Anyone who’s looking for an affordable offset axe probably knows about these two famous models – the Squier J Mascis Jazzmaster and Squier Classic Vibe Jazzmaster. I had the pleasure to test both of these guitars, so I’m in a good spot to tell you more about their differences.
In my opinion, both of these guitars are very cool, but I’m convinced that the J Mascis Jazzmaster is way better. This is mainly caused becuase of the fact that the tremolo in J Mascis is closer to the bridge – it pretty much eliminates most of the common JM issues.
Don’t get me wrong – the CV one is awesome too! But there are actually quite a lot of things that differentiate these axes – that includes pickups, build quality, finish and the overall feeling. So if you’re wondering which one one of these Jazzmasters will be better for you, this article may be helpful.
The main differences between Squier J Mascis Jazzmaster and Squier Classic Vibe Jazzmaster include:
- different pickups – the ones in the J Mascis are a bit darker, so they’re not the same as the usual Jazzmaster pickups – but at the same time, they do not sound as dark as P90S
- different necks – the CV Jazzmaster has a gloss finish on the neck which tends to be quite sticky, while the J Mascis has a satin finish
- different factories – the CV is made in Indonesia, while the other one is made in China
- quality control – out of my experience, the factory setup of J Mascis JMs tends to be very good while CV Jazzmasters are more like a lottery
- different bridge and tremolo gap – the trem system in J Mascis is placed differently and way closer to the bridge (which is also different) – that makes it more stable and less problematic
So as you can see, there are A Lot of things that
What Makes J Mascis Cool
Personally, I think that this is one of the best looking offset guitars EVER. I’m not exagerrating, it’s literally one of the most beautiful Jazzmasters that I’ve ever seen. That combination of white body and golden pickguard is just out of this world.
But apart from the aesthetics, I also love the J Mascis JM for its tone. It’s pretty dark, so it’s perfect for overdrive, distortion and fuzz.
I recently recorded a video review of the 2023 model, so if you have the time, I highly encourage you to check it out below.
At the same time, it’s not extremely dark, so it’s very versatile and it can sound bright with certain settings as well. Remember that it’s a JM, so you can use either rhythm or lead circuit – the possibilities are endless.
And of course, I adore the fact that the setup issues are pretty much non-existent here. Regular Jazzmasters and Jaguars tend to be very annoying at times. A lot of people end up with replacing their bridges, shimming the necks and doing all kinds of stuff just to avoid buzzing or tuning stability problems.
But due to the fact that this Jazzmaster has a different bridge (and it’s placed closer to the trem), these issues aren’t happening here. So it will save you A LOT of time. And you patience won’t be tested 🙂
What Makes CV Jazzmaster Cool
I know, I probably sound like I’m a huge fanboy of the J Mascis. But don’t get me wrong – the CV Jazzmaster is great as well. It’s just different.
Here’s my old video review of that guitar – feel free to check it out.
In my opinion, pretty much all guitars from the CV series are on a similar level as Fender guitars from the Player Series. That’s a pretty bold statement, I know. But even though these guitars are two times cheaper, they’re really worth it.
What I like the most about the CV Jazzmaster is the fact that it has that characteristic and bright Jazzmaster tone. It’s not as dark as the J Mascis, so it should be ideal for genres like surf rock, indie or dream pop.
On top of that, it’s available in a few different color versions that are a bit more classic. As I said before, there’s something very special about the J Mascis and its golden aesthetic, but at the same time the classic sunburst look of a CV Jazzmaster is awesome too.
So I’m sure that anyone who wants to get a comfortable Jazzmaster at a reasonable price should definitely consider getting this model.
There are a few things that may be considered as cons of these guitars. That includes:
- The J Mascis is a bit more expensive than CV JM
- The factory setups in CV guitars tends to be problematic at times
- Both of these guitars are usually sold without gig bags
So the only things that should worry you are either high price of the J Mascis or potentially a poor setup of the CV Squier.
And that’s pretty much it. It’s safe to say these are two of the best Jazzmasters available under $500.
Which One Should You Get?
In my opinion, both of these guitars can be used by amateurs and intermediate players. So it doesn’t really matter whether you’re a complete noob or a pro.
I know that they have different prices too, but that difference isn’t huge. It’s definitely not something that should disqualify the more expensive one.
So overall, if you’re looking for a Jazzmaster with a bit more punch, choose the J Mascis. If you’re into a bit more regular and brighter sounding JM, choose the Classic Vibe. The neck finish is also important – so choose the CV if you prefer gloss finishes and the J Mascis if you’re into satin finishes.
It is really as simple as that!
Honestly, I love the fact that Squier allows us to get such great guitars at such affordable prices. Back in my days that was impossible! Cheaper guitars usually meant very poor quality, but things have changed now.
The results of the battle between Squier J Mascis Jazzmaster vs Classic Vibe Jazzmaster will always be debatable.
Choosing between these guitars should be based on your own personal preferences, so hopefully after reading this post you know a bit more about the differences between these guitars.
If you do end up with getting one of these, leave a comment down below! Maybe you also tried both of them? I’m very curious to hear your opinion about these axes, so feel free to share your thoughts with me and my readers.