1965 Fender Jaguar

CRAVE Guitars says…

Thumbs up: Looks, versatile tones, unique pickups, bridge mute intact, originality, condition

Thumbs down: Size and weight, short scale, complicated wiring setup, vibrato, standard sunburst finish, non‑OHSC

Decree: A fantastic all‑original pre‑CBS Jaguar in great condition, very playable and sounds great

Model Description

The original production run of the offset solid body Fender Jaguar was between 1962 and 1975 with various specification changes along the way, predominantly after CBS acquired Fender in 1965. When introduced alongside the existing Jazzmaster, the Jaguar was Fender’s top‑of‑the‑range model targeted at persuading Gibson players to switch allegiance, making it more expensive than the company’s popular Stratocaster. The contoured body and unusual vibrato were shared with the earlier Jazzmaster, the Bass VI and the Electric XII, however that’s where the similarities end. The neck was shorter than the Jazzmaster (and Stratocaster/Telecaster) at 24” with 22 frets, more like the company’s ‘student’ models. The major difference between the Jaguar and all other Fenders were the model’s unique pair of single coil pickups and the complex controls comprising separate circuits for lead and rhythm. In addition to sunburst finish, Jaguars and Jazzmasters were offered in a range of custom colours derived from popular automobiles of the time. The Jaguar found an unusual source of appeal with the American surf scene of the early‑mid 1960s. CBS-era Jaguars introduced neck‑binding and block fret markers in an attempt to boost sales. After a period of decline the Jaguar was eventually withdrawn in 1975. The model became popular again with the punk/garage and indie/alternative movements from the late 1970s onward, creating a new generation of demand for the original instruments. The interest was sufficient for Fender to reissue the Jaguar first as a Japanese model from 1986 followed by a ‘Made in U.S.A.’ model from 1999. The Jaguar has since remained in continuous production up to the present day, including many variants and signature models. Like the Jazzmaster, rapidly increasing vintage prices mean that clean, original pre-CBS Jaguars are becoming very hard to find at a reasonable price. However, within context, they still remain good value‑for‑money compared to equivalent Stratocasters and Telecasters of the same period. Even the CBS‑era ones are becoming highly collectable and are rapidly catching up value‑wise.


Guitar Description

Here we have a gorgeous sunburst 1965 Fender Jaguar with the distinctive offset contoured body and desirable pre-CBS ‘L’ serial number. The Brazilian rosewood fingerboard on this example is particularly impressive – very dark, almost black, set atop a lovely subtle flame maple neck – it really is ϋber‑cool. The combination of the Jaguar’s unique shielded single coil pickups, the complicated electronics, bouncy vibrato/bridge and shorter scale neck give it a very unique playing experience and sound. It is very different to other Fenders of the period, and all the better for it. The body can feel a bit on the large side and it is quite heavy compared to other, smaller Fender offset models. Plugging the Jaguar in, you can immediately tell that it wasn’t really in competition with Gibson or anyone else’s models. The Jaguar holds an inimitable place in the Fender canon not only because of its looks but also its hugely flexible sounds. While it looks a bit like the similar Jazzmaster, it has as much to contrast as to compare. It is great to play with its tight vintage 7¼” radius fingerboard and the dedicated Jaguar pickups bestow it with a lovely, jangly single coil timbre. Often derided, the vibrato sounds like nothing else, especially with slightly heavier strings to help give sufficient string tension to make it sing (and stay in tune). The Fender Jaguar has certainly found a good home in the post‑punk, alternative and indie genres since the late 1970s to the current day. The offset body style has also become very much an in‑vogue aesthetic in the 21st Century. The Jaguar’s novel feature set all add to the formidable charisma that these old guitars exude – they really are like nothing else. OK, so this one has the ‘standard’ sunburst, rather than a rare (and much more expensive) custom colour but that doesn’t stop it being a great instrument in its own right. It has a few nicks and scrapes but it is well over half‑a‑century old and signs of use give it ‘that’ much‑craved (sic!) vintage look and feel.

Features:

  • Made in Fullerton, California, U.S.A. in 1965
  • Three-colour sunburst nitrocellulose finish
  • Flame maple bolt-on neck
  • Unbound rosewood fingerboard with 22 frets and pearloid dot markers
  • Scale length 24” (609mm)
  • Original nickel Kluson Deluxe tuners
  • Original tortoiseshell scratchplate
  • Original 3 chrome control plates
  • Original Jaguar single-coil pickups, switches, pots, knobs and jack socket
  • Original Fender bridge, vibrato tailpiece and vibrato arm – Fender’s ‘infamous’ bridge mute is intact including the foam (now hardened) – not fitted and comes with the guitar
  • Weight: 8lb 3oz (3.72kg)
  • Newer tweed hard shell case

Artists:

  • Jonny Buckland (Coldplay)
  • Bilinda Butcher (My Bloody Valentine)
  • Kurt Cobain (Nirvana)
  • Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins)
  • Graham Coxon (Blur)
  • Bob Dylan
  • John Frusciante (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
  • J. Harvey
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Emily Kokal (Warpaint)
  • Jonny Marr (The Smiths)
  • Brian Molko (Placebo)
  • Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth)
  • Sergio Pizzorno (Kasabian)
  • John Squire (The Stone Roses)
  • Tom Verlaine (Television)
  • Kurt Vile

Trivia:

The Jaguar was the first Fender model to be offered with a variety of neck widths. Four options were available, A, B, C and D from narrowest to widest, respectively slightly narrower than standard, standard, and two wider than standard. Widths A and B are most common.

The Fender Jaguar was also the first guitar from the company that had a movable string mute, which was mounted under the bridge, hinged to press a strip of foam against the underside of the strings. It was often removed by users, so not many original string mutes survive to the current day.

The unique Fender Jaguar pickups were initially released with flat pole pieces, which changed to staggered pole pieces in 1964. In addition, the Jaguar has unusual steel ‘sawtooth’ ‘claws’ on either side of the pickup cover. The ‘claws’ were designed to have the 4 taller ‘teeth’ under the wound strings and the 2 shorter ‘teeth’ under the plain strings (back in the day when wound G‑strings were common). These ‘claws’ were intended to change the magnetic field slightly and thereby to even out the tonal differences. Whether they make any practical difference is debateable.


Detail Gallery:


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