Vintage Modified Jaguar 2012 review by Squier

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  • Features: 8
  • Sound: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 5
  • Reliability & Durability: 7
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7 Good
  • Users' score: 9 (30 votes)
Squier: Vintage Modified Jaguar 2012

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.

6 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I used to work for Fender in Corona, CA in the Tune/Test Dept. I just bought a white one kept the bridge, just pushed it against the back and am blown away by all aspects! Rediculous amount of guitar for the money. I love mine, stays in tune after deep tremolo dips. I highly recommend these. Cort is a great builder.
    if you need a guitar on a budget, I would highly recommend this jag. The bridge tone is soft and versatile when you want to ramp it up a bit. I bought this guitar from Andertons and it definitely needs a set up ( high amount of fret buzz) I also replaced the strings to 11s due to short scale and also fitted a mustang bridge which keeps the strings in place a lot better ( they can pop out if you are playing heavy though). I don't think a guitar should be written off just because it needs the strings to be changed to a higher gauge. I would recommend it 100% but be prepared to change the strings and bridge for better reliability
    For anyone on a limited budget, you can get these incredible instruments for $140 base, as I did, by going to your local Craigslist and typing in "jaguar" or "jaguire" or "jagaur". A lot of folks misspell the name and so you can end up locating one typically being sold by an inexperienced player or by someone that needs to cash out quickly - usually a teen or college kid. The point is that you won't be competing with dealers to make the purchase if you go this route (as opposed to typing in "Fender Squire Jaguar"). I picked up one this way, and met the seller at a Best Buy parking lot to check it out. I could see that the seller didn't know how to set it up but other than that it was in excellent condition, surf green, and he had installed a tune-o-matic bridge (but he didn't use the correct posts so that installation was completely out of whack and useless). The neck was straight but dirty and in need of some honey, and other than a few smudges and minor pick guard wear, I knew it could be brought back to look like new. I ordered an adjustable mustang bridge from guitarpartsresource ($29) and then went to Sears Hardware and found a pair of nylon inserts/flanges ($0.32 ea.) that fit perfectly into the Jag's existing bridge holes and is THE match for the mustang bridge - no lateral movement! That eliminated the need for any additional/serious mods or more expensive bridges which are completely unnecessary IMO. Replacement DAddario 12s cost $14.79 from S-Ash but could have been less if I ordered from Amazon. I reworked the neck, adjusted the truss rod, set action, set intonation, and it plays and looks as I expected. I also opened up and checked the electronics. I resoldered one wire because it appeared a bit too loose for my tastes and added/extended another wire to the body to ensure that the system was grounded and which further reduced the stock PUP hum. Anyhow, the total cost was roughly $185. I have 14 other guitars, mostly American Made Fenders (with a '64 Ric and a M-75 Guild thrown in the mix), and I previously owned two Japanese Jags, and could easily have purchased a new Fender Jag but no one had them in stock when I was looking. Now that I have this Squire, I have to ask, why would/should I buy the MIM/MIA version, other than to simply say, I have a "Fender not Squire". The sound of this Squire, clean, via my Vox 15 and Fender Cyber is prototypical Jaguar. I hope others reading this post who follow my suggestions are as fortunate as I have been in this instance.
    I got one used a few days ago. Had a chance to rip through a Hiwatt G112 and Boss GT-10 today. From Shadows to Hendrix (with suitable wah and volume) amazing sounds. Very versatile, very well made. Feels, plays and looks great. I put 11-46's on it and very nice action, 9's were crap.
    Update: Got it checked out by a Fender tech recently and he thought it was great. Loved the neck, loved the feel of it. I took that as a big tick.
    I buy here in Mexico, a Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar, and although I made some adjustments, I am very happy with it, the settings were: Fit the arm to give the correct height with the body I fix electronics, because the volume of 1 to 9 was low and in 10 gave everything, but with a treble-bleed, which cost me 3 pesos, approximately 1/6 of a dollar, great stay I need to change the bridge by one of Mustang A lack of budget, it is the best option