Fender Player Series Jaguar

by Christian Wissmuller • in
  • September 2018
  • Top Gear
• Created: August 31, 2018

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Days before this year’s Summer NAMM Show, Fender caught the attention of players and retailers with the announcement that the brand’s long-running Mexican Standard Series was being discontinued. The “replacement” line was dubbed the Fender Player Series.

It’s nothing new for a supplier to rebrand a line or “sub-line” and, as often as not, actual change boils down to just the name, itself, and maybe a few minor cosmetic tweaks.

So what’s different with this new line, compared to the old MIM models, you ask?

To start with, each instrument in the Player Series features updated body radii, upgraded bridges, new Alnico pickups, 22-fret necks, brand-new finishes, and a return of the old, “classic” Fender logo.

To wit: it’s not just a simple name-change. Additionally, some of these guitars are equipped with unusual, “non-standard” features.

For example, the Jaguar that I was sent for review features a humbucker in the bridge position, with a single-coil at the neck. I was more than a little curious about these new Player Series

Fenders, since I’ve long been a fan of the Mexican Series – quality guitars from a legit brand, sold at a reasonable price. Why mess with success?

Happily, I can say that the changes are all either legitimate improvements, or not especially noticeable. The neck is smooth and fast, the humbucker has plenty of growl, the single-coil plenty of bite. The alder body isn’t heavy, but it does avoid my sometimes-critique of certain Fenders, in that it’s substantial enough to not feel like a toy. The coil-split option on the bridge pickup was a useful feature (and one I realize somehow none of my own guitars have – the numerical odds of which are pretty staggering), that I found myself taking advantage of often.

I tend to go for vintage gear, so the return to the old-school logo is an improvement, in my opinion (though it certainly won’t improve your playing ability or how the guitar sounds) and (with one exception) I very much like the new finishes.

In fact the only thing I didn’t particularly like about the review guitar I was sent was the “Sonic Red” color choice. Very loud, very… uh… red! It’s, of course, a subjective thing and this shade of crimson would no doubt make a lasting impression, so if that’s your style then this is the option for you. Personally, I’d go for the “Tidepool” color – sort of a bluer take on Seafoam Green. Very pretty. The other two finish options – black and sunburst – are at least a little more subtle than Sonic Red. It’s not like I’m keeping this little lady, though, so the color is not an issue!

All in all, this Player Jaguar is very aptly named: it’s a very solid “player’s guitar” – more than sufficient for performing live, recording, and practicing, but not so expensive or tricked out that you need to be all precious with it, worried that someone might scuff the guitar or spill something on it. A job well done by the folks over at Fender.

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