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What's so great about Fender Jazzmaster and Jaguar guitars?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Turnaround, Jan 3, 2019.

  1. Turnaround

    Turnaround Member your mama warned you about Thread Starter

    New York
    What's so great about Fender Jazzmaster and Jaguar guitars? Other than their looks, and that they look out of the ordinary (although not anymore), I don't understand why people choose the Jazzmaster or Jaguar as their main guitar. Can forum members who love their Jazzmaster and Jaguar guitars explain why they like them more than other guitars.

    The Jaguar has similar pick-ups to the Strat (well, more so than the Jazzmaster pick-ups). But I never understood why one would go with the Jaguar over the Strat. The Jazzmaster has very different pick-ups and a very different sound. I owned a vintage Jazzmaster years ago, but found it noisy and hard to deal with (the bridge, tremelo system). You can swap out the bridge and other parts, but to me that's the same as moving to another guitar altogether.
    Tuco, melstapler and RelayerNJ like this.
  2. Ray Blend

    Ray Blend floorstander

    The Midwest
    Can't answer your question, as my main guitar is a Telecaster, but I do enjoy my Stratocaster and Jaguar as well - all very different in sound and feel to my experience. I don't have a Jazzmaster, but I can make do with my Epiphone Casino if I'm going for something darker.

    If I could just keep it to one guitar I'd be the luckiest man in the world.
  3. wwaldmanfan

    wwaldmanfan Born In The 50's

    I owned a Jazzmaster years ago. I thought it was a cool-looking guitar, but the bridge was absolute junk, and the pickups terrible. Don't know why anyone would choose this instrument. My telecaster was a much better guitar.
    veloso2, iggyd, melstapler and 2 others like this.
  4. Ray Blend

    Ray Blend floorstander

    The Midwest
    Fender Jazzmaster - Wikipedia
    Fender Jaguar - Wikipedia

    In the right hands, these guitars can sound amazing in ways that aren't possible with the Strat or Tele models. My hands aren't the right hands, obviously, but the records that feature these instruments don't lie.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2019
  5. googlymoogly

    googlymoogly Forum Resident

    The Jaguar is shorter scale and works better for fretting and fingering for some players.
    BDC, danomar, bluemooze and 5 others like this.
  6. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Personal Survival Daily Record-Breaker

    What's to explain? Kind of like asking somebody why they like the color blue and not yellow.

    Either you bond with the sound and the way it plays or you don't. I tried a few G&L Legacy guitars from the first couple of years. Beautifully crafted instruments and top-notch in every way but it feels different than a Strat, the pickups are very high and in the way, the bridge feels closer, etc. I didn't bond with those so even though I liked it in every respect, I never bought one and stuck with the Strat.
  7. InStepWithTheStars

    InStepWithTheStars It's a miracle, let it alter you

    North Carolina
    My Jazz is my favorite guitar. There is no reason. It just is. It's certainly not the easiest to play nor does it sound the best. But it's just my favorite of my electrics to pick up and play.
  8. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Not a fan of the Jazzmaster. The electronics go to **** and need replacing in about a year, the sound is just so-so, if you like the first CARS album, you're in luck.

    The Jag has even WORSE electronics. Totally noisy, too Surf sounding (unless you're in a Surf Band). The shorter scale neck is kind of neat.

    But get back to a Strat or a Tele and it just is like, ahhhh.

    I've owned them all.

    Play this. Hear how the Tele just sings out over the Jazzmaster?

  9. Juan Matus

    Juan Matus Reformed Audiophile

    It was much cheaper so I remember I got a Jazzmaster. Unless you are J Mascis stick to a Tele or Strat I say and I've owned them all too!
    bleachershane likes this.
  10. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Which is ironic because the Jazzmaster initially cost much more than a Stratocaster.
    elgoodo, Plexiclone and Juan Matus like this.
  11. Fender Relic

    Fender Relic Forum Resident

    Jags and Jazzmasters make me scratch my balding head. Never understood them or could get a good sound from them. Not as user friendly as Strat or Tele. My most trusted friend, when it comes to guitars, loves Mustangs,Jags,and J-Masters but admits when it comes to one guitar to cover the most ground it's the Strat.
    FillmoreGuy, townsend and Juan Matus like this.
  12. Juan Matus

    Juan Matus Reformed Audiophile

    That's right. This was on the used market and apparently they didn't hold their value like a strat! That should tell you a lot. I didn't have strat or tele money and had to settle.
  13. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    My girlfriend had a mint 1963 light blue (forgot the actual car color name) Jazzmaster and really, it bit. Thing made the sustain on a Telecaster sound like a Les Paul! I guess it worked for playing Ghost Riders In The Sky but not much else.

    Of course if I had it now I'd treasure it. But back in the 1980s I couldn't be bothered..
  14. Juan Matus

    Juan Matus Reformed Audiophile

    Sounds about right. If you were in a noise band or something and didn't really care about sustain or tone etc. it was a cheaper option to buy used vs Fender's other offerings back in the day.

    And I actually would really love that 63 Jazzmaster right now
  15. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    The punk era really brought back the Jazzmaster, Elvis Costello, etc. Kind of a rebellion against the common Strat and Tele. The anti-Strat at 1/4 the price..

    Doesn't make it good though, but the Punk legacy is there, and not what Leo Fender had in mind!
  16. Juan Matus

    Juan Matus Reformed Audiophile

    Yeah it was alternative. You got it. Punk but also into the post punk era quite amazing.

    As an aside some of the the George and Leo guitars I have played were oustanding.
    kt66brooklyn and funknik like this.
  17. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    I have a G&L right now, a gift from the LA rep. It's really a fine guitar.

    American made G&L "Blueburst" Legacy from 2003. Matching Blue headstock, rosewood neck, upgraded premier finish, Ash body, satin neck, 3 ply pearloid white pickguard, ungraded black G & C case. Fun to play.
  18. Juan Matus

    Juan Matus Reformed Audiophile

    That's a keeper. Definitely a sleeper as far as guitars imo G&L was a great value, very solid workmanship. Totally jealous never owned one myself. People see if you can find one used. Ash body is really nice
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2019
  19. kt66brooklyn

    kt66brooklyn Senior Member

    brooklyn, ny
    The Jazzmaster is a way to get Gibson-style "staple" pickups in a Fender package. The staple pickups had rectangular magnets as pole pieces and were featured in the neck position of early Les Paul Custom's and ES-5's, before the switch to hum buckers. These Gibson pickups are some of my favorite single coils. In the Fender Jazzmaster application, it's a different sound from the Tele or Strat, with lots of tone options with all those knobs and switches.

    These days, clean out the electronics with De-Oxit, get a Mastery bridge and enjoy a great guitar that sounds great and stays intonated no matter what the tremolo is doing.
  20. RelayerNJ

    RelayerNJ Forum Resident

    Whippany, NJ
    Then there's always the jag-stang :)

  21. Fender Relic

    Fender Relic Forum Resident


    Trouble maker :laugh:.

    Actually, I liked the Jag-Stang better than all the other Fender non-Strat/Teles.
    kt66brooklyn and RelayerNJ like this.
  22. Lightworker

    Lightworker Forum Resident

    Deep Texas
    I have relatively short fingers, so my '64 Jaguar suits me to a "T". I also go for a '60s
    tone most of the time, and it sounds "authentic" through the right tube amps when I'm
    playing rhythm on surf/garage/Bakersfield country/Yardbirds etc. material. It also has
    that 'special quality of play' on later lead styles from personal favourites like Television
    and Teenage Fanclub. If I'm playing straight hard rock or blues lead, I prefer a Gibson 335
    or a late 60s/early '70s SG Special.
    ODShowtime, adad, bluemooze and 3 others like this.
  23. Kevin j

    Kevin j The 5th 99

    Seattle Area
    i'd take either over a strat.
  24. Fender Relic

    Fender Relic Forum Resident

    You gotta get out of Seattle :winkgrin:
  25. Bobby Buckshot

    Bobby Buckshot Heavy on the grease please

    Southeastern US
    Say what you will about the Jaguar, but it's featured on a lot of classic reggae songs (not that this is the most popular genre on these boards, but important nonetheless). This quote from Cat Coore about its noteriety is pretty interesting:

    "A recharged Bob Marley returned to Kingston in the fall of 1969. By now, the first rumblings of reggae were echoing through the sound systems of Trench Town. At the time, teenaged Stephen “Cat” Coore, who’d become the guitarist for the reggae band Third World, lived two blocks from Bob Marley, whom he occasionally visited. “The difference between rock steady and reggae,” Coore told me in 1985, “is there is no upstroke on the guitar strum in rock steady. It’s just a straight cha, cha. But in reggae, it’s cha-cha, cha-cha, down-up, down-up – although sometimes it’s down, down. It’s very rarely just upstokes. You can almost play a reggae guitar riff on top of a rock-steady feel; the two of them can go hand-in-hand. But in rock steady, the bass drum is on two and four in a four-beat bar – one, boop, three, boop. Now we call that standard ‘one-drop’ reggae. What makes up a good reggae guitar part is the feel for the rhythm and the sound of the instrument – that’s very important. It should have a clear top-end, but it should not be too brittle. That Fender Jaguar sound on the two pickups is one of the greatest reggae rhythm sounds. It has a bright top end, but also a nice middle and bottom end. In Jamaica, that was one of the most famous reggae guitars for years. If you didn’t own a Fender Jaguar, you didn’t own a guitar. That was the tradition.”

    Asked about the earliest reggae guitarists, Coore responded, “There are a number of Jamaican reggae guitarists you should try to listen to. If you can find any records by a guy named Lyn Taitt – he set a trend in the early days. He started this thing called ‘the chip,’ where you hold a chord on the top two, three, or four strings and use your pick to cause a quick upstroke. He would voice it up in the higher register of the guitar. Say you are playing a Gm: Maybe he would hold the top two strings, the B and the E, up in the higher octave at the 15th fret. You wait for a spot where there’s a little space, and you bring the pick up sharply on the two notes you’re holding. It comes as sort of a ‘chip’ in the music. Lyn Taitt really had it down; his timing was great. He’d be playing in the low register, just pop in two chips, and get right back quickly to what he was doing down low. He was playing from 1967 until 1970 with his own orchestra, Lyn Taitt and the Jets, and also played for a while with Carlos Malcolm, who’s a famous Jamaican band leader. And Ernest Ranglin is the ultimate Caribbean guitarist as far as jazz goes. He’s fantastic, man, the daddy of Jamaican guitar.” Bob Marley readily adapted the reggae rhythm guitar style."

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