I’ve you’ve begun to get a bit strained trying to keep up with all of Fender’s recently released guitars and basses this year, you’re not alone! But don’t rest just yet because the influx isn’t done. We’ve recently taken a look a number of Blacktop and Pawn Shop Series models and found them both worthy contenders in the Fender family. The Blacktop series offers classic Fender electrics at a very affordable price along with a slant towards modern rock sound (think of it as Fender’s way of trying to hook the younger kids to their brand) while the Pawn Shop Series is best known for unique combinations of features that you won’t find in any other of the company’s models.
Today, we are going to be taking a look at a guitar from another one of Fender’s lines – the Modern Player Jaguar Electric. This line of highly affordable Chinese made guitars might not be for everyone, but it’s clear that much like the Blacktop series, Fender has the newbies in mind with this one.
The reason for all this activity is simple: new blood. If you own a Strat, Tele, Precision, Jazz or anything else with Leo's surname on the headstock, well, they've already got you hooked. It's the newbies that Fender is hoping to attract. But that doesn’t mean that this Jaguar doesn’t offer plenty of value and interesting features if you’re already one of the Fender faithful.
The Modern Player Jaguar comes with a large CBS-era headstock, a slim 'C' profile bolt-on maple neck, a rosewood fingerboard, a couple of P-90-style single-coil pickups, a tune-o-matic-style bridge and fixed tailpiece, a pair of Jazz bass knobs and most interestingly, a Strat-style jackplate. Not sure who at Fender insisted on putting Stratocaster jackplate on a guitar that definitely doesn’t look like a Strat but suffice it to say that it looks a bit … off. New players probably won’t notice a thing but to a Fender veteran – it just looks wrong.
Well, when you really think about it, you can argue this stripped-down guitar isn't a true Jaguar anyway. The unconventional choice of a mahogany body, in place of traditional alder, pretty much confirms this in my own view. But even then, Fender would likely respond that the guitar's unmistakable silhouette and short 24-inch scale length make it a classic Jag through and through. Plus, it has 'Jaguar' on the headstock and that’s as official as it gets. Just remember that this is designed to appeal to Fender virgins, not purists.
Unlike the more interesting Marauder, the Modern Player Jaguar offers no surprises at all. And that's a good thing. You get three fat-sounding P-90 tones that thrive on clean and overdriven settings. This is not a guitar for the distortion junkies and shredders among you, but it'll work for blues players, punks and just about anyone else. Both of the Modern Player guitars offer excellent build quality and features at a low price point. The Jaguar for one is a good blues and classic rock machine that should appeal to all but the most staunch of Fender purists.
All in all, the Modern Player Series is a great idea and the MP Jaguar itself is beautifully executed. They might be aimed at Fender newbies, but there's plenty to appeal to more experienced players too. And at only $399.99, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better deal!