'66 RI Jazzmaster review by Fender

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.4 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.5 (4 votes)
Fender: '66 RI Jazzmaster

Price paid: $ 1000

Purchased from: private party

Sound — 8
I play this guitar through a couple of amps. A Blackstar HT-5 and a Bugera V5. The body of the guitar produces a very nice full tone when unplugged and the pickups sound pretty good, but not as good as those on an AVRI. They have a bit sharper sound (more like a strat) than those on a classic Jazzmaster. I personally like the warmer sounding pickups on the AVRI but these are not bad. The guitar is very quite, though I don't use a lot of effects so I don't know how it would sound going through a long effects loop. I really like the circuitry on Jazzmasters and Jaguars. It gives you a lot of control and makes it so you can easily Switch between a rhythm and lead tone. The rhythm circuit is designed to have a fatter, more full tone which I like quite a lot. The bridge pickup is pretty bright but not nearly as twangy as on a Strat or tele. It has a very nice smooth sound, and breaks up nicely. Obviously it's not good for high gain music. It sounds better than the Classic Players, but worse than the AVRI. It is a good sounding guitar, but it isn't anything special.

Overall Impression — 9
More than anything I play my own music/improvise, but bands I often play songs by include; The Libertines/Babyshambles, Brand New, The Beatles, and Bright Eyes. This guitar is a good for playing clean, and distorted (but not heavily distorted) music. To see other gear I own look at my profile. I've been playing for about two years now, this is the best guitar I own. I like the circuitry on this guitar a lot, and it has great action/feel. If I were to change something about it I'd put in some warmer sounding pickups. I owned a Classic Players before this and was considering buying an AVRI so I've had the opportunity to compare it to some other Jazzmasters. I would say it is as good as the AVRI in every way but the pickups. It is a much better value than the AVRI. The Classic Players isn't in the same class in terms of action/feel/build or sound. If this guitar were lost or stolen I would replace it with another Jazzmaster. This model isn't exactly easy to find, so it might not be exactly the same, but I'd get a high end Japanese one or an AVRI.

Reliability & Durability — 10
This is a really dumb thing to rate a guitar on. It's as durable as any other Fender guitar. As far as reliability goes, the only concern with guitars is hardware, and this has good hardware so it is a 10. It stays in tune well, the electronics have given me no problems.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Like all the Japanese Fenders I've played this guitar is very well set up. The attention to detail is much better than with any other guitars I've seen. The pickups are well adjusted, there is not buzz on any fret, there is no buzz at the bridge. The guitar stays in tune very well and it has very low action. There are no aesthetic flaws. The build quality, action, and finish are basically as good as you can get.

Features — 10
Okay I bought this guitar at the start of August so it's about time for a review. The 66' RI Jazzmaster is a guitar CIJ for domestic sale only. You can find them on Ebay or from other small private sellers. The guitar has an Alder body, a 25.5", 21 Vintage fret, Maple neck with Rosewood fretboard. The neck is bound and has block inlays. Mine is the Candy Apple Red finish with white pickguard and chrome control plates. It has Vintage style Gotoh tuners. My bridge was replaced with a tune-o-matic and the tail piece with the one used for AVRI's. The guitar has the Jazzmaster "soapbar" pickups and a three way pickup selector with tone and volume. Then it has a "rhythm circuit" which is has independent tone and volume controls and when active overrides the primary circuit.

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Yeah I was afraid I might be over paying a little, but the only other place I'd seen these was on ishibishi music before they moved to ebay and they were about 800-1000 USD plus ~ 200 shipping.
    I love this guitar! Like all jazzmasters/jaguars the stock saddle is kind of annoying but a mustang saddle fixed that problem up nicely