Is a Fender Jazzmaster Worth the Price? A Complete Review

Closeup of a man playing a Fender Jazzmaster guitar

The Fender Jazzmaster is a true classic. It’s one of the most popular electric guitars ever made, and it’s still in high demand today. But is it really worth the price tag? Is it a good investment? If you’re interested in learning more about the Fender Jazzmaster, read this article. 

Here, you’ll learn about this guitar’s action, how long it’ll last, and what to expect from your new Jazzmaster. Of course, you’ll also know what to expect from your Jazzmaster’s features and sounds. 

Review the helpful information below to make the purchase process as easy as possible. The report will help determine if the Jazzmaster is right for you and your playing style.

What Is a Fender Guitar?

When Fender first introduced the Jazzmaster guitar, it was a mid-range model designed for jazz music rather than the popular surf genre. The Jazzmaster’s pickups offered impressive bass and mid-range response, but as the guitar evolved, Fender improved the pickups to suit a variety of genres. 

In 1962, Fender introduced the Jaguar pickups, which are most appropriate for rock, surf, and alternative subgenres. The Jaguar pickups have a more twangy sound than the traditional Jazzmaster but are still a classic Fender tone.

This first Jazzmaster was designed to be a comfortable instrument for playing. As a result, the Jazzmaster’s body size was more significant than the models created by Fender before. This offset body design improved player comfort while seated and would be used on later models, such as the Mustang and Duo-Sonic II. 

Another notable innovation is that the Jazzmaster was the first Fender guitar to use a rosewood fingerboard over a maple neck. As a result, the Rosewood fingerboard is more accessible to play with than the maple neck.

While the Jazzmaster’s history peaks in the 1960s, the instrument has been re-released many times. In 1996, CBS purchased Fender for $13 million and added several imports to its reissue line. The neck pickup leads to the Rhythm Tone Circuit. 

What Is a Fender Jazzmaster?

When identifying the vintage of a Fender Jazzmaster, one of the first things collectors look for is the serial number. 

These are stamped into the neck plate of the guitar around April 1962 and usually range from 30000 to 99999. So if you find the serial number to be in the style of a spaghetti noodle, it probably means that the guitar was manufactured between 1958 and 1963. 

However, if the number is in the stylized “F,” it was made between 1965 and 1977.

Before the 1960s, the Jazzmaster was essentially unchanged. However, the reissued American Vintage series introduced more accurate vintage appointments. 

These guitars were made with a four-ply brown tortoiseshell pickguard. The fingerboard, meanwhile, was thicker and consisted of slabs until mid-1962, and later was thinned out and made of veneers. Some Jazzmasters had a maple fingerboard instead of veneers, and some had binding on the fretboard.

Today, there are many different Jazzmaster models to choose from. Each model has its lifespan, so it’s best to research which one is right for you.

The Jazzmaster was discontinued in 1980 but was reissued in various forms. In 2000, the company released the 1962 reissue model, which featured block inlays and binding. The American Vintage Series in 1999 is based on the 1962 model. In the same year, Fender introduced a thin-skin Jazzmaster with a nitrocellulose finish.

When the Jazzmaster first hit the market, it was regarded as an experiment and joke guitar. However, the company’s advertising strategy did not help the brand’s image. As a result, many consumers never heard of it, and it quickly became a pawnshop novelty. Then, soon after, it gained hipster popularity. Bands like My Bloody Valentine and Elvis Costello began to use them. After that, Kurt Cobain became a fan and designed his guitar.

The average Fender Jazzmaster and Jaguar guitars are built differently. For example, the Jaguar has an offset body, whereas the Jazzmaster has a round, offset waist. Both models require different setup techniques. Most other models can be set up by adjusting the bridge and truss rods. These techniques may not be suitable for Jazzmasters. These guitars can take years to wear, so you should be aware of any defects when buying one.

The Fender Jazzmaster was initially designed to mimic the archtop guitars used by jazz guitarists. However, Fender was hoping that with the new guitar, they could start a jazz guitar revolution. 

The unique shape and design allowed for comfortable playing while sitting down. Popular among blues and rock guitarists, the Jazzmaster soon found favor among surf rock guitarists. Today, famous Jazzmaster players include Tom Verlaine, Elvis Costello, Robert Smith, and Alex Turner.

The Top 6 Fender Jazzmaster

The most common version of the Jazzmaster has oversized single-coils and a rhythm circuit. But there are other variations, including models with humbuckers, stripped-down controls, and 6-saddle trems. 

These guitars have many features that make them stand out from their counterparts. This article will look at six of the best Jazzmaster models available.

The vintage 1962 reissue of the Jazzmaster was a huge success. The model became instantly recognizable due to the reissue’s retro style. 

In the early ’90s, the Jazzmaster was a popular choice with artists whose music was influenced by alternative rock and grunge. Its unique shape and sound helped make it an alternative to the standard Fender. In addition, its reissued models have become a favorite among guitar players.

1. Jazzmaster Pau Ferro

The Fender Jazzmaster is one of the crown jewels in Fender’s Offset lineup. Famous for over 50 years, the Jazzmaster is an essential part of any musician’s arsenal. 

The latest model in the Jazzmaster line is the Fender Player Jazzmaster, which builds upon the success of the Mexican Standard range. This instrument offers a high-quality Jazzmaster experience for less. It’s easy to play, has a classic sound, and is comfortable for any playing style.

The Jazzmaster has been designed for versatility, and its Alder body is lightweight, resonant, and balanced. As a result, players tend to describe the sound of this guitar as warm and complete, focusing on upper-midrange brightness. 

The guitar’s shape was initially meant to be ergonomic and comfortable. Even the neck is angled for easy playing. But, if you’re not a guitarist, don’t worry; the Jazzmaster has a recessed headstock for added comfort.

Players can choose between maple or Pau Ferro body. The maple neck is finished with satin urethane and loaded with 22 medium jumbo frets. This guitar’s tremolo is vintage, so it offers expressive vibrato. 

This guitar has a sealed tuning machine for easy access and stability. A deluxe gig bag complements the guitar’s chrome hardware. And the player series Jazzmaster features a classic lead/rhythm circuit.

Fender Jazzmaster Pau Ferro
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2. Jazzmaster Acoustic Electric

The Fender Jazzmaster is a versatile acoustic-electric guitar that was first introduced in 1958. Its unique body design required a more significant guitar case. Its soap bar pickups also distinguished the Jazzmaster. 

The soap bar pickups are similar to those used on Gibson models, except that the Jazzmaster’s poles are placed underneath the coil rather than on top. The coil is also flat, whereas the P-90s on many Fenders are cone-shaped. 

Earlier models were available in various colors, such as Olympic White and Aztec Gold. However, these were later discontinued, and the Jazzmaster’s distinctive gold anodized pickguard is often the most distinctive characteristic of these guitars. 

This guitar features both enhancers and transducers by Fishman Acoustasonic. Also, it has a three-pickup Fender Acoustasonic pickup system for crisp electric sounds. 

This guitar is ideal for your next open mic or coffee shop where you want the feel of the acoustic mixed with the presence of an electric. 

Jazzmaster Acoustic Electric
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3. Jazzmaster American Ultra Rosewood

The Fender Jazzmaster is a classical electric guitar with some exciting upgrades. Its Ultra Noiseless pickups promise all-tone tones without any electrical buzz. Its compound-radius fretboard flattens from ten inches at the nut to fourteen inches at the top of the neck. 

The American Ultra Jazzmaster features beautifully rolled fingerboard edges. Its locking tuners and bone nut ensure accurate tuning when playing with a wiggle stick. 

A Treble Bleed circuit helps ensure a pure tone. The guitar comes with a lightweight Elite case. Those looking for an affordable but reliable electric guitar should consider the Fender Jazzmaster. There are many models to choose from, and a treble bleed circuit is available on some.

The Jazzmaster is instantly recognizable due to its shape and legendary tone. The Fender Jazzmaster American Ultra Rosewood offers new appointments, extra hardware updates, and playability improvements. 

The instrument’s Ultra Noiseless pickups deliver clear, crisp tones and eliminate unwanted hum. The modern D-shaped neck is complemented by a rolled fingerboard and 22 medium jumbo frets. The molded hardshell case protects the guitar and its accessories.

Jazzmaster American Ultra Rosewood
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4. Fender American Jazzmaster Performer 

The Fender American Jazzmaster has a rich tone and a high level of resistance. 

Slightly warmer “P90” pickups replaced the pickups, and the fretboard was glued to a maple neck. This guitar was also the first Fender guitar with a rosewood fingerboard and “clay dot” position inlays.

The neck on the Performer Jazzmaster is 9.5 inches wide with 22 jumbo frets. It has a vintage-style tremolo bridge, six-screw tuners, and a traditional Jazzmaster tailpiece. It also has the classic Fender bridge. 

The Fender American Jazzmaster Performer is a classic and is available in three models. Choose one according to your preferences. Its price range is around $1500, depending on the specification.

The Jazzmaster has a 9.5″-radius Rosewood fretboard. Its scale length is 25.5″. Its 22-jumbo fretboard gives it a very versatile feel. The guitar’s tuners are shellac-potted, and its hardware is player-oriented.

Fender American Jazzmaster Performer 
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5. Jazzmaster 60s Vintera Modified Electric

The Fender Jazzmaster 60s Vintera, an electric guitar made in Mexico, has a classic Jazzmaster tone and good playability. In addition, it has good pickups and is well-suited for chords and solos. 

The Jazzmaster is Fender’s crown jewel of offsets, and this model takes that tradition one step further with modern features. The Fender Vintage 60s Mod Jazzmaster is a beautiful electric guitar that embodies the golden age of offset production.

This guitar features an offset body, headstock, and a vintage-style floating tremolo. The re-voiced single-coils give a brighter tone and help push the guitar into overdrive. 

The guitar’s relic appointments make it easy to access vintage sounds with modern electronics. In addition, it features classic hardware, including a floating tremolo tailpiece and Adjust-Matic bridge.

Jazzmaster 60s Vintera Modified Electric
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6. American Jazzmaster Rosewood II

The Fender American Jazzmaster Rosewood II is a modern take on the classic Jazzmaster. The rosewood fretboard creates a warm, clear, and full sound, with a throaty growl when strummed. 

Players who enjoy playing this classic model will love its new tremolo system and the added comfort it offers. The American Professional II Jazzmaster has the same tremolo system found on the original Jazzmaster but with an updated version.

The American Professional II Jazzmaster features new pickups. In addition, the American Professional II Jazzmaster’s single-coils have V-Mod II technology for legendary Jazzmaster sound. 

The bridge pickup features a tap function that lets you switch between low and high output. With the tap feature, you can switch between vintage tones and thicker modern sounds. In addition, you’ll appreciate the improved tremolo system and the rolled edge fretboard design.

The American Professional II Jazzmaster takes cues from years of innovation at Fender to create an instrument with top-level sonic versatility and instant familiarity. 

The new “Super-Natural” satin finish and rolled fingerboard edges make high-fret access easier and enhance the in-hand feel of the guitar. If you’re in the market for a new guitar, don’t look further than the Fender American Jazzmaster Rosewood II.

American Jazzmaster Rosewood II
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What Is the Hardware of a Jazzmaster?

There are several different models of the Fender Jazzmaster electric guitar. Its rosewood fretboard and bolt-on neck make it an excellent choice for beginners, but there are some things you should know about it before buying it. 

This guitar comes with two humbucker pickups, one on each side, and has a traditional Bolt-on fitting. It also has 22 frets and a truss rod. Some users have had trouble with the bridge and string slip.

P-90s have magnets that sit under the coil, whereas the Jazzmaster’s poles are above the coil. In addition, the Jazzmaster has a much flatter, wider coil than the P-90, which gives it a thicker, warmer tone.

There were a few changes between pre and post-CBS Jazzmaster models. The pickguard changed from a one-ply gold finish to a four-ply brown one, with the difference in color appearing on both the body and the neck. The fingerboard changed from a thick slab to a veneer fingerboard in the mid to late-1960s, and a maple fingerboard was offered briefly in the mid-70s. Finally, in 1965, the fretboard was bound.

The Jazzmaster has an offset-waist body, which is meant for comfortable playing when seated. In addition, its 25-1/2″ scale length has a tremolo lock, which prevents the guitar from going out of tune. The extra-long tremolo arm and tremolo lock are other notable features of the Jazzmaster. 

In addition to being longer, the Jazzmaster’s construction differs from that of a Stratocaster, giving it a different resonance. However, this difference does not diminish the musical quality of the instrument.

What Is the Average Lifespan of a Fender Jazzmaster?

The average lifespan of a Fender Jazzmaster varies depending on the type of care and maintenance given to the guitar by its owner. If you treat your guitar well, it should last for decades. However, it could become unusable within a few years if you don’t take proper care of it.

Some things can cause damage to your guitar over time. For example, storing your guitar in high humidity environments for long periods can hurt the neck and body. 

Fender Jazzmasters are made from several different types of wood, including maple and mahogany. The maple necks are usually made from maple because it’s durable enough to stand up to years of playing without needing repairs or replacements. Mahogany will give your guitar a warmer sound than maple but isn’t as strong as maple, so you may need repairs more often than if you had an all-maple guitar. 

Using harsh chemicals on cleaning products or polishes can eat through the paint and add wear to the neck. Dropping your instrument from high heights onto hard surfaces like concrete floors or sidewalks will almost definitely break it. Exposing your instrument to extreme temperatures, extremely hot or cold, can also lead to warping.

What Are the Popular Colors of a Fender Jazzmaster?

There are several popular Jazzmaster guitars in the market. Initially, the instrument was only available in black or tan, but later, there were different color variations. Mint Green was one of the most popular color choices, followed by Brown Shell. 

The ’65 American Vintage Reissue Jazzmaster had matching headstocks. Other colors included red and orange, depending on the model. Fender ceased guitar production in 1998, but the American Vintage Reissue series was introduced in 1999.

Its features included period-correct vintage appointments, a more accurate tasto and pickup configuration, and improved construction techniques.

Custom colors used to be limited to the original nitrocellulose finish, but Fender has now brought back this color in a variety of colors. Duco used a unique formula that wasn’t a direct translation of the paint. Today, you can find a red Jazzmaster in pink, coral pink, or salmon pink. A pink Jazzmaster guitar in a bright red or orange shade may be your style’s ultimate statement.

The custom colors of a Fender Jazzmaster are primarily based on the colors of cars. In the 1950s, the color of a Fender Jazzmaster was more influential on society than Elvis, so the company used car colors as inspiration. 

Fender used only two in-house paint mixes: Sunburst and Blond and Candy Apple Red. All other colors were derived from the cars of the time, most commonly from General Motors.

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