Price paid: € 320
Purchased from: Bax
Features — 8
2013 Indonesia made VM Jaguar Sunburst. Basswood body, maple neck. 2 "Duncan Designed" Single coils as stock. As the name indicates: it's an almost complete replica of the '60s Fender Jaguar. As I can see it, the "modified" indicates the 9.5 radius neck (originals had 7.25) and truss rod adjustment in the headstock. For me: this last item is an important mod since I certainly had to adjust the neck (see later). The pups seem to be "overwound" compared to Standard Jaguar or Strat pus. I like the sound of them and not planning to replace them any time soon.
Sound — 8
I mostly play garage, alternative, grunge but also some blues and classic rock. As you can expect with a vintage(isch) Jaguar: this guitar and it's circuitry make it a very versatile guitar soundwise. From sharp and clear in the lead circuit to dark an muddy in the rhythm circuit. Not very suited for fat high gain settings, but this can be expected from single coil pups. I'm not complaining here. With the standard setup of the bridge and neck, I got some rattles but got rid of them when I adjusted them.
Action, Fit & Finish — 5
This is where the fun kinda ends: as delivered the neck on my jaguar needed adjustment badly (almost half a turn on the truss rod!), the bridge setup wasn't as it should be on and the action was very high, even for me as I don't like super low actions. I'm not complaining about the bridge design as this is a trademark of the jaguar and this is a genuine vintage bridge design. All the above items can rapidly be fixed with the supplied hex wrenches, some locktite and basic setup knowledge though.
What was worse is the cheap plastic nut that is way to high (I'm certainly going to replace it in the future) and the matching of the wood grain of the body planks. This last thing isn't an item if you choose the SG, CAR of OW versions, but on my guitar the complete mismatch of the bottom 2 pieces of wood in the body kinda ruins the sunburst look. Now I know you can't expect this to be perfect on a 300isch $ guitar, but on my guitar the bottom piece of wood is many shades darker as the piece above it, resulting in a very distinct line and ruining the SB look. In comparison: My SQ Jagmaster SB has an almost perfect grain match. The body seems to be made out of 5 pieces of wood, where the Jagmaster has only 3 (and these are perfectly matched and alder, not basswood). The finish of the neck is good and it's very playable.
One last thing: What was Squier thinking in putting. 09 string sets on a jaguar with a vintage bridge! Replaced them with. 11 after 3 minutes of playing. So when you order this guitar, order a heavier string set with it.
Reliability & Durability — 7
Don't have it long enough to judge but I bought it as a "take anywhere guitar without breaking my heart when I damage or dent it." Seems solid enough for normal use. The tuners look a bit on the cheap side but they'll to the job I guess. Neck looks as solid as any other Fender or Squier guitar. I haven't got any experience with basswood bodies (the other guitars I have/had all had Alder bodies) So I'll have to wait and see if basswood is usually more prone to denting. The bridge certainly will be a lot more solid after applying some locktite on all the screws.
Overall Impression — 7
My other guitars are a Fender KC Signature Mustang and a modified SQ Jagmaster played through Fender Mustang and Marsghall DSL amps. As stated: bought the VM Jaguar as a guitar I could take everywhere without breaking my heart if I dent or damage it during transport or use. It requires some setting and adjustment and since this guitar is mostly intended for beginning players on a tight budget, this could be a problem for them. But bang for the buck: this is a nice guitar (hey: it's 300$).
The thing that bums me the most is the mismatch of the body grain because this isn't something I can fix, but the low price certainly makes up for this. I mostly play garage, alternative, grunge but also some blues and classic rock. This jaguar can play most but I wouldn't recommend it for high gain riffs, as you can expect from a single coil only guitar. Although this is a nice guitar considering the price, I would certainly take a look at the Squire Jagmaster, which I consider the best guitar Squire make. For only about 70$ more, fit & finish are of a considerably higher standard.