1962 Fender Jaguar, Sunburst

By Fender

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Superb first year example of Leo Fenders range topping design from 1962 in a perfect three-tone Sunburst with just the right amount of wear.

The Jaguar, released in 1962 as Fender’s all new top of the range instrument is described in the 1962 Catalog as- “The Jaguar, Fender’s newest addition to their line of fine electric instruments, presents a new and exiting concept in the field of solid body guitars” In design it borrowed some cue’s from the Jazzmaster, Fender’s previous range topping six string release. The offset body shape, separate bridge and vibrato and dual circuits (lead and rhythm) electronics were all featured on the Jazzmaster, the Jaguar added to this with a new 22 fret, shorter scale 24” neck and added switching to the to the dual-circuit electronics. The Jaguar was also the first instrument to be offered with different nut widths available. The Jaguar enjoyed mild popularity on its introduction and found favour amongst the popular Surf guitar scene but despite its features could never quite emerge from the Stratocaster and Telecasters shadows. The Jaguar would enjoy a 13-year run before CBS-era Fender discontinued it in 1975 before being resurrected by Fender Japan in the mid-eighties from where the guitar has become a staple of the Fender line up.

This fantastic example dates from the debut year of 1962 and has many of the features that make Pre-CBS Fenders so desirable to players and collectors alike. The three-tone sunburst is bright and glossy with a strong band of red evident on the front and back. There is minimal fading under the pickguard and control covers. Nail holes are present and free from paint, the neck pocket is fully painted as was the method at this period with butterflying of the finish to the neck and neck plate. The five-digit serial number puts the guitar into the ’62 range. The 1 AUG 62B neck stamp is still present and legible. Only the very earliest of Jaguars would feature a ‘Slab’ fingerboard. Being an August neck this guitar is one of the first to feature the new rounded ‘Lam’ fingerboard. Like all the early ‘Lam’ necks the Rosewood is far thicker than it would be once Fender transitioned into CBS ownership. The Rosewood fingerboard is dark with a tight uniform grain pattern punctuated only by the ‘clay dot’ fret markers. Both neck and body are in good condition, with original finish throughout. There is a small amount of edge ‘touch up’ visible under blacklight to the body, a hopeful yet futile procedure as the guitar has subsequently picked up more edge wear, lacquer checking and dints and knocks but in our opinion looks all the better for it! The Tortoiseshell pickguard has a particularly rich chestnut appearance with a nice amount of contrasting flame. It shows slight signs of shrinkage but all mounting screws importantly still sit flush. Electronically the guitar is correct, wiring appears undisturbed with no signs of solder joints being broken. Pots share a 18th week of '62 source code. The pickups are the earlier flat poled examples only seen on the earlier Jaguars. The single line Kluson Deluxe tuners are stamped “PAT NUMBER” and D-169400. Hardware is free of corrosion with the vibrato unit and chrome control plates still retaining their factory shine. The original frets have lost some height but the guitar still plays excellently and came in to set up well with a nicely cut replacement Nut.

The guitar sounds fantastic, currently strung with 11 gauge round-wound strings it has a small neck shim fitted to the neck pocket. Acoustically the guitar has a lively strum with plenty of the overtones expected from Jaguars thanks to the bridge and tremolo unit. The nut width is 41.41mm with a depth at the first fret of 20.45mm increasing considerably to 25mm at the 12th fret. The 11 gauge strings balance well with the 24” scale length. Plugged in, all electronics work as designed and the guitar can go from serious twang to mellow warmth with the flick of a switch. The guitar weighs a comfortable 8lbs even, a nice weight for a Jaguar.

A great original example of one of Fenders finest and Final designs with the right amount of wear, excellent playability and Jaguar tones to die for. The guitar comes with a correct early sixties Brown case in fair condition.
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