Are Fender Jazzmasters Good Guitars? Unbiased Review From Music Detailed
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The Fender Jazzmaster is an electric guitar manufactured by the American company Fender. Introduced in 1958 at the NAMM Show, it was initially designed to create the first solid-body guitar intended for jazz guitarists.
Despite being destined for this market, it was not there that it achieved its greatest success. But, over time, many great guitarists chose and adopted it for its characteristic sound. Let’s see a little that defines that particular timbre.
Back in 1958, the Jazzmaster had notable features and innovations; firstly an asymmetrical body, designed for better playing balance by sitting down and the glued rosewood fingerboard (the first Fender guitar to adopt it), a new optional blocking tremolo, designed not to lose tuning (floating tremolo). Especially it was the first guitar to adopt through sophisticated controls (for the time) the possibility of selecting two separate circuits. Simply checking a small switch allowed the guitarist to choose a preset for rhythm (pick up the neck only) or for solos (pick up the bridge and neck together), the latter being divisible into three different positions, and can be changed quickly from one to another.
The Fender Jazzmaster has not had appreciable functional evolutions during its history, but mainly aesthetic ones. Initially proposed in the 3-color sunburst version and then in “blonde”, Olympic white, and black, it was soon made in many custom colors, also in the “matching headstock” version (head in the same color as the body).
As early as 1959 the pickguard material, originally made from anodized aluminum, was changed to 3-ply celluloid (Carey). In 1962 the rosewood fingerboard was modified, which from “slab” became “veneer”, that is, thinner.
From 1966, there were many other changes imposed by the new management of CBS bought fender in 1965: the celluloid pickguard became a multi-layer plastic, inlays became rectangular mother-of-pearl, the Kluson-Deluxe tuners left the place to the F series, starting in 1967, a new larger headstock was designed (change of rhythm in the Strat), and in 1968 it was changed, as in other guitars, from nitrocellulose to polyester In 1965 it was the turn of the dots (dots ) that from Bianchi (clay) became the mother of pearl and like all Fender guitars, the new logo was adopted on the headstock (gold transition instead of the historic spaghetti logo).
In mid-1965 the volume and tone knobs were changed; new chrome-top knobs replaced the previous Strat-style knobs, and white “binding” (rim) was added to the neck.
After years of declining sales, with instruments being assembled from leftover factory stock, the Jazzmaster was officially discontinued in September 1980 but has since been reissued in many guises and modifications. The Jazzmaster was reintroduced in 1986 as a 1962 reissue model from Fender’s Japanese factory, with an existing 1966 model running alongside it (with block inlays and binding, but paired with a small pre-CBS headstock). The American Vintage Series version was introduced in 1999, also based on the 1962 model. In 2007, Fender released a ‘thin-skin’ Jazzmaster reissue with a finer vintage nitrocellulose finish.
The 1962 model was discontinued in favor of a 1965 model that was equipped with a bound neck and veneer fingerboard when the American Vintage Series was revamped in 2012.
Fender Jazzmaster Classic Player Special Black 2015
When introducing it to the market, Fender positioned the Jazzmaster as its “top-of-the-line” product, selling it at $329.50, $50 more expensive than the Stratocaster, which itself was a more expensive option than the Telecaster.
The sound was smoother, richer, and warmer than traditional Telecasters and Strats while retaining the typical Fender sound. Despite this, the Jazzmaster was not able to break into the jazz market, as traditional players in the genre continued to prefer semi-acoustic guitars, and it was not used, despite excellent popularity in the early years of production, where it outsold. the other manufacturer’s models.
WHAT KIND OF MUSIC IS JAZZMASTER GOOD FOR?
With all these characteristics, Leo Fender, without his knowledge, designed the reference guitar for surf music (along with the evolution of the Fender Jaguar), the instrumental rock of the 60s – 70s, and the new wave of the 70s – 80s.
Despite its low popularity within the genre, the instrument was used by some great blues guitarists like Solo Magic Slim and Mickey Baker and other famous guitar greats like Eric Clapton. Jimi Hendrix also used it between 1964 and 1965, when he played with Little Richard. He later used it in an Olympic white version, also when he played as a turntablist for Wilson Pickett and later also for some concerts in his solo career until 1967. Just as Fender discontinued the Jazzmaster, Television’s Tom Verlaine and Elvis Costello began to give the guitar a cult following, and it was embraced by the American indie rock scene.
It was also adopted by Robert Smith of The Cure and was later used by big alternative rock bands like Radiohead and Nirvana. Because it tended to create feedback, it was also the instrument of choice for many noise bands, first among all Sonic Youth. So it is possible to say that the Jazzmaster is a very versatile guitar, which can be used in a variety of musical genres since it was created for jazz, and gave very good results in surf, rock, new-wave, post-punk, grunge, noise, and more.
FENDER JAZZMASTER vs. JAGUAR. WHAT´S THE DIFFERENCE?
The Jaguar, introduced in 1962, was modeled after the Fender Jazzmaster concept, sharing the body shape, circuitry (with different pickup selectors and the addition of a bass-cut switch), and tailpiece and bridge. It had a shorter scale of 22 and 24 frets, different pickups more similar to those of a Strat, and adopted a device called Fender Mute to mute the strings by using a foam rubber attached to a movable metal piece under the bridge, which never was more successful.
It was introduced as the most expensive and sophisticated model of the brand, being even more expensive than the Jazzmaster itself.
This new model, which is essentially a variation of the Jazzmaster, was introduced with a shorter scale to make it even more similar to Gibson models and with different microphones since many complained about the Jazzmaster for not having the attack of a Stratocaster, these microphones also incorporated metal bases to reduce the hum typical of single coils.
Each microphone had its on-off selector, and there was also a switch that produced a variation in tone through a capacitor.
To further differentiate it from the Jazzmaster, the controls were mounted on 3 separate chrome pickguard plates.
Both the Jazzmaster and the Jaguar existed in left-handed versions, but the tailpiece they used was right-handed, so the lever was “on the top side” of the tailpiece, just with the reissues the left-handed tailpiece was created.
It shared the use of the same materials and forms of construction as the Jazzmaster, undergoing the same changes at the same time.
Fender Jaguar Reissue 1966 Japan
Having reviewed its history, creation, manufacturing characteristics, its sound, and the use and popularity that the Fender Jazzmaster obtained over the years, we can say that it is not only an excellent guitar, conceived and designed as a top-of-the-range, but its sound is an important part of rock history. It is a classic that will continue to get bigger as the years go by!