'62 Jazzmaster Review

manufacturer: Fender date: 11/09/2012 category: Electric Guitars
Fender: '62 Jazzmaster
The uniquely contoured body of the Jazzmaster incorporates a snappy 25.5" scale length with warm-sounding pickups. Original lead and rhythm circuit switching incorporates independent volume and tone controls, and the floating tremolo with tremolo lock adds to the distinctive look and sound of the Jazzmaster.
 Sound: 9.4
 Overall Impression: 9.2
 Reliability & Durability: 9
 Action, Fit & Finish: 6.6
 Features: 9.8
 Overall rating:
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reviews (5) 20 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 8.8
'62 Jazzmaster Reviewed by: unregistered, on november 09, 2012
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 603.9

Features: The guitar I'm basing this review on is my 2003 CIJ (Crafted in Japan) '62 re-issue Jazzmaster. 21 Vintage frets. Maple neck with rosewood fretboard. Vintage tuners, 25.5" scale D-shape neck (best Fender neck by far). Solid basswood body, offset design, this one's finished in burgundy mist. Floating tremelo with locking feature, threaded saddle bridge. 2x passive wide-wound single coil pickups on a 3-way selector. 1x volume and tone controls, switchable rhythm circuit with independent tone and volume controls. It's a very unique guitar, although it shares many parts with the later Jaguar model. It really depends what you use it for as to how useful some of the features are, e.g. the rhythm circuit. I got it because I really wanted the features. // 10

Sound: The Jazzmaster has a mellower, less mainstream tone than the Strat or Tele due to the wider and flatter wound pickups but its not a problem, it's simply a different tone. Can be smooth at the neck, twangy at the bridge or very unique sounding in the middle position. Is as noisy as any Strat. The CIJ models don't have the correct pickups! They may look wider but if you have a look underneath its exactly like a Stratocaster! I'm not sure why Fender Japan do this because it destroys the whole point of the guitar. So, replace them with the correct type and its fine, and still more affordable than the USA model. I have a Seymour Duncan Vintage '57 for Jazzmaster in the neck (approx 50 and the tone is priceless) and a Seymour Duncan 1/4 Pounder for Jazzmaster in the bridge (also approx 50). Although it would seem, the Jazzmaster is not exactly associated with jazz. Basically it wasn't incredibly popular back in the '60s like the Strat and Tele so, as a used buy, it became a cheap alternative to other models. This resulted in it becoming the guitar to have in the alternative indie/shoegaze scene of the late '80s-early '90s. Additionally a young Jimi Hendrix played it and surf music uses it widely. This guitar actually helped create new genres from its muddy distortion tone and alternative sound (read Nirvana and My Bloody Valentine). The vibrato is very smooth and sublte, only about 1/2 a step max. This guitar shines played clean, with slight distortion/crunch it sounds really good, and with some heavier distortion/fuzz it has its own muddy, 'I'm-not-made-for-this' approach. It really won't do metal and it'll look a bit odd, and its not ideal for soloing due to it's lack of sustain. 9 because it's not a jack of all trades which may be a problem for some and has little natural sustain, but its so unique anyway. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: My example had old strings ('9s), which I replaced for '10s. A couple of the higher frets had some minor finish flaws which I removed without damage (I think it was some stray glue). I raised the pickups after replacing them because they were a few mm too low, especially the bridge which should be significantly higher than the neck. The body finish and pickguard are flawless, very impressive. All the many parts fit perfectly, the tuners are solid and the switches work, although the main pots are a bit poor; nothing happens until about 3 and there's not much difference after that so either have them max or min. The pickup switch feels quite cheap. Mine crackles a bit when switching and I'm not sure if it's a loose connection or the Switch itself (more likely my dodgy soldering) but I can't usually get the middle setting, I just get the neck pickup, not both. The saddles are rubbish! Strings jump out of the shallow threads. Simply replace them with Mustang saddles (with just the one groove) and problem solved. I still have the originals and its useable unless you play quite hard (I don't). My bridge doesn't buzz either (another common complaint) so I can live with it. 7 for the mods required for a perfected version (pickups/saddles/pots) but it's worth it and not useless without these tweaks. // 7

Reliability & Durability: This is a very solid guitar, even though it has its flaws its not fragile and even if you don't do the mods it should serve you well for a lifetime. Hardware is solid, the strap buttons are ok, but you should be using strap locks anyway. I use a backup at gigs in the form of my CIJ '57 Stratocaster but I haven't had to turn to it so far. A glimse of the examples Sonic Youth used (before some twunt stole them all) will reasure you of the durability. // 9

Overall Impression: I've been playing for over 2 1/2 years now, I'm no technical master. I like to play alternative indie/shoegaze aswell as Pink Floyd style rock. In terms of what I want to play/write for, listen to Doves or Elbow and you get the idea. The guitar isn't the focus of this sound so I'm not going to be pushing this hard, it's perfect for sitting into the mix and contributing its unique sound to the overall music (this is perfect as a rhythm guitar or for soft leads). I was fortunate to get this for 330 rather than the shop price of 550-650 (varies a lot). I would have been prepared to pay the full price if there wasn't the need for the replacement pickups. I was drawn to it initially by the looks having first seen it used by Grant Nicholas ages ago, then the tone once I discovered MBV, Sonic Youth and Swervedriver. It's all I hoped for (I was aware of the flaws with the model before I bought one). The only unexpected thing was the colour I ended up getting it in, burgundy mist (pale pink/maroon metallic) which I've grown to really like sunburst is too common anyway. Check out some Jazzmaster/Jaguar websites for lots of extra info/pics if you're interested. // 9

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overall: 8.4
'62 Jazzmaster Reviewed by: unregistered, on november 09, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 575

Purchased from: Wallace Reed Music

Features: This Crafted in Japan Jazzmaster was constructed in the mid 1990s. It has 21 medium frets on a long rosewood neck. I don't know the exact dimensions. The body is contoured, for your playing pleasure, and is made of maple. They used a poly finish that looks great but doesnt't breathe like the superior nitro finish. It comes with a floating bridge that has multiple grooves on the saddles. It's a drawback but can easily be replaced. There is a tremolo piece that works well. Two volume an two tone pots that are on separate circuits controlled by a black Switch. The top setting for the black Switch gives the guitar a warm Rush to the crotch while the bottom setting is more trebly. There are twosingle coil pickups so there's a 3 way toggle Switch. The tuners are non locking and are pretty shitty. It doesn't say what kind they are (the tuners). It came with hardshell case that retails around 75 bucks. // 10

Sound: I think any guitar can be used for any style but if we must be specific I'll go for the generic answer. This guitar is great for a surf sound. If you have a tube amp this guitar can sound crisp on a clean setting. I use a Fender Blues Junior. The p/ups are deceptive. They look like soap bar p/ups but are genuinly regular single coil but this can be taken care of. P90s fit in the p/up slots so shell out he extra cash if you want. I don't care. They sound hot to me as it is but whatever. This guitar can sound full or sound thin but it's an abrasive sound. Know what I mean? // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: This gutiar was set up by monkeys. The action was so low that I could not bend without fretting out, but that was fixed easily. Learn how to set up your guitars! The neck p/up was set up fine, but the bridge was too far from the strings. Sounded quiet compared to its counterpart, but this too can be fixed. The intonation was shit but whatever. The hardware was fine. Tip top shape. // 5

Reliability & Durability: This guitar can withstand Live playing. It's a Fender. I've had this thing for 4 years now and nothing has been permanently damaged. Sometimes the tremolo piece gets loose and falls back into the guitar but this can be fixed. Use your hands. I have dents and scratches on the finish, and the paint flies off when I drop it but that's normal. It's a guitar not a trophy. And plus thisguitar probably wont appreciate cause, you know, it's not american and the poly finish but whatever. Get rich flipping burgers. // 8

Overall Impression: I like playing simple music and this guitar is a good match for me. I'd buy another if I were rich. I've had a guitar for 6 years now. I own a Fender Blues Junior, Planet Waves Chromatic Tuner, Boss OC-3 octave pedal, a cheap ass Danelectro distortion pedal, and that's it. I love the sound of the guitar and how it feels. I don't like the price paid. My favorite feature is the medium frets. They feel good. I compared this guitar to a Fender Telecaster. I chose this over that cause it was more comfortable. And it looked weird. I wish this had a nitro finish and real soap bar p/ups. That's it. I can Live with the shit tuners. Oh and for the bridge saddles, I replaced them with Tusq saddles. They're like plastic but really hard and there's only one groove for the strings so they don't bounce around. // 9

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overall: 8
'62 Jazzmaster Reviewed by: Blompcube, on november 09, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 485

Purchased from: Trevor Davies Music

Features: My Jazzmaster is a 2006 Japanese '62 reissue. It has a 21 fret 25.5" scale maple neck with a rosewood fretboard. The frets are very small, which is typical of japanese fenders. I think the body is poplar or alder but I'm not entirely sure. The finish is a nice sparkly red, with a matching headstock. The offset body is very comfortable for both sitting down and standing up. The bridge is the infamous jazzmaster bridge with those saddles with multiple slots for the strings, which allow for custom string spacing (read on for more info and why it's infamous), and that lovely smooth tremolo tailpiece, complete with a Switch to lock it so it works like a HardTail. It has an unusual dual circuit system, controlled by a little slider Switch on the top horn. when the Switch is flicked down, you use a Standard 3 way pickup selector and master vol/tone, but when it's up you just have the neck pickup and the 2 roller pots for volume and tone next to the Switch, which even when both full up give a different tone to the neck pickup with the regular vol/tone controls. It has 2 wide-area single coil pickups which are unique to the Fender jazzmaster, and Vintage Fender tuners. Being the Japanese model, it didn't come with any extras. So this guitar is loaded with features - perhaps too many features for it's own good in some cases? but it's great for me. // 9

Sound: I play a wide range of styles from jazz to hard rock/grunge and need a wide range of tones to cover them - while most of my tonal variations come from my pedalboard, there are some guitars which handle the lower gain settings and not the higher gain too well, or vice versa, but this guitar seems to handle them all brilliantly. I use a Laney VC30 amp and too many effects to list, most of the time. Due to the wide sensing area of the single coils, understandably the pickups are going to be quite noisy, but when you have both pickups active they cancel the hum due to the inverted polarity. Now, how can I describe the sound... ?? Well, it's a bright Strat-like sparkly sound, only with a lot of extra midrange punch in the bridge position in comparison to a Strat, and a full, warm but still chimey sound in the neck position. with the upper controls engaged it's much smoother, looses the chime bad adds a certain richness to the sound, almost like a les paul. It also has a kind of metallic resonance in all pickup positions due to the way the bridge adds a lot to the tone. My only criticisms of the sound are that the output of the stock pickups is very quiet, making me kick on my clean boost a lot of the time just to add more volume, and it doesn't have a lot of sustain. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: From my perspective the factory setup is a bit of a letdown, as the action was set very low for just the high E string, which is unusual, and the pickups were adjusted far too high on the bass side and very low on the treble side, so the low strings were drowning out the higher strings, specifically the high E which was already compromised by the absurdly low action. The guitar didn't have any flaws, except the aformentioned bridge - the bridge you get with a Jaguar and jazzmaster is notorious for being the most problematic piece of hardware in the history of the electric guitar. At best, it will rattle like mad but this rattle isn't amplified, and so far this is the only problem I've had. However, others have had the strings pop out of the grooves in the saddle and land in another groove, interfering with tuning and string alignment, the height adjustment screws working their way out of the saddles from the resonance of the bridge lowering the action and even falling out of the saddles. This is something you should be aware of before you buy yourself a jag or jazzmaster (unless you get the classic player models - these are stock fitted with tune-o-matics), so that you can figure out how to solve problems as they come. I intend on getting a buzz-stop as a precautionary measure as it is a simple solution to many of the problems. // 5

Reliability & Durability: This guitar will definitely withstand Live playing - It seems very solid and dependable, apart from the bridge - I wouldn't gig with this guitar without a backup unless I was sure the bridge wouldn't let me down, so until I've worked on it to the point where nothing can go wrong, I will always keep my Stratocaster close by just in case. The hardware also seems like good quality, long lasting hardware. the switches feel solid. The finish also seems like it will last - my guitars don't get too much abuse, but as with my other 2 fenders, the finishes are very thick. // 9

Overall Impression: As I mentioned in the sound section, I play a lot of different styles of music and this is a good match for all of what I play, although due to the low output of the pickups I wouldn't recommend using one of these for metal. I've been playing longer than I care to remember, but have been playing seriously for only about 4 years. I have a lot of guitars and gear, for example, this is my 3rd Fender, I also have a Standard Stratocaster and a Cyclone from Fender. If this guitar was stolen or lost I'd definitely get another. I love the tone and the playing comfort and the solid feel of this guitar, it's simply way ahead of anything else I've played before, it's just a shame about the bridge, but this should be common knowledge, and is something I was aware of before I bought it so I'm in no position to complain. My favourite feature, oddly enough, is the tremolo mechanism - I'm not much of a tremolo user, and normally would have it locked, but this trem is so smooth and keeps the guitar in tune so well I have no reason not to make use of it. I didn't really compare this to other products, I'd just always wanted to get a Jaguar or a jazzmaster, I played this jazzmaster, thought it was amazing, and the shop didn't have any jaguars. I know this was the right decision as I remember not being too keen on the 24" scale length of the Jaguar. The only thing I wish it had was a better bridge which still gave the guitar the same feel and tone but without the rattling and the potential problems. All in all, it's a lovely guitar, and I can love it despite the flaws in the design. // 9

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overall: 9.2
'62 Jazzmaster Reviewed by: Inbleach, on november 09, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Features: This is one of the new USA '62 Reissue Jazzmasters. It has two special design Jazzmaster single-coils, 21 frets, and a floating tremolo with lock. I got an Olympic white one with the brown pickguard. The guitar is actually very visually stunning in the gold interior case. It's also got 1 volume and 1 tone. It also has the rhythm circuit which bypasses the bridge pickup which apparently was designed so you could play solos and then change to the neck pickup for chording and the like without having to reset your volume and tone. Overall it's a pretty decent set up. // 10

Sound: I play rock, but for the longest time i've been playing metal. I finally decided to try something new. I run it into a Mesa Boogie Dual Rec, and it surprised the hell out of me when it sounded amazing. The pickups have a warm-smooth tone. It doesn't have the high-end "bite" of a Strat pickup. They actually sound really good with a lot of distortion. It does feedback quite a bit if you let it sit there for a minute. With the rhythm circuit disengaged on the bridge pickup it has a warm mellow sound that is a little more treble-y, almost kind of a subtle twang. Both pickups together back off on the treble but still give a warm sound. The top pickup has a really warm jazzy sound. Good for cleans and chords. With the rhythm circuit engaged it bypasses the bridge pickup so it gives the neck a little more volume and changes the tone which I actually prefer for cleans. When distorted it actually sounds not quite like a single coil, but not quite like a humbucker. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: Mine came set up to my liking, I didn't do anything to it. But I bought it from a guitar shop, so I don't know what they did to it before I got it. Everything seems to be ok. However, I've heard the paint chips really easily. When I bought mine it already had some dings and paint chips so I got $200 off. Can't argue with that. // 8

Reliability & Durability: I'm sure this guitar can withstand a lot, considering it's a Fender. For the most part everything seems pretty solid. I just bought it though so I'm not gonna hold my breath just yet. // 9

Overall Impression: I've always loved Fender guitars, especially the ones with the odd shaped bodies. I've been playing 6 years and I've owned countless guitars, this is the most expensive high-end one I've ever owned. The only guitar I can say I liked just as much (and should have never sold, damn the economy) was a '93 Stratocaster plus. If it where stolen I would probably be incredibly depressed and heartbroken for a month and then scrape together some cash to buy a new one. Overall it's a pretty solid guitar and I think it suits my taste in sound. // 9

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overall: 9.6
'62 Jazzmaster Reviewed by: doecheadle, on november 09, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 600

Features: I reckon mine was made in about 2003 on the island of Japan. It has 21 frets. The neck is maple with a rosewood fingerboard whilst the body is what I believe to be alder. It came with the stock Jazzmaster bridge, which I switched out with a Mustang bridge and added a buzz-stop. I've also switched out the Fender tuners for Grovers which I've done with every Fender I own(not a fan of Fender's tuners at all). I also switched out the stock pups for Lollar Jazzmaster Style Pickups. // 10

Sound: It sounds great. With all of the upgrades I've made it sounds just like I want it to. I play rock of all kinds but I use this for more alternative stuff. I usually use this when I want either a twangy sound or when I'm trying to get real muddy. I play through a Boss TU-2, Dunlop Cry Baby, Ibanez TS-9, Boss DS-2, Boss TR-2, Boss CH-1, MXR Phase 90(script), MXR Carbon Copy, Line6 Echo Park, Boss DD-7, Morley ABY Switch, and a Boss RV-5 all to a 100W Marshall 1959 Plexi with a Marshall 1960 A cabinet and a Vox AC30. When I have the Tube Screamer and DS-2 running through the Marshall it's noisy as hell, but they're supposed to be I guess. This guitar, more so than any other that I personally own can make some pretty crazy sounds. The sounds made by playing behind the bridge are something that turned me on to this guitar. It has a large variety of tonal capabilities. It can sound loud and angry or soft and sweet. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: This guitar was (and still is) pretty beat up when I got it. The finish is scratched in some places and just gone completely in others. The set up was terrible. The guy that had it before me must have been using 3000 gauge strings or something because when I switched the strings to 9's I had about a foot between the strings and the fretboard. These are all things that the previous owner had done and shouldn't be accredited to Fender in any way. Actually this guitar could probably be sold for a lot more money now because it looks as though someone paid a lot of money to have it relic'd. I'll give it an 8 just because I have no idea what the factory set up would've been like. // 8

Reliability & Durability: This things is a rock. Literally. I've beat this thing up pretty good in the time I've had it. Played numerous shows with it (which in my experience tend to be a little rough on guitars) and it still holds up. The only thing that ever breaks down is the body itself, never the electronics. Once again I'm probably sitting on a goldmine the way relic'd guitars are gain popularity. // 10

Overall Impression: This thing is more than I could have hoped for. Sure I've put a pretty large amount of money into it to upgrade it, but considering how much and american model is going for, this thing is still a bargain. The guitar cost $600, the pups were another $200, the Grovers were about $40-50, and the Mustang bridge and buzz-stop were probably about $50 combined. So all together I'm at about $900 for this thing. I've played many different Jazzmasters and the only one I've played that even stood up to mine was a very well maintained '64 I believe. So if you wanna drop a couple grand on a guitar just get one of those and save yourself the time of having to tweak everything. Otherwise just get yourself a CIJ and learn yourself up on how to fix anything you may want to change. I'm by no means saying that the things I've done to mine need to be done to every Jazzmaster, but there's probably a reason that so many people seem to be doing some of the same things to theirs. // 10

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