when I owned way less guitars and not fourteen of them, four basses, a banjo, and a Hawaiian lap steel (that I bought in Hawaii), I only had three, mostly average, on the cheap side axes that I’d been using for about ten years. One day I decided to buy a Fender Squire Jazzmaster. The Fender Squire range is the budget line for guitarists who’d like to own a Fender, but can’t afford one. They are about a third of the price of an actual Fender, and they are quite decent, really. There are a number of famous musicians who play them. Jack Pearson who played with the Allman Brothers plays a $99 Squire with minimal upgrades. The Smiths, George Harrison, John Mayall etc.
My Jazzmaster was great. It was light, and played really well. The only problem was the pickups were noisy, but my good friend Randy Bulpin said he would take it back to Vermont, and get this dude to de-noiseify it for about a hundred bucks. I’m not sure of the actual price, could have been more or less. After a few weeks I still didn’t have my guitar back, so I asked Randy to ship it back to me because I wanted to use it. It never did get the work done on it. It was essentially the same as when I gave it to him, plus the cost of shipping it back to me. Thanks pal. Anyway, I don’t know what happened, it doesn’t matter anyway.
The “60’s Vibe” Squire Jazzmaster. Mine looks identical!
A couple of years later the Jazzmaster started to have electrical problems. It would cut out at random times, until finally it stopped working altogether. I pulled it apart and tried to figure out what was wrong. The guts of a guitar are just a jumble of wires, resistors, pots and switches. It looked fine, but something was fucked up because there was no sound! I threw that pick guard away and bought a new one. That worked good, and I installed an old pickup that Randy had swapped out decades ago when he cannibalized another guitar that I had. I wasn’t really a guitar player, so I didn’t really care at the time. I put this old, ugly soap bar pickup in the Jazzmaster and it played ok. At least and at last it was working again. It looked like shit though. Because there was only one pick up on the body, there was a hole where the other one should be. It quite bugged me, because I really liked the way it played, and yet it had lost it’s charm, and looked like something the cat had dragged halfway in, dropped it, dragged it back out, and then dragged it back in again..
To cut a long story short, I bought another pick guard recently and installed that in place of the mess that was there. This was a proper Squire Jazzmaster pick guard, a 60’s Vibe Jazzmaster, in fact. I could have bought a more expensive one, but I didn’t know if the guitar was going to play as good as I remembered, so I only paid a hundred bucks for this one. The guitar itself, I think originally cost me about $300, so why spend more than you need to? The holes for the bridge weren’t exactly in the right place, but after drilling them out a bit, I finally had it back to what it should be.I left the old strings on too. It’s a keeper, for sure. Plays beautifully, is very light and well balanced, and the vintage sunburst finish is really cool.I love this guitar so much I want marry it. Not really. If she comes with it…maybe…
A hot chick and a Jazzmaster………even better!
Buying a guitar is a crap shoot sometimes. It’s like with everything. A car, a house, a cellphone even? It’s like going on a date. You think you might have some chemistry, but then it doesn’t last. You can’t really fix a psychologically fucked up guitar though. I’ve got guitars that I really like, and then some that cost more that I struggle to get enthused about. There’s nothing technically wrong with them, but they just don’t have that special something. This Squire Jazzmaster of mine is back in the top three now. All it needs is an E string.
I think the Jazzmaster is on this track…I think