Vintage Modified Jaguar Ė Surf Green
By Ernest H Slade - 20/12/2014
If you check around on many of the online
guitar forums available, you will find that a lot of players
have been constantly asking for affordable offset guitars
such as the Fender Jaguar and Jazzmaster.
Fender originally obliged with the midrange
Classic Player models, but now have gone a step further and
have made available, the offset duo through their Squier
Vintage Modified Series.
The Vintage Modified series has been
around for some time and offers Fenderís classic designs with
updated or modified features, to make these instruments better
to play in modern times. With this in mind we take a look
at the Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar that we
are reviewing today.
Firstly I would think it important to
mention that I own a í62 RI Jaguar for around
ten years now so that would be the yardstick against which
other Jaguars would be measured.
Why did I then purchase a Squier Jaguar?
Well GAS comes to mind (Guitar Acquisition Syndrome!),
also the fact itís a very attractive guitar with very cool
retro surf green finish. Additionally I would like to try
out several modifications on it before taking them on to my
US made guitars.
The Jaguar arrived well packed in the
usual Squier box with internal headstock support and a protective
foam cover. Being an entry level guitar no case or bag is
provided. In fact the only case candy (or non case candy in
this instance!) is the Allen wrenches for the truss rod and
string saddles. A quick inspection showed no major finish
flaws. †However one of the roller controls was getting stuck.
A quick look under the hood revealed the tone potentiometer
was bent and therefore the roller knob would get stuck on
the metal pickguard. The online supplier was contacted who
offered to repair the instrument or send over a new part which
I accepted to avoid 2 or 3 weeks without the instrument.
Looking under the hood it is quite obvious
that some shortcuts have been taken to keep this instrument
within budget. The pilot holes for the pickguard have been
omitted chipping the finish. Same goes for the strap pins
in fact there is a fair bit of paint missing there. Also the
pickguard is quite roughly cut around the lower control plate.
Then again at this price point you are
not expecting all the cosmetics especially internal ones,
to be perfect. On the plus side the cavities are shielded
against noise interference with black paint.
Moving on the Jaguarís body is made
from basswood finished in a gloss Polyurethane Surf
Green. The C shape neck is maple with a vintage varnish
finish topped off with a modern 9.5 inch radius rosewood fretboard.
Scale Length as we know for a Jaguar is 24 inches and itís
also important to mention that the 22 frets are a contemporary
medium jumbo size as opposed to the original narrow vintage
In the electronics department good quality
alpha potentiometers are used and the wiring is correct and
tidy. The pickups are Duncan design items with the typical
serrated metal keepers used on Jaguars
The controls are setup in the typical
way for a Jaguar with the rhythm/lead controls on the upper
bout and pickup selectors and straggle switch on the lower
Again to cut down on costs the infamous
foam mute has been omitted (I donít think anyone uses it anyway)
and the tremolo lock function is not available.
This is the first guitar that I have
bought for a long time that was unplayable out of the
box. The 0.009 gauge strings simply donít have enough tension
to keep them firmly onto the bridge and they feel very loose.
I removed these to install some Rotosound 0.010 gauge strings
and while I had them off I also applied lemon oil to the fingerboard
which seemed very dry. I also locked the intonation screws
on the bridge with some clear nail varnish to stop them rattling
(a common DIY solution). Once this was done the guitar played
pretty well but I may try 0.011 gauge strings in the future
to see what they feel like and if they improve the situation.
It sounds, well like a Jaguar! But with
a bit of a modern twist I would say compared to my USA 62
RI. The rear pickup twangs and bites especially when the straggle
switch is engaged, both pickups give a useful rhythm sound
and the lead circuit gives a round mellow sound which can
also by overdriven nicely in a vintage kind of way as the
pickups are not particularly hot. After the modifications
mentioned it also stays in tune quite and intonates quite
Not a bad guitar, however a fair amount
of work is needed to get it to a reliable working level for
live performance. I would consider this instrument as a backup
guitar or just to add different sounds to your tonal palette