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Sound Quality

The original pickups are somewhat weak at the present time. I guess even magnets lose strength after forty three years. I replaced them some time ago with Seymour Duncan Hot Jazzmaster pickups which sounded as good if not better that the originals ever did. I recently reinstalled the original pickups and have retired the old Jazzmaster. It now resides quietly in its case along with the original leather strap, bridge cover, labels, etc., all of which I have kept through the years. A good part of the vibe of the Jazzmaster is its sound. It has a airy, trebly timbre, and the neck pickup has real pleasing depth to it. I can't say that the bridge pickup is much different than that of a Strat as far as sound goes. Maybe a little stronger and mid-leaning. I am, however, a big fan of the middle position. Here there are some great rhythm sounds, and a solo played in this position has a special character, setting this guitar apart from the others.

Reliability/Durability

I just retired this old guitar last year after playing it through the '60's and then again through the '90's at gigs. If one can beleive what one sees on eBay, it is too valuable now to take out on the road. It was reliable and durable, and if you are not a hopelessly incapable nerd, you should be able to fix whatever goes wrong with this guitar. When I first got the Jazzmaster in 1963 I was using flat wound Gibson light gauge strings which had a whimpy wound G string. I pulled the pickups out of the guitar and pushed the G pole pieces up through the wax in the windings to get the magnet closer to the string. Looking back on that, I'm amazed the pickups still work. Fender guitars, if anything, are tough.

General Comments

I've owned lots of guitars, played 'em for awhile, and then the old creeping dissatisfaction comes into play. The other guitar just doesn't cut it feel-wise, sound-wise, appearance-wise, Etc., etc. The old Jazzmaster always calls me back, and now I've given in to it. I got a new CIJ Jazzmaster, set it up like the old original, which I placed into permanent retirement, and now I'm happy. (Tried a new AVS Jazzmaster first, but the paint was falling off it when I got it from Zzounds.com, so back it went.) Anyway, if a whole lifetime of guitar playing culminates in commitment to a single model of guitar, what more is there to say. For me, the Jazzmaster is at the top of the heap.




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