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Good Strat, bad Tele and other guitars

Squier J Mascis Jazzmaster

Over the weekend I went to Guitar Center to try out some guitars. Here's my report on what I tried and what they were like.

(Apologies for the photo quality, I took these with my crappy camera phone.)

Squier Vintage Modified '72 Tele Thinline

Squier Vintage Modified '72 Tele Thinline

One of these was actually in stock, and it wasn't too bad.

The thing to know about this particular Telecaster is that the "Wide Range" humbuckers sound a whole lot different than the usual Tele single-coil pickups. The sound isn't bad. Just different.

Other than the different sound compared to a regular Tele, I noticed the neck has some chunk to it in a good way. The specs list the neck as a "C" shape, but to my hand it felt thicker than a Classic Vibe.

This is also one of those "looks way better in person than in photos" guitars. In photos, this guitar looks boring, but in person this is a nice looker.

Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar

Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar

This is not my first time trying a Squier Jag. Every time I try one however, I'm left with the same thought. "I wish this was a Jazzmaster." This is ultimately the reason I've not bought one and probably never will.

And yeah, I know I just talked about maybe getting a Jag. I guess I had to play one again to remind me why I don't own one.

I'm not saying the guitar is bad, because it isn't. In fact, the one I played was quite nice. But it's no Jazzmaster.

Squier J Mascis Jazzmaster

Squier J Mascis Jazzmaster

This is another one of those "looks awful in photos but beautiful in person" guitars.

The J Mascis Jazzmaster is not just some Vintage Modified JM with a different color scheme. This guitar is way different. Different pickups, different bridge, different tremolo system.

Better than a Vintage Modified? Yes. You can tell just by the feel of it. The sound takes a little getting used to, but it's otherwise a very nice Jazzmaster.

The worst part about this guitar is that nobody can seem to take a genuinely good photo of one. You really have to see it in person to appreciate the creamy white body color and gold pick guard.

Squier Classic Vibe '60s Stratocaster in Burgundy Mist

Squier Classic Vibe '60s Stratocaster in Burgundy Mist

This Strat was a treat to play. I saw this in the store, grabbed it immediately to try it out, and wow. If I had the money I probably would have bought it.

I've played some CV Strats before. The last one I played was a model in Sherwood Green, and it was terrible. The gloss finish on the neck felt sticky and the guitar was too heavy.

This one however... perfect. Well, almost perfect. The action could have been lowered just a hair. But other than that, the weight was correct, the neck correct, the controls correct, the sound correct... everything was right on this guitar.

This purple Strat was absolutely one of the good ones, and I guarantee the only reason it hasn't sold is because of the color.

Squier Classic Vibe Telecaster '50s

Squier Classic Vibe Telecaster '50s

This is the best Telecaster Squier makes. But wow, what a bad example of one this was.

The sound of this Tele was spot-on, but the rest of it was in bad shape. The pickup switch tip was missing (probably stolen), and the output jack was loose.

Oh, and one more thing. This was as heavy as a boat anchor. Probably at or over 9 pounds.

As crazy-good as the CV Strat was, this CV Tele was crazy-bad.

Fender Classic Player Jazzmaster Special

Fender Classic Player Jazzmaster Special

This was my second time trying one of these out, and this one was not-so good.

The first time I tried one of these, the guitar was darned near perfect. This time around, the guitar just didn't feel right.

There was nothing wrong with this guitar at all, but it just didn't really have the magic, so to speak.

Verdict

The purple Strat was the winner out of the bunch, no question about it. That guitar just had everything going for it... even with pickups of mismatched height (the neck pickup was almost flush to the pick guard). With just only minimal setup, it would have been a perfect Strat.

Second best was the J Mascis Jazzmaster. Very nice looker. Needed some setup, but still nice overall. I could see myself owning one of these.

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