Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar Ė Surf Green
By Ernest H Slade - 20/12/2014

Introduction

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.

Arrival.

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.

Specifications

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 items.

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 horn.

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.

Setup

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.

Sounds

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 well.

Summary

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 for recording.

By E.H.Slade