I recently spent some quality time with the Fender Jaguar Standard 24 in lovely Seafoam Green. This guitar sells for $599 retail at Guitar Center and comes with two humbuckers. It’s a short scale neck, with the same feel and radius as a Strat, so it feels like a Strat that’s easier to play. It’s Made in Mexico (insert wall joke here) and… well… I think it’s great.
There IS still a “feel” difference between Squier, Fender Mexico, and Fender America, but the lines are getting a bit blurry. This didn’t feel like a thousand dollar American guitar, mind you, but it did feel “good.” The fretwork and finish were good, the sound was good, the playability was good. Everything was good, except the looks, which were great. I love the color.
Here’s the real question – if I saw this guitar used for $300, would I snap it up? Yup, I believe I would. Would I gig with it, record with it? Sure, why not? Would I swap out the pickups? Yeah, I would.
I said the sound was good, and it was. But with better pickups I think it might sound great. Put a Pearly Gates in the bridge and this guitar is a serious contender. Of course that’s true of almost any guitar you put a Pearly Gates in. Still. I didn’t hear the clarity I’d like to hear from the stock pickups. Again, good not great. Good enough for most people and most purposes. Does it sound like a Strat? Nope. Why should it? Does it sound like a Les Paul? Nope. It sort of sounds like something in between. There IS something “Fender” about the sound, but it’s hard to put my finger on it. All I know is I like it. 24 inch scale guitars like humbuckers – to my ears, they sound a little too thin with single coils. I think this guitar is a great fit for rock or blues.
Let’s talk about the 24 inch scale. The frets are closer together, so it feels faster and easier to play. You’re going to lose a bit of tone, that’s true, so if you’re a Strat player who likes the bell-like clean glass sound, this guitar isn’t for you. It’s more for the Strat player who wants to rock out or play blues with some nasty in the sound. It’s not for all players, so you really do have to try it to decide if you like it.
As is typical for a Mexican Fender, you’re getting medium quality everything. Everything is “fine” or maybe “good.” Upgrades? Bridge position pickup, for sure. Tuners? Uh… not a huge priority. Nut? Yes, if you know what you’re doing. Pots and switches? Nah, they’re fine. Nothing is bad. You can play it as is. I might just do the bridge pickup and the nut, if it were me.
This guitar is fun to play. I’m partial to 24 inch scale guitars, but this is fun. Again, I love the look. I would definitely recommend this guitar.