Fender Jazzmaster Solid Body Electric Guitar (1963)

Fender  Jazzmaster Solid Body Electric Guitar  (1963)
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Item # 9828
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Fender Jazzmaster Model Solid Body Electric Guitar (1963), made in Fullerton, California, serial # L03446, Blonde lacquer finish, ash body, maple neck with rosewood fingerboard, original brown tolex hard shell case.

Vintage Fender Jazzmasters don't come a lot cooler than this one. It sports a blonde finish that, while standard on a Telecaster is seldom seen on this model. This guitar has a neck date stamp of February 1963 and the latest pot date is the 9th week of 1963 so it was assembled about a year after the Jazzmaster was supplanted by the Jaguar as Fender's top of the line guitar. That didn't stop whoever ordered this one from going for a deluxe Jazzmaster as classy as could be had from Fullerton!

While custom color Jazzmasters per se are not exceptionally rare, they are most often encountered in the solid reds, white or blues that made up the bulk of Fender's available finish palette. This see-through blonde guitar has a subtle but important difference from all other Jazzmasters, sunburst or otherwise. The body is made of ash, like a Telecaster, not the alder used for all other finish options. This was done because the more pronounced ash grain showed more figure through the semi-opaque lacquer than the plain alder. Ash was more expensive, so it was reserved for blondes, which in this case really do have more fun! The ash/blonde combination remained the standard on the Telecaster only, meaning any other model had to be run up specially to order at the factory.

Apart from the body finish this beautiful Jazzmaster is loaded with classic pre-CBS Fender features. These include a second pattern "round-lam" unbound rosewood fingerboard, still heavier than the later '60's style with the pre-'65 "clay" dot inlay. The pickguard is the dark nitrocellulose tortoiseshell style which was a Fender trademark at the time. This contrasts beautifully with the aged blonde finish, which has some grain showing through especially visible on the back. The pickups are the standard white-covered Jazzmaster units with the two-circuit wiring introduced with this model. The neckplate sports a low "L" series serial number, just being introduced at that time.

These early '60s Jazzmasters are nearly always fine instruments, and this well-played example was a specially chosen and likely cherished one. While they never caught on with the jazz artists Leo intended them for, the Jazzmaster was a quite successful guitar at the time, seen with many period players in a variety of musical genres. After a long period in the shadows the Jazzmaster has been increasingly popular over the last couple of decades with new generations of performers re-discovering its particular charms. This one has survived years of use still resting in its original brown Tolex hardshell case. At 7.7 pounds it is lighter and handier than most 1960's Jazzmasters and it survives battered but beautiful, with a major mojo and sounding fantastic, ready for its next 60+ years.
 
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.).
This rare and beautiful Jazzmaster is a well-played but not abused genuine Fender "relic". Somebody (we'd like to think the person who custom ordered it) played the guitar a lot but never did anything to alter it. There is general play wear over much of the instrument but it remains all original, except possibly the switch tip. The finish shows some typical dings, dents and scrapes on the body, most heavily on the edges. The most notable wear is some chipping and flaking to the lacquer from exposure to moisture along the treble side of the body, mostly on the lower forward cutaway horn. There is a spot smoothly worn down to the undercoat on the top arm wear area.

The clear lacquer on the neck is moderately heavily worn with that glorious "old Fender" feel, with a number of shallow dings and chips in the back but largely intact. The headstock has some darkening and heavy checking (again from moisture) on the back and tip. The original frets have been crowned down fairly low but are still quite playable; if larger frets are preferred a refret will be in order soon. The fingerboard has some old divots and fingernail wear but nothing so deep as to impede playability.

The pickguard has some typical shrinkage but no cracks or broken corners, overall it remains quite nice with a lovely patina. All the hardware is original, with general wear and some corrosion most notable to saddles and the low E tuner. Only the snap-on bridge cover is missing; all the hardware including even the trem arm remains original and everything works as Leo intended.

This ash-bodied Jazzmaster is lighter than many from this period and is a very easy handling, great playing and fantastic sounding guitar. It has both considerable brightness and an unusual warmth, and sometimes when we play these very rare ash-bodied "Non-Telecaster" vintage Fenders we lament that they ever switched to alder as the standard wood in Fullerton! This one is still housed in the original brown Tolex HSC which has typical wear overall but remains generally solid. Very Good + Condition.