[show_hide title="Click for Technical Specs"]Current price (if available): $299.99
Built in: Indonesia
Scale length: 648mm (25.5”)
Nut width: 42mm (1.65”)
Neck: Maple, bolt-on
Frets: 21 medium
Pickups: 2 x Duncan Designed JM-101 single-coils
Controls: 2 x dual-concentric volume & tone, 3-way selector
Hardware: Six-saddle bridge/tailpiece, vintage Kluson-style tuners [/show_hide]
Like the Vintage Modified Jaguar HH, this appropriately revised Squier Vintage Modified Jazzmaster still has many features in common with its close Fender cousin. Be sure to check out the review of the Squier Jaguar here as I make several comparisons to the model.
Body & Neck:
The Jazzmaster was the first six-string guitar from Fender to feature Leo & Co’s innovative, offset-waisted styling and again it’s naturally retained here, as are the body’s quite meaningful measurements. This Squier Vintage Modified Jazzmaster employs alder rather than basswood construction and the excellently applied butterscotch blonde finish is only slightly see-through, effectively obscuring any joins beneath. Despite the different body timber, overall weight is equal to that of the Jaguar HH, while the same contouring maintains similar creature comforts.
True to tradition, the headstock is another common factor, but here it tops a high-gloss maple neck that incorporates an equally glossy integral fingerboard, which is an obvious departure from the separate rosewood equivalent employed on the Jaguar HH and standard Jazzmaster. In contrast, the Squier Vintage Modified Jazzmaster stays faithful to Fender’s past via 21 frets and regulation 648mm (25.5”) scale length. As on the Jaguar HH, the former are uniformly smooth and the latter partners proportions that offer an equally familiar handful.
While pickup choice is one of the Vintage Modified Jaguar HH’s major changes, its Squier stablemate sticks with the standard Jazzmaster line-up of twin, large-size single-coils. Both are Duncan Designed JM-101s, with one reverse wound/reverse polarity to its partner, ensuring humbucking operation when the two are on together.
In typical Jazzmaster manner, the pickups are direct-mounted to the body and sit within the scratchplate. Apart from a slightly stunted upper horn, the latter is similarly shaped to that on the Jaguar HH and also carries all the controls. These match the Jag’s modified layout, with the redundant rhythm circuit again being conspicuous by its absence, while the stacked knobs require some similar tweaking to stop them turning together. The Strat-style jackplate is another hardware component that’s common to both Vintage Modified models, likewise the Danelectro-derived bridge/tailpiece.
Acoustic response is actually toppier than that of the Jaguar HH, no doubt mainly due to the all-maple neck, but when amplified this Squier has the inherent sweetness and warm-toned twang typically supplied by Jazzmaster single-coils. Under clean conditions, this deep and hollow character is indelibly associated with surf and retro-instrumental music, either coming courtesy of the neck pickup or when both are combined. Used in isolation, the bridge position has a harder edge that’s better for more modern and aggressive playing styles, especially when dirtied up via some amp-induced overdrive, with the end results ranging from rhythm friendly, bluesy break-up to a denser raunchy attack ideal for in-yer-face solo work.
In comparison with the Jaguar HH, the Squier Vintage Modified Jazzmaster adopts a less extreme approach by retaining original-style single-coils, but it does incorporate the same performance-related revisions, such as the simplified circuitry and less-complex components, while adding the unusual option of an all-maple neck and fingerboard.
The Fender Squier Vintage Modified Jazzmaster represents a successful re-think of the Fender original, offering a viable and cheap guitar alternative, intended to suit a broader selection of playing styles. Factor in excellent build and finish standard, plus performance abilities to match, and the end result should prove very attractive to any guitarist who fancies something different to Fender’s more obvious six-strings. Also rating this one 4/5 stars.
Another modified reissue I have reviewed is the Danelectro DC 59, which is a slightly more expensive guitar but may be more appealing if the Jazzmaster doesn’t seem the right match for you.