Squier has to be one of the very few brands that everyone has played, owned or considered and, unlike another 'sister' brand we could mention, levels of build quality have, for the most part, remained consistently acceptable.
Over the last 18 months, Squier has captured imaginations with the Series 24 and the more metal-influenced guitars of the Showmaster range, yet the most enduring Squier models are always likely to be those steeped in Fender-associated history.
The intermittent legacy of Fender's 'shape' guitars was brought to the fore with the release of Kurt Cobain's Jagstang in 1995, which combined the Nirvana star's favourite bits of the Jaguar and Mustang into a single entity.
Since then, these guitars have enjoyed an almost underground reputation but, as even Jaguar owners aren't certain what that model's plethora of switches, dials and chrome plates actually do, there has always been a market for more straightforward guitars inspired by the vintage classics.
This Jagmaster is a new and improved version of past models dedicated to offering the Jaguar/ Jazzmaster experience without the associated head scratching and, to this end, the Squier offers the historically correct 24-inch scale with a smoother body shape, Strat-style vibrato and a just two controls.
Both Jags and Jazzmasters have been produced loaded with various types of pickup since their respective introductions in 1962 and 1958 and, as the Jagmaster's name suggests, this instrument strives to include the simplest facets of both. It hails from China rather than Indonesia, which should lead to a slightly higher overall standard.
The shorter scale notwithstanding, this does appear to be a rather cramped guitar at a casual glance, an illusion created by the wide body and Strat-style neck. In reality, there's no compromise to be made when actually playing, either stood or seated; however you hold it, your pick is right where it needs to be.
Feel-wise the Jagmaster's neck is easily the most vintage of the four guitars here, demonstrating an almost sixties-style 'V'-shape (yes, we know the Squier website extols the guitar's 'C'-shape: it's not!) and the slight vintage tint really sets off the classic big headstock and gold logo to a tee.
What's more, two Guitarist cohorts who own real deal Fender Jaguars confessed to actually preferring the feel of the Squier to their own instruments… go figure!
The expanse of alder body wood and the inherent class of the Duncan Designed humbuckers ensures that the Jagmaster is one loud guitar and, for any rock style, be it riffing, thrashing, soloing or even flailing, you'll both look and sound the part.
We were a little put off by the lack of perfect tuning stability afforded by the light string gauge and floating vibrato, so we'd recommend maybe upping to a set of .010 to .046-inch and stretching them well before fitting.
That easily rectified niggle aside, the Jag performs as well as we'd hoped. And as the body shape automatically ensures access to all frets, so all genres that match a humbucker are well-suited to the Jagmaster.