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Saturday, May 11, 2013

2013 Temporary possession of a Squier J Mascis Jazzmaster

Good day dear readers.
Once again, I must apologise for the dearth of posts.
I have been side tracked by various pursuits, mostly maintenance and renovations to the family home.

This week I have been afforded the temporary custody of one Squier Jazzmaster J Mascis edition.

I had been looking forward to playing one of these guitars since they were first announced way back in 2011.

Sure there were other offset shapes on offer from Squier, but none of them offered the classic hardware that the Jazzmaster & Jaguar are known for prior to this release.

I think maybe all of us cash strapped guitarists interest was piqued when Squier began issuing their classic vibe and vintage modified editions. These in my mind laid the ground work for the introduction of a true budget Jazzmaster, which in turn has seen the development of Squier producing not only a budget Jaguar, but also a budget Mustang

Exciting times for paupers and mortgagees alike!

Anyway, that's enough free advertising. Er...
On with the review!

I found this at my favourite second hand dealer and knew that one of my old friends was in the market for one, but couldn't justify ponying up the price of entry (also he lives 725km away, where there is a lack of competition).

This one was a good price, not absurdly cheap, but too cheap to ignore. I jumped on it right away. Even before asking him if he was ready to buy (I'm not rich, but the price wasn't going to cause me to default on the mortgage), I put down a deposit and collected swiftly thereafter.

I have to admit it, I was sorely tempted to keep this find to myself.
But hey, I guess I'm nice enough chap after all.

The first thing I noticed about this guitar was that it is exquisite on the eye. Photographs do not do it justice. The vintage white is just classic.

The second is the weight.

Even though it's supposed to be made from a light timber (Basswood), it has some serious heft to it. Not uncomfortably heavy, but not model-aeroplane light either.

Neck:

Compared to the Mosrite, the neck width feels alien and broad. 
At the same time, it actually allows for my chubby digits to land in their accustomed positions with ease that always isn't possible on other guitars.

The finish allows the left hand to glide along the neck with less friction than a painted or gloss finish.

I suspect that the factory setup is still in place, the stings are higher than I am used to on my electrics, but easier to manage than those on my Goldtone Resonator.

Pickups:

They look like the classic Jazzmaster, but underneath is a lightly different beast. The coil is rumoured to be a little more like that of a P90, which by all reports is just a little hotter than the standard Jazzmaster.

Sure they're not some fancy pants set of pickups, but they are actually really quite nice.

I spent a number of hours A/B testing with various amps, effects and guitars.

I liked the neck best when playing a slightly hot clean tone, it has a nice aggressive country twang and good clarity across the board.
Compared to the neck pickup on my Mosrite, it does lose note definition when playing overdriven or fuzzed out settings.
I don't think this matters too much as it's great fun just pounding away with pretty much every setting.

The bridge pickup on the other hand, keeps its definition even with the amp on ten with the output tubes in overdrive. To bring back the Mosrite comparison, the bridge pickup on the JMJ has it beat, no question. Much more bass and not so much ear hurting top end fizz. Feels really god when pretending to be metal too!

Vibrato:

The vibrato isn't quite 100% faithful to the original Jazzmaster/Jaguar design as it lacks the lock button. I don't know if it's such a big deal as there isn't one on my Guyatone and it stays in tune just fine. In fact, this type of vibrato unit is my favourite, followed closely by the el-cheapo Teisco stamped metal and the Mosrite Vibrato (Teisco wins because it doesn't rely on a ridiculous roller bearing).

Bridge:

A simple tune-o-matic style. No rollers here.
Some people prefer a roller bridge, but I don't really know if they help or hinder tuning as my guitars with both styles keep their pitch fairly well (the Mosrite can be a bit sticky in the string guide).

This is budget guitar, but I don't think that it feels like one.
Anyone who has followed my blog for the last couple of years, will know that I am a habitual modder. This is one guitar that I wouldn't bother touching as I think it's pretty much perfect.

Can't think of a single thing to criticise at this price point.

Well done Squier/Fender!



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