The Awesome Right Honorable Squier by Fender Jazzmaster Vintage Modified Special Review!

Squier Vintage Modified Jazzmaster Special Offset Body Goodness Electric Guitar Review
Over the years, I’ve enjoyed the basic quality and variety of the Fender Squier brand’s offerings. They’re generally well made, generally sound great for the cash, and are always coming up with something interesting.
SquierVintageModifiedJazzmasterSpecialBodyFront2
The Vintage Modified Squier series has a breathtakingly broad set of guitars and basses that are actually lots of fun to play and VERY affordable for beginners and pros alike. I love my Fender USA instruments more than I can say: and I really enjoy kicking back with my Asian-made Squier instruments, too.

The subject of this review, the Squier Vintage Modified Jazzmaster Special, is a superb instrument with surprisingly big sound and nice build qualities. I found it to be a real bargain; and it is truly well worth the money, and more.

Quick Opinion:
Honestly, when I unboxed my brand new Squier Jazzmaster Special, I was really very pleased with the feel, the sound, and the quality. For the price, you get a real bluesy and rockin’ guitar with Seymour Duncan-designed Jazzmaster single coils and a nice easy-to-play neck. I didn’t find much, if anything, that I didn’t like right from the beginning.
SquierVintageModifiedJazzmasterSpecialHeadstockFront
It’s a blast to play, a scream to play the blues or rock through a big ol’ tube amp, and a joy on the shoulder. Overall, I like it!

Buy it! You’ll be glad you did!
There are customer reviews and more specs for the Squier Vintage Modified Jazzmaster offset body guitar with Rosewood fretboard available here at zZounds.

SquierVintageModifiedJazzmasterSpecialBodyBack
Features:
The Fender Squier Vintage Modified Jazzmaster Special is an excellent blend of simplicity and features:
* Alder body
* Polyester smooth gloss finish
* Jazzmaster shaped body
* Polyester-finished C-shape maple neck and fretboard
* 25.5″ scale length
* 9.5″ fingerboard radius
* 21 medium-jumbo (I think) frets
* 1.65″ nut width
* Three-way pickup selector toggle switch:
** Neck
** Neck and Bridge
** Bridge
* Stacked concentric volume/tone knobs, one for each pickup
* Duncan Designed JM-101B Jazzmaster AlNiCo V bridge pickup
* Duncan Designed JM-101N Jazzmaster AlNiCo V neck pickup
* Top-loaded fixed non-trem bridge with saddle adjustments
* Vintage style tuning machines

This guitar (as of this writing) comes in two colors: butterscotch goodness like an old 50s or 40s Tele, and that tried-and-true brown sunburst – both with a maple neck/maple fretboard.

I am not only an affiliate of zZounds, I’m a major fan and customer. I really like their zZounds Guarantee “30 days to try out your dream guitar.”
SquierVintageModifiedJazzmasterSpecialLongBack

Playability
The Fender Squier Vintage Modified Jazzmaster Special is an easy-to-play instrument. For beginners, it feels like a stop-tail Stratocaster in many ways, from the feel of the neck to the way the body smoothly cradles the picking arm and the ribcage. Its offset design is reminiscent of a Firebird and a Stratocaster combined – but with out the edginess feeling of a Firebird. Overall, the guitar is easy to play, and is a pleasure to hold.

I find my Jazzmaster to be fairly well balanced, with a tiny bit of weight bias to the body. Interestingly enough, this guitar is like a blender guitar:
Take one blender and add:
* The switch location and feel of a Les Paul
* The offset-ness of a Firebird sort of married to a Stratocaster
* The general neck feel and look of a Stratocaster
* A fixed bridge that feels something like nowhere else
* The tuners of a Vintage Strat or Tele
* The control knobs of an old Fender bass
* And the jack of a Stratocaster

Mix thoroughly, put in a dash of Jazzmaster pickups, and you’ve got this unique and very satisfying Jazzmaster Special.
SquierVintageModifiedJazzmasterSpecialHeadstockBack
This particular Jazzmaster lacks the array of fiddly switches found on its more expensive cousins. Although the lack of these switches does limit the sound shaping of this Jazzmaster Special, it does make it simpler and easier for the beginner or everyday player. Besides, it is a “special” after all.
I am not only an affiliate of zZounds, I’m a major fan and customer. I really like their zZounds Guarantee “30 days to try out your dream guitar.”

Sound
Sound is a VERY strong suit for the Fender Squier Vintage Modified Jazzmaster Special. The Asian-made Duncan Designed pickups really do sound awesome. They aren’t quite par with Fender USA Jazzmasters or Seymour Duncan USA Jazzmasters, but they are darn good. At this price range (Less than $299 US, street), one wouldn’t expect pickups to be hugely wonderful – and yet they are.

I like the sound of my Jazzmaster. The simple front-to-back three-way toggle switch feels and sounds solid, the volume controls are smooth and do an OK job (as with most guitars in this price range, the volume drops off with a huge curve with very little turning of the knob – the pots are “you get what you pay for” in this price range). Tone knob wise, these guitars have that old vintage-y clickety concentric tone thing going on. You spin the tone ring (the black ring under the chrome dome volume knob) and it clicks audibly and forcefully as you turn the tone up and down.

If you were to close your eyes and hear this guitar played by a great guitar player through a great tube amp, you’d have a serious amount of trouble telling that this is a sub-$300US guitar. It sounds great for its price range – and even for above its price range.
SquierVintageModifiedJazzmasterSpecialLongFront
When compared to a US-made Jazzmaster, there is actually a real tone difference, to be sure. The US model sounds like heaven – and the Squier is standing in line at the pearly gates on its way there.
There is a whole range of Fender Squier Vintage Modified guitars and basses at zZounds.

Fit and Finish
Other than the crazy-to-remove plastic pickguard plastic covering, my Jazzmaster is absolutely superbly made – more so than many MUCH more expensive guitars made by so many other brands.
* The neck sits in the pocket quite nicely.
* The finish on the neck is great. I can easily like gloss or satin necks: and this gloss neck feels like old school stuff right off the bat.
* The pickups sound fantastic and are just fine like they are. Although some would still take them out and replace them, I’ve found them to have a great sound that kicks very consistently.
* The paint finish is very nice. The sunburst-ing is nicely done, the coloring is good, and the finish is nice and even.
* I think the soldering is reasonable for this price range instrument. The components are as expected for an Asian-made guitar, and attention to detail for soldering, placement, and wire lengths are just fine: again, far better than many guitars costing a great deal more. Fender understands this part really well and does a great job of it!
* I am a major fan of the Vintage style tuners used on many Fender and Squier necks. The tuners used on my Squier Jazzmaster are similar to, if not identical to, those on my Jimmie Vaughan Strat – they’re smooth and easy.
* The nut is nicely cut and the strings are in good shape.
* I think a little bit more time could have been spent on string height and intonation at the bridge: it wasn’t grossly set up, but it could have been just a little better – such that our beginner guitar friends would get much more playing enjoyment out of the box.

The newest Squier 2014 models are now in stock at zZounds!

Wishes and Wants
As odd as this might seem for me to complain or remark, it was nearly impossible to get all the pickguard protective plastic removed. The material under the bridge and between the bridge and the bridge pickup is still there in little noisy crinkly shards. When I play the guitar I can hear and feel the little bits of plastic all under where the bridge and bridge pickup are. It makes me cringe to hear crackling while I’m playing, so I’m likely going to remove the strings, pop off the bridge, and maybe even pop up the pickguard just to get rid of the rest of the stuff… I’m very appreciative of getting to be the first person to scratch up (what my British friends would call) the scratchplate… But gosh – this is a real pain.

I like the “coolness” of the clickety tone rings on my Squier Vintage Modified Jazzmaster Special, but it really gets irritating after a while. I’m not a purist, so I would not have missed the clickies at all if Fender had put in smooth-dialing concentric pots ;-).

Please visit my sponsor zZounds.com for more information about the wonderful Squier Vintage Modified Jazzmaster – click here! (Visiting my sponsor helps me fund more reviews! It makes a difference when you visit my sponsor and grab some great gear.)

Backing the Reading Rainbow Kickstarter project… You can help, too!

I backed the Reading Rainbow project on Kickstarter.

Literacy is awesomely important. Especially if you want to be able to read gear reviews! :-) And please, do read more of my reviews and clickety my Sponsor, zZounds… Shameless plug with a big grin, because:
(Edit 7.7.2014) The project was not only fully funded, it exceeded even the stretch goal of $5,000,000! Great job!
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/readingrainbow/bring-reading-rainbow-back-for-every-child-everywh

Reading is FUNdamental!

Jim

ReadingRainbowSupportGraphic

The Fender Aerodyne Jazz Bass Review – Sleek, Slender, Seductive, Sonorous!

The Fender Aerodyne Jazz Bass Review – Sleek, Slender, Seductive, Sonorous!
Fender Jazz Basses were proposed by the founders of Fender Musical Instruments as the “deluxe bass.” The wonderful P/Precision bass was making the scene for electric bass applications all over the world – and Fender wanted to wow the world again with a new design: a new way of thumpin’ the house!

The Jazz bass was introduced, with its slinky offset body, simpler and (on some models) slenderer neck at the nut, and its two powerful single coil pickups. Where the original P bass gave us thunder and thump, the Jazz gave us something new: GROWL with the thump and the boom!

The Aerodyne bass was introduced a few years back as an alternative, more comfortable, and even a little more versatile Jazz bass – made by the master craftspeople of Fender Japan. It got sexy flatter smoother edges, body binding, a color-matched headstock, and a pair of pickups: one Jazz, one Precision.

I love the Fender Aerodyne. I’m getting ready to buy my third – I’ve missed the ones I’ve sold in the past and it is time to put that sound back in my recordings!
AerodyneHeadstockFront

Quick Opinion:
If you’ve played Jazz basses before, you’ll remember the wonderful offset feel of that big body and monster scale neck (but with the easy slim-width neck at the nut). It’s nice to have that big monster thumpin’ out the sound. But when you pick up an Aerodyne for the first time, you think: Wow, that’s comfortable! And, you get that nice P/J pickup combination that suits even more playing styles – thunder, thump, growl, or all three!

I love this bass. As I go through instruments for my recordings, one thing I always find myself looking forward to is the chance to play an Aerodyne again. I like the simple basic Jazz, whether it’s standard, American, Special, Deluxe, or even Squier J: but the Aerodyne has a special place in my heart.

When my mom’s dad died many years back, a little extra cash came my way as a gift from him: This funded my very first Aerodyne Jazz. It was named “Charlie” (granddad’s name), and it served me well! I would love to still have that particular Aerodyne. It was the bomb.

Looking for a versatile full-scale bass that really sounds great and is probably the most comfortable bass in the business? The Aerodyne might just be for you!
The Fender Aerodyne Jazz Bass is rockin’ at zZounds! My Sponsor and favorite Vendor!

AerodyneBodyFrontONly

Features:
Compared with the Fender Standard Jazz Bass, the Aerodyne is a “deluxe” when it comes to features. It has the general feel and appearance of a typical Jazz, but the sleek and slender body is a real plus: and the alternative pickup combination is a really nice change-up from the everyday Jazz.

At the risk of being a bit simplistic: This bass is a REAL sleeper in the Fender backline!

The CIJ Fender Aerodyne Jazz Bass is interesting and different in many ways from its other Fender cousins:
* The US issues have black bodies with a matching black headstock (Japan and possibly other countries also have a nice wine color and possibly others)
* Basswood body for somewhat lighter shoulder-hanging
* Urethane black paint with cream/antique color binding on the body
* Maple neck with a satin urethane finish
* A rosewood fretboard that’s stained darker to match the overall black appearance of the bass
* A 7.25″ fingerboard radius
* 1.5″ nut width
* Smokey dark chrome metal appointments
* A four-saddle bridge
* A Fender Standard Jazz single coil pickup in the bridge position
* A Fender Standard Precision single/split coil pickup in the middle position
* A front-of-the body Strat-style input jack and plate
* No pickguard and no fretboard markers (there are dots on the top side of the neck)

I am not only an affiliate of zZounds, I’m a major fan and customer. I really like their zZounds Guarantee “30 days to try out your dream guitar.”
AerodyneBodyFullFront

Playability
As a guitar player and a bass player, I love the way it feels to pick up different instruments and enjoy the differences between the character of each instrument. Some artists love an instrument to be the same all the time, others like variety. I’m in the second camp. With that said, the Fender Deluxe Aerodyne Jazz Bass is a REAL treat to play, even for those who like to play one instrument and stick with it. They’re a real bargain and a real value – one that’s so playable it makes you forget that your fingers are dancing over a huge long piece of wood with telephone pole wires (how a guitar teacher once described “playing bass”) strung on the front.
I do like the Fender Jazz Bass in general: zZounds has a way you can buy your gear and fall in love with it – with a money-back guarantee…

The Aerodyne Jazz is easy to play. It has that “Stratty” feel to the body shape, yet its slenderness helps you forget that the Jazz is much larger than a Stratocaster in every way. The neck is divine, the body feels good against the skin, and the satin-ish finish of the back of the neck is easy on the fretting paw when you’re sweating up a storm on stage (or even in a studio).
AerodyneBodyOnlyBack

Sound
Here’s a great thing (among many) about the Fender Aerodyne Bass: The sound is fantastic and is pretty flexible.

There’s one master tone knob that controls tone output to the jack, and one volume knob each for the two pickup assemblies. You use the two volume knobs as a blender mechanism – thus no need of a pickup selector switch. Want more growl and highs? Turn up the bridge Jazz Bass pickup. Want less highs and more warm thump? Turn down the bridge a good bit and turn up the Precision pickup set all the way. Want both? Just turn them both to 11!

If you purchase a new Fender at zZounds, qualified buyers can even play as they play with the 12 month select brands (new guitars only) payment plan.
AerodyneSidePRofile

Fit and Finish
Seriously? The Fender Aerodyne Jazz is one of the best made Jazz basses on the market and easily one of the best basses I’ve played of any brand. I am very peculiar about the sensory experience of my bass guitars (sound, smell, look, AND feel). The Aerodyne never disappoints! The neck finish is just right: not too slick and not too grabby.

The neck fits great, the wiring is simple and well-done, the overall finish of the bass is clean and simple, and the Aerodynes I’ve played have all been made with consistency that is enviable in the manufacturing world. The finish of my most recent Aerodyne had no orange peel, no spray knots near the neck pocket, and was hard as a rock and slick as new glass. Very nice!

A killer combination: A Fender Aerodyne Jazz playing through a genuine Fender amplifier is a lifetime of great tone and sound – bringing up the Backline for ages to ages in the future!

AerodyneFullBack
Wishes and Wants
I love the Aerodyne as it is. The only thing I’d love to see is Olympic white and a great metallic candy apple red version here in the US…
Please visit my sponsor zZounds.com for more information about the Wonderful Fender Aerodyne Jazz Bass – click here! (Visiting my sponsor helps me fund more reviews! It makes a difference when you visit my sponsor and grab some great gear.)

The Gloriously Insanely Wonderful Fender Classic Player Baja Guitar Review

The Gloriously Insanely Wonderful Fender Classic Player Baja Guitar Review
I have had a few Telecasters in my life, from Chinese Squiers to American Deluxes to almost everything in between (including baritones and even a few oddball parts-o-Teles). I’ve always loved them, and I always seem to be able to come out with a great tune every time I sit down and play Tele time.

I discovered the Baja Tele while shopping for a mid-priced Tele at my local big-box guitar store. I was blown away and even more surprised when I looked at the specs vs. the price: Ash, custom shop pickups and wiring, V neck, smooth tuners, great finishes, and that wonderful Telecaster sound and playability. Wow!
FenderBajaHeadstockFront

Quick Opinion:
Looking for a mid-priced Telecaster (or even just a mid-priced single cutaway electric)? Shop no further. Proceed forth to your favorite purveyor of guitars and buy one before they stop making these!

Just do it. They’re wonderful!

The Fender Classic Player Baja is not currently available at zZounds, but they do have a great selection of Telecasters!

FenderBajaControlsDetail1

Features:
Telecasters are (in general) quite simple. As I’ve said in previous reviews of Telecasters, I’d call them “simple genius.” They sound great, they’re possibly the easiest-to-play guitar available, and they have a sound that can go country, blues, praise, punk, rock, and even new age (with some pedals thrown in). Throw the switch, play the strings, and BOOM – classic sound. From Buck Owens to Bruce Springsteen to Brad Paisley to Jonny Lang and a host of others: The Telecaster has been the axe of the ages.

As Telecasters go, the Fender Classic Player’s Baja Telecaster is quite feature-rich. The features of this guitar, along with its awesome build quality, are easily one of its strongest areas.

A short list of my favorite parts of the Baja Telecaster:
* Solid ash body (my FAVORITE Fender guitar body wood!)
* Vintage-style 3-saddle Strings-Thru-Body Tele Bridge (one either loves the three-saddle or dislikes them. I’m neutral)
* Maple neck and fingerboard with soft “V” shape and satin polyester finish (one of the nicest Tele necks ever made!)
* Custom Shop Designed” neck plate
* 21 Medium Jumbo Frets
* Custom Shop “Twisted” Tele Single-Coil (Neck)
* Custom Shop Broadcaster Single-Coil (Bridge)
* Pickup Switching: 4-Position Blade Switch and 2-Position Push/Push S-1:
* Vintage Style 3-Saddle Strings-Thru-Body Tele Bridge
* Vintage Style Tuning Machines – these are smoother and often easier than the new-school Ping tuners, in my opinion…
* 9.5″ Fingerboard radius
* Scale Length – 25.5″
* Width at Nut – 1.625″

For the money, these are FEATURE PACKED and one the nicest-playing Telecasters made (next to my 2006 American Deluxe Tele).
I am not only an affiliate of zZounds, I’m a major fan and customer. I really like their zZounds Guarantee “30 days to try out your dream guitar.”

FenderBajaBodyBack

Playability
I love the soft V neck. It’s awesome. The honey neck finish is superb on the hands, whether your hands are sweaty and hot or dry and cool – the neck is a true JOY to play and experience.

If you play the Baja Telecaster and really give the neck a shot, you’ll be hooked. Telecasters with much more expensive necks often don’t feel as good as these. Like the Fender Jimmie Vaughan Stratocaster, these are some of the best “sleeper” products in the Fender line. You’ll come for the sound and stay for the playability!

The body: it’s a rounded-edge Telecaster. They feel like they feel, they play like they play. In my opinion, the medium-weight, balanced ash body and maple neck are just fine.
I do like the Telecaster in general: zZounds has a way you can buy your gear and fall in love with it – with a money-back guarantee…
FenderBajaFrontFull

Sound
The pickups are diverse, the switching options are awesome, and the quality of the electronics is outstanding. There’s so very much to these simple pickups and wiring – much more than meets the eye. I’ve been able to over-drive the pickups of my Baja and get some of the nastiest dirtiest blues imaginable, then change amps or models and get sweet twangy single-jangly-coily-ness in just a few seconds. The Baja Telecaster is VERY versatile and truly meets and exceeds expectations in the sound department.

Even if you’re not looking for that “spanky” Tele sound, set up some tubes or an amp model that gets to rockin’ and you’ll love the way it sounds!

The nice density of the ash body is a great alternative to the everyday Fender alder body – and it makes a nice difference if you’re looking for a more “singing” sound… I love ash woods, even on other brands of guitars – and the Fender Baja Telecaster is no exception.

The Fender Classic Player Baja Telecaster offers wonderful electronics flexibility. Tons of different sounds from just two “custom shop” pickups!
* S-1 Switch Up:
** Position 1. Bridge Pickup
** Position 2. Bridge and Neck Pickups (In Parallel)
** Position 3. Neck Pickup (Standard Tele)
** Position 4. Neck and Bridge Pickups (In Series) (Fatter Tone Than Position 2. and More Output Than Position 1., 2., or 3.)
* S-1 Switch Down:
** Position 1. Bridge Pickup
** Position 2. Bridge and Neck Pickups (In Parallel)-Out of Phase
** Position 3. Neck Pickup (Standard Tele)
** Position 4. Neck and Bridge Pickups (In Series) Out of Phase
FenderBajaHeadstockBack
If you purchase a new Fender at zZounds, qualified buyers can even play as they play with the 12 month select brands (new guitars only) payment plan.

Fit and Finish
I’ve had two (soon to be three) Bajas over the years since there introduction. Without doubt, the quality is a 10 out of 10. The build, the fit and finish, the quality of the electronics, the neck pocket fit, and the feel and finish of the neck are all just awesome. I’ve not picked up a single Baja that had a glaring issue (even those hanging out at guitar stores for long periods of time).

I could write a volume or two about how well built my Bajas have been, but really, they would just say, “These things are built by real craftspeople who obviously love their instruments and the way they make their instruments.” They’re great. I have never had a complaint about a single one.
Talk about legendary tone! A Fender Baja Telecaster playing through a genuine Fender amplifier is a lifetime of great tone and sound!

Wishes and Wants
I do wish this was offered in both of the blondes (the butterscotch and the sand). Not much of a gripe, or even a complaint. I just love the old school butterscotch blonde look on a Tele with a black pickguard and a maple neck. Thank you, Leo!

I do wish these could come with an optional six-saddle bridge for those of us who are really critical about our tuning. If that’s the worst of it though, that’s not bad! Besides, the tone on the three-saddle bridge actually makes up for the intonation thing!
Please visit my sponsor zZounds.com for more information about the Wonderful Fender Telecaster – click here! (Visiting my sponsor helps me fund more reviews! It makes a difference when you visit my sponsor and grab some great gear.)
FenderBajaBodyFront