This guitar is one of my newer acquisitions, it’s a US made reissue.

The Jaguar is a development of the Jazzmaster that was first issued in 1958. Top of the Fender line and featuring a number of innovative features, the JM was a 25½ inch full scale instrument. Whether it was a real attempt to break into the jazz market is a moot point but in any event the Jazzmaster was a commercial failure. Undaunted, in 1962 Fender replaced it with the even more up-market Jaguar. I assume this time they were really aiming at the jazz buyer as the Jaguar has a shorter scale 24” neck with 22 frets presumably making it ideal for syncopated jazz chords. Referred to as - “one of the finest solid body electric guitars that had ever been offered to the public” the Jaguar offered a host of innovative technology.

Fender Jaguar

Like the Jazzmaster it had a long, solid, offset waist body that was reputed to be more comfortable for exponents who played while seated. Like its predecessor it had a rosewood fret board and featured a spring loaded string mute with a ‘floating’ tremolo system that was much more sophisticated than the Stratocaster. It also featured a tremolo lock that maintained tuning when a guitarist broke a string. It features a very usable system where the player can set up the guitar for both rhythm and lead and switch between the two with the flick of a single switch.  Electronically more sophisticated than the Jazzmaster it should have been a hit but it wasn’t. Misunderstood, Leo Fender’s innovations proved problematic and so became unpopular with players. Overshadowed by the more aesthetically pleasing and simpler Stratocaster and the very basic Telecaster, the Jaguar was discontinued in 1975.

In the late 80’s and early 90’s, alternative bands began to rediscover the Jaguar, partly because vintage examples could be had for a song and also because they were different from the models the main stream were playing at the time. Kurt Kobain was probably the best known exponent. In 1999 Fender reissued the Jaguar as Japanese, Mexican and US recreations.

I wanted one, firstly because of the shorter scale for my smallish hands and the fact that it is reputedly comfortable for playing while sitting. My initial impressions are very positive, it seems to suit me perfectly. Watch this space.