Fender Jazzmaster ’65 Reissue – Review.

History

Introduced in 1958 as an intended successor to the Stratocaster, the Jazzmaster was launched as their range topping instrument at the time. The new offset shape (shared with the Jazz Bass) was together, with a mellower tone than its siblings the Stratocaster and Telecaster was intended make Fender instruments more palatable to Jazz musicians who had traditionally used hollow body guitars.

However the instrument did not fare well in this area, but instead found itself as the weapon of choice of many surf rock bands of the 60s as well as the Indie Rock scene later in the 80s.

After that bit of insight into the Jazzmaster history we move onto the instrument we are reviewing today which is a 1965 Jazzmaster from the Vintage Reissue series.

Specifications

As mentioned previously the guitar features the classic Jazzmaster offset shape. It is finished in Aztec gold with the new Fender “Flash Coat” Nitrocellulose finish. The neck has a 25 ˝ scale, and a separate rosewood fingerboard which is bound. Pickups are the wide and flat in traditional Jazzmaster fashion with a view to pick up a wider area of the strings vibration.

As to electronics a simple three way switch provides the normal switching between the two pickups. However the Jazzmaster also has an unusual feature. A Lead/Rhythm switches which allows the setting of a two preset sounds at the flick of a switch.

Hardware is all chrome, with Fender vintage style tuning machines, witch hat knobs, and the idiosyncratic Jazzmaster floating tremolo unit with its long arm and lock switch should a string break.

Quality.

I simply cannot this moment find fault with this guitar. The fit and finish is simply exceptional. It is also well setup and even with 10 guage strings there is none of the usual buzzing or jumping out of the saddles, two issues found commonly on Jazzmasters.

Sounds

Plugged into a Fender Blues Junior the Jazzmaster sounds like a true Fender but with a different tone. Compared to a Strat or Tele I would say it’s definitely warmer, especially on the neck pickup, good all round on both and with chime and a bit of bite on the bridge.

Overdriven it gets raunchy, not hot like a humbucker guitar but still provides very useable tones, it also takes time based effects like delay, echo very well.

Comparison to 62 Reissue Model

Essentially these ’65 and ’62 are practically identical, aside from the binding, witch hat knobs, and slightly thicker neck. Guitar aside something else that is noticeable as well, is that the case for the ’65 is noticeably thinner than any other vintage reissue case I own.

Verdict

A well executed reissue and interesting instrument to own.

By Ernest H Slade