Many players like the looks and feel of the Jazzmaster and Jaguar, but not their quirky components. That’s why so many have been modded with simplified circuitry, changed pickups and hot-rodded hardware.
In recent years Fender has offered appropriately altered official alternatives to the stock models, usually by incorporating decidedly Gibson-orientated features.
Fender feline: the redundant rhythm circuit has been eliminated, as has the triple slide-switch panel, now replaced by a three-way toggle selector on the left horn, while two dual-concentric controls – chrome top for volume, black skirt for tone – govern each pickup.
The two parts tend to bind and then turn together, but some careful adjustment soon cures this annoying problem.
The combination bridge/tailpiece is similar to the sort seen on many modern Danelectros. Strings anchor along the rear of an angle-sided baseplate; two front screws alter overall height, while a third secures the baseplate to the body and determines downward tilt.
Individual saddles offer independent intonation and action adjustments, but the securing screws are awkwardly sited directly under the strings. The Strat-style output jack looks a little out of place.
Acoustically the Jaguar combines lean resonance with a nasal tonality, but the twin humbuckers beef up the amplified side.
The neck pickup combines depth with clean-toned clarity, while the bridge packs plenty of punch to produce an upper mid-dominated slam that begs for equal helpings of gain-driven grit. The centre selection is a butch blend of both humbuckers and the rotary controls further expand sonic potential.
Among the latest of these mixed marriages are additions to Squier’s Vintage Modified Series. This already includes the Jagmaster, and the latter’s chop-shop approach has been adopted for two new arrivals – the first Squiers to sport Jaguar and Jazzmaster logos.
The Jaguar enjoys the same operational benefits and also has humbucker-powered muscle that makes it much more suited to modern playing styles.
It's a versatile six-string that punch well above it's price weight; build, finish quality and playability are all very impressive, while criticisms are comparatively minor.
It's an attractive and very affordable proposition to any player who fancies an offset-waisted Fender.