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1959 Jazzmaster - settle in for story time (pic heavy!)

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2018 8:25 am
by welshywelsh
It's apt that my first post in this section relates to all the things I have a problem with: offset Fenders, rare things and over priced items I can't really afford.

I had dipped my toe in the Jazzmaster scene with a second hand Squier J Mascis, which financially was about as small a risk as you could make at £260. Being a bit of a badge snob, I'd never genuinely entertained the idea of a Squier before, but the internet kept telling me how wonderful it was and the internet never lies.....right?

Fast forward a few weeks and it was the only guitar I'd play, pushing my more expensive Jaguar and Telecasters away. How can the pickups be both clear AND dark AND take pedals so well?! And the neck: chunky, easy to play and all part of a full scale offset. If a Squier Jazzy is this good, how good must a 'proper' one be? With that the Jazzmaster obsession began and within days I was a self confessed expert, ok, bore. "Did you know that the custom colours only really began post-CBS and these were the colours initially available...." Yep, I'm now that guy.

Now I knew my history and had bonded with the model like no other guitar, there was only really one dream to have; own an original 1958/59 gold guard Jazzmaster. Chances of finding one nearby to try were slim to none, being able to afford and/or justify the price was never going to happen either. So I did what all good guitar obsessives do, I scoured Reverb, eBay, Google and Gumtree just hoping to find one, let alone buy it.

I was met with the occasional advert description along the lines of "Completely original, 1958 Jazzmaster! Only things that aren't original are the pickups and neck, the body has been re-finished and the switches don't work. A real investment, £7,000. Also, 4,500 miles away". Hmmm, I'll pass.

During this time, my gramps passed away which was hard, but he left me a little cash with strict instructions to buy something fun and lasting. No holidays, no car stuff; fun and long term. He was an extremely generous man and it was clear how to remember him and put the cash to good use.
So the search carried on, religiously, knowing that now I'd be closer to a Jazzmaster than ever before. Yet they were all too far out of reach either in mileage terms or the size of the financial shortfall I still had.

Until THE DAY.

Shopping locally, I did my usual of boring the family with a quick trip to look at guitars, pressing myself up against the glass cabinet with all the super good stuff hidden behind its reflective sheen.

And there it was, a 1959 Fender Jazzmaster

"Excuse me, is this a hideously over priced Custom Shop?" I asked the guy.

"Nope, 100% original gold guard with original case, January 1959"

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Oh crap. So I did the only thing a sane person would do and ran away. For a month. I could actually afford it, but could I justify all my inheritance on a piece of wood? More research, I phoned a few shops, who wanted to know where the guitar was at that price (not likely pal!) until I settled on what I already knew - I had to go back.

I slung my pedal board down, plugged in the '59 and opened up a vortex of shimmering delay, swirling reverb and nearly 60 years worth of vintage magic. Everything was just so incredible. The feel of the neck, the sound from those pickups, the patina, the bridge (somehow!) was solid, the gold guard was still very much gold and the clay dots were just one of the super cool vintage touches you can't reproduce properly. Time seemed to slow whilst playing and it wasn't my delay malfunctioning. You can't go back to normal after this. So I did the only thing a sane person would do and ran away again.

Only until the next morning this time, when my long-suffering girlfriend told me to stop overthinking it, heed my gramps' instructions and just buy it. Back to the shop, a further £500 off the price (I know!) and it was mine. Five minutes later I'm surrounded by 8,000 sticky, screaming children who have just left a Paw Patrol event at the same time I'm trying to sneak the guitar through town, unnoticed. One final hurdle, overcome.

Yes, this story could have been: I had some money, I bought the Jazzmaster I wanted from a local shop and it's good, but so much of what we love is the wait, the search, the excitement of playing it for the first time and finally owning the guitar of your dreams, that if anything, I should have written more.

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Welcome to the family.

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Re: 1959 Jazzmaster - settle in for story time (pic heavy!)

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2018 8:55 am
by Paul-T
Yay, great story, and a wonderful thing to spend your gramp's money on.

Re: 1959 Jazzmaster - settle in for story time (pic heavy!)

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2018 10:08 am
by PorkyPrimeCut
What a beautiful guitar!! Welcome to Club '59 :)

Re: 1959 Jazzmaster - settle in for story time (pic heavy!)

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2018 10:21 am
by bterry
looks great, congrats!

Re: 1959 Jazzmaster - settle in for story time (pic heavy!)

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2018 11:12 am
by zhivago
Very cool guitar! Sounds like it was meant to be :)

Re: 1959 Jazzmaster - settle in for story time (pic heavy!)

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2018 11:40 am
by mbene085
"Fun and lasting" - wise words, and is say this fits the bill perfectly.

Congrats. It's as perfect a guitar as you could ever find.

Re: 1959 Jazzmaster - settle in for story time (pic heavy!)

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2018 4:09 pm
by blacktiger
Beautiful!

FYI: I’ve never had a problem with a vintage JM bridge. Once they get a little age (and rust) on them, they more or less sort themselves out.

Re: 1959 Jazzmaster - settle in for story time (pic heavy!)

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2018 8:29 pm
by kosmonautmayhem
Great story and even better '59! That burst is perfect. Good for you for showing some restraint vs. jumping in head first. If its meant to be, its meant to be. In this case it definitely was. :)

Re: 1959 Jazzmaster - settle in for story time (pic heavy!)

Posted: Sun Nov 25, 2018 12:33 am
by PorkyPrimeCut
blacktiger wrote:
Sat Nov 24, 2018 4:09 pm
Beautiful!

FYI: I’ve never had a problem with a vintage JM bridge. Once they get a little age (and rust) on them, they more or less sort themselves out.
Agreed.

Re: 1959 Jazzmaster - settle in for story time (pic heavy!)

Posted: Sun Nov 25, 2018 7:38 am
by kapepper
Beautiful!!! Congratulations and enjoy!!

Re: 1959 Jazzmaster - settle in for story time (pic heavy!)

Posted: Sun Nov 25, 2018 5:56 pm
by painted wood
Whoa, dude.

Re: 1959 Jazzmaster - settle in for story time (pic heavy!)

Posted: Sun Nov 25, 2018 7:06 pm
by carron
That is a dream guitar, and it looks stunning. Much jealousy.

Re: 1959 Jazzmaster - settle in for story time (pic heavy!)

Posted: Sun Nov 25, 2018 10:11 pm
by zepset
You got a good one, gold guards are special. Love the burst on yours. How are the frets? They actually look original, if dressed a bit low.

Congratulations, and watch your knuckles on that middle case latch.

Re: 1959 Jazzmaster - settle in for story time (pic heavy!)

Posted: Mon Nov 26, 2018 6:22 am
by welshywelsh
Thanks for all the kind words. As a few have said, I really like the burst as it's quite a subtle one. Very similar to the one on the 60th Anniversary, so Fender agree too I guess. It's funny, sunburst would usually be way down my list as a colour choice, but there's something about aged burst, especially with the gold guard and the history that tops everything for me.

It's 100% original, including the frets. They are low but it plays great; the guy at the shop knows what he's doing and the setup is spot on. Obviously a bit of a dilemma as the more I play it the closer to a re fret I'll be, but it sounds too good to sit in a case, hidden away. They are meant to be used!

Re: 1959 Jazzmaster - settle in for story time (pic heavy!)

Posted: Mon Nov 26, 2018 6:27 am
by Jazzmastervsjaguar
That's about as close (If not perfect) as perfect can be. Beautiful guitar and a great story. Congratulations!