Squier Vintage Modified Series Jaguar HH
Squier's Vintage Modified guitar and bass range is designed to take old school designs and make them work for contemporary players on a budget. And that's exactly what the new Jaguar HH we have here is all about.
You get the classic offset body, gloss finish bolt-on maple neck, a big CBS-era headstock and, well, that's pretty much all the vintage stuff covered.
"Kurt Cobain played a '65 sunburst Jag with DiMarzios, and that sums up the player Fender is trying to hook here."
To bring the guitar's performance up to date, Fender has fitted it with beefier pickups, dropped the old school vibrato that made the original guitar an acquired taste and worked in a 241mm (9.5-inch) fingerboard radius (in place of the original 184mm/7.25-inch) for improved string-bending and general playability.
The recessed Stratocaster-style jackplates and stacked concentric '62 Jazz Bass controls are also obvious departures from Leo Fender's original blueprints. The chrome knob on each control handles volume duties, while the bottom ring part is a tone.
Then there's the isosceles trapezium-shaped hardtail bridge. It looks very similar to a Danelectro unit and is mounted like one too - the front of the bridgeplate rests on two screws that raise or lower the action.
You can also tweak the action and intonation with the six individual saddles. The rear of the bridge is secured with a single large screw that can alter the angle of the whole unit.
Our Jaguar has a four-piece basswood body. Basswood is known for providing good sustain and has become the go-to timber for many modern rock guitars.
The bolt-on maple neck has a shallow 'C' profile and a rosewood fingerboard studded with 22 medium jumbo frets. Incidentally, there's no maple board option on this Jag.
The guitar's 610mm (24-inches) scale length is shorter than the 648mm (25.5-inches) of the Jazzmaster and other classic Fender models, the Stratocaster and Telecaster. This makes it considerably easier to bend the guitar's supplied 0.010 to 0.046 Fender USA NPS (nickel-plated steel) strings.
The HH part of the VM Jaguar model name signifies two humbuckers in the engine bay - specifically Duncan Designed HB-102 bridge and neck humbuckers with zebra bobbins. Packing Alnico 5 magnets, this set is based on the popular Seymour Duncan SH-4 JB Jazz Blues bridge and the SH-2n Jazz Model pickups.
As mentioned earlier, the Jaguar HH comes with a Strat- style jackplate and '62 Jazz Bass controls. These are the guitar's Marmite bits - the jackplate looks odd to us; a bit out of place. The controls have an annoying habit of snagging on each other, meaning both move when you're trying to adjust only one.
Kurt Cobain played a '65 sunburst Jaguar fitted with DiMarzio humbuckers, and that sums up the type of player Fender is hoping to hook with this Squier version. It's basically a rock beast with retro charm and a bridge humbucker with enough wallop to satisfy most fuzz fiends.
It cleans up well but then again, that's not really a surprise. If you've played any twin-humbucker guitar, you'll know what to expect.
If you're a bit cheesed off with pointy headstock guitars with lollipop stick necks, the Jaguar offers a very cool alternative.
As mentioned, we're not keen on the jackplates and super- sized controls, but in every other regard our time with the Vintage Modified Jaguar HH has been great.
It's vibrant, easy to play and comes loaded with great sounding pickups. Yes, Fender has squeezed an incredible amount of juice out of its old classics, but when the result is an instrument that playa and sounds a step above its price bracket as this does, few will be complaining - big knobs or not.
The sweet neck profile. Beefy pickups.
The jackplate. Bulky controls.
It's not the prettiest Jag of all time, but its beefy tones are perfect for hard rockers and Kurt Cobain devotees.
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