Squier Vista Series Jagmaster Black MIJ 1997
Squier Vista Series Jagmaster, made in Japan 1997, black. The Vista Series marked Squier's first real attempt at producing original models, instead of just releasing budget versions of equivalent Fenders. They were made in Japan very briefly from 1996-8 out of a then-new partnership with Tokai Gakki, before the whole thing was called off. There's a couple of wackier shapes in the series, but the Jagmaster is surely the easiest of the lot to love: take the classic Jag shape, add a HH pickup set, switch the complex offset trem for a simple Strat one, simplify the electronics to a 3-way switch and a master volume and tone, and you're away. This one is wearing a smart coat of gloss black, which pops nicely against the red tort guard and cream plastics. It's also a 'second run' version, so it has the 70s style bullet truss rod; makes for easy adjustments. The sensible trem means it super easy to get a very slick low action, plus the short scale and lightweight perfectly balanced offset body make this an absolute breeze to play. Tone-wise, this is all rock and roll: it's thick, juicy rhythmic growl paired with just enough snap and sizzle to slice through a mix; supremely satisfying. These are a quirky little piece of Fender history and an absolute monster in the hands, plus it looks extraordinarily dope... what more could you want?
Model: Squier Vista Series Jagmaster, first run
Made: Japan, Tokai factory, 1997 (serial A015755)
Finish: black, 4-ply red tort guard
Neck: maple with rosewood board, 9.5" radius, 24" scale
Mods: back cover removed, new bone nut installed
Pickups: original 'Duncan Designed' humbuckers
Cosmetic condition notes: minor finish wear. Headstock has no major marks. The neck is pretty clean and smooth in the hands, just a couple of minor dimples on the back. The back has some widespread light scuffs and surface scratches around the body, but no major marks. Back cover is missing. The sides have a few little dimples on the shoulder, near the jack and on the bottom horn. The front is pretty clean, just a dent in the elbow carve area and up from the bridge pickup, some dimples near the jack and play wear on the guard and top horn. There's a little oxidation on the tuners and saddles but everything is moving and working perfectly. Overall: very good condition (8/10)
Playing condition notes: Action is low, neck is straight, intonation is good, truss rod works. All electrics tested and working properly, truss rod also works. Minor fret wear only, 8/10 for fret life. Wearing fresh 11/49 Moonshiners Strings.