Another iconic instrument celebrating its 60th birthday this year is Fender’s Jazzmaster. Launched in 1958 as a successor to the Telecaster and Stratocaster, one of the new offset Fender’s missions was to tempt the jazz players of the day away from their beloved archtops and onto a more fashionable solidbody instrument. But the jazzers remained faithful to their big-bodied six-strings and the Jazzmaster went on to find unexpected fame with the brand new surf music genre of the day. Latterly the Jazzmaster enjoyed a resurgence during the new wave era of the mid-70s and more recently the with indie crowd. In fact, it seems to have found its way into every form of popular music except jazz, with players as diverse as The Ventures, Elvis Costello, Nils Lofgren and Thom Yorke being seen in its company.
The Jazzmaster enjoyed a lengthy run in the Fender catalogue, from 1958 until it was discontinued in 1980. However, it didn’t take long for Fender Japan to restore it in the mid-1980s and it has survived in various forms since, including signature models like the J Mascis edition. The most recent manifestation is the 2017 limited edition pine-bodied American Professional model.
As far as the vintage edition we have before us here, a 1966 Jazzmaster in this kind of condition is unusual enough, but the comparatively rare Blue Sparkle Custom Colour adds to the rarity of this instrument quite significantly. Even after all these years, it still hasn’t found a space amongst the jazz players it was intended for, but for many the charms of the Jazzmaster cannot be outdone.
Guitarist would like to thank Vintage ‘n’ Rare Guitars, Bath for giving us access to this fascinating instrument. www.vintageandrareguitars.com