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1997 Fender Jazzmaster Ventures Signature JM-165VR Midnight Black, 100% Original w/ USA Pickup & Case, Japan MIJ


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Up for sale, a 1997 Fender Jazzmaster The Ventures Signature model JM-165VR in excellent, 100% original condition and in perfect working order, complete with the original hardshell case. Among the rarest and most sought-out Jazzmaster models released by Fender Japan in the last 40+ years, this unique guitar was produced in very limited quantities as one of three signature models for the first “big in Japan” band, the Ventures. This Jazzmaster was designed in conjunction with founding guitarist Don Wilson, with features including a pair of USA-made black bobbin Seymour Duncan pickups, bound 22 fret rosewood fretboard with block inlay, a satin neck profile finish, and a streamlined control configuration.

Like all the Ventures’ signature models, this JM-165VR features an ash body sporting a Midnight Black Transparent finish, accented by gold hardware and gold foil "The Ventures" decals on the bass-side body horn and headstock. This guitar has a bold, detailed acoustic voice that is translated faithfully through the factory-installed Seymour Duncan pickups. These pickups are true in wind and construction to Fender's Jazzmaster pickups of the late '50s, with black fiber bobbins, flat pole alnico magnets, and cloth covered leads. Wound to the edges of the bobbins, these pickups offer plenty of sparkling snap and woody, percussive cut, with more upper midrange growl in the bridge position and a fat, bell-like quality at the neck. Each position on the three-way switch is distinct and vital, with the midrange complexity and note attack inherent in ash as a tonewood. This JM-165VR weighs 7lbs 10oz, professionally setup here at Mike & Mike’s Guitar Bar with 10-46 strings, low action, and accurate intonation.

The maple neck has a round, substantial C-shaped profile carve with good shoulders, measuring .890” deep at the 1st fret and .945” at the 12th. The bound 22 fret rosewood fretboard is a dark cut, featuring pearloid block inlay, and the slender fretwire exhibits moderate wear beneath the plain strings on the crowns of frets 1-12. This guitar plays cleanly up the 25 1/2“ scale with a straight neck and a responsive, optimally-adjusted truss rod, and the fretboard width at the bone nut measures 1.650” (42mm). The matching headstock sports gold “Fender Jazzmaster” and “The Ventures” decals, and the gold Kluson-style tuning machines turn smoothly and hold accurate pitch. On the back of the headstock, there is one lighter area of finish, likely from a previously removed Dunlop pickholder.

All of the electronics function as intended, with the USA-made Seymour Duncan pickups governed by Master Volume and Tone controls, plus a three-way pickup selector switch. Plastics comprise the three-ply white pearloid pickguard and the original pair of witch hat knobs. The gold-plated vibrato unit is notably clean, actuating smoothly and bouncing quickly back to pitch, complete with the original black-tipped arm, and there’s light patina on the bridge and spiral saddles.

The gloss Midnight Black Transparent finish highlights the grain in the ash body, and cosmetic wear is limited to one small chip on the back at the belly contour, a handful of minor nicks along the lower bout perimeter, some limited scuffing on the top along the bass side of the pick path, and a few finish scratches in the clear coat of the gloss on the body as a whole. The neck profile is notably clean with a satin finish.

The original Fender-branded black tolex hardshell case is included, and two of the three latches are functional.