Fender Jazzmaster Solid Body Electric Guitar (1960)

Fender  Jazzmaster Solid Body Electric Guitar  (1960)
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Item # 11817
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Fender Jazzmaster Model Solid Body Electric Guitar (1960), made in Fullerton, California, serial # 46450, Blonde lacquer finish, ash body, maple neck with rosewood fingerboard, period blond tolex hard shell case.

This very special early 1960 Jazzmaster shows some wear but is a lovely and extremely rare variation, with a blonde finished ash body and gold plated hardware. On the Stratocaster this livery is called the "Mary Kaye"; the Jazzmaster equivalent has no special name but is equally if not more rare. Telecaster-style blonde was a custom order option on the higher-grade models, but ONLY blonde guitars were built of ash, making this Jazzmaster unique sonically as well as visually. We find that ash-bodied Fenders from this period often have an extra resonance compared to their common alder-bodied brethren, and this Jazzmaster certainly bears this out.

Beyond being a swingin' blonde, this early Jazzmaster is loaded with all the classic pre-CBS Fender features. The rosewood fingerboard with "clay" dot inlay is the early slab version, the headstock garnished with the gold "Spaghetti" logo decal with the little "swoosh" marks particular to the Jazzmaster. The pickguard is the early nitrocellulose tortoiseshell style which was a Fender trademark at the time. The standard Jazzmaster offset body, wide-coil pickups, rhythm circuit wiring and floating trem are all present, of course.

There is no date on the neck heel as is standard for 1960, but a penciled 3-60 can be seen under the body finish in the trem cavity. The electronics are all original with a visible pot date code to the 47th week of 1959. A small internal marking on masking tape indicates it was wired up by Nell; only early Jazzmasters are so marked. The custom guitar was likely assembled just in time for shipment in spring 1960 to whatever choosy customer ordered it originally. At this point the Jazzmaster was Fender's new top-of-the-line model, the state-of the-art solidbody on the cutting edge of "modern" electric sounds.

These first generation Jazzmasters are often exceptionally fine instruments, and the ash body on this one takes it to another level. After mid-'62 they ranked below the newly-introduced short-scale, chrome-trimmed Jaguar in the Fender line, but still offered a unique feel and sound and remained quite popular for another few years. While never a hit with the jazz artists Leo intended them for this was an influential and quite successful guitar at the time, seen with many period players across a wide variety of musical genres from surf & instrumental rock to chitlin' circuit R&B.

This guitar shows some serious play time but remains well cared for, original inside and out and sounds exactly as it should, with the bright but slightly wider-range tone character specific to the Jazzmaster and that famously flexible vibrato system. At under 8 Lbs. this is one of the lightest Jazzmasters we have met, and handles perfectly. The Jazzmaster has enjoyed renewed popularity over the last few decades with new generations of performers re-discovering its particular charms. This is a truly prime Pre-CBS blonde beauty surviving in fine playing condition, a natural relic veteran of the early '60s with a killer look and sound.
Overall length is 41 in. (104.1 cm.), 14 in. (35.6 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 5/8 in. (4.1 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 25 1/2 in. (648 mm.). Width of nut is 1 5/8 in. (41 mm.)., 7.85 lbs.
This is a moderately worn-in original custom Jazzmaster, all original looking used but not abused over the last 60+ years. There is wear to the body overall, but with less yellowing to the blonde finish than many. There are dings, dents and scrapes overall, heaviest on the center of the back with just some scattered marks to the face. The edges of the body have some typical dings and dents. The neck lacquer is less worn than one might expect with just some isolated spots down to the wood.

The headstock is relatively clean with some light checking; there is a small filled screw hole for a second string tree that is the only repair to the instrument. The original decal is completely intact. The pickguard has less shrinkage than many with no cracked or broken corners. The hardware is all original; the gold plating has some typical wear especially to the neckplate, trem plate, trem arm and snap-on bridge cover which is still present. The bridge saddles show less wear than some, probably the guitar was played for some time with the cover on. Most of the screw heads have lost their plating as well, but it is still visible when they are removed.

The original small frets have been crowned down a bit with minimal subsequent wear and still play well. This is a really superb played-in old Fender, looking fantastic and a great feeling genuine relic that several of the staff here proclaim "the best Jazzmaster I have ever played". It appears to have lived for a very long time in a 63-4 era original Blonde Tolex Fender HSC with some noticeable wear (heavy on the ends) that is battered but still serviceable. Overall Excellent - Condition.