What defines a Jazzmaster: A Hypothesis

Discussion of newer designs, copies and reissue offset-waist instruments.
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alexpigment
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Re: What defines a Jazzmaster: A Hypothesis

Post by alexpigment » Sat May 25, 2019 4:26 pm

sunburster wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 4:08 pm
Anyway, point being, the 25.5" scale length is not a constant either. What makes this guitar a JM is the combination of the body shape and the headstock. This holds true for all examples in the OP. The headstock by itself is not enough because there are no examples of a guitar called a "Jazzmaster" without a JM body shape.
Well, if that guitar is considered canon, I think we can just consider this whole thread nullified. :) The body shape is not even true JM.

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Re: What defines a Jazzmaster: A Hypothesis

Post by sunburster » Sat May 25, 2019 4:32 pm

alexpigment wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 4:26 pm

Well, if that guitar is considered canon, I think we can just consider this whole thread nullified. :) The body shape is not even true JM.
It is close enough to be recognized as a JM. Even in the 60s the JM body shape differed (slightly) over the years.

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Re: What defines a Jazzmaster: A Hypothesis

Post by alexpigment » Sat May 25, 2019 5:24 pm

It's a fair point, but the Jaguar body is more Jazzmaster than this JM-Champ :) Anyway, I'm was just being dramatic in jest.

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Re: What defines a Jazzmaster: A Hypothesis

Post by andy_tchp » Sat May 25, 2019 6:47 pm

The decal.
"I don't know why we asked him to join the band 'cause the rest of us don't like country music all that much; we just like Graham Lee."
David McComb, 1987.

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Re: What defines a Jazzmaster: A Hypothesis

Post by Futuron » Sun May 26, 2019 2:37 am

Image
Also not 25.5 scale! Labelled a Jazzmaster! What the what?!?



andy_tchp wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 6:47 pm
The decal.
Agreed ;D

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Re: What defines a Jazzmaster: A Hypothesis

Post by 601210 » Sun May 26, 2019 2:50 am

What if the Jazzmaster was inside of us all along?

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Re: What defines a Jazzmaster: A Hypothesis

Post by sirspens » Sun May 26, 2019 12:22 pm

601210 wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 2:50 am
What if the Jazzmaster was inside of us all along?
The End.

haha

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Re: What defines a Jazzmaster: A Hypothesis

Post by Mechanical Birds » Sun May 26, 2019 7:34 pm

Scarabeus wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 4:00 pm
Mechanical Birds wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 2:26 pm
Also oh my god yeah scale length would go in my first tier too. That was something I never would have thought about and used to be surprised when people would cite it as a reason to like a JM over a Jag or whatever, but from the very first time I ever played a Jaguar and a Jazzmaster immediately back to back I instantly understood and was like “holy shit one of these definitely feels way better”

It’s seriously crazy to play a Jag for five or ten minutes and set it down only to pick up and play a Jazzmaster. Something I never really figured I’d notice given the chance.
Its all so subjective... I actually prefer the feel of my Jag... though that could have to do with it lessened tension of the strings… feels slinkier and easier to play.
Yeah I like both of them a lot, it’s just that usually I always go Jag THEN JM and it feels so much more resonant, like in between the pickups on any JM I’ve ever played it’s always felt like there’s this field of energy that exists in that single 3/4” spot of the guitar that’s noticable regardless but especially after playing a different guitar. When I first started getting seriously interested I could really tell much of a difference and would find it curious when I’d see responses to questions like “I want a Jag or JM WHAT DO I DO?!” that were always quick to point out that they were different guitars. Reading those, I always thought that it’d be pretty hard to distinguish them honestly, but as soon as I owned/started playing them a lot, yeah they’re real different. Even unplugged, which sadly is how I play mostly, they feel and sound very different.

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Re: What defines a Jazzmaster: A Hypothesis

Post by novamax » Sun May 26, 2019 9:17 pm

Definitions are there to draw a boarder. Marketing brands are there to makr profit from associations and emotions.

So before asking what defines a Jazzmaster, it's maybe worth considering what we expect from such definition. If we want to know what to look for when looking this up in a Fender catalogue, it's sure worth clustering and modelling Fender's marketing strategy, even if they start calling a Warlock with JM Pickups and Gibson headstock a JM... ;) (They will not, obviously, for copyright reasons, even if marketing were inclined to do so...).

However, this might not be the primary goal of why musicians buy a Jazzmaster (I dare not say guitar players do not buy for name mojo but only for musical or technical reasons - but some actually prefer to have some guidance as to the latter ... And I think it's safe to assume that most discussions like that are controversial because they discuss two non-related aspects under the same polarizing thread title...).

So I'm not going to discuss Fenders marketing strategy - If the result has not been nullified by history it will be by future... From a musical-technical point of view, I define a guitar by tone (options) and playability, with certain personal options. Playability includes the body shape, the neck profile and the frets - which are, obviously, a matter of personal preference and often subject to variants (e.g. thinline, CBS vs. pre-CBS etc.).

The typical sound of a JM is IMHO created by scale length, the bridge/vibrato type, the pickups, and their circuit. Again, variants may apply (vibrato position, p90 in JM covers, no rhythm circuit, etc.).

So when does a guitar variant start to be a different model, technically? For me, the typical tone of scale length, specifically developed vibrato and pickups is constitutional to a JM. Plus, I do dig the iconic, slick, and ergonomic offset shape

So when I look for a JM, a thinline, a JMJM, a CIJ, or a pre-2012 VM with hardtail and buckers is not what I am looking for - even if the body shape looks the same in 3D or is "offset" in 2D. The CP trem placement some might prefer, but was a deal killer for me. OTOH, I don't care much for the rhythm circuit others will expect in a JM. All of which may be good on it's own (to some even the "better" JM), but not as a substitute for why I (!) want a JM...

So, aside from marketing, there is a technical core blurring into variants extending to your personal tolerance/preference. What I have learned is: Discussing the use of wording is not helping me in any way...

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Re: What defines a Jazzmaster: A Hypothesis

Post by sirspens » Mon May 27, 2019 6:54 pm

novamax wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 9:17 pm
So before asking what defines a Jazzmaster, it's maybe worth considering what we expect from such definition....
Tongue in cheek entertainment.

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Re: What defines a Jazzmaster: A Hypothesis

Post by JVG » Mon May 27, 2019 10:57 pm

How literally do we take this? It seems people are interpreting the question in different ways.

In absolute terms, a jazzmaster is defined by the decal, as others have said.

But I think it's more interesting to think about what defines the "classic" Jazzmaster sound and feel. Here I tend to agree with others, i.e. it must have:
- 25.5" scale
- jazzmaster pickups
- jazzmaster vibrato
- floating bridge

By this definition, the Jazz telecaster actually qualifies as a jazzmaster, and I'm fine with that - it should sound and feel like a jazzmaster despite the different body shape.

The Classic Player with humbuckers is straddling the murky depths between a jazzmaster and something else. That's not to say it's a less worthy instrument.

By the time we get to the Jim Root model, well it's not going to sound anything like a jazzmaster, even though it technically is one.

Then again, what's in a definition anyway! Let's not get too serious about this :)

Cheers,
J.

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Re: What defines a Jazzmaster: A Hypothesis

Post by Steadyriot. » Tue May 28, 2019 12:38 am

The basic definition would be the body outline and scale length though there are some outliers.
Pickups can play a big part too but I feel like not a lot of people would contest that the Sonic Youth signature Jazzmasters are not really Jazzmasters.
I feel a modified Jazzmaster is still a Jazzmaster; throw in humbuckers and it doesn't suddenly change everything so why would a "Fender modified" or "factory modified" Jazzmaster be any different?

In the end does it really matter anyway? I mean we all can agree the Jaguar is a superior guitar in all ways! ;)
"If someone duetted with a Bald Eagle, they could rule the Country charts from here to eternity." ~shadowplay

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Re: What defines a Jazzmaster: A Hypothesis

Post by wooderson » Tue May 28, 2019 3:10 am

sirspens wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 1:13 pm
alexpigment wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 11:07 am
I mean if you look at all things labeled Jazzmaster by Fender, there are 3 constants:

1) The offset body shape (at least on a 2D plane)
2) The 25.5" scale
3) One of two headstocks - pre-CBS-era and CBS era.
The body can't define a Jazzmaster, or else an Offset Telecaster wouldn't be a Telecaster, it would be a hybrid or something.

I agree with the other things.
An 'Offset Telecaster' isn't a Telecaster, it's a hybrid - a 'Telemaster' quite often.

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Re: What defines a Jazzmaster: A Hypothesis

Post by 601210 » Tue May 28, 2019 3:14 am

You guys think we have it bad; if you take what Fender says at face value, both these things are Starcasters:

Image

Image

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Re: What defines a Jazzmaster: A Hypothesis

Post by wooderson » Tue May 28, 2019 3:19 am

This is like Potter Stewart's guideline to porn - "I know it when I see it."

A "Jazzmaster" is primarily (to me) about the body shape, secondarily about the vibrato/bridge, with the pickups and scale length following behind. Headstock doesn't matter - a Danocaster or other small builder guitar with traditional Jazzmaster body, controls, pickups, etc. is still a Jazzmaster despite the headstock, they just can't call it that (for obvious reasons).

The J Mascis Squier has P90 pickups, still a Jazzmaster.

The Thurston Moore sig had simplified controls, but it's a Jazzmaster. The Lee Ranaldo Jazzblaster... well, I'd say that's just a cute name for a Jazzmaster with swapped pickups/fewer controls (and Fender called it a Jazzmaster).

The American Pro - different pickups, different controls... but it has the body shape and the vibrato/bridge. Jazzmaster.

The Performer - Fender calls it a Jazzmaster but it's basically the same thing as a G&L Doheny. I don't think it nails down the essence of a Jazzmaster.

The Offset Telecaster - wrong body, it's a Telecaster (like a Telecaster Deluxe with different pickups).

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