1963 Fender Jaguar, Sunburst

By Fender

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Excellent late 1963 Fender Jaguar in a strong three-tone Sunburst with plenty of vibe and that unmistakable Jaguar sound.

The Jaguar, released in 1962 was Fender’s all new top of the range instrument and 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”

The Jaguar borrowed some design cue’s from the Jazzmaster, Fender’s previous range topping model. 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.

This wonderful guitar dates from late 1963 and retains many of the features that make Pre-CBS Fenders so desirable. 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. All nail holes are present and free from paint with the neck pocket showing the shadow left from the ‘paint stick’ method of finishing. The L-series serial number puts the guitar as a late ’63 / early ’64 instrument. It’s likely the guitar was manufactured in ’63 but shipped in ’64.

The 1 DEC 63B neck stamp is still present and legible. 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, the body has plenty of edge wear, lacquer checking and dints and knocks throughout but in our opinion looks all the better for it. The frets are in good condition. The Tortoiseshell pickguard shows signs of slight shrinkage, but the pickups are still height adjustable. Electronically the guitar is correct with the exception of a rewound neck pickup. Pots share a 48th week of '63 source code. The single line Kluson Deluxe tuners are stamped “PAT NUMBER” and D-169400. The hardware is free of corrosion with the vibrato unit and chrome control plates retaining their factory gleam.

The guitar sounds fantastic, currently strung with 11 gauge round-wound strings it has a Stewmac 1° neck shim fitted. Acoustically the guitar has a lively strum with plenty of the overtones expected from Jaguars thanks to the bridge and tremolo unit. 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 8.1lbs.

An excellent find and a wonderful example of pre-CBS Fender craftsmanship. Comes complete with the correct, and rare white Tolex case.

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