When the original Vintera models were released in 2019, their retro charm and modern playability proved to be a hit with players, and Fender found itself with a bonafide box-office smash on its hands. So, it was only a matter of time before this popular series received a sequel.
Featuring a new cast of suitably vintage-inspired models as well as a few returning faces, this updated lineup looks to refresh the range and continue the story for fans of the series.
Among the colourful band of characters is everything from a ’50s Stratocaster to ’60s cult classic the Bass VI and a few ’70s models sprinkled in for good measure. In fact, the electric guitar we are taking a closer look at today come from the latter decade – the ’70s Jaguar.
Now, while this particular period doesn’t get the same love as Fender’s golden age, there seems to be a newfound appreciation for this decade, with more and more players discovering that there were a few gems to be found at the height of the company’s CBS-era.
Just like the original iteration of Vintera guitars, the follow-up models blend vintage specs with contemporary production techniques to create a six-string that offers players the best of both worlds – nostalgic looks and sound with effortless modern playability. It’s worth noting the Vintera series is not trying to emulate an exact year of manufacture. Instead, this line is purely attempting to evoke the vibe of its chosen decade.
This offset guitar is offered in classic Black or Vintage White and comes loaded with period-correct Vintera II pickups, ‘F’ stamped machineheads, a retro C-shaped neck with 7.25” radius fingerboard and vintage-tall frets.
We can’t help but admire how gorgeous this Jaguar is. Its asymmetrical body is as handsome as ever in its off-white getup, while the vintage tint neck, block inlays and large headstock complete the retro aesthetic. The finishing is on point, too. This guitar is impeccably put together and very well spec’d for the price.
That said, a rather curious spec detail is the neck profile, which may raise a few eyebrows among Jag fanatics. Due to dwindling sales, the Jaguar wouldn’t see the latter half of the decade, getting the chop in 1975.
So, we aren’t too sure which “late-’70s” model was the inspiration. But that doesn’t detract from the fact that this guitar is a joy to hold. Pair that with the vintage-tall frets and slinky feel of a 24” scale, and you get a guitar that begs to be played.
As expected, the guitar comes equipped with vintage-style saddles and classic tremolo. While this goes a long way to helping you achieve that signature Jag sound, the strings can pop out when struck with force – so heavy-handed players be warned.
Tonally, the Jaguar is known for its bright attack, and that’s exactly what we get. The sound is precise and defined but not brittle. Thankfully, both the Lead/Rhythm Circuit and Bass-Cut are represented in all their retro glory, so you can effortlessly achieve those reverb-soaked single-note lines.
So, whether you think of the Jaguar as the guitar that helped surf stay afloat or the axe that killed glam, there’s no denying that this crooked offset sounds like no other model and this latest offering is no different.
Sequels are a lot harder to get right than they would first appear. While every follow-up thinks of itself as The Empire Strikes Back, it’s more likely to be The Phantom Menace. All too often, the new instalment fails to capture the magic of the original, becoming a soulless cash grab that is a pale imitation of what came before.
Luckily, that isn’t what has happened here. Fender’s Vintera II Series brilliantly builds on the previous generation, expanding the lineup with two models that are sure to become fan favourites.
The Jaguar perfectly evokes the feel and sound of the guitar from it draws its inspiration, while also benefiting from Fender’s modern building methods. From style to playability, build quality to tone, this ’70s offset offer players an affordable way to harness a little bit of vintage mojo without breaking the bank.
Now, we can’t help but look forward to the next instalment of the Vintera story and wonder what direction the guitars will take next. Maybe this next series will be set in the ’80s and star the short-lived Katana? Yeah, probably not.
- PRICE: $1,499 / £1,229
- BODY: Alder
- BODY FINISH: Gloss Polyester
- NECK: Maple
- NECK SHAPE: Early ‘70s C
- FINGERBOARD: Rosewood
- PICKUPS: Vintage-Style ‘70s Single-Coil Mustang
- CONTROLS: Master Volume, Master Tone, 2-On/Off Slide Switches
- CONTACT: Fender