The Fender Jazzmaster isn’t as well known as the Stat or Tele but it is still an icon used and beloved by some of the best guitarists to ever grace the stage…
🔑 Key Takeaways:
- 1️⃣ Versatile Instrument 🎸: The Fender Jazzmaster is a favorite among musicians across various genres.
- 2️⃣ Iconic Players 🌟: From Thom Yorke to Elvis Costello, many renowned artists have wielded the Jazzmaster.
- 3️⃣ Genre-Spanning 🎵: The list of players showcases the Jazzmaster’s adaptability, from rock to alternative to metal.
The Fender Jazzmaster isn’t just another guitar; it’s a full-blown legend in the music scene with a deep history that dates back to the late 1950s.
This bad boy is the Swiss Army knife of guitars, versatile enough to be the go-to axe for artists across a crazy range of music styles. So, who’s been ripping chords on this iconic six-string?
Musicians like Thom Yorke from Radiohead and Robert Smith of The Cure have made the Jazzmaster their weapon of choice. Ditto Jim Root and J Mascis. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Join us now as we rip through all the most iconic players that have used and abused a Jazzmaster over the years…
Who Plays Fender Jazzmaster?
Rock & Alternative
- Thom Yorke: Known for his work with Radiohead, Atoms for Peace, and solo projects.
- Alex Trimble: Frontman for Two Door Cinema Club.
- Robert Smith: The voice and guitar behind The Cure.
- Ric Ocasek: Late frontman of the Cars.
- Elvis Costello: A legend in his own right.
Metal & Hard Rock
- Jim Root: Guitarist for Slipknot.
- Troy Van Leeuwen: Plays with Queens of the Stone Age and other projects.
Indie & Shoegaze
- J Mascis: Frontman for Dinosaur Jr.
- Bilinda Butcher and Kevin Shields: The duo behind My Bloody Valentine.
- Neige: Known for Alcest and Amesoeurs.
Experimental & Post-Rock
- Takaakira “Taka” Goto: Guitarist for MONO.
- Lee Ranaldo and Thurston Moore: Both from Sonic Youth.
- Wendy Melvoin: Known for The Revolution and other projects.
- Tom Verlaine: Frontman for Television.
- Mickey Baker: Solo artist and one half of Mickey & Sylvia.
Is The Fender Jazzmaster Good?
I’ve had the pleasure of jamming on a Fender Jazzmaster, and let me tell you, this guitar is a chameleon. It’s got the range to handle everything from blues and country to jazz and classic rock. Versatility is its middle name.
The build quality? Solid. The sound? Exceptional. It’s no wonder musicians from various genres gravitate toward it. The unique body shape is another win; it’s just more comfortable to play than other classics like the Telecaster or Stratocaster.
But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.
The Jazzmaster can be a bit of a diva when it’s not behaving. Unlike the Telecaster, which is as reliable as they come, the Jazzmaster might require some tinkering to get it just right.
There are also various models to choose from, each with its own set of unique features. So, you can really tailor it to your specific needs, be it modern rock and metal or laid back jazz and country.
In the end, is the Fender Jazzmaster worth the investment? Absolutely. If you’re in the market for a guitar that can effortlessly cross musical boundaries, this is the one to get. Just keep in mind that, unlike the Tele, it ain’t always plain sailing. It can be a bit high maintenance.
Unique Selling Points
The Jazzmaster’s offset body isn’t just for looks. It’s designed for comfort, especially when you’re sitting down. This makes it a go-to for studio musicians and live performers alike.
One of the Jazzmaster’s standout features is its dual-circuit switching. It has two separate circuits for lead and rhythm, each with its own set of controls. This allows for quick tonal shifts mid-performance.
The Jazzmaster introduced the world to Fender’s floating tremolo system. Unlike a standard tremolo, this one has a separate lock, giving you more control and stability.
Versatility: From Jazz To Metal
Its unique design features, like the offset waist body and the intricate electronics, offered a new palette of sounds that artists could explore. Over the years, this guitar has become a go-to for musicians looking for something that offers both classic tones and the ability to venture into new sonic territories.
Take Jim Root of Slipknot, for example.
His signature Jazzmaster is a far cry from the traditional setup. It’s stripped down to the essentials, featuring a mahogany body for a darker tone and active humbucking pickups that can handle the high gain and aggressive playing style that metal demands.
The guitar also has a satin finish, jumbo frets, and a 12″ radius ebony fingerboard for fast playability. It’s a Jazzmaster built for the rigors of the road and the intensity of metal music.
On the flip side, jazz greats who’ve picked up the Jazzmaster have often stuck closer to the original specs, leveraging the guitar’s warm tonal qualities, smooth playability, and flexible electronics to produce the clean, intricate solos that the genre is known for.
The floating tremolo system and the rhythm/lead circuit offer a range of tonal options that jazz musicians find invaluable.
So, is the Fender Jazzmaster good? The answer is a resounding yes, but with a caveat: it’s as versatile as the musician who wields it.
Whether you’re a metalhead looking to churn out bone-crushing riffs like Jim Root or a jazz purist aiming for the smooth, clean tones, the Jazzmaster has something in its toolkit for you. It’s this adaptability that has made it a mainstay in the music world for over six decades.
Notable Jazzmaster Models
The Fender Jazzmaster has seen numerous iterations and special editions over its long history, each with its own unique features catering to a variety of musical styles and player preferences.
Here are some notable models:
- Original 1958 Jazzmaster: This is where it all started. The original model featured an alder body, a rosewood fingerboard, and unique “soapbar” pickups. It introduced the world to the offset body and intricate electronics that would make the Jazzmaster a legend.
- 1962 Jazzmaster Reissue: A faithful reissue of the classic 1962 model, it features vintage-style pickups and the original floating tremolo system. This model is often sought after by purists.
- J Mascis Jazzmaster: Designed in collaboration with Dinosaur Jr.’s J Mascis, this model features a basswood body, a C-shaped maple neck, and J Mascis-designed pickups. It’s tailored for loud, aggressive styles.
- Jim Root Jazzmaster: As mentioned earlier, this model is a stripped-down, high-gain machine with active humbuckers, designed for the heavy playing style of Slipknot’s Jim Root.
- American Professional II Jazzmaster: This is a modern take on the classic, featuring V-Mod II Jazzmaster single-coil pickups and a “Deep C”-shaped neck profile. It’s designed for the demands of contemporary players.
- Troy Van Leeuwen Jazzmaster: Created with Queens of the Stone Age’s Troy Van Leeuwen, this model features custom pickups and a unique Copper Age finish, offering a blend of vintage and modern features.
- Classic Player Jazzmaster: Aimed at the player who wants vintage style but modern playability, this model features hotter pickups and a redesigned bridge.
- American Vintage ’65 Jazzmaster: This model recreates the classic mid-’60s Jazzmaster in painstaking detail, from the period-correct pickups to the vintage-style tuners.
- Vintera ’60s Jazzmaster: Part of Fender’s Vintera series, this model offers a vintage look and feel, featuring ’60s-voiced pickups and a period-correct “C” neck shape.
- American Ultra Jazzmaster: This is Fender’s most modern and feature-packed Jazzmaster, featuring noiseless pickups, a compound-radius fretboard, and an ultra-modern “D” neck shape for unparalleled comfort and playability.
Each of these models brings something unique to the table, whether you’re looking for vintage authenticity, modern playability, a bit of both – or, in the case of Jim Root’s signature model, balls to the wall metal tone.
How Much Does A Jazzmaster Cost?
As with most things guitar-related: it depends. It depends if you go with a MIM model or a MIA (made in America) or a signature model. Fender does have cheaper options for Jazzmasters, however, with its thoroughly excellent Squier models – these are like 50% less than the standard Fender ones.
Fender Jazzmaster Prices
Here’s a Fender Jazzmaster price breakdown to give you a wider view of how much you’ll pay:
- Squier Classic Vibe ’60s Jazzmaster: A budget-friendly choice at around $400. It sports a poplar body, maple neck, and rosewood fingerboard. Equipped with two Fender-designed alnico single-coil pickups, this model delivers that classic Jazzmaster tone.
- Squier J Mascis Jazzmaster: Priced at approximately $500, this model offers a unique look and sound. It features a basswood body, maple neck, and rosewood fingerboard. The two single-coil Jazzmaster pickups provide a warm and rich tone.
- Fender Player Jazzmaster: A mid-range option available for around $800. It has a modern twist with an alder body, maple neck, and pau ferro fingerboard. The guitar comes with two humbucking pickups, offering a powerful and versatile tone.
- Fender Vintera ’60s Jazzmaster: On the higher end at about $1,200. This model offers a vintage look and sound with an alder body, maple neck, and pau ferro fingerboard. It features two vintage-style single-coil Jazzmaster pickups for that classic tone.
Fender Jazzmaster FAQs
What is special about a Fender Jazzmaster?
The Fender Jazzmaster is a marvel of versatility. Its unique body shape offers a comfortable playing experience, unlike many other guitars. It also features a floating tremolo system and dual-circuit switching, allowing for a wide range of tonal options. This makes it a go-to for musicians across genres, from jazz and blues to rock and indie.
Is the Fender Jazzmaster any good?
Absolutely, the Fender Jazzmaster is a high-quality instrument. Its robust build and exceptional sound make it a favorite among many professional musicians. However, it’s worth noting that it may require some tinkering to get it just right, especially compared to more straightforward models like the Telecaster.
Why are Jazzmasters so good?
Jazzmasters excel in their adaptability. They can produce a variety of tones, making them suitable for multiple genres. The unique body shape and the floating tremolo system also contribute to their distinct sound and playability. Plus, the dual-circuit switching allows for quick transitions between “lead” and “rhythm” settings, offering even more tonal options.
Did Kurt Cobain own a Jazzmaster?
No, Kurt Cobain is more famously associated with the Fender Jaguar and various models of the Fender Mustang. While he was known for using a variety of guitars throughout his career, there’s no well-documented evidence to suggest he owned a Fender Jazzmaster.
RichardRichard has been playing guitar for over a decade and is a huge fan of metal, doom, sludge, and rock music in general – though mostly metal. Having played in bands and worked in studios since the early 2000s, Richard is a massive music production geek, a fan of minimalist recording techniques, and he really likes old-school guitars.
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