It’s an oft told tale that the Fender Jazzmaster was rejected by its intended audience; namely, jazz guitarists. Just as other iconic instruments such as the Gibson F-5 mandolin, the Gibson Les Paul model and the Fender Stratocaster have taken on second lives and excelled at styles of music that were not what their creators intended, the Jazzmaster has been favored for over fifty years by surf guitarists, r&b masters, proto-punks, indie rockers and other musicians who like to think outside of the mainstream.
This particular Jazzmaster is a special guitar for several historical reasons, and with its Fiesta red finish, is drop dead gorgeous as well. This guitar is one of several prototype Jazzmasters built in 1957, and was the personal guitar of Fender man George Fullerton for many years. Thanks to his massive input and design brilliance (beginning with the design of the Broadcaster/ Telecaster, and continuing with Leo until the end as the “G” in G&L guitars) George Fullerton was probably the most important figure in Fender lore after Leo Fender himself. This guitar was the first built in the incredibly popular fiesta red finish, and also (initially) had a maple neck with ebony fingerboard (a Fender first which was ultimately rejected). The neck was replaced in 1961 with another maple neck; this time outfitted with a fiberboard fingerboard (as opposed to the then-standard Brazilian rosewood). Early Jazzmasters tend to be tonally darker than examples made circa 1964 and later, and as a Jazzmaster enthusiast I’d love to hear what effect the fiber fingerboard does tonally for the instrument. Owning a piece with this type of historical importance does not come cheap; the price is approximately ten times what an early example in all original condition would cost, $85,000 at Gruhn Guitars.