A Counterpart to my Other Jaguar
Ah yes, the Fender Jaguar. I'm a big fan - the shorter scale, offset body, tremolo system, and plenty of pickup selection and switching options. The purchase of this guitar marks the second time I've purchased a Jaguar.
My first Jaguar is an MIJ JG66B with a Mastery Bridge and some Curtis Novak lipstick pickups, as well as the tremolo and collet by StayTrem, which, if you didn't know, is the same tremolo and collet used on this guitar. My MIJ Jaguar is a loud and fickle beast, but totally worthwhile. The pickups are reverse-wound and reverse-polarity, as well as wound as hot as possible, doing some degree of humbucking and noise cancellation.
How does the Johnny Marr Jaguar compare? They are two different animals, each offering a different approach to the Jaguar's sound.
Let's break it down by components:
Bridge: The modified Mustang on the Johnny Marr is not, admittedly, as adjustable as a Mastery Bridge and it actually sits a bit wider as well. The low and high E get closer to the edge of the fretboard as you go down the neck. If you plan to play this guitar in the manner of Oliver Ackermann, you may want to get a Mastery Bridge...but in all actuality, you may want to not pick up this Jaguar...more on that later. What the Mustang bridge does offer though is the vintage, plucky vibe of Jaguars as they were originally design. It's percussive, bright, and comes with that oh-so-cool looking bridge cover.
Pickups: The Bareknuckles are low-out, but high-articulation pickups. You aren't going to get anymore clean than this. They are sparkling/jangly and optionally smooth. As mentioned before, this isn't a guitar you dime your amp to 11 for. You have overdrive and fuzzboxes? Still going to be vastly different than any high-output guitar. This is not at all a knock on the guitar or the pickups (obviously I gave this guitar 5 stars!). It is a different approach though. This is a guitar meant for articulate playing. Melodies shine through; notes are heard individually.
Switching/Controls: This is the best part about the guitar. All of the switching makes sense and almost none of the switches are easily accidentally knocked or engaged. You've got a universal brightness switch (mid-cut like on the old Jaguar), and then you have an additional high-pass when the humbucking mode is engaged. The pots are smooth and the electronics are well done. Fender still lazily grounds the guitar (sandwiching a wire between the tremolo plate and the body). That is easily fixed by using copper tape - the kind with conductive adhesive. Otherwise, you can tell everything in this guitar was designed with playability in mind.
Build: As good as it's going to get. The neck is nice, the finish is nice, and the overall feel is great.
Tremolo: Best tremolo Fender has put into a Jazzmaster or Jaguar. Great work to them and the folks at StayTrem.
Case/Accessories: I love G&G cases, and this one is really quite beautiful. The blue interior is luxurious and the outside of the case with that peppered patterns looks great. The guitar strap that comes with the guitar is not the greatest - easily replaced by something better. I always install StrapLoks on my guitars, so I have already done that to this one with a nice Couch strap.
Overall, the Johnny Marr Jaguar is a refined machine. It is not meant for people to be blasting solos on or playing doom metal. If you are looking for high-gain, high-volume destruction, this is not your machine. However, if you are a guitarist looking to add that perfect little melody in your band, or really sitting in the proverbial pocket, this is your guitar. Johnny Marr isn't known for his smokin' hot licks. He's known for finding the perfect parts for songs. I enjoy this guitar very much as an alternate take to the way I've set up my other Jaguar.
As always, Sweetwater customer service is phenomenal.