Review: Fender’s American Original ’60s Jaguar Recreates Magic
The overall appearance of this guitar will knock your socks off with its flashy shiny panels and complex, curvy contour.
Nothing compares to a classic, handcrafted, American made ’60s Fender Jaguar. There is a certain feel vintage instruments have that is timeless and can never be recreated. However, Fender has certainly come close to recreating the original magic, using exact replicas of most components, period-specific coloring, and a super sturdy tweed case to hit the road with confidence. The classic stout neck design and rounded fretboard remain, making for easy playing for those with smaller, more narrow hands who may desire the mobility and precision of a wider neck guitar. The nostalgia and functionality of this guitar have stood the test of time, making it one of Fender’s most popular models to date.
The Fender American Original ’60s Jaguar: At A Glance
- Weight: 8lb. 14 oz.
- Round-laminated 9.5”-radius rosewood fingerboard (slightly flatter than a vintage-style 7.25” )
- C-shaped neck
- Two ’62 vintage single coil pickups
- Offered in Surf Green, Candy Apple Red, 3-Color Sunburst
- Comes with vintage tweed case
So many switches, what do they all do?
The controls include
- 1 x volume
- 1 x tone
- 2 x thumbwheel (neck volume, tone)
- 2-way slide (rhythm/lead)
- 2 x on/off pickup switches, bass-cut switch
So what does this mean? If you’re a player that switches back and forth between lead and rhythm guitar tones often, the Jaguar can help you create precise tones in advance, accessing them on the fly, and keeping your sound consistent.
The lead channel is brighter and more aggressive, allowing for any pickup combination, while the rhythm channel uses only the neck pickup and routes the signal through a bunch of capacitors and resistors that result in a dark, mellower sound. As for the bends, the new Jaguar features a standard vintage floating tremolo for super controlled upward and downward action.
Pros and Cons
All of these bells and whistles have been both super desirable throughout the years, as well as completely unnecessary and frowned upon by some.
Depending on your playing style, the toggles may be in your way and completely excessive…or just the thing you need to take your playing to the next level. Is eight knobs too many? If you have simple taste, this may not be the guitar for you, as there are a lot of moving parts which can make it overwhelming to a beginning electric guitarist, unless the idea of growth through experimenting excited you. Certain strumming patterns, especially those higher on the neck, can leave you bumping controls and adjusting things accidentally while playing.
Tones for Days
The overall construction of this guitar makes for crystal clean high on the neck shredding, while maintaining the warmth and sustain of lower neck playing.
The Jaguar was originally created in the image of its cousin, the Jazzmaster, to appease the standing jazz musician with its highly contoured body and shortened neck. The single coil pickups were included for a punchier, heavy attack. Modern artists such as Chelsea Wolfe have completely crafted their sound around the warm, jangly, sustained textures that the Jaguar brings to the table.
A certain unique warmth lies within the guts of this classic shredding machine that cannot be replicated or replaced. It is certainly a jack of all trades. With the re-issuing of this model, the price point maintains at the intermediate to professional level of $2,099.99. While being highly revered and collectible, these guitars haven’t historically been as accessible to lower income players as its Fender Offset sister series. However, if you can afford this guitar, and appreciate the quirky aspects of it, you will never want to let it go. The spirit of the Jaguar lives on.