Fender Jazzmaster Solid Body Electric Guitar (1960)

Fender  Jazzmaster Solid Body Electric Guitar  (1960)
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Item # 12238
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Fender Jazzmaster Model Solid Body Electric Guitar (1960), made in Fullerton, California, serial # 54997, sunburst lacquer finish, alder body, maple neck with rosewood fingerboard, original brown tolex hard shell case.

This nicely preserved original Jazzmaster dates to later 1960, a wonderful example loaded with a bevy of the classic pre-CBS Fender features. These include the thick slab unbound rosewood fingerboard with "clay" dot inlay, beautifully blended deep sunburst lacquer finish on the body and gold "Spaghetti" logo headstock decal. The pickguard is the lighter tortoiseshell nitrocellulose nicknamed the "pepperoni" style which was a Fender trademark at the time. The standard Jazzmaster wide-coil pickups, rhythm circuit and floating trem/bridge are of course all present.

The date 7-60 is penciled on the neck heel so the guitar was likely assembled and sold in the late summer or fall that year. The date code on the side of the tone pot has a neatly soldered ground wire partially covering it, but the "6" designating 1960 is visible. We snuck a look under the pickguard to verify this, and that the wiring remains original.

These turn-of-the-'60s Jazzmasters are usually exceptionally fine instruments, a relatively new design then sitting at the top of the Fender line. The two flat-coil pickups and floating tremolo system created a sound and feel unique then and now, and the fluid "liquid sculpture" body styling was widely imitated. While they never did catch on with the intended jazz artists this was a radically new and quite successful guitar at the time, seen with many period players across a variety of musical genres. The surf'n'twang players of the early 1960s took to them in droves, as did many R&B and even Country musicians.

After a long period in the shadows the Jazzmaster has been increasingly popular over the last few decades with new generations of performers re-discovering its particular charms. The infamous heavily played Jazzmaster that has been Nels Cline's longtime signature instrument has become a beacon for many players. This guitar remains original (with an expert correct wire refret) and complete and sounds exactly as it should, with the bright but slightly rounder tone character specific to the Jazzmaster. This prime solidly Pre-CBS slab-board example has survived in fine condition still resting in its original brown Tolex hardshell case.
 
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.).

Overall this is a generally clean and original guitar, correctly refretted and showing some fairly light typical wear overall. The lacquer is delicately checked with noticeable fading to the red pigment on the body (typical for 1959-60) giving it a more two-tone look. There are scattered dings and dents in the body finish, mostly on the edges and the back has some buckle wear into but mostly not through the finish. The neck finish is worn gently down to the wood on both edges as is common with old Fenders. The headstock has a few surface scrapes but the Fender decal is fully intact.

The lovely tortoise celluloid pickguard shows comparatively little shrinkage (a common issue on early '60s Jazzmasters) and survives with no broken or cracked corners. All hardware is original and complete including the oft-missing trem arm and bridge cover. The metal parts are still mostly shiny with some light wear and minor corrosion, most notably to the bridge saddles.

The guitar has been neatly refretted with period correct small wire and the fingerboard trued; a couple of spots on the slab rosewood board show minor divots mostly smoothed over. The nut is newer as well; the original nut and frets are in an envelope in the case pocket. The original factory shim is still in the neck pocket, with an extra piece added later.

The guitar is an excellent player and sounds great, with the classic Jazzmaster twang. The original brown Tolex case is also nicely preserved and completely solid. This one saw some use and is not an under-the-bed time capsule guitar, but remains nicer than many that turn up now nearly 65 years on. Overall Excellent - Condition.