Review: Fender Player Jaguar Bass

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Review: Fender Player Jaguar Bass

Jaguar Bass
Words by Lewis Noke Edwards

Fender Player Jaguar® Bass | Fender Music Australia | RRP 1549

The Jaguar Bass is a unique take on a few of Fender’s more famous designs and concepts. The Precision Bass took the world by storm in the early 50s, while the Jaguar revolutionised electric guitar in the 60s. Feel like you need an instrument that harnesses both of these forward-thinking designs? Look no further than the Player Jaguar Bass. The ‘Jag’ Bass is available in a variety of colours, this one in particular in a classic Seafoam Green with a Maple fretboard, the Player Jaguar Bass is available with either a Pau Ferro or Maple fretboards depending on your preference of colours.

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The Jaguar Bass is the choice for a growing list of musicians, including Troy Sanders of Mastodon with a recently released signature ‘Jag’ bass, Justin Meldal-Johnsen, Mark Hoppus of Blink 182 and Eva Sanders of The Mars Volta to name a few.

The Player Jaguar Bass rounds out Fender’s stellar range of bass guitars, built to Fender’s exacting specifications, but at a more accessible price. The Jag bass has a subtle offset, its curves and belly sitting comfortably against you, whether sitting or standing. It’s built from an alder body, the Gloss Polyester finish feeling robust as well as looking great. The neck is Maple, with a Modern “C” neck shape feeling familiar to those of us acquainted with traditional Fender feel, but with modern playability. The neck shape is complimented by a 9.5” fretboard radius. A 4-Saddle Standard bridge, Synthetic Bone nut and Standard Open-Gear Fender tuners keep everything in tune. The balanced, even notes allow you to easily be the anchor of your band, or a funky lead rhythm driver.

Player Jaguar Bass

The electronics are a take on the ‘PJ’ style pickups, featuring a split single-coil Precision pickup in the middle position and a Jazz pickup in the bridge, each of which has an independent volume control to blend them together, and a master tone control adjusts high-end roll off overall.

The beauty of the ‘PJ’ design is that it’s not an amalgamation of multiple designs, but offers the best of each in their totality. The growl and presence of a P bass, but the deep, smooth lows of a Jazz bass, all at your fingertips.

In use, it’s easy to get a great tone out of the Player Jaguar Bass. The offset body offers a physically well-balanced weight, feeling comfortable, and it’s easy to play. The pickups are classic Fender, and in being that, they offer a huge range of tones from more modern sonic weight, clarity and attack to subtle, mellow jazz or blues tones. The master tone control helps you settle into, or poke your head out of, a mix or arrangement easily, the high frequency roll retaining string attack but doing away with any harsh top-end that may be present. This kind of tone control is equally handy for driving your bass through a fuzz or other grit pedals!

The neck shape, Modern “C”, feels great – there’s not much more to say. The best part of it is how little I thought about the neck shape, I simply began fretting notes without feeling encumbered, unlike some more vintage, baseball bat necks feel, or on the other end of the spectrum, particularly flat, modern neck shapes without much to grab onto. The neck is also finished in Satin Urethane Finish on the back, so it won’t stick or grab onto your fingers, while the front of the headstock and fretboard has a gloss finish, a classic Fender aesthetic.

Jaguar tuning & hardware

Tuning is accurate with the Fender tuners, the classic clover-style tuners in all their glory. The Synthetic bone adds a little clarity to the sound, as well as being a more robust material, both huge benefits over plastic nuts usually found on basses in this price range. Best of all, they keep tuning solid even over a few sessions, requiring only a little adjustment here and there, and definitely nothing major shifting too much over the length of a gig or so!

The Fender Jag Bass is a combination of a whole lot of Fender’s decades of innovation, with some tried-and-true designs. Their ability to re-imagine their own classic designs speaks to their confidence in their existing catalogue, pulling the best of it all together in products like the Player Jaguar Bass. The Jaguar was Fender’s flagship from the early 60s, as was the Precision bass, so what better way to play bass in the modern day than a melting pot of all this dedication to the craft?

Fender Jaguar Bass Overview

The Player Jaguar Bass is priced for just about everyone, with no compromise in quality. It has great specs, and that speaks to the physical build of the body, neck and hardware, as well as simple electronic routing and a versatile pickup selection with Fender’s increasingly popular ‘PJ’ design. The PJ design takes cues from the Precision Bass’s classic tone, while harnessing the deep, rich sound available for a Jazz bass, and offering them both. Can’t decide between sounds? Use the independent volume controls to blend between the pickups, then shape them with the master tone control.

The Player Jaguar Bass is, in a sense, a lot of Fender’s innovation personified. It’s innovation at an accessible price point, but with workhorse reliability and modern playability. It would be a welcome addition to a collection of instruments for anyone.

For more information, visit Fender Australia.