Up for sale, a 1966 Fender Jazzmaster in exceptional, 100% original condition and in perfect working order, with a vibrant Olympic White custom color finish and matching headstock. The premier, full scale length Fender Offset guitar of its day, this Jazzmaster is decidedly a transitional model, with pearl dot inlay, fretboard binding, a nitrate tortoise pickguard of a style more commonly found on Pre-CBS examples, and a very early block logo. What's more, the neck profile is particularly deep and round, so much so that it's one of the biggest and most unique vintage Fender necks we've ever had on a guitar in our shop!
Highly desirable by both collectors and players for reasons both tonal and aesthetic, this Jazzmaster delivers a pronounced and cutting acoustic tone that translates well through the early, hand-dated gray bobbin pickups. The pickups are well balanced and powerful, with the clarity and cut of your favorite Fender single coil, yet with a warmth and nuance that's unique to the Jazzmaster pickup design, with the original pickup windings extending all the way to the very edge of the bobbins. Whether you desire the sinewy snap of early surf recordings or the seminal attack of your favorite Elvis Costello or Sonic Youth records, it's hard to beat a real vintage Fender Jazzmaster! Weighing in at 8lbs 2oz, this guitar has plenty of sustain and punch, and when you authoritatively strike a chord, you can feel the whole instrument vibrate and jump. Professionally setup and dialed in to perfection here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar (where we specialize in Offset Fender guitars), this Jazzmaster is ready for the stage and studio with fresh 11-50 strings.
The one-piece maple neck has a very unique and chunky C shaped profile, with prominent, straight grain and a silky smooth original gloss nitro lacquer finish. What makes this profile so distinctive and comfortable to a player's hand is that is measures a full .968" deep at the first fret, and actually gets slightly more slender as the fretboard widens in the higher registers, thinning out to .824" by fret 12. This provides significant depth and roundness for chording, and a slightly more slender (yet no less substantial feel) up the neck for quick lead lines. The finish on the profile is still very glossy, showing only faint wear down to the bare wood along the treble side edge from frets 1-7, and on the bass side from frets 1-2. The Brazilian rosewood veneer fretboard has pearl dot inlay and original fretwire that's in fantastic shape. The frets have plenty of height and roundness, with only faint wear beneath the plain strings in the first position, and no buzzing or dead spots up the neck. The frtetboard retains its original 7 1/4" radius, and the stock nut measures 1 5/8" in width. On the headstock, the original double line Kluson Deluxe tuning machines are intact and turn smoothly with straight shafts and very clean nickel gears. The face of the headstock is incredibly clean, with an immaculate "Jazzmaster" block logo, and white nitro lacquer to match the body.
All of the electronics work as they should, with original pickups, untouched solder joints, and stock CTS pots. The volume pot on the lead circuit dates to the 51st week of 1964, while the tone pot dates to the 45th week of the following year. The original brass shielding plates are present, as well as the stock cloth wire and shielding plate beneath the nitrate tortoise pickguard. The most important date code is clean and present on the neck heel, noting a November, 1965 build date, and the bridge pickup bobbin is also pencil dated to 3/18/66. It's common to see a range of dates spanning as much as 12-16 months on vintage Fenders like this example, as potentiometers were purchased in bulk and lasted years, while the neck and pickup dates are closer to the actual time the instrument was released to the marketplace.
All of the stock hardware is present, including the gorgeous nitrate tortoise pickguard, white witch hat knobs, pickups covers, bridge, and vibrato tailpiece. The chrome plating on the bridge and tailpiece are in truly remarkable shape, and the vibrato works extremely well, responding like only a vintage spring can, with nuance and reliability that makes this unit stand out as one of Leo Fender's best designs. For quick flutters, surfy dives, and deeper warbles, few vibrato units can match this original Fender Jazzmaster unit!
The factory Olympic White nitro lacquer finish is in fantastic shape, with the correct paint stick markings in the neck pocket and a glow under a blacklight that further verifies the finish's originality. The tortoise pickguard has shrunk noticeably as the early nitrate Fender pickguards are prone to do, with a hint of the aluminum shielding plate beneath the guard peeking out on a couple edges, and a bit of a wave to the guard on the bass side edge. There is faint vertical checking on the body and a light yellowing of the clear coat on the lacquer, giving this Jazzmaster a nice creamy, milky white appearance. There are only a few scattered finish scratches on the body and minor scuffs on the contours, while the only notable wear is the shadow on the back of where the guitar was laid on a strap for decades in the case. This has left a more orangish outline of the strap just beneath the belly contour on the back, running the length of the body. A curious mark of wear to be sure, but not horribly uncommon, and consistent with the fact that this guitar was carefully stored for years and sparingly played. Overall, it's a particularly clean example that will satisfy collectors and serious gigging musicians alike!
A vintage Fender hardshell case is included. The case dates to slightly later than the instrument, but is still decidedly vintage and in good shape, with original black tolex, working latches, and a clean orange interior.