No one could deny that Fender’s J Mascis Signature Jazzmaster was one snazzy-looking tone machine, but the $2,000 price tag felt kind of wrong. As this vintage Guitar World interview indicates, the Dinosaur Jr. frontman’s first Jazzmaster was a beat-up old pawnshop guitar. Shouldn’t his Fender signature guitar be just as affordable?
Fender seems to have thought as much.
The company recently unveiled Squier’s J Mascis Jazzmaster, which will sell at a fraction of the cost (MSRP $599) of J’s previous signature model. But don’t worry, aesthetes! The new Mascis model features similarly striking looks, with a gold pickguard and lovely antique white finish. The body is basswood, much like the Japanese Fender clones from the ‘80s, and the C-shaped neck is maple with a rosewood fretboard.
While the styling is certainly spot-on, the hardware and electronics raise a couple of potential issues. The J Mascis Squier has many of the same features as a standard Fender Jazzmaster: for example, a three-way toggle, separate lead and rhythm circuits, and that super long tremolo arm that Kevin Shields made us love so dearly.
It does not, however, have a standard JM bridge. This axe comes with a Tune-o-Matic style “Adjust-o-Matic” bridge. While some may welcome this addition (Jazzmaster bridges are notorious for fret buzz and unstable tuning), the main concern is if it will retain that characteristic jangle that these guitars are known for.
The pickups are also a bit of a question mark. Jazzies get their distinctively mellow tone from widely wound single-coil soapbars. According to Fender’s website, the J Mascis Squier is fitted with “Jazzmaster Single-Coil Pickups,” which could mean the more vintage-sounding AVRI pups, or it could mean the tightly wound Strat-like pups found in Fender Japan’s Jazzmasters.
Only time will tell how this thing sounds and plays, and hopefully we’ll find out soon. (The guitar should be hitting the market any day now.) One thing’s for certain, though: you’d be hard-pressed to find a Jazzmaster of this caliber at such a value. For you offset Fender devotees, this classy Jazzy is definitely worth a look!
- For detailed specs and authorized dealers, check out Fender’s website.
- For More Jazzmaster options, check out zZounds.