hide the plugged cavity next to the
bridge. He charged me $60, which was in
my cheapskate ballpark.
Bottom Feeder Tip #582: If something
is bothering you about a guitar, either make
it play to your liking, or cut your losses and
sell it. Why keep guitars around that bug
you? Life’s too short.
I love the look of offset-waist guitars like
Fender Jaguars and Jazzmasters, and this Jag wannabe is equipped with P-90-style single-coils, which makes it a sweet blues machine
for under $200. So is it a keeper? Yeah, at
least for now. It’s my newest go-to guitar ... until I find something else. You know how
is a founding
member of the
trio. He also does guitar
clinics promoting his
namesake G&L signature
model 6-string, and produces
artists and bands at his studio in
Asheville, North Carolina. You can contact
Will on Facebook and at willray.biz.