Squier VM Jaguar vs Squier VM Jaguar Special

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ramonovski, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. ramonovski


    Jan 6, 2013
    Hi talkbass, after lurking in this forum for a few weeks it's time to post.

    I'm an experienced drummer and a solid guitarrist looking for a cheap bass just for home recordings and rehearsals with my girlfriend, so, nothing "serious" at the moment.

    I've read a lot of nice things about this new line of squier basses so I think I'm going for one of these, but then I've noticed that there's two of them (well, actualy like 4 if you take the SS and the HB), the VM Jaguar and the VM Jaguar special.

    So, I want to know what's the main difference between these 2 besides the body material and of course, the price. I'm looking for sound differences and playability, and I'm asking this in a forum since I can't test the basses personally.

    Are the Duncan pickups worth the $100 difference?

    I could get a used MIM for ~$250 but some of the reviews/posts I've read say that these VM basses are in the "same level", and I'm not a fender-headstock-freak; I listen with my ears not with my eyes.

    tl;dr what's the difference between Squier VM Jaguar and Squier VM Jaguar Special basses?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. TheAnalogKid

    TheAnalogKid Yer Doin' GREAT!!!!

    Dec 7, 2011
    Tacoma, WA

    IMO, the Jaguar (with its concentric knobs instead of individual VVT w/boost configuration) is just more decked out than the Jag Special. I consider that a bit ironic; you'd figure a more expensive model would be "special". Overall, these are quite nice, IMO. I'd go with the Special, it's 200 bucks and sounds/feels great. If blocked inlays, Duncan-designed pups, and concentric knobs are your thing, go with the other.

    Per usual, it's just MHO, YMMV, etc. *Whispering*: go check' em out post-haste!
  3. sven kalmar

    sven kalmar

    Apr 29, 2009
    id take the fender. personally im thinking about getting a squire bronco, just for the hell of it. A mustang might be nice. Roger glover recorded the fireball album with a mustang.
    the bass sound on "no,no, no" is pretty awesome..
  4. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    Another drummer learning bass! Excellent!! ;)

    I'll throw in my .02 cents worth, but bear in mind I don't own either model. This was my brief, but hopefully helpful experience. In other words, take this with a grain o' salt.

    I got to try out both on an outing specifically to sample different Fenders and Squiers for feel and sound. Both sounded plenty fine and felt nice, light and balanced. The VM Jag was very clean sounding, but the VM Jag Special just roared out of the amp, probably due to it's active bass boost circuit. Bearing that in mind, and holding it up against the praise I've heard about the Duncan Designed pickups, I'd say;

    VM Jag = cleaner sound
    VM Jag Special = also clean, but very aggressive

    Either way, I'm a sucker for a Precision/Jazz pickup configuration. Love that variety of tone! If I hadn't already purchased a bass around Thanksgiving I would've jumped on the Fender/Squier sale in December and got the VM Special.

    Hopefully there's someone who has, or still does, own one or both. They'll be a better judge for the long run.

    There's also some Youtube vids that might help;
  5. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    I opted for the crimson red for there was no 3TS in sight (beware of the black one for it's agathis: crimson red and 3TS are basswood instead) the correct knobs configuration being V,V, phatboost, T (that stays the smaller one as on Jazz bass control plates)

    It was a kickarse bass for its price

    I recommend basswood body instead of agathis for it's a bit lighter (if you like it like that) and, despite a "nosy" resoundin',
    it sits better in a band mix, while agathis' pro's to sound clearer alone, and its con's to disappear against distorted guitars.

    If you don't mind spend more, Crafted in China Fender Modern Player Jaguar is a passive P/J (V, V, T) with a surprising koto body, capable of soundin' more like a Precision (w/split pickup soloed) than its Geddy Lee's Jazz lookin' could suggest

    I'd say beware Vintage Modified Jaguar (black one with Jazz' concentric pots and big blocks) Vintage Modified Special (black one only) and all SS and Vintage Modified HB: they're all agathis bodied

    Somewhat of an Indo pine family tonewood, agathis can sound
    open and clear, but weighs and doesn't cut thru, unless you're
    allowed whole lotta space in the sonic spectrum of your band

  6. It may depend on what you're after. If you want P bass tone most of the time and thats okay. I say the regular Jag SS would be okay. The J pup is weak and needs to be upgraded. P pup is very good.

    Ive never played the block inlay Duncan pup version but I have to imagine the J pup is good in them.

    I went with the Jag SS because of the short scale and to be a somewhat mod platform. I knew I would probably change out the J pup after awhile (havent yet) but I wanted a really good P bass tone for cheap and it delivers.
  7. ramonovski


    Jan 6, 2013
    Great! Thanks for replying!

    I have another question:

    The VM Special body is made out of "basswood" and that bass it's cheaper than the "standar" VM version with the Agathis body.

    Can anyone explain this $100 difference?
    And what about the Duncan pickups, are these better than the other pickups in the Special model?

    As far as I know, basswood material is better than Agathis.

    Thanks again, great community.
  8. My Jag SS is agathis. I think the price difference comes from the Duncan pups more so then anything. Maybe also for a few nicer features like chrome knobs, block inlays and the tort look pickguard.
  9. Bassfacist


    Aug 16, 2012
    You know I understand where you are coming from. I was torn between the two for months and finally chose the special and the reason was because if I really wanted to upgrade the pups I always could later on. The flashy inlay and duncan pups were irrelevant, the bass plays great and the tone is awesome for the price.
  10. Meh, whether one wood is "better" than another is purely a matter of personal taste. I wouldn't necessarily be concerned about it.
  11. ramonovski


    Jan 6, 2013
    Well, thanks to all for replying, again.
    I think I'll buy the VM Jaguar with the agathis body and the duncan pickups for ~$300
  12. Cant go wrong either way. Good luck with the purchase!
  13. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    The VM special has, unfortunately, a poor finishing
    The blacky VM, lettin' Duncan Designed pickups alone, sport a classy and looked after dual concentric volume/tone control plate and its big blocks and tort lookalike pickguard do cost a bit more than the straight forward VM special dressin' (3TS included)
    I wrote "lettin' Duncan Designed pickups alone", for they're no way Seymour Duncan originals, just cheap reproductions, so the phatboost circuitry on the VM special is not that bad at all

  14. lavmonga


    Jul 27, 2007
    New York, NY
    I have to say, both models have impressed me tremendously for the money.
  15. HuntYouDown


    Jan 3, 2012
    Tampa, FL
    OK here ya go, you were looking for an owner of one of these and an owner I am, lucy posters! Get the VM Jaguar with block inlays, period. I tried out the special a while back and was utterly unimpressed. The ONLY thing the special has going for it, is an active circuit. The special has cheap, light basswood, which is used because it is easier to carve shapes. But basswood also dents and nicks very easily. OTOH, the VM has Agathis, which is a cousin to Mahogany, and as a guitarist, you would know Mahogany is used in Les Pauls. Also, the VM Jag has superb pickups, noise free and powerful in a p/j configuration. So you can go P sound and add J growl! The VM looks 10 times better, with the block MOP inlays, white dots on side and matching headstock. The special looks very cheap, might as well buy an old school Squier Affinity or something, blahhhh. The concentric knobs are really cool. Front pup control is P volume, then the underlying is tone. Back PUP control is J volume with underlying tone. Get a new VM Jaguar, buy an extra pack of 20.00 21+95 9 3=*'ll be happy. The stock 7250's are not all that get GHS Boomers or something, that's what I have.
  16. ramonovski


    Jan 6, 2013
    Thank you for the explanation HuntYouDown, I just recently (yesterday) got the VM for $300 and I really like it, this is my first bass though, so I can't compare it at this moment with another basses but I'm going to compare it in a few days to an American Jazz Fender and a P-Squier that a bassist friend has.

    A little thing that I'm wondering if it's normal with concentric pots is some kind of "gap" between the pickguard and the pots.

    There's no gap at all (well, almost) when I turn the underlying knobs all the way down or up,
    but as soon as I turn the knob one step down or up, a bigger gap is noticeable and it remains until I reach the top or the bottom.

    I just added 2 pics with this "issue", the second pic is the one with the gaps.

    Another issue I've found is that the volume knobs are kinda loose at certain points and kinda tight at another certain points. Aside from that, there's not any audible noise/crack when I handle the knobs, I hope I can solve this with minimal adjustments.

    Can the VM Jaguar's owners confirm this?

    Thanks in advance and sorry for my terrible english :meh:

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  17. AllenLee


    Jan 6, 2013
    Texas, USA
    I'm really interested in your comparison with the American Jazz and Squier P. I have had my VM Jaguar for a couple months now. From what I can tell, the "gap" is just part of how they designed the lower (tone) control of the stacked concentric pots. They click into position, so I think that at both ends of the turn, the pot just seats itself down rather than clicking into a position. This is just my theory, but I can tell you my bass's controls are the same way.



    On the other hand, the volume controls on my bass are smooth and tension is even throughout.

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  18. HuntYouDown


    Jan 3, 2012
    Tampa, FL
    Smooth Ramonovski, you got a Sunburst! Those are harder to find. If it's loose just get a hex key, put in that hole, remove and tighten nut. I have to do this sometimes with my Ibanez.
  19. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    "L'Agathis (l'albero è un parente stretto del Pino) è un legno asiatico esteticamente simile al mogano, ma dal comportamento sonoro a metà strada tra mogano ed ontano (Alder). La Fender optò ben presto per l'ontano, al posto del frassino, non perché fosse un legno di migliore qualità o più adatto alla costruzione delle chitarre elettriche, ma perché molto più diffuso (e quindi economicamente più vantaggioso) sul territorio U.S.A.
    L'Agathis ricopre lo stesso identico ruolo dell'ontano geograficamente spostato in Asia, dove viene ora prodotta la stragrande maggioranza delle chitarre attualmente presenti sul mercato mondiale... Come l'ontano, anche l'agathis non colora particolarmente la timbrica degli strumenti, restando relativamente neutro, nonostante tenda, per caratteristiche fisiche, più al suono caldo del mogano. Per questo non risulta sostanzialmente molto caratterizzante, dal punto di vista sonoro, a parità degli altri elementi
    excerpt from: http://chitarra.accordo.it/article.do?id=17570

    Trad. from Italian
    The Agathis (the tree is a close relative of the Pine) is an Asian wood similar in appearance (only) to mahogany, but with behavior of sound halfway between mahogany and alder. Fender soon opted for alder instead of ash, not because it was a wood of better quality or better suited to the construction of electric guitars, but because much more common (and less expensive) on U.S. territory.
    The Agathis plays exactly the same role alder played, just geographically moved in Asia, where it is now produced the vast majority of guitars currently on the world market ... Such as alder, agathis also does not particularly color the tone of instruments, remaining relatively neutral, despite tending, for physical characteristics, to a somewhat round sound of mahogany. Thus it's substantially not very characterizing from a soundwise perspective, takin' other elements for given


    PS: down my personal experience (here in Italy, we're no way better musicians as y'all out there - you invented modern pop and rock music - but we're very picky in wood knowledge, for we study the subject to evaluate and appreciate historical furnitures and vintage interior design and ancient instruments) basswood doesn't allow for too many physical mods, being a bit "soft" in its ordinary grain, while agathis intruments are way
    more open to extra routin' and upgradings, firstly for the need
    to improve its resonance secondly thanx to its hard structure

    take a look at this
    with bridge Manson pickup, neck "PhatCat" pickup, Muse's Matt Bellamy "approved": why not on an agathis body like that?
    I knew that for lead guitarist in my side band (a cover outfit with whom I play as much diverse styles as we possibly can, Muse included) is in the process of doin' just that to his Telecaster,
    in agathis of course, and with anonymous Duncan Designed humbuckin' pickups (instead of Fender's trademark WideRange)
  20. WRChadwell


    Jan 14, 2013
    I bought a VM Jag Special about 10 days ago. There were three problems with it, one of which was major. The action was really high when I brought it home. OK, no problem. I was able to adjust that in about 5 minutes. The frets were razor sharp. OK, no problem. It took a couple of hours, but I was able to take a very small file and file them all down. Finally, and this was the deal breaker, the first time I played it the sound was awesome. As the previous poster stated, very aggressive with spectacular tone. I got a lot of variety from mixing and matching the two pickups, boost, and master tone controls. The second time I played it, however, I plugged it in, turned on the amp, and got a blast of white noise. I know it was the bass because I switched basses and there was no problem. Eventually the white noise faded but when it did I had very little volume and very poor tone. I thought maybe changing the battery might help, but no joy. It broke my heart, but back to the store it went for a full refund. A Fender MP Jaguar will be here Thursday. Bet I don't have the same problems with that one.