The Morley ABC Switch Box Pedal: One to Many, Many to One

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The Morley ABC Switch Box Pedal: One to Many, Many to One

I’m a musician and a recording artist. I’ve always been in search of new ways to make sound with my instruments – and new ways to record unique and fulfilling sounds from many different types of instruments. Some things one tries when searching for new sounds is to use effects pedals, another might be using different tubes in a pre-amp or amplifier. There are nice upgrades in guitars, basses, gear, and rack-mounted gear that really change your sound.

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But sometimes, something VERY simple comes along that lets you truly turn your playing and recording on ear. The little tank-built Morley ABC Switch box is a surprisingly versatile tool that really makes your setups incredibly flexible and easy-to-change. This review is about my journeys with my four-year-old Morley ABC boxes (I am buying a second one this week!) and the wonderful things they’ve brought me.

You can see more information about the Morley ABC Switch box here at zZounds, my favorite internet gear seller (my sponsor, too). If you click here and buy stuff, I can write more reviews!

Quick Opinion

Buy one or two after you read this review. You’ll be VERY glad you did!
I am not hard on my gear – but I do use what I own. And when I brought the Morley ABC Switch Box Pedal into my life, it became something I use EVERY day. It started with being a way I could play through three amp stacks at once – and then it evolved into a recording tour de force for my home studio. WOW. Amazing, simple, durable, quiet, efficient, well-made, inexpensive, and downright fun!

Please read on: I’ll tell you why I took the time to write this review and to help spread the word for this wonderful little box from a strong instrument gear brand!

Durability and Ease of Use

I bought my first Morley ABC Switch Box Pedal out of necessity. I wanted to have a few different amps in the house (and later the garage), and I didn’t want to have to have redundant pedal setups or spend time playing with cables when I wanted to go from my Marshall to my Fender to my VOX. As time went on, I was even experimenting with combinations of one, a pair, or all three. This little box makes it all just a click away!

Durability? My first Morley ABC Switch Pedal sat in the garage for a couple of years, with little climate control and LOTS of use from LOTS of different players. Just bring in your instrument (bass or guitar or ?), plug it in to the right-most ¼-inch jack, click a few stomp buttons and you get lots of different amp sounds all at once!

Want to see more about this awesome pedal at the Morley site? Click here.

It’s only a quick change to have three instruments punching down to one amp (not something I recommend very often, folks!) – and all the pushing, pulling, stepping, re-wiring that went on with that little blue Morley box was amazing. In the recording arena, I often have signal that’s 3-to-1 or 1-to-3 when it comes to computer input gear (read below), signal chains, and more. And it still looks almost new, and it works FLAWLESSLY in its fifth year!; This little metal stomp box is amazingly durable. it has taken everything that has been thrown at it and it still is the quietest (heavy-duty metal push-push switch-noise wise) stomp box I’ve ever owned and still to this day creates no discernible circuit noise.

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It’s incredibly easy to use. You have three switchable ¼-inch jacks, A, B, and C. You have one 1 ¼-inch jack on the right-most side of the pedal. The pedal doesn’t care if you want three ins to one out or three outs from one in. It works flawlessly in both directions.

Believe it or not, you can easily daisy-chain more than one of these little ABC boxes and do some pretty amazing things without any discernible signal loss. Just draw your ideal setup on paper, follow the cables with your diagram, and Poof! Many-to-Many signal chains!

Price and Quality

The price of this little blue Morley ABC Switch Pedal stomp box is one of the easiest parts of this review. They’re less than $100 US in most retail outlets. It’s worth every cent and will last pretty much until the next EON (YMMV). The price is definitely just right, although five years later I would probably be just as happy had I paid $125 US or so back then. It’s flawless.

Quality? The Morley ABC Switch Box stomp pedal is made strong enough to withstand the heavy stompers of some local metal-music heads that have used it. It has withstood HUGE temperature fluctuations, endured well-below-freezing temperatures and well above 100 F degree temperatures. it has withstood LOTS of drops (from six feet or so). it has been slammed around in pedal cases, trunks, hatchbacks, and on stages. It has been around cat fur and garage dust and high humidity and low humidity. After a simple wipe-down, it looks almost new, and it BEHAVES as if it was just brand new!

The Morley ABC Switch Box stomp pedal is my OFFICIAL switcher box. I’m good to go for a lifetime with mine!

It really does help me if you click on a sponsored link and buy your gear from my favorite vendor zZounds… Click here to find great gear to feed your GAS!

How have I used mine?

Interestingly enough, the Morley ABC Pedal truly is only limited by your imagination in the ways it can be used. I’ve used mine for two very specific purposes (mainly): playing through 1, 2, or 3 amps (in different combinations) from one guitar at a time (this gives LOTS of tonal variations!); and creating signal/effects/pre-amp chains that send the signal from one guitar through different chains to different inputs in computer recording input devices hosting multiple ¼-inch mono inputs.

In the early days of using my Morley ABC Switch Box, I primarily used it to experiment with and enjoy playing through multiple amps at once. I often played through combinations of a Marshall, VOX, and Fender amps, each with its own pedals and signal chain. It’s amazing what you can do. In addition, when playing one of my Rickenbackers with Ric-o-sound, I was able to have one output jack going to the Morley and the other going to yet a fourth amp.

It’s amazing what you can do with a few amps in your garage, a Morley ABC switch, and pedals with multiple outputs. Here’s a fun one: Guitar in; A to a Marshall with no effects, just clean gain; B to a Fender solid state with a pedal setup signal chained; C to an Electro-Harmonix Sitar pedal with the primary out to my old VOX and the Sympathetic output to yet a fourth amp, an Egnater tube amp I used to own. WOW. Imagine the multiplicity of chorus, phase, special features, and amp sounds coming from one guitar all at once!

More recently, I’ve been using my Morley ABC Switch stomp pedal to broaden and enrich my recordings from my electric instruments. I’ve got two rack-mounted multi-channel computer interfaces and three small effects chains, with three channels running through NICE tubes in good tube preamps. I plug the guitar into the Morley ABC, and A goes through lots of pedals to one tube preamp channel, B goes through a Seymour Duncan Pickup booster pedal to another tube preamp channel, and C goes through a funky old Danelectro chorus pedal into a tube compressor and preamp rackmounted device. All three go to the back of one or both of my computer input channels. Sometimes, to throw in some spice, I have two-channel pedals in my chain: Since my computer input devices are 8+ ¼-inch mono input channels, I actually have the second output of my chorus pedals and my Sitar pedal all feeding to the inputs. In some setups, I’ve got 7 individual channeled inputs from my guitar into my recording.

Most of the time, I’m just running one or two channels through my good tubes for the recordings. It is awesome, however, to make entirely new sounds in my recordings with the simple click (or three) of my Morley ABC Switch.

There are other great Morley products, too! Click here to see lots more at zZounds! They guarantee you’ll love your gear!

There’s another useful way (of the many) to use a Morley ABC: One ¼ instrument input going out to two amps with A and B, C going to a tuner pedal or tuner rack component. The tuner can be on all the time without causing any signal interruptions or noise in the actual amplified channels. Nice!

Wishes and Wants

Honestly, I don’t think I have any wishes and wants on this gear: the Morley ABC Switch Box stomp pedal is JUST RIGHT and is the F-150, the Cadillac, and the Mercedes of stomp-switchers. I like it just like it is.

The STARFISH and STARFISH+ Sturdy Gurdy Instrument Stands Review

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The D&A Guitar Gear STARFISH and STARFISH+ Sturdy Gurdy Instrument Stands Review

I’m a musician and a professional recording artist, as well as a guitar and bass gear enthusiast. Needless to say, instrument stands have been a staple of my life for as long as I’ve been actively playing guitars, basses, dulcimers, mandos, and more. When one is first starting out, often it is a bit extra money to go ahead and get a stand with one’s early/first purchases. We often skimp on cases and stands because we’re focused on the expense of one’s first instruments. With that said, if we continue past the beginner’s stage with our instruments, we find that certain accessories really become requirements. Stands are no exception. One only has to snap the neck on a guitar once to get an idea that leaning the guitar against an amp or on the couch/bed/chair is not the greatest idea we’ve had. Cases become important for storage purposes, but stands serve a far more daily important use.

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As a recording and performing professional, stands serve three primary purposes in my world: someplace (hopefully safe) to place/hang the guitar while I use the computer, the rack gear, or walk away from the recording desk/jamming rug for a few minutes; a very convenient place to leave out my “current” guitars out of their cases so I’m inspired to pick them up and play them whenever I get a spare moment; and an easy-access place to arrange my instruments when I’m doing a gig ( I don’t currently gig often, but this is still a consideration).

For me as an individual, I see two kinds of stands – the basic tubed variety, and the “sturdy stand.” I used the inexpensive foam-covered tubular metal stands (often selling between $9.99 and $19.99) very early on in my career as my primary stand because they were first and foremost affordable. I used these stands almost exclusively because I didn’t think the more expensive sturdy stands were really all that big a deal.

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Stands weren’t all that big a deal a decade ago – until one of my favorite Jazz Box guitars teetered off one of the tube stands and snapped at the headstock. At the point of the broken neck on my Artcore, that $9.99 stand became a VERY expensive stand. Since my transition to only sturdy stands (active and passive), I’ve not had an instrument fall off a stand since…

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For this review, I’d like to tell you about a wonderful type of sturdy stand I’ve had the pleasure of using for the past many months: The D&A STARFISH stands. I’ve hung LOTS of different kinds of guitars, basses, and other instruments on these particular stands and am VERY pleased. Read on to find out more…

Quick Opinion

Both STARFISH instrument stands are very strong contenders in the sturdy stand market! I wouldn’t hesitate to buy more.
I’ve been using sturdy stands from three prominent stand manufacturers for about the last 7 years. The first one was a major expense for my limited budget at $100 (street) – but in the end proved to be a worthwhile investment (I still have that particular stand). Sturdy stands hold the guitar better than tube stands; and they do a better job of supporting the weight of the guitar. These multi-footed broad-based sturdy stands make the possibility of a fall much less likely. The footing and weight of the sturdy stand world is significantly more substantial than the traditional $10 tube stand. And they are worth every cent more…

My STARFISH and STARFISH+ Active stands are the latest in my now fairly large set of sturdy stands. Both my STARFISH stands have held priceless guitars and cheap guitars alike, and are both in daily, non-stop use. If there was something (even small) that I didn’t like about them, they would never hold my #1 LP Traditional or my Hummingbird acoustic or my Brother’s Blondie (#5) Telecaster Deluxe (just to name three of my most important guitars).

I do not hesitate to put my favorite instruments in my STARFISH and STARFISH+ stands – particularly the STARFISH+ Active stand. I’m quite fond of them and would recommend them to any player, whether they are just starting out or are a seasoned decades-long musician.

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Please read my stand safety note at the bottom of this review.

Durability and Ease of Use

The STARFISH Passive and STARFISH+ Active stands are VERY sturdy. They are VERY well-planted. On my short-pile rug, the stands do pretty well. The stand’s materials feel solid and well-done. My two stands have been in VERY active use for many months and still look brand new. All the joints still work great, despite being carted about and thrown into the boots of cars and wagons. The surfaces still have their coating on them, and even the soft surfaces still feel even and well-made. I have not found a crack or flaw in either of my STARFISH stands at this point.

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I’m not overly rough with my gear, even down to the stands, strap, and picks I use. I like my things to last, so I do tend to be reasonable with my gear. With that said, guitar stands get knocked around A LOT when they’re put in trunks or closets or attics or even put out on the floor with a bunch of active musicians. I must say, both my STARFISH stands have held up VERY well. I’m quite pleased with them!

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StarfishPassiveYokeThe STARFISH Passive stand is very easy to use: just take the instrument by its neck, and place it into the STARFISH’s yoke. Make sure you’ve got it in the right place and let it go. With instruments long enough to touch the padding on the five sturdy legs, just put the guitar close to the padding as you release and the instrument nestles nicely against the padding on the front two legs. For smaller instruments like mandolins, dulcimers, and violins, just hang the instrument carefully from its scroll-stock and let go (with short instruments with ANY yoke stand if you “drop” it into the yoke at an angle and let go, it will swing and touch or hit the main rod of the stand. Whether or not the main rod is padded, short instruments can get dented if you are careless with your instrument.

StarfishActiveLockingHeadYokeThe STARFISH+ Active stand is a breeze, and adds an additional layer of instrument security for a nominal extra cost. The overall stand setup of the STARFISH+ is like that of the STARFISH. The biggest difference is the active, self-closing yoke in the STARFISH+ Active. This stand is weight-activated such that a clear pair of “pincers” runs around the neck of your instrument and makes a closed loop under your headstock/scroll-stock. I like this additional security because it is less likely that the instrument can be knocked out of the stand by running cats, dogs, rabid fans, or children. Although nothing is perfect, this is a really great stand technique – put the instrument down and it automatically puts its sleeves around the neck. VERY NICE. The diameter of the sleeve/pincers is pretty big around. I’ve put many different basses and guitars (both acoustic and electric) in my STARFISH+ stand with great results.

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Price

The price of the STARFISH and STARFISH+ in USD is extremely comparable with its competitors from Ultimate and Hercules. The two STARFISH stands are a very strong contender in this market space. I would definitely consider the price point on STARFISHes when making a decision to buy an Active stand or Passive hang-yolk stand.

You can take a look at the STARFISH and STARFISH+ stands here at the Heydna site: http://www.heydna.com/. The stands are available at major retailers, on Amazon.com, and through the http://www.heydna.com/collections/all store site.

How about this for great?

Some instruments aren’t all that great for working with almost any guitar stand. The STARFISH+ Active stand works with several difficult-to-fit instruments in my library:
• The STARFISH+ is the ONLY stand that I have ever used that will hold my double-neck B.C. Rich guitar. It is sturdy, doesn’t rock left and right, and actually holds the guitar in such a way as to not put undue stress on the neck that is in the yolk. In my case, when my double-neck is not in its case, it hangs by the 12-string neck in the STARFISH+
• Few active guitar stands hold old-school (narrow-headstock) Telecasters very well. Some active guitar stands actually don’t close up enough to hold a Tele at all. The STARFISH and STARFISH+ both hold my Teles quite well.
• The STARFISH+ does a fantastic job holding banana-headstock guitars like Explorers.
• My STARFISH+ comfortably holds my Wonderful vintage Maggie Valley (North Carolina) wormy-maple sweetheart lap dulcimer – even with its odd scroll-stock!

 

A note about instrument safety and instrument stand safety

An instrument stand is only as good as the way it is used. If one is careless about placing an instrument in a stand it is likely that accidents will occur with any stand type or brand. There are always environments where stands can’t protect our instruments – even the really good ones like STARFISH stands. As we move on stage or have kids and animals (is there a difference? 😉 ) bolting through the room, we stand a chance to knock over even the best of stands.
Some tips:
• Always place your stand on as flat a surface as possible
• Always place your stand out of the middle of the high-traffic paths of the room
• Always take the extra three seconds to put the instrument in the sand and make sure it’s all the way in the stand and properly positioned – even active stands can’t do their job when the instrument is thrown carelessly into the stand’s yoke
• Make sure you have a firm grasp on the instrument as you place it into the stand or retrieve it from the stand

In our liability-driven world, I must make a disclaimer: use guitar stands at your own risk. I am not endorsing any particular stand or any particular method of using a stand with your priceless instrument. Ultimately, you are responsible for what happens to your instrument.

A Quick Review about the new Gibson Les Paul Classic 7 String Electric Guitar

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Hi folks! REALLY busy right now… Several reviews in progress but not a lot of time to write and post. Sorry for the delays…

Here’s a quick overview of the new Gibson Les Paul Classic 7 String Electric guitar. This isn’t my normal thorough review: it’s something I wrote and posted on the Gibson page for the Les Paul 7… I thought I’d share it with you folks. It’s just a quick opinion… I’ll be more thorough in a later post with pics and opinions…

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I’m sitting here recording with my Gibson Les Paul Classic 7 String for the first time. I have had the guitar for weeks now, tinkering with it, embracing its identity, assimilating it into my musical brain. I went to the official Gibson product page to read the specs again as I actually use this lovely instrument in a professional environment (yet really just having a blast channeling music through this black and cream Beauty as if it were a part of my hands.) Opens a new window…

I have bought and sold a few of the Gibson V and Explorer 7-String guitars (when you can even find one, particularly the Explorer). They are great guitars: I just found the EMGs to be too sanitary (sterile and too perfect) and the necks to be just too wide. I have huge paws, so I don’t have a problem with them – I just found the necks to feel bigger than a Jazz bass neck… I REALLY wanted to love and keep the Explorer in particular but I just couldn’t do it. It felt like it was not a part of me when I played it. I sold both of them within a month of acquiring each one.

I kept hoping for a great Les Paul 7. My wish was granted this year.

This is REAL opinion from someone who’s actively using this guitar, with 4 decades of experience underneath my brains and hands.

You can find out lots of information and pricing for other Gibson Les Paul Classics at my favorite G.A.S. providers, zZounds with a guarantee that you’ll love it! Please visit this page and buy stuff from these great folks. It helps me fund my music projects and this site.

  • Nibs on the binding (yay! I’m missing those nibs on some 2014 and 2015 models. YES, I know why they’re not on recent models: I just happen to love the nibs. It’s a Gibson, after all!)
  • The nut material doesn’t ping as much as Corian. Nice. It’s smoother and feels a little stronger.
  • Seymour JB and Jazz pickups (YES! Passive that can bite or scream rock and smooth jazz and new age! Wheeeee! We’re NOT all metal players! Note: I LIKE metal, I just don’t play it.)
  • Nice carved top that feels like a Standard, Traditional or Classic. Nice! Close your eyes and you think you’ve got a Traditional in your hands.
  • A neck that feels as familiar as most any of my Gibby and Epi Les Pauls, nicer than my Les Baritone (still love my Bari, though)
  • A neck that someone carved with ME in mind: a little flat and slender at the nut and rounder at the heel. Feels great, unobtrusive, melts into my hands every time I play it… It’s a very different neck like a less-rounded Firebird or something: but know that it feels great in hand!
  • 15DB *CLEAN* Boost (does louder clean on clean circuit and goes to downright snotty when overdriven!), plus individual splits based in a Gibby PCB Quick Connect board… NICE. I can solder on a Gibson Quick-connect and hook in some DiMarzios or other Seymours for smoother or harsher sounds if I want to: all without changing or damaging the guitar
  • That wonderful quirky and awesome mis-matched “cream” color between binding, pick guard, and rings (Trust me, all of my Les Pauls have this endearing trait… I happen to find it to be like “home.”)
  • A FANTASTIC piece of rosewood on the ‘board and excellently-balanced and leveled frets. No buzz anywhere, not even when I down-tuned to ADADGAD.
  • When I set the intonation, I only had to tweak three strings, and they were < 4 cents off. NICE! I don’t mind setting intonation. I just felt pretty good when it only took a tweak or three.
  • I love the Grover keystone tuners (would liked to have the locking ones, but I can’t always have everything!)
  • A SUPERB finish job on the lacquer finish. Excellent work Gibson team!

It isn’t any heavier than my Peace or my Epi Custom. It’s lighter than my Trads.

 

Jim and his Les Paul 7 String...

Jim and his Les Paul 7 String…

I have NO gripes about this guitar. It is a recording and jamming machine and I love it! It makes it EASY to jump from a “regular” Les or a Bari Les to this guitar. The necks are very similar. You don’t feel like you’re playing a cricket-bat-neck guitar. NICE.

Folks, we can nit-pick the details. Me? I wouldn’t change anything. The silver labels on the headstock that are better than the decal type but not quite as pretty as the inlay: fine. Silver is cool. I would love nickel covers (yes, I’m one of those guys): but no-one makes nickel-covered 7 passives that I’ve seen – not something Gibson could have chosen: and besides, Seymours!

Dear Seymour Duncan, MJ and all the wonderful folks at SD: Please make me some nickel-covered wax-potted 7-string pickups that are a 59 in the neck and an overwound Pearly Gates in the bridge!

The recordings are superb. I must say, dropping below the 6th string to walk around the melody and harmony with some notes that dip into the bass world is just stupendous. When you get used to it, you’ll love it.

The sound and playability are crisp, clean, and well-defined. You can finger pick, claw hammer, hybrid pick, and single-pick your way to heaven because this guitar puts out through tubes AND solid states like nobody’s business.

Gibson, thank you for this. I’m truly happy. It’s now my number 8 guitar (a big deal, really).

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

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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.
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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.
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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.

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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.”
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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.
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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.
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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 ;-).

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