Vintage Modified Jazzmaster review by Squier

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  • Features: 7
  • Sound: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 7
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7.8 Good
  • Users' score: 9.4 (27 votes)
Squier: Vintage Modified Jazzmaster

Price paid: $ 200

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Features — 7
Vintage Modified Jazzmaster electric guitar specifications:

  • Body: Basswood
  • Body Shape: Jazzmaster
  • Series: Vintage Modified
  • Neck: Maple, "C" Shape
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Finger Board Radius: 9.5" (24.1 cm)
  • Frets: 21, Medium Jumbo
  • Scale Length: 25" (63.5 cm)
  • Nut Width: 1.650 (42 mm)
  • Hardware: Chrome
  • Tuning Keys: Vintage-style chrome
  • Bridge: Vintage-style with non-locking floating vibrato
  • Pickups: Duncan Designed JM-101B Single-Coil Jazzmaster Pickup with AlNiCo 5 Magnets Duncan Designed JM-101N Single-Coil Jazzmaster Pickup with AlNiCo 5 Magnets
  • Pickup Switching: Neck pickup only (rhythm circuit); neck only, neck and bridge, bridge only (lead circuit)
  • Strings: NPS, Gauges: .009, .011, .016, .024, .032, .042
  • Unique Features: Duncan Designed pickups, vintage-style bridge and floating vibrato (non-locking), gold-and-black Squier logo, engraved neck plate, parchment dot position inlays
For me the make or break feature if you don't want to mess with things on a guitar is the bridge. The bridge has a reputation a mile wide for being impossible to work with, and I completely ignored it. I figured I'd already done enough intonation work, as well as every other thing I could think of to my other instruments at one point or another, so I could probably handle this issue just fine. I was wrong, and the bridge sticks out as a sore thumb on an otherwise enjoyable instrument.

I personally like the Duncan Designed pickups and the Jazzmaster controls this guitar has. The vintage tuners are pretty cool as well. Not too fond of stock fender knobs, but those are so easy to replace it's a moot point. All in all, aside from the bridge, it's a pretty stunning instrument. Mine is in Olympic White, and I wouldn't dare trade in this guitar until I swap bridges.

Sound — 10
This is the reason I dare not trade it in. I genuinely love the bite this guitar has plugged in with a little gain. I really don't see how the name Jazzmaster actually applies here, but regardless, Duncan Designed pickups are, once again, more than adequate for all but the pickiest of folks. I personally plan to use this for a lot of bluesy rock oriented material, as I see that as a sweet spot for it, although it's apparently rather popular in the punk rock arena. I will say the bass isn't incredibly boomy, although with a little EQ you could probably squeeze out a little extra. I'm not interested just because of the role I'll be using it for. At least once the disgusting bridge is replaced.

Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The setup was actually fine, with very low action, and some mild buzzing. Upon trying to fix the buzzing things only got worse. I've tried all approaches, and I've come to the conclusion that the setup it had when I got it was the best someone else could do with that bridge installed. That bridge should be discontinued, and never used again. I plan on just putting in a mustang bridge and seeing how that pans out in comparison to the stock bridge. I've fiddled with the thing for hours though, and it just doesn't want to work how it should. All manuals read, all videos watched, and I'm just out of ideas.

The pickups are in perfect position judging by how it sounds, and the routing looks solid. I actually don't notice much noise at all, but that could be lucky, or maybe I'm finally going deaf. Aside from the bridge all aspects of it are well setup, work well, and function as intended. The Olympic White finish I got mine in is a matter of taste, but I really like how it contrasts to my other instruments.

Reliability & Durability — 7
With the stock bridge, if you use the tremolo at all, you're probably going to have problems. Strings tend to pop out and realign them selves in one of the poorly designed "mini bridges" that they're not supposed to be in. If not for the bridge though, the tremolo seems nice. All the other hardware seems way beyond it's price point, and I don't plan on changing anything else on it once the bridge is replaced.

So obviously I don't think you can depend on it with the stock bridge, and I definitely would not use it without a backup. It's just a terrible idea. If you're buying this guitar, buy it with the expectation of swapping that bridge out immediately, to at least a Mustang bridge, or better yet, a Mastery bridge.

I have zero qualms with the finish, and I'm thinking it'll last a long time just because of how thick it appears to be.

Overall Impression — 7
I play very diversely with heavy distortion, blues drive, thick or twangy cleans, slide, whatever. I'd really put this guitar in the more blues rock category of my use, but I can see those that like trebly distortion using this for other genre's surely. I've been playing 11 years, now toting a Schecter Tempest, Washburn WI66Pro (modified with Retrotrons), a heavily modified Squier Stratocaster, and a Schecter Raiden Special 4 bass, and once the bridge is fixed on this one it's going to fit in just fine.

Ask about the reputation of the bridge before you buy it. Google it. Definitely ask for other options for the bridge. A lot of people like to get a tune o matic in there, and others still deal with the buzz indefinitely. I chose the cost effective method of a Mustang bridge paired with a Buzz Stop. The Buzz Stop alone did not remedy my issue, but I'm really hoping the Mustang bridge is the final piece of this puzzle. As of now, if it were lost or stolen, I'd go with the hard tail, even though I really dig the tremolo on this thing.

I love everything about this guitar, vintage tuners, cool pickups, nice finish, nice tremolo, etc. Everything except the bridge. I really didn't compare this to much anything else when I bought it, though I really don't see much that compares. I chose this because of the unique style of pickups, and because to date, I haven't had an issue with Duncan Designed pickups. This is a guitar that really makes me want to rate it post modifications, because the bridge ruins it out of the box.

I wish it had a better bridge. Did I say that enough times?

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    The Staytrem bridge seems the best upgrade - cheaper than a Mastery bridge but still slightly better than the Mustang one. I think they put the original hated bridge on because they are supposedly doing everything in 'vintage' style - but when something just doesn't work at all, I do wonder why they insist on repeating it. Hell, even Fender themselves suggest switching to the Mustang saddled versions - why not just put it on then? I think everyone would forgive it being not entirely accurate to it's 'vintage' pedigree - hell it's a 9.5" radius not a vintage 7.25" and has modern medium jumbo frets so it's not like they won't modernize it anyway. But yeah, ditch the bridge and put one of the better versions in and these guitars are awesome for the cost. And yes I own some of the US Fenders and they still have plenty of lemons.
    Also, as a quick update to my review, after installing a mustang bridge and a buzz stop, this guitar is a 9+ easy now. I have no buzzing and the sound is just all its own. They should burn the blue print for that bridge.