Vintage Guitar - July 2016 - Open - 91

'60, '63, '65, and '66 Jazzmasters: VG Archive. '59 and '61 models: George Gruhn.

Jazzmasters (clockwise
from upper left) a '66
(Dakota Red), '61 (Fiesta
Red), '59 (blonde), '65 (Surf
Green), and '63 (Burgundy
Mist). (BElOW) A '60
model in Olympic White.

Made for "Cats," Loved by Kids!

i

n the late 1950s, Gibson
held firm grasp on the jazzguitar market. Its hollow and
semi-hollowbody electrics - with
their set necks, dressy binding,
and fancy headstocks

- were serious instruments for
serious players. Combined with
the new humbucking pickup, the
company was giving most jazz
players what they were looking
for in terms of feel, tone,
and playability. leo
Fender's Stratocaster and Telecaster,
meanwhile, were
meat-and-potatoes
instruments suited for staid

jazz players could love. In 1957,
he began tinkering on a design,
creating a body with different
curves, a bit more size, and
slightly offset countours that
gave it balance when played
while seated. He also incorporated the beveled back and arm
contours that helped make the
Strat so popular.
Perhaps in an attempt to
emulate the tones of Gibson's
humbuckers, leo equipped the

country pickers or those playing
simple rock and roll.
Seeing what Gibson had going
on, Fender had to do something.
If country and rock players were
enamored with his Tele and Strat,
surely he could build something

Jazzmaster with pickups that
had wider, flatter coils. With an
aesthetic borrowed from his early
steel-guitar designs, in terms of
size they did bear resemblance
to Gibson's, set apart by white
covers and centered polepieces.

July 2016

91

Vintage guitar

Its switching system employed
separate circuits developed by
Forrest White and engaged via
a slider switch above the neck
pickup; the second setting let the
player roll off treble and volume
(like a jazzer comping behind a
bandmate's solo) without touching
either knob.
Though famous jazz players of
the era politely declined to play the
Jazzmaster, it did catch on with

younger players, particularly in Southern California's thenemerging garage-band scene,
perhaps because they heard it on
records by The Ventures and The
Beach Boys. - Ward Meeker


http://www.vintageguitar.com/

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vintage Guitar - July 2016 - Open

Contents
Vintage Guitar - July 2016 - Open - Cover1
Vintage Guitar - July 2016 - Open - Cover2
Vintage Guitar - July 2016 - Open - 1
Vintage Guitar - July 2016 - Open - 2
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Vintage Guitar - July 2016 - Open - 7
Vintage Guitar - July 2016 - Open - Contents
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Vintage Guitar - July 2016 - Open - Cover3
Vintage Guitar - July 2016 - Open - Cover4
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