Jazzmaster

From Academic Kids

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1962jazzmastersunburst.jpg
1962 Fender Jazzmaster Sunburst

The Fender Jazzmaster electric guitar was introduced in 1958 and was designed as a more upmarket instrument than the Fender Stratocaster, which itself was introduced in 1954 as a higher-priced product than the company's Telecaster series.

The Jazzmaster had a mellower tone than the Strat, which gave it a more jazzy sound, although it wasn't embraced by jazz musicians. Instead, rock guitarists used the instrument, especially for surf rock. (The Ventures and The Fireballs were prominent Jazzmaster players.) Fender then recognized the need for a purpose-designed surf-guitar, and introduced the Fender Jaguar -- a similar instrument with simpler electronics.

Both guitars were later embraced by the American Grunge and Indie rock scene. Sonic Youth are well known for their love of both Jaguars and Jazzmasters, and for their unique customisation jobs (Jazzblaster). Kurt Cobain of Nirvana played a Jaguar customised with humbucking pickups. Robert Smith of The Cure, also used two Jazzmasters (called Black Torty & White Torty) for the majority of the Cure's early work. Tom Verlaine of Television used an old Jazzmaster, as did J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr, Elvis Costello, and Mick Jagger during live shows in 1970s. The guitar has also had a large following in the "shoegazer" community. Both Kevin Shields and Bilinda Butcher of My Bloody Valentine made liberal use of the Jazzmaster, and its picture is featured on the cover of their critically acclaimed album, Loveless.

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