A Left-of-the-Dial Legend: Inside the American Ultra Jazzmaster
With new player-friendly features and classic styling, the American Ultra Jazzmaster is perfect for any style of playing.
By Mike Duffy
When the Fender Jazzmaster was introduced in 1958, it was very clear that this was truly a left-of-center instrument.
Sleekly curvaceous and contoured like a Stratocaster, the Jazzmaster boasted an offset-waist body that made it more comfortably playable and balanced while seated. It carried a floating bridge/anchored tailpiece design with a floating vibrato and tremolo-locking system and distinctive single-coil pickups. And the wiring was completely off the wall, with a small slider switch on the upper horn let the player choose between “lead” and “rhythm” circuits, each with their own volume and tone controls.
But although it didn't necessarily hit its initial intended audience of serious jazz guitarists, the Jazzmaster did eventually gain widespread adoption - albeit in a few unexpected areas.
First, it became the go-to guitar during the golden age of surf music in the 1960s, an affordable and stylish instrument for new wave musicians during the seventies. Eventually, the Jazzmaster took its place as an iconic and versatile guitar for the alternative and indie rock set - a development that continues to see the Jazzmaster in the hands of rock's most inventive musicians.
Never is that more true with the latest iteration of this iconic model, the American Ultra Jazzmaster.
The American Ultra Jazzmaster is Fender's most advanced version of the Jazzmaster, with ultra-playable features for discerning players who demand the ultimate in precision, performance and tone.
From new body contours to a unique "Modern D" neck to a speedy 10”-14” compound-radius fingerboard to Fender's first-ever noiseless Jazzmaster pickups, the American Ultra Jazzmaster is an inspired new instrument that will open new doors of creativity.
As such, here are the key features of the American Ultra Jazzmaster:
New Body Contours
For next level comfort and playability, Fender redesigned the body contours of its most iconic models for the first time in decades. New back body curves offer hours of gigging comfort while a super-sculpted neck heel gives players unparalleled access to the upper register of the fingerboard, resulting in better accessibility and comfort.
10" - 14" Compound-Radius Fingerboard
Built for speed and easy bending, the 10”-14” compound-radius fingerboard is rounded near the nut for chording ease, becoming increasingly flatter as it nears the upper register for easy soloing.
"Modern D" Neck Profile
Slim with wide shoulders, the “Modern D” neck profile works for any style of playing. A silky, smooth Ultra satin finish makes the neck effortless to play while the bound fingerboard adds a touch of class.
Ultra Noiseless Vintage Pickups
The Ultra Noiseless Vintage pickups - Fender's first noiseless Jazzmaster pickups - feature true classic Fender tone without hum.
The upper slider switch puts the pickups out of phase (when both are on) and activates thumb wheel volume offset controls, offering a variety of tonal possibilities. The the treble bleed circuit maintains your highs at any volume. Engaging the volume knob's S-1 switch overrides the pickup selector toggle and activates both pickups in series.
Locking Tuning Machines
A high-performance feature, locking tuning machines offer increased tuning stability while making changing strings fast and easy.
Clearly, the American Ultra Jazzmaster is resonating with some of today's most inventive artists, such as Baroness' Gina Gleason and Brazilian guitar virtuoso Mateus Asato.
With modern player-friendly features melded with its classic style, the American Ultra Jazzmaster is the most advanced and versatile version of the anti-hero that was introduced over six decades ago.