Jaguar review by Fender

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.6 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.2 (168 votes)
Fender: Jaguar

Price paid: C$ 900

Purchased from: Music Store

Sound — 10
I play blues, RnB, Surf, Classic Rock, indie music and some heavy metal. I use my Jag for all of it. I generally run through a Vintage 63 Bassman Amp with a distortion box. Very Loud! For smaller gigs and for PA, I run through a Fender Champ, which has a fine built in gain and reverb. The tone and power is phenomenal, especially through the big Bassman, and you can really hear the surf sound pouring out of it. I tend to run on the lead channel with medium volume for normal playing and then switch to the rhythm side for solos (the preset volume rollers are great). This gives the solo a rawer tone and I love the way it roars. I seldom use the treble switch. The guitar is only noisy through the Bassman as the amp isn't grounded through a three prong plug (there is a polarity switch on the back which solves any noise issues). The guitar can go from very twangy to throaty mellow in a heartbeat. I can wail on a solo and pulse out rhythm licks. I took the decorative plate off the bridge and use a lot of palm mute rather then the built in mute bar (which isn't much use and gets glommy).

Overall Impression — 9
The Jag is a wonderful instrument and having played other guitars, I always go back to the Jag. I can play all the music I like on it and feel confident and comfortable with it. I have been playing for 35 years and have owned this guitar for almost 32. If it were stolen, I would get another Jag after weeks of weeping and grief. I love the way it looks, the way it plays, the way it feels, and I am so comfortable with this instrument. My favorite feature is the two sides, each with separate volume/tone controls. I've come to terms with the bridge and find medium/heavy strings work best. I wish I had the original case-the only thing it is missing. If you want a great Vintage Fender and can't lay out the cash for a Strat or a Tele, consider the Jaguar. Kurt Cobain did.

Reliability & Durability — 10
I play this guitar regularly. It is not a museum piece, but a working guitar. The hardware and knobs and tuners are all excellent. I rarely find it goes out of tune. The strap buttons are fine and it has never slipped off them. I definitely depend on this guitar and it is a trooper. When I gig, this is my instrument from the first song to the last one of the set. As mentioned the finish is very resilient and doesn't even look faded. Just some wear and tear marks.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The guitar is Vintage and I have reset the action myself a few times. As said above, it is a delicate process and needs some knowledge and gumption. Once set up, it plays gloriously. The original single coil pick ups remain, and are pretty hot. This guitar was built in the Fender factory by hand in 1965, and has excellent fit and finish. There are a some understandable nicks and scratches (fell over a chair in one solo but kept on playing) I've banged it into walls and corners, all with no real damage. The original paint is in superb condition for a 46 year old instrument.

Features — 9
I bought my Jag in the early 80's and it was my second guitar. It is a 1965 Vintage model, neck stamped Mar '65. It has the 22 frets, typical of the shorter scale Jags and Mustangs. It has the Candy Apple custom colour with matching headstock, alder body and rosewood finished neck. The guitar was all original, and I have never replaced the pots or pickups. The Jags have the twin circuit, so that the rhythm side is controlled by two rolling dials for Vol/Tone. The lead side has an on/off switch for each pickup, and a tone switch for the treble. Volume and Tone knobs for lead side as well. Has the original Kluson tuner knobs and bridge. The Jag was the top of the line Fender of the day, and the fit and quality of the components is amazing. I never wanted another guitar. I have played this guitar regularly for 30 years, and it has never let me down. Many don't like or understand the switches and what they do. Once you try them out, you get the hang of it pretty fast, and the sounds it can make are great. A very versatile instrument. For many the weakest part of the Jag is the bridge and the tremolo arm arrangement. Since I don't use a lot of whammy bar in my playing, that issue is fine. As for the bridge, it does need to be set up right or it will buzz and /or strings can hop out of the grooves. When it is set up, even under heavy playing I don't have any issues. Setting up the bridge is done by adjusting the height screws found underneath it. Be patient, and try it again and again if need be to get the right balance of bridge height and string tension holding the bridge in place. Too light and it buzzes and the strings can hop out; too heavy and the action drops too low for sustain and tonality. Once it's set up, wow, it's all performance.

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