Up for sale, a 1959 Fender Jazzmaster in excellent condition and in perfect working order, complete with a brown tolex hardshell case. Hailing from the first full year of the Jazzmaster's production, this guitar features a nitro lacquer refinish in transparent Blonde via Riggio Custom Guitars, complete with light aging. The guitar boasts much of the original hardware and vintage plastics (including a particularly early and vibrant celluloid tortoise pickguard) as well as a vintage black bobbin pickup pair.
A rare ash-bodied Jazzmaster, this tonewood has a visually dynamic grain, lending the instrument a distinctive midrange authority and clear note attack. This particular pickup pair is wound on the hotter side of things for early Jazzmaster coils, and both pickups retain their original winds, metering at 8.05k ohms in the neck position and 8.97k at the bridge. The neck pickup is woody and percussive with a subtle bark when digging in hard, yet overall very glassy and clear. The Rhythm Circuit provides just enough smoothness and additional warmth while being notably more clear than most Jazzmasters in this position. The bridge pickup has quite a bit of sweetness and girth with a touch of compression. There’s of course plenty of chewy twang and upper-midrange forward aggression on tap as well, yet with a more rounded, full-bodied overarching sound thanks in no small part to the ash body. The guitar weighs 7lbs 13oz, professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar (where we specialize in Fender Offset instruments) with low action, accurate intonation and fresh 11-49 strings.
The maple neck has a profile carve representative of the 1959 model year, with a very slender C shape at the nut and appreciable roundness and shoulder as you travel up the fretboard. The profile measures .765" deep at the 1st fret and .945" at the 12th. The slab Brazilian rosewood fretboard is an extremely dark, tight-grained cut of this tonewood, retaining the original 7 1/4" fretboard radius and freshly refretted with 6150 fretwire that has more meat and crown than vintage fretwire, ideal for effortless string bending and long fret life. There is light finger wear into the rosewood on frets 1-2. The neck is straight with a responsive, optimally adjusted truss rod, and the truss rod nut is flush with the neck heel, having needed very little adjustment in the last 60+ years. A new hand-carved bone nut measures 1 5/8" in width, improving the tonal clarity of the instrument. On the headstock, the guitar features a naturally aged and very convincing set of genuine Kluson reissue single line tuners that turn smoothly and hold accurate pitch. A new proper waterslide decal with no patent #s beneath the Jazzmaster model text (correct for 1959) has also been applied. As with the vast majority of Fenders made in 1959, there is no date on the neck heel.
On the body, all of the electronics work as they should, with a wiring harness comprising both vintage and modern components. The Lead Circuit features a pair of CTS pots that date to 1959 along with a (vintage, yet not original for the Jazzmaster model) yellow Astron tone capacitor. The switches and Rhythm Circuit pots, complete with paper-in-oil tone cap, are modern components. Both pickups retain their original windings, and these pickups are era-correct and were acquired as a pair. The body routes are untouched, and all of the stock brass shielding tubs are present.
Hardware includes a modern Mastery M1 bridge which sits snugly in the tall bridge thimbles and works in concert with the original patent pending vibrato tailpiece which has clean chrome plating. The vibrato has a smooth and easy-actuating feel, with enough tautness in the spring for ideal immediacy, allowing for quick flutters and deep dives that jump back to the target pitch reliably, complete with the original arm. The original serialized neck plate rounds out the hardware.
Plastics include the early red tortoise pickguard which has the distinctive yellow swirls of Fender's Pre-CBS era celluloid tortoise material. There are a couple small splits in the guard at the treble-side edge of the neck pickup route and at the bass-side waist, neither of which affect the stability of the guard or electronics. The original aluminum shielding plate beneath the guard is also present. A pair of genuine vintage Jazzmaster pickup covers are installed, along with a pair of replacement naturally aged knobs and an amber switch tip.
The Blonde nitro lacquer finish was expertly applied by Riggio Custom Guitars, showcasing the grain of the ash which is particularly dynamic on the bass side of the body. The finish has great transparency with a subtle bursted appearance on the body edges, replicating Fender’s ‘50s finish application for Blonde. There's sparingly light ambering of the clear coat, with broad lacquer checking and a few strategic simulated marks of wear as part of Riggio’s aging process. The neck profile has also been reshot in nitro lacquer by Riggio, flawless and silky smooth, with simulated palm wear through the clear coat. Riggio stops fractionally short of aging the profile finish down to the bare maple, with a flawless transition between the high gloss on the headstock and heel and the simulated palm wear.
A circa 1960/61 brown tolex Fender hardshell case with gold plush interior is included. The case shows its fair share of wear, yet retains its brown leather edges, original handle frame, and two functional latches.