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SG101 2006-2017

SurfGuitar101 Forums » Gear »

Permalink Vintage Jazzmaster help needed

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Hello, I'm new to this forum and the vintage JM world and am wondering if you can help with a question. Is there much sound and playability difference between pre CBS Jazzmasters and a 1966 one?
I can buy a very clean, all original, appraised, '66 one from the original owner for a reasonable price but am wondering if I should spend more and get a pre CBS one instead. I don't care about collectability, just tone and playability. Thanks in advance for any help.

Tone will be pretty much the same. If you like the bigger head stock, bound neck, and most likely block inlays, then you're golden. If it's all original and a great price, you'd be crazy not to take the offer.

Matt "tha Kat" Lentz
Otto and the Ottomans: 2014-2015
The Coconauts surf band: 2009-2014
www.theamazingcoconauts.com
Group Captain and the Mandrakes 2013
http://www.gcmband.com/
The Surfside IV: 2002-2005, 2008-2009
the Del-Vamps: 1992-1999, 2006-2007
http://www.dblcrown.com/delvamps.html

I've owned, '59, '59, '60, '66, '72.

'66 was a great guitar, but my least favorite. The '60 was hands down the best. One '59 was really good, the other was good. The '72 was quite lovely as well. The poly finish was the downside on that one.

A bound neck feels very different from a non-bound, on a Fender anyways. The binding is pretty tall and creates a weird walled off feeling.

Generally the 'tone' could be anywhere on a Jazzmaster of any era. The neck on the '66 was pretty incredible but the bridge lacked. The bridge was great on the '72. The early stuff was all great.

Pre-CBS is worth more, the question is how much more. With good setups they will feel better. After '68 you get poly necks and then poly finishes. Avoid unless you get them cheap. Right now, the post-'68 stuff is kind of expensive. I got mine for $1200, for example. Sold for $2500.

A '66 one-owner if you can show it was one-owner is worth a bit. Especially if there are hangtags or original receipt. That adds 15% to the value right there.

I will say as well, early bodies feel a bit more 'airy'. How to describe... Post-CBS feels like those bodies are crazy well sealed/painted/primed. '63 and before those finishes are really seeping into the wood. It's something special to feel.

Although I can't speak first hand about either Jazzmaster mentioned above I've had a fascination with the later CBS models for about a decade. Research wise websites and forums come and go over the years but generally there's always at least a couple of comments about them. Leading up to the final year of '78 they are said to be well built and punchy sounding, they were heavy bodied though.

Last edited: Sep 06, 2017 13:59:29

Thanks everyone! I think $3500 is a good price for a '66. What do you think? Very clean, sunburst, all original, with original case.

If it's all original with case, then that is right around what they're going for. However, if you're not a collector and rather a player, refinished pre-CBS guitars also are about that range. I am surprised by today's prices but that seems to be what they go for. I would look at Reverb to get information on the current amount they're selling for. Realize, however, that it's just a guide. People pay a variety of amounts depending on a variety of factors. It all really depends on what you want and what you're comfortable paying. Additionally, I've seen the prices only going up on guitars. As players, we're almost priced out of classic guitars and I think that's crazy. If original is what you want then go for it. Just know that the current batch of AVRI are EXCELLENT! My 65 reissue sounds just about as good as my vintage 1961.

Matt "tha Kat" Lentz
Otto and the Ottomans: 2014-2015
The Coconauts surf band: 2009-2014
www.theamazingcoconauts.com
Group Captain and the Mandrakes 2013
http://www.gcmband.com/
The Surfside IV: 2002-2005, 2008-2009
the Del-Vamps: 1992-1999, 2006-2007
http://www.dblcrown.com/delvamps.html

Thanks Matt. I was wondering about the AV65 and will find one to try before deciding.

larsjen wrote:

Thanks Matt. I was wondering about the AV65 and will find one to try before deciding.

Matt's suggestion is solid. (Give it a fair shake, make sure it's setup properly.) Lots of guitar players, like people in other "hobbies", buy a shiny object, keep it a month, and trade it back in for another shiny object. Don't be afraid of looking at a pristine used one; plenty out there. And at what they go for used (1400-1500ish) that's quite a bit of meat left over from the $3500 you're contemplating.

Good luck! Smile

Wes
SoCal ex-pat with a snow shovel

DISCLAIMER: The above is opinion/suggestion only & should not be used for mission planning/navigation, tweaking of instruments, beverage selection, or wardrobe choices.

Like Badger and others on SG101, I am a huge fan of tbe AVRI Jazzmasters and Jaguars. And the AVRI Strats,Telecasters and the Precision and Jazz basses.

Over the past half century, I've been fortunate to have owned nearly a dozen "real" vintage Fenders, circa 1957-1968 and all were acquired before the collectors caused the prices to skyrocket. Aside from the '64 Jaguar that that my late mom and dad gave to me as an early high school graduation present, I've sold all my vintage Fender guitars. The only one I truly miss is the '65 Jazzmaster shown in my avatar pic that I bought from my pal Eddie Katcher and sold back to him a few years ago. That one was/is a really, really special instrument.

Why did I sell the vintage stuff? Because I have an older AVRI Jazzmaster and and Jaguar that to me, play and sound better than any of the "real" vintage ones I've had, aside from the aforementioned '64 Jaguar. None of the vintage ones were bad guitars - quite the contrary - but the two remaining AVRI offsets just do everything RIGHT. Both are bone stock aside from changing to tort pickguards.

Now....Over the decades I've also had several AVRI Jags and Jazzmasters and as with the vintage ones, there are variances in playability, weight and tonality in those, too. I recently sold a 1999 "first run" AVRI Jazzmaster to another former bandmate who was the original owner who expressed an interest in buying it back. It was one of those good-but-not-great guitars.

The point is that there is definitely some variance in otherwise identical Fender guitars regardless of their era. I believe that a really great guitar, regardless of when or where it was built might just end up being a forever keeper.

Jack
aka WoodyJ
The Mariners (1964-present) http://themarinerssurf.wordpress.com/
HulaHounds (1996-2004, 2014-present)
The Surge! (2004, 2011-2012)
X-Rays (1997-2004)

I should also add, thanks to Woody, that I do not currently own any vintage Fenders. My Jags are littered with vintage necks and parts, but no actual vintage Fender.

Sold them all, not worth the $$$. The '60 Jag was freaking amazing though, I was just its surrogate and sold it back to the guy who sold it to me for what I paid, that was always the plan.

My '64 ES-355 and '59 6119 are going nowhere though (New Gibsons and Gretschs don't compare). Vintage Fenders aren't good enough (price to feel) to building your own or the incredible AV65 line.

AV65, if I had to wager is what Fenders felt like new in the 60s/50s. Age does beautiful things to a guitar.

I appreciate all the info. Great forum! This guitar was going to be my first vintage purchase but you guys have me reconsidering it. I'll really explore the AV or AVRI JM route. Anyone have a good one for sale?

If you have the money, it is a good purchase if you feel like you can sell it for as much if not more in the future.

I've sold all mine, but I'm very happy to have had them. I've learned a ton about the industry/setting up guitars/etc... Even made money.

Don't get an AVRI, only AV65. AVRIs don't do anything better than an AV'65.

I agree with Jake, although I've never seen a 1960 Jaguar. Wink I know you mean a Jazzmaster. Like Jake, I've had a few vintage Fenders over the years and they are now priced too high. Luckily, I didn't have to pay as much as the going rate, but they are priced so high that I don't really want to take them out to play live shows. I only will use them in the studio or for practice from time to time. The AV reissues are another story. I practice and play out with my AV65 Jazzmaster AND I would also use it in the studio. However, I won't depart with my vintage Fenders. That may change later as I use my reissue more and more.

Jake also mentioned that he has vintage necks on his guitars now. I also have a '63 Jag neck on a newer MJT body. It actually feels/sounds the same as my '64 Jaguar (and I have no problem playing out with it). Necks are unfortunately going up in price as well, but if you want the vintage feel of a guitar without the vintage price, putting a vintage neck on can do the trick. The AV pickups are the best Fender makes in my opinion. They really do have the vintage sound and they are a great price. But building a guitar can be very expensive, too. Just don't think of selling a built guitar for what you have into it. It's a true labor of love and unless you part it out, you won't get close to what you put into it.

I agree also that the AV65 series is the best as far as reissues go. Haven't tried the custom shop guitars, but they go for such silly prices that you may just as well buy a vintage one.

Matt "tha Kat" Lentz
Otto and the Ottomans: 2014-2015
The Coconauts surf band: 2009-2014
www.theamazingcoconauts.com
Group Captain and the Mandrakes 2013
http://www.gcmband.com/
The Surfside IV: 2002-2005, 2008-2009
the Del-Vamps: 1992-1999, 2006-2007
http://www.dblcrown.com/delvamps.html

Decided to get the '66! Thanks again for all your help.
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Last edited: Sep 13, 2017 15:02:47

One more
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Congratulations! Drool

Wes
SoCal ex-pat with a snow shovel

DISCLAIMER: The above is opinion/suggestion only & should not be used for mission planning/navigation, tweaking of instruments, beverage selection, or wardrobe choices.

That is REALLY clean! Congrats!

Matt "tha Kat" Lentz
Otto and the Ottomans: 2014-2015
The Coconauts surf band: 2009-2014
www.theamazingcoconauts.com
Group Captain and the Mandrakes 2013
http://www.gcmband.com/
The Surfside IV: 2002-2005, 2008-2009
the Del-Vamps: 1992-1999, 2006-2007
http://www.dblcrown.com/delvamps.html

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