The elder statesman of Fender’s “offset” series became a major road warrior for alt rock players almost from its inception - the weapon of choice for surf guitarists, then punk, then alt-rock and beyond. It was conceived with a very different goal in mind, although its unexpected applications have rendered it yet another pre-CBS Fender classic.
Developed in 1957 and released for sale in 1958, the Jazzmaster was Fender’s first conscious effort to appeal to jazz guitarists. It’s often said that Leo Fender moved to the separate rosewood fingerboards from the original one piece maple neck/fingerboard because he didn’t like the worn and tarnished look of the maple after use. This new fingerboard was first used on the Jazzmaster and it was considered something that might appeal to the tastes of jazz players.
Also pitched to the jazz guys was a new pickup design with wide flat coils surrounding six individual alnico rod-magnet polepieces that were shorter than the magnets in Telecaster and Stratocaster pickups. The result was a somewhat warmer ,thicker tone ,but the Jazzmaster still twanged albeit with a rounder ,meatier voice.
Although the Jazzmaster was launched as Fender’s top-tier model, it was never fully perceived as such by the broader guitar world. As a result ,once the surf scene ebbed, Jazzmasters were generally more affordable on the used market than were Strats and Teles. This, in addition to the guitar’s appealingly original looks and sound, is likely a big reason behind its uptake in the punk ,garage and alternative scenes from the mid ’70s onward.
Tom Verlaine ripped on a Jazzmaster in the USA with his band Television, while Elvis Costello used one in the UK to establish his own pop-punk stylings. In the coming years, Robert Smith of the Cure, Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth, J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr, Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine and a steady stream of others continued to renew the Jazzmaster’s lease on life.
Offset alder body with contours
On piece solid maple neck
Rosewood slab fingerboard
Clay dot inlays
25 1/2-inch scale length
2 wide single-coil pickups
3-way pickup selector
Treble and bass roller knobs
Floating tremolo system
Lead/rhythm circuit switch
And this one is an absolute beauty. It appears to be unchanged in any way that we can see, and presents in remarkably clean condition. This Jazzer was bought by its current owner over 25 years ago and it has been meticulously maintained since then.
This one was built in early 1960 and carries the sought after features of early Jazzmasters including the fabulous tortoise shell pickguard (just after they switched from the anodized bronze guard) and dark Brazilian rosewood slab fingerboard. It does not have a date pencilled on the neck butt, but this was quite common at Fender in 1959 / 60.
The pickups are loud, punchy & full of character. The original frets are in good condition and all the metal parts and plastics are in great shape. Original tuners in place and working well.
A few expected dings and dents here and there, but nothing offensive. The original nitro lacquer sunburst is still bright and unfaded.
We’ve sold a few nice vintage Jazzers here at PREMIER GUITARS, and this one is a real beauty. You could search the dark recesses of the vintage guitar world for years and not find one in this condition, that plays as well as it does, and delivers that unmistakeable sound that cannot be achieved with any other instrument – Fender or otherwise.
Comes in its original tweed Fender hard case in very good condition.