The Jazzmaster was Fenders attempt to sway musicians of the old school, used to handcrafted instruments, to perceive Fender as a player in the higher end guitar market. Jazz players in particular were the target of this campaign, and although it didn’t work out quite how Fender hoped, a new and historically important instrument was born. Considered one of the top of the line models along with the Jaguar, and intended to be the next revolution/evolution of design, the Jazzmaster was received without the fanfare Fender would have liked, with the possible exception of the surf music crowd, who really dug the tone from those big fat single coils.
Here is a very clean example, Crafted in Japan in the 1997 or ’98. Although it looks like an exact replica form the outside, the interior features modern, Japanese pots and a not too exact replica set of pickups, which really are most of the point to players interested in that original Jazzmaster tone. That being said, it plays and feels great. The tone may be more “Stratty” than one with proper pickups, but it still looks, plays, and sounds just like a Fender should. The Crafted in Japan Fenders are truly exceptional from a fit and finish point of view. Everything about this guitar screams quality. Not what you might expect from a stock guitar popping off the end of the production line in the mid sixties, when Fender was producing a shit ton of instruments every day. Although the values aren’t what you would expect from an American Jazzmaster, you’d have a hard time finding an instrument of this quality for the the going prices.