Squier Jazzmaster is one of the three models that inherits most features of the original Jazzmaster in 1958.
Squire Vintage Modified Jazzmaster retains the original Jazzmaster design and adds to it some juicy features.
You’ll get the modern “C” slim oval neck, modern fretboard and frets, and Duncan pickups.
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- Lightweight at around 7.8lbs, very comfortable to play
- Sound is good with multiple tone possibilities
- Guitar holds tune pretty well
- Learning curve is quite steep, just like other Jazzmaster models
- The bridge and the tremolo bar aren’t reliable enough
- Action is a bit high, but playable with minimal buzzes
Design & Construction
Joining the Vintage Modified family, the Squier Jazzmaster has a lightweight basswood body and Maple neck. Of course, it gets Jazzmaster body shape — asymmetrical, offset body, distinctive of the Jazzmaster models. This cut makes it very comfortable to play since the guitar sits well when playing seated.
It has playful colors like Candy Apple Red, Surf Green, 3-Color Sunburst, Fiesta Red and Vintage White. It has the white-black-white pickguard with the controls and the three-way selector switch on it. Glossy finish of the body is just flawless, very sexy and elegant.
The bolt-on modern C-shape neck is great at giving comfort and playability of the guitar. It has the vintage-tint gloss finish that won’t give you any problem even if your hand is sweating.
The Rosewood fretboard has a radius of 9.5-inch, 25-inch scale length and 21 medium-sized jumbo frets with parchment dot inlays. Playing guitars with the shorter length kind of growing on me already, especially this Jazzmaster, as it delivers the comfort it promises.
This guitar still has the old ’68 Stratocaster headstock, vintage-style chrome tuning heads, and chrome hardware. The strings are still attached to the vintage-style bridge and non-locking floating vibrato with tremolo arm. This configuration gives some buzzing to the strings; I guess, this is what gives this guitar a Jazzy sound.
If you aren’t familiar with a Jazzmaster, there’s more to its controls than just pickups, tone and volume. You’ll have the white Stratocaster-style control knobs for volume and tone (with label) and two black disc knobs for rhythm circuit. You’ll have the circuit selector switch and the three-way pickup selector switch. It may take time to familiarize each control onboard, but once you do, your potential is endless.
The Duncan designed single-coil pickups come with Alnico 5 Magnets. Pickup switching can access the neck pickup through the black disc knobs (rhythm circuit), while the neck, neck + bridge, and bridge positions can be accessed through the white knobs (lead circuit). Strings used are NPS .009-.042.
Playability & Performance
Jazzmaster is no doubt one of the most playable guitars on the market, even better than high-end Strats and Teles. This being said, I’m going to credit this to the neck profile of the guitar. This is primarily the reason why I love to play Jazzmaster, aside from the fact that it keeps me learning and helps me hone my guitar skills.
The modern neck profile complements to the offset-waist body shape of the guitar. With the neck slightly further away even in a shorter scale length, it provides an amazing experience you never had in your Strat.
The fretboard is flawless, though I can feel a little roughness when bending strings, the fret edges were nicely smoothened. The action of the strings is a bit high, but it’s still playable. All strings are strung out of the box, even a slight adjustment of the tremolo bar didn’t budge the tune of the guitar — stable and reliable.
There were zero to minimal rattles and buzzes, unlike the original and some other Jazzmaster models. So, you can swiftly move up and down the fretboard and do fast play without any discomfort.
If you play with this guitar without the intention of going to gigs or make this as the main instrument in your studio, it’s better to change the bridge, the strings, and the vintage tremolo bar to more steadfast ones. The bridge and the tremolo tend to be dislodged from its position, they need fixing.
Likewise, for the strings, though they are good, it’s better to replace it with heavier ones. The bridge and the tremolo respond efficiently with heavier strings. Perhaps, you can also tap to the guitar’s potential and yours after you’ve changed it to the strings you truly rely on. In fairness, though the bridge/tremolo arm needs upgrading, the strings still stay in tune for quite some time.
Undoubtedly, the sound is great, though it’s not quite successful in giving the “classic” Jazzmaster tone. Duncan designed pickups are great at delivering vintage sound, in which each pickup offers different tonality. If you set your amp right and you get all the settings right, you’ll enjoy a Jazzmaster sound.
Well, Jazzmaster has its unique sound, not a classic Strat nor Tele — rich, clean and creamy sound at the neck pickup. Not just that, it has all sorts of unique sound quality. The rhythmic circuit works well to deliver deep and less intense tone variety. This is perfect if you want to go solo.
Though Jazzmaster is a little complicated, it’s learnable. Once you get the hang of the rhythm and lead settings, as well as the gain on your amp, the sound is awesome. The controls and the knobs are sensitive enough with just a lighter touch. Hence, you can make quick tweaks of the settings easily.
The guitar’s intonation isn’t bad at all. But, before you can get the endless tonal possibilities of this guitar, you have to set the intonation right. Doing so will help you play like a jazz master.
Value for Money
In the world where there are so many Strats and Teles, it’s time to challenge yourself and learn something new. Squier Jazzmaster offers vast tonal potential through the Duncan Designed pickups onboard. While Jazzmaster promises comfort through its body shape and cut, Squier adds the C-neck profile to help you play fast and flawlessly.
The vintage-style bridge, tremolo bar, and strings are quite okay out of the box, you can easily upgrade them for more reliability. Doing so will not only enhance the sound of the guitar, but also keeps the tune even better.
With its price tag, it’s a great deal. However, if you don’t want to sweat and play really hard to learn the twists in this guitar, you’ll never appreciate it. What if you can afford the guitar, but it stays in the corner of your room?
The Squier Jazzmaster is the one guitar that allows you to play without stopping. It’s versatile and gives more sound options than you’ve imagined. The marriage between classic looks and modern electronics helps you achieve tonal possibilities that aren’t accessible by Strat and Tele.
Since this Jazzmaster model mimics the original design of ’58 Jazzmaster, you can still experience how comfortable playing these guitars can be. Plus, it has the rosewood fretboard and modern jumbo frets to help you play it without any problem. However, you might want to change the bridge, the tremolo bar, and strings for better playability.
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