Vintage Modified Jazzmaster review by Squier

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.4 (27 votes)
Squier: Vintage Modified Jazzmaster

Price paid: $ 300

Purchased from: Zzounds

Sound — 9
Love the sound on this thing. As mentioned above the pickups scream when pushed and hell they even work great with heavy distortion. I can pump out heavy metallica riffs, or pull it back to some punchy blues. This guitar is really versatile and that's what I love about it. It's really punchy because of the maple fretboard, and just has a that great bright and warm single pickup tone with surprisingly less hum than I would have imagined. It seriously has less hum than my Tele. I play through a Fender Blues Deluxe at the moment, but I plan on getting a something more in the lines of a Blues Junior so I can get the tubes to scream more without the loudness of my current amp.

Overall Impression — 9
I play music in the vein of classic rock, or blues. I do make my own music and don't just cover other's stuff so for me and what I play, this guitar is a perfect match. It sounds awesome, and once again for the price brand new you can't beat it. It easily beats out any mim Fender I've gone through. Besides what's listed above I have my own homebuilt Strat, with Dragonfire Pickups in it and they rock, also a dinky Squier Strat I upgraded some electronics on. I have a slew of Pedals but my number one is the Visual Sound Jekyll and Hyde v1. It hits all kinds of awesome tones, and to have Distortion and Overdrive in one pedal is freakin awesome. If this guitar were stolen, I'd probably have a conniption fit, smash some of my other stuff, and be out of equipment for awhile since I'm poor. Just being honest! (also why I love the afforability on this thing!)

Reliability & Durability — 9
I honestly do believe this could be a great guitar for playing live. I'm currently my own one man setup as I live in a small town that doesn't have a lot of musicians. I've played pretty rough on it while having it, and it stays in tune through everything. If I start playing live I'll probably get new strap buttons as I've never been a fan of standard ones and like locking ones. They seem great to me, but I don't use them as I generally sit when I play at home. I would say no matter what, it's always a good idea to have multiple guitars when playing live. Even with this guitar being extremely versatile, it won't mystically sound like humbuckers, and if a string busts and your left all alone with one guitar, you're pretty much screwed. Unless you're Bryan May from Queen of course. Youtube it.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The action was set up a little high for my tastes at first, but literally in minutes I was in business. The bridge though it is strange is great for intonation. It makes everything more simple which would probably be great for beginners, and just smooths things out a little for me. I did lower the pickups a bit as they were a bit too close when I adjusted the bridge. Sure it would have been fine with the factory setup, but I love my low action.

Features — 9
So about a month ago I picked up one of these Vintage Modified Jazzmaster's from Zzounds (because a payment plan seemed appealing). I would like to say this is an astoundingly sweet guitar for the price, and I only went in on it because I looked around and saw everyone saying the same thing. I'll go over all the things that make this baby actually one of my favorite guitars I've owned. I've been playing for over 5 years and have had my share of Fenders, Squiers, Epiphones, and many others. I'm a big fan of Fender though as I found the tone I love in their guitars. This guitar was made in 2011, as it's a brand new line that came out in January. It has the Fender standard of 21 frets, and is also a standard scale neck. I've read that the Jaguars in this line have a shorter scale. The neck is maple with a fretboard to match. The body is made of alder which I think has a great tone, and an easy to handle weight. It has a belly cutout for people like me who sit and play at home alot. I got it in the Butterscotch Blonde finish which I love. The setup on this is not the same as the original jazzmaster's hence the name so I'll go into the differences. First of all Jazzmaster's are mainly known to have rosewood fretboards because they have a more subtle and less punchy tone. So this guitar may not be the best for Jazz per se but it kicks butt on classic rock and blues. Pickups are Duncan Designed flat wound single coils (not p90s), and they surprisingly don't actually get too much hum, which I've heard is a problem with this style. I have a Fender Lite Ash Telecaster with Seymour Duncan Alnico II Pro pickups in it, and the tone is very similar. I actually like the gain I get from the Jazzmaster more, it screams! This guitar has a three way switch for your basic selection on the pickups. We all know how it goes. Neck, Neck/Bridge, Bridge. Pretty simple stuff here. The input jack on this guitar is in the same style as a Stratocaster. I know the Jazzmaster purists hate this, but I think it's a great design choice. The bridge is an interesting stop tail system that is held on by 3 screws (another purist dislike for lack of tremolo). It's different, but it's not to say I dislike it. It works great and doesn't stop sustain or anything. In fact the sustain is great! It's curved to the C shape of the neck, so intonation is easy. Tuners are classic styled, with the boxed backs and open tops. Not my favorite tuners but it could be worse and it looks nice. They works pretty sharply, and stay in tune pretty well. Only had it fall twice in the past month. The knobs are concentrically stacked, which means there is two areas for the knobs that have a stubby tone knob, with the volume one stacked on top of it. I think it's a neat concept, but I must admit when I first got it, I hated the execution on this. There was a little metal piece placed under the tone (lower) knob on each stack that has a nub that basically clicks as you turn it. I personally don't need clicks to know if my tone is where I like it so I took it apart and pulled those off. Also the knobs were rubbing against eachother so I separated them a bit from each other when removing this part. They are held on with an allen wrench tightened system. All in all it works to my liking now!

13 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I played it at a store and I actually liked it BETTER than the Blacktop one. Squier can really pump out some decent sh#t when they want to.
    I have one! Played it in a shop, and didn't want to be without it for the months I saved up for it (a "cheap" guitar it may be, but I'm not rich!) I agree with everything this review says, I'd also like to add that the lack of ANY fret buzz is so awesome! I've never played a guitar that plays and sounds this good!
    You all need to calm the **** down. Just because you got this thing at a bargain price doesn't mean its up to par with an actual fender.... and changing pickups isn't going to transform a $200 guitar into a $1,000 guitar. I have two squiers, and while i enjoy every second i play them, i still await for the day i can finally afford an american standard tele...
    I have one and it freaking blows my mind every time I play it, definitely worth the money as far as I am concerned.
    They are very sweet guitars! I actually just sold my Blues Deluxe, and picked up a Fender Humboldt Hotrod which is a Blues Junior with an Eminence Cannabis Rex hemp speaker cone, and different tubes than the original stock. The guitar plays solid on cleans with this as the Blues Deluxe is hard to dial in good cleans! Oh and I forgot to mention these beauties are "Crafted in Indonesia", instead of standard Squier chinese fair. Thanks for reading guys, and if you like the review I'd appreciate you guys letting the UG team know it was good by clicking the options at the bottom. I'll probably have a review on the Humboldt Hot Rod out in a couple of weeks after I get some good play time down on it!
    Well I've got one on the way from with no tax/free postage for $274. I'm on the "poor" bandwagon too and nailed it with the Bill Me Later feature of Pay-Pal and will have 6 months to pay for the mofo. Let me state that got screwed by Bill Me Later when I wasn't allowed to buy the Springsteen lookalike Mexican Telecaster for $589 or whatever, so that's how I came to this guitar. I'm only goin' for this because of its maple fingerboard baby, as I really believe in them. Could be that it was only the rock hard Japan maple fingerboards of the 70s/early 80s that were the great ones, but all I know is that I'm through with rosewood and its habit of popping its frets up unless it lives in an extreme climate control electronics clean room. I'll buy another neck for my nephew's wrecked Starcaster someday, but as for this guitar I'll be able to get a new neck in it also when needed if it's like most Fender licensed products and have the near identical bolt on routed out neck pocket- THAT'S the huge + Factor when going with Fender in all its personifications be it the Bakersfield goldmine relics to the China 7 out of 10 are crap models. Another reason I went with this Jazzmaster is that there's reportedly been some nice work comin' out of the Indonesian factories. I'm guessin' that the workers are slightly less threatened and belittled and it adds up to a better product. Whereas in China workers are always afraid they'll be the next to be decapitated in the break room for the crime of takin' too long to file a fret, lol. Well I'll shut my arse and sit tight for the dang guitar to arrive. I know I'll have to leave it in the box for two days after it arrives to let it gradually come out of literal bone chilling UPS delivery shock. Man I hope I don't get a lemon!
    Okay I got this mofo from for 274.95 with no tax and free shipping. I will say that the thing came in 49 hours! But that's just because UPS was out in full force in the Christmas season. I got the "Butterscotch" version and my gawd it's shiny! If you take a picture of this guitar with the flash on you'll just get a blur of the flash, but maybe the pick-guard will show up 'cause it's not so shiny. The black pick-guard that came on mine looks to be shop worn "relic" like it was tossed around. And I wish that was my only complaint. Get ready for the most shiny stained and poly coated fretboard you've ever witnessed. They are all this way, and it must be because the wood HAS to be locked in like that or else it would go pretzel I guess. They obviously did the final buffing and got a lot of burned off poly clear finish on the frets and it's a gunky mess. The plus is that those frets seem reasonably finished and their tangs hammered all the way down, and They'll probably stay down being that they were obviously clear coat poly coated like crazy. It's really a one piece neck with the truss rod placed in from the back and covered with a skunk tail. But it's a tad thick of a neck too. This beast weight 8.2 pounds! The bridge system is total crap! You'll want to change that mofo out. And the pickup selector switch on mine is like a little rickety beater car gear shifter. It's consistent and works, but my gawd it's all over the place. Maybe the neck-set is way off on mine, but I'm tellin ya that the G and D saddles put those strings WAY UP THERE and make this axe not suitable for barr chords, and that's with the action screwed down low. And perhaps the break angle on the strings is meant to be this shallow on the Jazzmaster, I don't know? But, for gawd sake don't mess with that lone screw that adjusts it, 'cause it's TIGHT and might break I'm a tellin' ya'll. I still like this thing, and I guess it was really too much for Squire of Indonesia to handle to get this thing right. I'll get her lined out shortly. And bty this baby WILL NOT fit in any quasi Strat case, not way, it's a beast.
    Got one. Love it. Great sounding guitar that seems to have sparkle in the sound even before you plug it in. Feels solid and reliable with tuning staying in well. Definite room for improvement in the bridge department as it looks home-made although I am happy not to have a trem. Mine will need the action lowering a bit too as it seems to be set very high although supposedly set up by the shop where I bought it. Here is hoping I don't find out the frets buzz when I drop the action! Wouldn't swap it for anything else right now.
    American fenders are cool and all that, but this one is a keeper. All you guys having trouble with the bridge etc... have your grandaddy let you borrow some tools (maybe show you how to use 'em) and fix the problem. The beauty of this little wonder is that you can do these kind of things to it, and if you mess up, meh, who cares? Better than dingin' that 2k paint job on the custom shop stratty..... but I digress. This guitar has some KILLER tone, the pups, if you would happen to look up the info, are the same as the neck pup in the fender blacktop models. Plus warmouth and several other companies make replacement bridges/ saddles for JMs and they basically turn it into a tune-o-matic, which might be easier to find your intonation on? I love mine, and its bone stock. Plus everyone compliments me on my tone, and try to pull the "well i guess it's ok" when they see the headstock... psh to that, the cheapo's everyone hated in the 80's sell for like 500-1000$ now, who knows what time will tell for the VM and CV squires?
    This is actually the Vintage Modified Jazzmaster "Special". The "not special?" has a JM tremolo and the ridiculously unlikable JM bridge.
    Id rather get the actual Fender classic player model. I have the Jaguar Classic Player Special and its amazing. I'd love to add a jazzmaster to my collection
    This guitar totally turned my nephew off to electric it's SO BAD. Now he's a wanna-be little Gordon Lightfoot acoustic guy. I told him not all electrics are this bad, but he's gone for good and went acoustic.
    Update: I should have returned the mofo. Something is terribly wrong in their final sanding, because there is no ****in' way this guitar's bridge and its cheesy varying height saddles matches up with the neck set angel. In short, this might as well be a downs syndrome Special Ed school wood shop guitar. And it's a total hit and miss with this one piece neck, as it's made from Fender/Squire "Eco Friendly Replenish Forest" wood. As in toothpick stock wood, lol.