Modern Player Marauder review by Fender

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  • Sound: 6
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 7
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 7.4 Good
  • Users' score: 7.4 (10 votes)
Fender: Modern Player Marauder

Price paid: £ 340

Purchased from: Local Dealer

Sound — 6
It's a mixed bag here, I should say up front despite playing for years I'm no virtuoso and I don't really play any one particular style of music, but I do like my high gain sounds. I use a lot of effects normally, but have put this through its paces with its natural voicing. You get a lot of different sounds out of this, from something approaching a classic humbucker sound (closer to a mini really) Strat middle pickup sound and the HOT Jazzmaster neck. The problem for me is a) the electronics, low quality pots that only do on or off, with little in between b) the triplebucker.. It's to my ears overly bright and cutting, but without the character of a tele bridge. There is the main problem, the primary gimmick of this guitar aside from the unique shape is that pickup and I just don't think it's all that good at anything in particular. I did swap out the pots, installed a treble bleed and a higher quality, higher rated cap and it did really improve things. On the other hand, the Jazzmaster pickup is brilliant, really good unit that delivers a thick meaty sound without the harshness of the bridge pickup. The other problem (for most people) would be the bridge - it's very low quality and is a sustain sucking monster. Points for the number of sounds on tap (more if you changed the switching and added a toggle for the neck p/up) minus points for the quality of many of them.

Overall Impression — 7
I've been playing on and off for years as a hobbyist, but do have a passion for guitars and built a couple. This is one of several guitars I own, the others being a custom Telemaster, SG Classic and Dean Z Explorer, although to be honest I don't think I'll be keeping it long. It's hard to say why but I don't gel with this guitar compared to the others. It's good for the money, unique looking (it looks better in person and on a strap than in pictures). I think if you were willing to take the resale value hit it's a good base for a project - a decent standard humbucker and better hardware would make it a cool axe. It plays well, covers most style of music well enough, but doesn't excel in any one area. Perhaps I'm asking too much from a guitar that doesn't cost the world, but if this were branded a Squier (which it is... really) then it'd sell for 100 less. Lost or stolen? I'd be cheesed off, but I'd go for something else as a replacement.

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Reliability & Durability — 8
No reason to believe this guitar would be unreliable in the slightest, although if I were gigging it I'd definitely stick some locking tuners on and swap the bridge. The paint job is thick and isn't going to damage easily. It's a well balanced guitar unlikely to neck dive and is light weight so won't bust your shoulders. Hardware is generally robust, strap buttons fine. Guitar comes without a bag or case, so you'd need to sort that out. Wouldn't gig without a backup, but wouldn't expect problems from this one, or any half decent modern guitar to be honest.

Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The made in China thing will put people off, but build quality is actually very high, where it's lacking is actually in component quality. The finish is great, lake placid blue is gorgeous and changes depending on the light you view it in, there were no loose screws or bad connections/dodgy pots - even if they are low quality mini pots. It came with a high action to hide the fact that the bridge is *stupid* low quality stamped unit with grub screws that when you drop the action dig into your hands. It's the first thing I replaced for a proper Wilkinson trem with cast steel saddles and heavy duty sustain block. My Marauder was very well put together, frets well dressed, nut is well cut, everything very tidy. One thing I've noticed on this model more than other guitars I've owned is I find it easy to "ping" the high and low E strings off the fretboard edge when hammering on, partly my bad technique partly slightly off spacing? Perhaps not a problem for everyone. The machineheads aren't great and one came a bit loose but was easily fixed. Build quality would be an 8 or 9, parts quality (even considering the price) is a 5 or 6.

Features — 9
2011 Fender Modern Player Marauder. Made in China, probably in the same factory as the better quality Squier models. Rosewood board, modern fairly thin fast neck, funny looking low quality nut, modern not too high, not too fat frets. No name split post tuners. Wacky wood nobody has heard of body in a kind of squashed Mustang shape with pearloid plate and Jazz Bass-ish control plate with HOT Jazzmaster neck pickup and Fender exclusive triplebucker (effectively three small blade single coils) five way switching, volume, tone. Vintage style trem with screw in arm. A good range of features, it's nothing if not versatile.

12 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Great guitars, I tried one out about a year ago, plays fast and the bridge tone is awesome. I didn't buy it in the end because a maple-neck Strat captured my heart, but would definitely recommend.
    I've had one for about a year, as a bass player who wanted an electric to screw around on, really enjoy playing it, for the price it's pretty awesome, and my guitarist really liked it aswell, looks lush in the blue
    do not beleive quatumdrive ,I have read hundreds of user reviews,he probably just made this story up as he is jalous not owning one
    I agree,I own one of these,and it's a KILLER axe, in fact, it's the guitar I kept,and sold my B.C.Rich Mockingbird.
    I own one too,and they're one of the best,5 USABLE tone settings,oh,yeah quantrumdrive is right,that's why you see SO MANY on eBay,for reality you can hardly find any on reverb,even.
    Does anyone know which genuine fender part or which string/screw spacing a non-fender part would need to swap out the tremolo?
    Fender seems to have "run away" from this guitar. You can hardly find anything about them on their website. I recently purchased one new, and couldn't even find the model on Fender's website to enter the serial number for warranty. With that said, I really like this guitar. I normally gravitate to the blues sounds, but this guitar was born to rock! Three pickups (or four with the "mother-bucker") gives it a great tonal variety. Koto wood is light, but seems to be a good "tone-wood". This isn't my favorite guitar, but I think it's a Good guitar!
    Bought a black one just three weeks ago, brand new for €370 including a nice gigbag. A bit of a poor mans Jazzmaster. Very well build, nice Jazzmaster sound from the neck pickup. Minus for the start-style bridge (rather had a hard tail or a Jazzmaster floating tremolo) and for not fitting the witch hat knobs. I'm glad Fender dumped the Marauder cause now I own a pretty excusive guitar.
    I do not own one but from the vid it sounds very clear and nice. I agree with replacing the hardware for an upgrade towards a cool instrument. Would like to see and hear one with a floyd rose installed.
    I've got one of these. The neck set was so bad I considered sending it back to Muscian's Friend. But instead I took it off and exchanged a maple fretboard Harmony neck that looks cooler and only needed one credit card thickness shim at the front of the bodies neck socket. DON'T test the wood by pressing a thumbnail into it because it's VERY soft and that mark is there forever buddy. When you switch to position 2 you'r playing the front and middle "Triplebucker" coils with the back one being naturally tapped off. The tone pot is pretty much an on or 7 and then just flat mud. Same for the volumn pot. For me the Jazzmaster neck pup is the highlight. Beware that this guitar is impossible to stand up because of its shape, so get a stand rather than prop it up in a soft chair and put pressure on the neck. All in all I give this axe a C- because it was a $399 item with a very bad neck set that shouldn't even happen on China Squires. And be sure to take the thick clear shipping sticker off the neck pup or you'll be freaking out about muted electronics.