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Splendid Fender Jaguar from 1963, in excellent original condition.

The Jaguar made its first appearance in the spring of 1962 as Fender’s new top-of-the-line model, supplanting the Jazzmaster. Its offset body with a bright sunburst finish and chrome accents quickly made it a serious status symbol for many bands in the early ’60s, and its twang-drenched tones immediately put it to use in the arms of surf-rock loving teens as well as those of country musicians.

This example from the second year of production features a neck dated to October ’63, approximately a year and a half after the first models left the production line in Fullerton. We thus find characteristics typical of the early days, including a rosewood fingerboard with clay dot inlays, a 3-tone Sunburst finish where the red, usually the first to fade, is superbly preserved, and the transitional Fender logo on the headstock – the same logo that would be applied between 1964 and 1965 to the whole soldibody line.

The bridge, tremolo system and rhythm circuit have been adapted from the Jazzmaster, while pickup selection is controlled by a set of switches placed on the treble side of the body. Each pickup is wired through an on/off switch, a third switch allowing activation of a capacitor cutting off a majority of low frequencies. The 24-inch scale is significantly shorter than that of other professional Fender models, making playability akin to that of the Mustang, Musicmaster and Duo-Sonic models: as such, the guitar does better with a stronger string gauge. Both single-coil pickups feature metal “claws” under the coil designed to focus the magnetic flux of the part, and are optimized for attack and sharpness. This combination of characteristics gives the Jaguar a wide sound palette and a very specific playing sensation, which probably caused the model to fall out of fashion as tastes changed in the late 1960s. Despite its recent revival, the Jaguar remains a historically underestimated guitar and commands our attention: the first models produced in the pre-CBS period are of the highest quality, and make eminently inspiring instruments for a whole diversity of playing styles for anyone who intends to diverge from the usual Stratocaster and Telecaster!

The model shown here is in excellent original condition, showing some wear typical of a belt buckle on the rear of the body but otherwise very little affected by the decades – the varnish, hardware, pickups and electronics are all present as they were originally installed on the guitar when it was built. Moreover, the instrument has been fully appraised and adjusted in our workshop, with a complete planing and polishing of the frets, adjustment of the action and intonation, in order to guarantee the perfect playing condition of the guitar.

Sold in a beautiful period case, with its vibrato rod, its mute (along with the original fossilized foam) and its certificate of authenticity delivered by Galerie Casanova.

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