Fender Vintera ’60s Jazzmaster: A Timeless Classic Revisited
The Fender Vintera ’60s Jazzmaster is a testament to the phrase “everything old is new again.” This modern reissue of the classic Jazzmaster design from the 1960s has been met with great enthusiasm from guitarists who appreciate the unique features, sound, and style of this iconic instrument. In this comprehensive review, we will delve into the specifications, playability, and overall performance of the Vintera ’60s Jazzmaster, and explore why it has become such a sought-after guitar in today’s market.
A Brief History of the Jazzmaster
Before diving into the specifics of the Vintera ’60s Jazzmaster, it’s essential to understand its historical context. The Fender Jazzmaster was first introduced in 1958 as a high-end guitar aimed at jazz musicians. However, it quickly gained popularity among surf rock guitarists and eventually found its way into the hands of alternative and indie rock players. The offset body shape, floating tremolo system, and unique rhythm and lead circuitry have made the Jazzmaster a favorite among experimental musicians looking for a versatile instrument with a distinctive tonal palette.
Design and Specifications
The Fender Vintera ’60s Jazzmaster stays true to the original design while incorporating a few modern tweaks that enhance playability and reliability. Here are some key features of the guitar:
- Alder body with a gloss polyester finish
- Maple neck with a comfortable “C” shape profile
- Pau ferro fingerboard with a 7.25″ radius and 21 vintage-style frets
- Vintage-style floating tremolo and bridge with a lock button
- Two ’60s Jazzmaster single-coil pickups
- Lead and rhythm circuits with separate volume and tone controls
- Three-position pickup selector switch
- Aged white control knobs and switch tip
- Available in three classic finishes: Olympic White, Ice Blue Metallic, and 3-Color Sunburst
Playability and Performance
One of the most significant selling points of the Vintera ’60s Jazzmaster is its playability. The comfortable “C” shape neck profile, combined with the vintage-style 7.25″ fingerboard radius, ensures a smooth playing experience, whether you’re strumming chords or navigating intricate lead lines. The maple neck and pau ferro fingerboard provide a well-balanced tonal response, with enough brightness and warmth to suit various musical styles.
The floating tremolo system is another standout feature of the Jazzmaster design. It allows for subtle pitch shifts and expressive vibrato effects without compromising tuning stability. The Vintera ’60s Jazzmaster also includes a lock button on the bridge, which prevents the tremolo from engaging when not in use – a useful addition for players who prefer a more stable setup.
Sound and Versatility
The Fender Vintera ’60s Jazzmaster truly shines in the sound department. The two ’60s Jazzmaster single-coil pickups deliver a wide range of tones, from warm and mellow jazz sounds to bright and cutting surf rock tones. The separate rhythm and lead circuits offer even greater tonal flexibility, allowing players to switch between different volume and tone settings on the fly.
The rhythm circuit, activated by the slide switch on the upper horn, engages the neck pickup with its dedicated volume and tone controls. This setting produces a warmer, darker sound that’s perfect for jazz comping or rhythm playing in other genres. The lead circuit utilizes both pickups and their respective controls, offering a brighter and more aggressive sound suitable for lead lines and solos.
With such an extensive tonal palette at your disposal, it’s no wonder the Jazzmaster has found favor among guitarists in various genres, from indie rock and shoegaze to punk and experimental music.
Build Quality and Reliability
Fender is renowned for its high-quality craftsmanship, and the Vintera ’60s Jazzmaster is no exception. The guitar features a solid alder body, which provides excellent resonance and sustain, while the gloss polyester finish ensures durability and protection against wear and tear. The hardware, including the vintage-style tuners, floating tremolo, and bridge, is well-built and reliable, maintaining tuning stability even with heavy use of the tremolo system.
The Fender Vintera ’60s Jazzmaster is a loving tribute to a classic design that has stood the test of time. With its unique offset body shape, versatile tonal options, and superb playability, it’s no wonder this guitar has become a favorite among players in various genres. Whether you’re a longtime Jazzmaster fan or simply looking for a distinctive and flexible instrument, the Vintera ’60s Jazzmaster is an excellent choice that will undoubtedly inspire your creativity and elevate your playing.