Jazzmaster - Lee Ranaldo Signature review by Fender

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.6 (10 votes)
Fender: Jazzmaster - Lee Ranaldo Signature
1

Price paid: $ 1500

Purchased from: Musiciansfriend

Sound — 9
First off, this guitar can generate any sound you desire. The sky is quite literally the limit. Personally I play Experimental or Alternative styles, favoring the music of Sonic Youth (obviously), Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, My Bloody Valentine and bands like that. But I also play Classic Rock, Blues and some Jazz. And this guitar can handle them all quite well. As opposed to the Seymour Duncan pickups of the Thurston Moore model, the Lee Ranaldo has two Fender Wide Range humbucking pickups that are re-voiced to original Vintage specs, so that this Jazzmaster will sound like Jazzmasters did in their 1960s heyday. I run it through my Fender Frontman 212R amplifier, which compliments the guitars warm, clean sounding pickups. But can also scream with feedback and distortion when I want it to.

Overall Impression — 9
In my years of playing I've never handled a guitar as beautiful as this one. The sound is really something, and along with the features for me it's simply perfect. I love the feel of the guitar, it's nice and light and the bigger scale body works great for me. If this guitar was ever stolen I'd probably kill myself as there's no replacing it. It's definitely one of a kind. Prior to purchasing I compared this guitar to the Thurston Moore Signature Jazzmaster, and though similar, this guitar appealed to me more, I felt the sound just suited what I wanted with it's re-voiced pickups and the Mustang bridge was a must for me.

Reliability & Durability — 8
This guitar's definitely solid. I expect it to last a very, very long time. Strap buttons are solid and I could depend on this guitar to last me through any gig, in any circumstance. Don't think I'm being bias either, take it from me. This is a guitar you can really trust. I'm sure if for WHATEVER reason it was to sustain a dropping or something of the sorts it would be hardly damaged at all.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The action on this guitar is decent, although I think eventually I might get it professionally set up. Everything else is spot on. Bridge is well routed and all that. So far I haven't noticed any flaws, and I don't expect there will be any. All the frets are filed down perfectly, the finish on the wood was done really well and looks great. Tuners are tight and keep my strings in-tune, even after excessive whammy abuse, nut's great. To be honest I was really astonished with how perfect this guitar is. Everything's really well done. And don't just take my word for it either, if you're within capabilities of playing one of these guitars, do so and dare question me. You'll see that you agree with 99% perfection.

Features — 8
This guitar was manufactured in 2010, in the USA. It features 21 Vintage style frets with pearl inlays spanning across a 25.5" rosewood fretboard. Unique features of this guitar include Satin Lacquer Finish, Satin Black Painted Headstock, Single Master Volume with Black Speed Knob, Mustang Style Bridge, Re-Voiced Wide Range Humbucking pickups and a Black Anodized Aluminum Pickguard. The guitar does not feature tone knobs. Which, with this guitar I feel there wouldn't be a use for one anyway. The guitar came with Vintage Jazzmaster case, which included a Strap, Cable, Sonic Youth 'Zine, (Little magazine) Special Jaguar/Jazzmaster String Set, Stickers and about 1000 little manuals and information note things.

11 comments sorted by best / new / date

    mcamp1230
    If this guitar was ever stolen I'd probably kill myself as there's no replacing it. It's definitely one of a kind you could just buy a new one!
    The_Sad_Panda
    As opposed to the Seymour Duncan pickups of the Thurston Moore model, the Lee Ranaldo has two Fender Wide Range humbucking pickups that are re-voiced to original Vintage specs, so that this Jazzmaster will sound like Jazzmasters did in their 1960s heyday.
    Ummmm, Jazzmasters in the 60s only ever shipped with singe coil pick ups. And if I'm not mistaken, the WRHB wasn't made until the 70s, and even then it was only put in Telecasters.
    kaptink
    any chance you could scan the zine that came with it? Iv'e been dying to see it but I don't think buying a expensive guitar just for the booklet is a good move
    travislausch
    mcamp1230 wrote: If this guitar was ever stolen I'd probably kill myself as there's no replacing it. It's definitely one of a kind you could just buy a new one!
    lol u mad? I've always wanted to try a Jazzmaster, but I'll pass until they at least do a 22-fret model.
    catempire
    How can you review the tone of this guitar playing through a 212? Awful amps...
    pinheadslts75
    "First off, this guitar can generate any sound you desire. The sky is quite literally the limit" This applies to virtually every guitar on the planet unless you can find some monstrosity with a DOD Death Metal hard-wired to the pickups.
    Marley Tokunaga
    pinheadslts75 wrote: "First off, this guitar can generate any sound you desire. The sky is quite literally the limit" This applies to virtually every guitar on the planet unless you can find some monstrosity with a DOD Death Metal hard-wired to the pickups.
    How long have you been playing?? Hahahaha. All... well not ALL, but most guitars sound different. play a PRS McCarty Hollowbody through a Mesa Lonestar then play a Gibson Les Paul Custom through the same amp. Entirely different tones. Plus these guitars can't do "everything" tonewise but they can do a lot. This Jazzmaster is an exception though, my father owns it and the sky is the limit (If you know how to play and have a decent amp).
    k386
    So, I've had this guitar for a couple years now... hell I preordered the damn thing . Regardless, the sound of this guitar is immaculate and the feel of the neck is unparalleled (imho), the only failing point for me has been the bridge. The mustang is a great starting point, but nonetheless nothing but headaches. I've had to replace a couple saddles, and am currently using a couple standard Jazzmaster saddles on the treble strings just to keep them in place. So yeah problems, but nothing that doesn't change the fact that this is guitar is absolutely amazing. I've ordered a Mastery Bridge, not a cheap solution, but hopefully will make the difference. Not cheap, but worth it to make this guitar perfect. I was considering a buzz stop.. but would change the character of the guitar too much for me.
    Just2Rusty
    kaptink wrote: any chance you could scan the zine that came with it? Iv'e been dying to see it but I don't think buying a expensive guitar just for the booklet is a good move
    I don't have a scanner, sorry. I'm sure you'd be able to find a pdf of it somewhere on the net. It's nothing overly special. But cool if you're a Sonic fan.
    Just2Rusty
    catempire wrote: How can you review the tone of this guitar playing through a 212? Awful amps...
    I quite like the sound of mine, don't be bias to what you've experienced.
    7thString
    212, clean, is great for the price, just steer clear of the horrid 'drive' / 'more drive' channels...