The building of custom instruments was a natural progression from the customising
side of the business, and by April 1978 a few models had been completed for
people Like Tony Iommi, Noddy Holder and Geezer Butler.
It was around this time that the Supernatural bass was in it’s prototype stages,
instigated by Richard Ford who was a local musician in a jazz funk band called Muscles.
At this stage there were no plans to specialise in basses, in fact it was just another
custom one off instrument. It was through Richards ability to make it sound so good
that gave me the inspiration needed to make further developments, lining the way
towards the birth of the Supernatural Bass.
It is now thirty years since I first thought of making or specialising in bass guitars,
although eighteen months earlier I was experimenting with bass pick-ups to satisfy
persistent musicians to help them achieve better sounds than what they had already,
cleaner and with more punch. Obviously this period was very important for the years
that were to come, for it was then that the formula for the pick-ups was discovered.
The bass design was drawn on the back of a roll of wallpaper in 1978. I was
unaware of any other bass looking like it, but my first customer Richard Ford knew
what he wanted and I went along with the ideas. When the instrument was finished
I was totally intrigued. I could not believe the piano like sound and sustain that it
delivered. This was it, I just had to make more! One stipulation I had was that if I
was going to make any more the design had to be an original one, including the
The headstock design I actually dreamt about years before, but not for bass! I saw
someone playing a guitar on stage but the view I had was from behind the player, so all
I could see was the neck and the head. This stayed in my mind until the next day, long
enough to record it in detail. It did remind me of the symbol of peace and reinforced
the use of it on the early guitar designs. It never occurred to me to use this design for
bass until I received the second order, then it just seemed to drop into place like it
belonged there. The name at this stage had not been chosen, in fact I was not looking
or thinking about a name, I was just pleased that someone else wanted one of my basses.
Only when I found myself surrounded by numerous types of timber that it came to me,
the Supernaturals, because it was my intention to make all the instruments featuring
the natural wood look.
The design of the pick-ups came by chance. Through using many different woods, there
were always lots of off cuts that would normally get thrown away, which I hated to do.
In a moment of inspiration I glued some small strips of Rosewood and Maple together
to see if they would be usable in any way. I knew that wood covered pick-ups was an
option because I had used solid Rosewood covers on earlier attempts. The idea of
laminated pick-up covers really appealed to me and because it was inert it would not affect
the sound. It also acted as a percussive platform in the event of it being hit accidentally by
the strings, which instead of inducing unwanted pops and bangs, created another dimension
to the sound.
The first few basses were not of an active nature. All they had was the standard two volume, two tone configuration with
pick-up selector. An active version was the next step, and was constructed on a piece of Vero board. Very crude looking
and very basic, but it did have the desired effect. It gave me the entire natural sound enhancement that I was looking for.
this was achieved through a three control system of bass, middle treble making it possible to obtain any sound for any
style of playing. The circuit has been modified a few times to improve the performance, without changing the quality of the
Jaydee Custom Guitars - The History!
John Diggins began his career in the guitar making business working for John Birch. John went on his own in 1977 and
Jaydee Custom Guitars was formed, primarily as a customising and repair service. The name ‘Jaydee’ came after
working with other guys called John, and in order to get the attention of the right person without everyone turning
around when called, initials were used hence ‘JD’
2008 Jaydee Custom Guitars