Jazzmaster Guitars

1959 Fender Jazzmaster

Color: Sunburst Three-tone, Rating: 8.75, Sold (ID# 01987)
Call to Inquire: (818) 222-4113


One of the Last Jazmaster's with an Anodized Pickguard


1959 Fender Jazzmaster


One of the last Jazzmasters with a gold anodized guard, this guitar weighs just 8.00 lbs. and has a nut width of just between 1 5/8 and 1 11/16 inches and a scale length of 25 1/2 inches. Solid alder body, contoured on back and lower bass bout. One-piece, lightly flamed maple neck with a slab rosewood fretboard with 21 original thin frets and inlaid clay dot position markers. Headstock with decal with Fender "spaghetti" logo in gold with black trim, "Jazzmaster" in black beside it, and "With Synchronized Floating Tremolo" in black below it. "Offset Contour Body Pat. Pending" decal at the ball end of the headstock. Single "butterfly" string tree. Individual single-line Kluson Deluxe tuners with oval metal buttons (stamped on the inside "D-169400/PATENT NO"). Four-bolt neck plate with serial number "36477" between the top two screws. Two Jazzmaster pickups (large white rectangular six-polepiece pickups) with outputs of 8.06k and 7.86k. Original gold anodized metal pickguard with nine screws. Two controls (master volume, master tone) with white plastic knobs plus three-way selector switch and jack socket on the treble side of the pickguard, two roller knobs (one volume, one tone) plus two-way slide switch on the bass side of the pickguard. Jazzmaster bridge and integrated tailpiece and tremolo. This guitar has been lovingly played over the past fifty-eight years. The thick slab Brazilian rosewood fretboard is in great shape and the first twelve of the original thin frets do show some wear. Inside the guitar, the solder joints are untouched, as is all of the wiring, and as are all of the small pieces of white tape used by the original assembler. The end of the neck is not dated which is quite typical for an early to mid '59. The bridge pickup cavity is marked in pencil "2/59". The 'lead circuit' potentiometers are dated "137 906" and "A47 5926" (CTS February 1959 and Clarostat June 1959). This is one of the best playing and sounding gold anodized guard Jazzmasters that we have ever seen. This amazing Fifty-eight year old beauty is in excellent plus (8.75) condition. The back does show some belt-buckle wear - the largest area measuring approximately 3 x 1 inches. There are a couple of surface chips on the top and sides, the varnish on the back of the neck is mostly worn away and most of the decal on the headstock face (other than the word 'Jazzmaster') is worn away. There are also three very small areas of wood loss around the B, G, & D tuner pegs. Complete with the original tremolo arm. Housed in its original Fender light brown Tolex case with brown leather ends and burnt orange plush lining (8.75).

This is just like the one that we purchased at the Eric Clapton Crossroads auction (serial # 32808)… that guitar was Lot 72 in the 24 June 2004 Christie's New York sale of Eric Clapton's guitars. "Beautiful. I had one of these in the Yardbirds, with a tortoiseshell effect scratchplate. It was a nostalgic buy, I got it for the look of the guitar as much as anything… beautiful shaped body design, just pure…" (Eric Clapton, quoted in the sale catalogue). "This one's a particularly nice example. I seem to remember you got it just after the George Harrison Tour in Japan (November/December 1991)" (Lee Dickson, quoted).

The most notable thing about Jazzmasters from 1958 to the summer of 1959 is the anodized metal pickguard. It is amazingly thick, at about .100 of an inch, which provides good looks, as well as shielding. Unfortunately, in the summer of 1959, Fender changed to a tortoiseshell/white/black/white celluloid pickguard (except on certain custom color Jazzmasters, which had white/black/white celluloid pickguards). We are not sure why this change was made, although the celluloid pickguards did wear better.

"The Jazzmaster first appeared in Fender sales material during 1958, and at some $50 more than the Strat it became the new top-of-the-line model...Immediately striking to the electric guitarist of 1958 was the Jazzmaster's unusual offset-waist body shape...For the first time on a Fender, the Jazzmaster featured a separate rosewood fingerboard glued to the customary maple neck...The Jazzmaster's floating vibrato system was new, too, and had a tricky 'lock-off' facility aimed at preventing tuning problems if a string should break. The controls were certainly elaborate for the time…A small slide-switch selected between two individual circuits, offering player-preset rhythm and lead sounds. The idea was a good one: the ability to set up a rhythm sound and a lead sound, and switch between them. But the system seemed over-complicated to players brought up on straightforward volume and tone controls. The sound of the Jazzmaster was richer and warmer than players were used to from Fender. The name Jazzmaster had not been chosen at random, for Fender was aiming this different tone at jazz players, who at the time largely preferred hollowbody electrics, and principally those by Gibson. However, jazz guitarists found little appeal in this new, rather difficult solidbody guitar -- and mainstream Fender players largely stayed with their Stratocasters and Telecasters" (Tony Bacon, 50 Years of Fender, p. 26). Much to Fender's surprise, however, the Jazzmaster turned into the best surf guitar ever conceived.

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