Price paid: $ 249.99
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 8
I'm just playing through a little practice amp (an SP10) and some of the cheap Danelectro effect pedals, so nothing fancy, but it sounds great. It's nearly dead silent when it's plugged in - I've only played with single coil pickups before so it's actually a little weird for me. The bridge pickup sounds a little twangy to me, but the neck pickup sounds full and gorgeous.
Overall Impression — 8
I've been playing for less than a year, so I'm really a complete novice yet. This is my second guitar - my first is a Starcaster Strat (I.e. a Targetcaster). While I'm emotionally attached to my Starcaster, the Jagmaster is just in a completely different league. I'm still going to use my Starcaster, but the Jag is far and away a better guitar. At the $250 I paid for it, it's the perfect "serious instrument" for me. I work with some people Who play and they don't exactly give me crap for having a Starcaster, but it's more like a "dude, you need to get a good guitar" sort of thing. Now I understand what they meant - the Jagmaster is a much better quality instrument for not a whole lot more than a Starcaster. It's just a better playing experience. I can't speak to experienced guitar players, but if you're a noob like me this is a GREAT guitar - don't hesitate, go get one.
Reliability & Durability — 7
I'm nowhere near playing a gig (I probably never will), but it seems like a solid guitar I'll enjoy for years. I've read that the finish is pretty thin on these Jagmasters, and I'm inclined to agree. There's a small scuff on the body (looks like a chip in the finish), and I expect I'll add more. From what I can tell so far the hardware all seems solid, so I can Live with some cosmetic problems. If it starts to get ugly I'll probably just have it refinished.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The setup seems perfect - action feels great, no buzzing, pickup distance seems right, frets are nice and smooth. The body itself is made of at least 3 different pieces of wood. It's very well joined - I hadn't noticed it at first - and it doesn't really take anything away from the appearance, but the wood grains don't match along the joins. Otherwise, it's really flawless; the neck feels great, intonation seems spot on, tuning pegs are nice and tight.
Features — 8
This is a post-2007 Squier Jagmaster II with a 21 fret 24" neck, made in China. Pretty much matches the specs from the Squier website (except for the # of frets - they still list it as 22).