Bench Test: Fender Modern Player Jaguar
By: Kevin Manieri
I saw this new guitar from Fender come into one of our stores and I had to try it out. The Fender Modern Player Jaguar is a familiar Fender design, but it has some pretty radical modifications that make it a new animal altogether. Read on for a hands-on review of the Modern Player Jaguar.
Lets look at this guitar from those 3 ever-important perspectives: looks, tone, and feel.
Looks: I tried out the Modern Player Jaguar in Transparent Black, which is really more of a satin brown. Satin finishes always have a homey, worn-in look to me, like your favorite old t-shirt. This model has some other unique features, including a fixed stoptail bridge (rarely seen on a Fender), vintage tuners, large 70s-style headstock, and Jazz Bass knobs. Of course, the black P90 pickups are also rarely seen on a Fender. Put it all together, and youve got a pretty funky-looking guitar. Most of these features say vintage to me, so overall the guitar has the vibe of a stripped-down, modified workhorse instrument.
Tone: OK, I admit it, Im biased I love P90 pickups. To my ear, they fill the perfect niche in the huge space between humbuckers and single-coils. This Jaguar is no different. The bridge pickup gives you a bit more body and less twang than a typical Strat or Tele, so it can easily handle power chords and heavy rhythm. With both pickups engaged, the sound is very close to a Strat with the middle and bridge pickups on. But the real shining moment with this guitar is when the neck pickup is soloed. You get a creamy, thick tone without losing that expressive voice that all Fender guitars have. Its soulful and sweet, even when cranked up. All told, this guitar can cover a lot of ground.
Feel: Jaguars are one of the few Fender models that feature a short scale, only 24. That is shorter than Gibson models and a full 1 shorter than most Fenders. Accordingly, the guitar is very easy to play, especially for chording. It also has a bit less snap to it than standard Strats and Teles, so its easy to bend the notes. Short-scale instruments are a bit of an acquired taste, but I didnt find the difference radical. I would recommend giving it a try.
One other note: the Jag I tried was a little bottom-heavy, probably due to the extended lower bout on the body. Still, it was fine to play sitting, and the heavy bottom actually made it balance quite well with a strap.
There you have it a really unique new guitar from Fender. I definitely recommend checking it out if you want to go off the beaten path a bit.
Click here to check out the Fender Modern Player Jaguar be sure to watch the video at the bottom of the page!