The Squier Jaguar Bass Special is part of a small family of ‘Vintage Modified’ bass guitars that mix and match different features from Fender‘s Jazz, Precision and Mustang – and there is also a choice of block-inlays, stack knobs and active electronics on this smart looking collection. The Vintage Modified Jaguar Bass Special SS offers the short-scale option
Fender have offered 30” scale basses since the mid sixties and the Mustang, Musicmaster and Bronco have always been in and out of the Fender and Squier catalogues, suiting student players or people with smaller hands. Not that the short scale bass is confined to amateurs; think of Jack Bruce or Tina Weymouth from Talking Heads, who both championed the smaller instrument.
The Squier Jaguar SS features an offset-waist Agathis body with a gloss urethane finish – available colours include Black, Candy Apple Red, and Silver – and a C shape narrow maple neck. The evenly-grained rosewood fingerboard offers 20 medium jumbo frets which have been finished extremely well; in fact the build quality – the Jaguar bass is made in Indonesia – is very impressive. Wiring is standard for a two pick-up passive bass, with two volumes and a tone control and a traditional design of Fender bridge has been included, offering full adjustment over string height and length. Tuning gears are open-back type and all basses in the range come with matching headstock colours
The review Jaguar Bass arrived with a good action but the intonation needed a slight tweaking. The pick-ups were also a little unevenly balanced, the P-style split unit was decidedly louder than the J-style, but a quick fiddle with a screwdriver soon evened things up. Short scale basses feel strange at first but the extra comfort can be appealing although some may find the neck a bit too slim, if that’s possible. For others with smaller fingers, the neck on the Jaguar will be a blessing.
Both pick-ups on the Jaguar are classic sounding Fender, offering growly mids, warmth and a rounded top end. Plugged into a quality bass combo, the P-style pick-up was warm and powerful on its own, contrasting with the brighter upper-mid tone characteristics of the J-style unit. Blended, the pick-ups give the bass a decent sounding thump as well as clarity, just as a Fender bass should.
The Squier Jaguar Bass Special SS belies its price tag in terms of playability and sound, and if the short scale isn’t your bag, the other models in the range may fulfil your needs. Overall, he short scale Jaguar proves itself to be a very tidy little bass indeed.