Fender Jazzmaster Guitars
Arguably Fender’s most popular offset, the Jazzmaster is the epitome of retro coolness.
Fender Jazzmaster Guitars
The Jazzmaster was originally released in the late '50s to break into the upmarket jazz crowd. With beefier-sounding pickups and comprehensive switching, it offered a turbo-charged electric guitar experience.
It instead found success among surf and rock guitarists, who favoured the punchier pickups and offset looks - radical at the time. The Jazzmaster ultimately became the alternative Fender guitar, for the players looking to stand out from the crowd and make a musical statement.
The most familiar version comes with oversized single-coil pickups, a vintage trem, lead and rhythm circuits, dedicated tone controls and a 3-position pickup selector. Nowadays however, the Jazzmaster comes in many different forms. You’ll find some with humbuckers, some with stripped-down controls, some with 6-saddle trems. Check out our full Fender Jazzmaster selection below!
How does Jazzmaster switching work?
Typical Jazzmasters have several switchines. First of all, the rhythm and lead switch selects 2 different circuits. With the rhythm circuit engaged, you'll only be using the neck pickup. With the lead circuit engaged, you can switch between both pickups. The 3-way switch determines which pickups you'll be using with the lead circuit. In position 1 (up), you'll be using the neck pickup, position 2 is the neck and bridge, and position 3 is the bridge pickup only. You get master tone and volume controls at the bottom of the pickguard, and separate rhythm circuit volume/tone controls above the pickups. Click here to read more about Jazzmaster switching.
What's the difference between a Jazzmaster and a Jaguar?
There are 3 main differences between Jazzmasters and Jaguars. A Jazzmaster will commonly feature soapbar-style single-coil pickups, while a Jaguar usually has either single-coils or humbuckers. Jaguar switching is also usually slightly different, offering a mid-cut switch and individual on/off switches for both pickups. Finally, a Jazzmaster commonly has a 25.5" scale length compared to a Jaguar's 24".
Are Jazzmasters versatile?
Jazzmasters undeniably have a sound of their own. But thanks to their more advanced switching, they could be considered considered versatile. The pickups sound slightly fatter than normal single-coils, and you can unlock interesting sounds with the onboard electronics. The addition of a whammy bar adds a little more expression to the mix. Jazzmasters have been used for everything from indie rock to metal.
What kind of pickups do Jazzmasters have?
Jazzmaster pickups are often called 'Soapbar' pickups due to their wide apprance. They're single-coil pickups, but with a wider coil that's reverse-wound. This gives them a slightly chunkier sound while retaining that single-coil bite. Because of the reverse winding, the middle pickup position tends to cancel out a lot of the 60-cycle hum associated with single-coils. While this is the most common Jazzmaster configuration, some models come with alternative pickups.
What's the difference between a Fender Jazzmaster and a Squier Jazzmaster?
Squier make great affordable/beginner-friendly guitars based on genuine Fender designs, including the Jazzmaster. The company is owned by Fender, and they use different materials and components, and manufacture overseas - this makes them more affordable.