I have always liked the body shape of the Les Paul Special with the two cutaways, so I chose this shape for my first set neck model. But I also like the sound of the Telecaster. With the "Jay Special" I wanted to combine both worlds.
Facts and figures:
Model: Jay Special
Body shape: Double Cut, arched top
Body: European alder
Neck: Bavarian maple, glued in
Fingerboard: Bavarian plum
Scale length: 25.6“ (65 cm)
Frets: 24 Medium Vintage
Pickup: Q Pickups Tele in P90 housing with Coil Tap
Finish: Nitro lacquer silk matt "TV Yellow“
Weight: 5.5 lbs (2,5 kg)
So here are a few things together like the long Fender scale on a Gibson-like body and 24 frets on the maple neck. Everyone who has ever seen a Special knows that the fretboard ends at the neck-body transition. The Jay Special has four additional frets above the body, which are not as easy to reach as the other 20, but they are there when you need them.
Under false flag
The pickup comes from Q Pickups, a small boutique company in Croatia. It looks like a P-90, but it has the inner workings of a Telecaster bridge pickup. With a few additional turns, which can be called up with a miniswitch, it delivers two different sounds: on the one hand the well-known tele-twang, on the other hand more punch and growl. Together with a dynamically responding tube amp you can save yourself a channel switch.
Made from local wood
I built the Jay Special almost exclusively from local woods. The body is made of European alder. The maple tree, from which the neck is made, and the plum tree, which supplied the fingerboard wood, were in the neighbor's garden until a few years ago. Only the headstock is made of rosewood. The guitar is varnished with a thin nitro lacquer in sand beige aka "TV Yellow".
This guitar is light as a feather by the way! The combination of a small body and light wood let the balance settle at just 5.5 lbs. Due to the light Gotoh tuners it hangs nicely balanced on the strap.
Dirt on demand
Soundwise it comes resonant and with a strong acoustic component. It offers a medium sustain and a strong attack. The mids are well defined and the intended "twang" is also prominently represented in the sound. With this sound you can do a great job as a rhythm guitarist in a band, especially if you like to play with small eqipment. And with a little "click" you can give the sound a good deal of dirt.
And what about the basic idea? The Tele and the Les Paul Special? The Jay Special doesn't sound like one or the other. Of course it has the genes of both models, but it makes its very own sound: rich, crisp and straight forward. Just like old Les Paul Specials from the 1950s show their Tele genes - and vice versa the often hot-wound bridge pickups of early Teles are very much in the direction of the LP Special.