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REACH FOR THE RHYTHM

The Jazzmaster’s rhythm circuit has been very much maligned and misunderstood over the years – often at best, ignored or taped up; at worst, torn out altogether. However, there’s sonic potential in those enigmatic controls – they’re far more than just ‘mud’ switches if you know how to use them…
A gorgeous 1959 Jazzmaster with gold anodised pickguard rests on a vintage 5E3 Deluxe. Not a bad rig…

Fender’s ‘offset’ guitars have had an odd trajectory over the years. At the time when the Jazzmaster and Jaguar were introduced (1958 and 1962 respectively), they were top-of-the line models poised to take over the guitar market – or so the great Leo Fender believed. Over the ensuing years, the models fell out of favour, a fact often attributed to what many players consider to be a lawed bridge design. In truth, this disillusionment was never the guitar’s fault, but rather, a lack of education surrounding fundamental elements of the design, including neck-tilt angle, string gauge, and floating-bridge maintenance. These oddball axes spent the better part of the last half century overwhelmingly ignored in the guitar arena, hanging on pawn-shop walls at discount prices.

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