Price paid: $ 399
Purchased from: Sweetwater.com
Features — 8
The Modern Player Jaguar Bass is a simple, no frills, entry-level Fender but with the quality expected from a higher end instrument. This is done by keeping the features fairly simple. It comes loaded with a basic passive P/J pickup configuration, separate volume controls and a master tone. The neck is a 34" scale, (what appears to be) one-piece maple, Jazz Bass-shaped number with '70s style block inlays and comfortably rolled edges. The hardware is all vintage style, with open geared tuners and brass saddles, and features a Jazz Bass style control plate. It comes in any color you want, as long as that color is black.
No case or bag is included, which is an oddity for Fender, but seems par for the course for the Modern Player series. It comes with two hex keys/Allen wrenches, for maintaining the bridge and truss rod. Features-wise, it's an eight, losing points for basic controls (separate tone controls would be nice), and only coming in one color.
Sound — 9
The MP Jaguar's two pickups cover a whole range of sounds, from chunky P-bass bass thump to J-bass snap. Typical for P/J configurations, it has some hum from settings that utilize the Jazz Pickup. My favorite sounds are a nice distorted growl from turning up the tone and turning up the bridge pup and setting the the neck volume to 0, running through the Drive Channel on my Fender Rumble 100 V3, and a punchy P-bass sound from running the neck pickup by itself with the tone at about three-fourths up, with the bright and vintage settings on the amp engaged. Running both pickups maxed produces scooped, modern tones. I don't slap, so I can't really comment on that.
For the sound rating, I'd have to give it a nine. There's nothing wrong with it's sounds, but I really don't think it's perfect. It's a working bass tone, you'll sound perfectly fine for any application, but it's not the holy grail of bass sounds.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
This bass guitar, out of the box, was literally in tune. It received a full set-up and inspection from the retailer (Sweetwater Sound). I'm not sure if it's the manufacturer or the retailer, but I was simply blown away by the set-up and fit.
One of the things of note is the neck. It's a slim Jazz Bass neck, with a vintage tint. It is fairly glossy and the finish is thick. This may be a turn off for some players, but I like it because it makes the bass feel more like a professional level instrument instead of like the comparable Squier Jaguar Basses which have fairly thin neck finishes.
Reliability & Durability — 9
The MP Jaguar Bass is built to last. It's dependable, heavy (mine clocks in a 9lbs, 7oz) with a thick skin and heavy duty hardware, everything one would expect from a Fender. The body finish is comparable to a Standard Series Fender (or really, any poly finished Fender made since the '90s), but it will accumulate dents and damage if mishandled often.
The biggest drawback is the knobs and potentiometers. The sweep of the pots is very abrupt, causing a two-or-ten situation (where the tone/volume is seemingly either at two or ten). The knobs are the typical cheap Jazz Bass single knobs, which I find aren't as nice (or reliable) as other options in the the Fender catalog.
Overall Impression — 9
There is one quality that this bass has that trumps a lot of other offerings at it's price point: Aesthetics. This bass simply looks amazing. It is sleek and stylish with strong lines and solid colors. It looks both vintage and modern at the same time, without being obviously antiquated or overly aggressive. It just looks good.
My overall impression with the Modern Player Jaguar Bass is that it seems a lot better than the sticker price indicates, and is qualitatively competitive with Mexican Fenders. Despite being marketed as a entry level Fender, the Modern Player Jag is a instrument that fits in more hands than just beginners.