Thursday, December 1, 2011

Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar Bass Special Review

Hi there!

Man, there is a huge difference between the entry-level instruments of today and the no-name pieces of junk that were around when I started playing. I recently picked up a Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar bass as a gift for somebody, and it is a very nice instrument for the price, and does all of the basic stuff that a bass guitar should do.

I know that some of you may sniff at Squier products as they are entry level Fender models, but they have a track record of providing very good instruments for the money.

This one was made by the fine folks in Indonesia, and is finishing a tasteful 3-tone sunburst. The poly finish is even and there is no orange peel (or fish eyes).

The offset-waist body of this one appears to be made of 5 pieces of basswood. You will also get basswood on the crimson basses, and agathis on the black ones. They installed a 3-ply pickguard, which is classy for a guitar in this price range.

It is loaded with a split single-coil Precision Bass pickup at the bridge and a single-coil pickup Jazz Bass pickup at the bridge. There is an active bass boost circuit, so there is a battery box routed into the back. The knobs control: neck pickup volume, bridge pickup volume, boost circuit, and master tone.

The 34-inch scale maple neck has a rosewood fretboard with 20 medium-jumbo frets set into it. It has a 9.5-inch fingerboard radius and a 1.5-inch nut and a true C shape. The matte poly finish on the neck feels smooth and fast.

The components of this bass work well together. With the PJ pickups and the active bass circuit, I was able to get a variety of thumpy and growly tones that cover all genres for me. I tried the single-humbucker model as well, and was unable to get a natural tone out of it. Stick with the PJ model (I have always been a fan of PJ basses, by the way).

The neck is fast and I was able to dial in a low action, and the body is well-balanced with no neck dive. This bass weighs in at a little less than 9 pounds, which is easy on the back.

There are a few shortcomings, however, which I attribute to the low price point. The tuners and bridge are cheap, and the saddles move around a lot when I am playing. My other gripe is that this bass was delivered to me with very sharp fret edges. It was a recent production bass, so I cannot blame it on fret sprout on an old inventory instrument. It took a lot of filing to make it pleasant to play.

But, you get what you pay for, and this bass was a stone cold bargain. You will find that the most attractive feature of the Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar Bass Special is its price, with a list price $329.99 of and a street price of $174.99.

If you are looking for an entry-level bass or a second bass to take your anger out on, this is the one.



  1. A playable bass for 175 bucks is great news for entry-level guys. I still dig my Squier 51 P, although it's probably not ever going to be in heavy rotation.

  2. "... to take your anger out on." I like the way you phrase things. :-) Straightforward, to the point, yet entertaining. Nice.

  3. A question for you, if you can answer...I'm seriously considering buying one of these as a P-bass replacement and stringing it with flats. Does the front P pickup on its own sound close enough to a Precision to be viable? I love Jazz necks but the P bass necks are a bit too chunky...this looks like a nice inexpensive halfway house. Thanks! Pete

  4. I think it does a pretty good P Bass sound on the bridge pickup. Thanks for checking in!

  5. What do you think is a better bass to learn on, this or a Yamaha RBX-170?

  6. I think either one would be about the same to learn on. But, it is important that it have a good set-up to make it play as well as it can. Nothing is more discouraging to a a learner as having a poorly set up instrument that is miserable to play.

  7. Active bass booster circuit means that pickups are both passive and an external circuit provide a boost for low freqs?

  8. Can you swap in non-active pups in this baby I'm not that familiar with the active crap haha.

  9. ive put a usa pbass pickup and an entwistle jbxn in mine sounds thumpy!!!

  10. I found a used one of these at Guitar Center and decided to make a refinishing project out of it. I also upgraded tuning pegs, bridge and strings. Now it looks very vintage with a nitro cullulose finish on neck and body and has much better hardware. It sounds and plays great. Super cool for cheap!

  11. I put Seymour Duncan Quarter Pounders on my 4 string and my 5 string Squier VM Jaguar bass special. I kept the original electronics and added new Fender Vintage Himass bridges to both. I swapped the cheap strings for some DR Hibeams. They look and sound awesome. These are two of my favorite instruments even though I own a few high end basses. I always find myself playing these Squier Jags. At some point I will add Audere preamps to both and complete the modifications.