This, believe it or not, is a 1959 Fender Jazzmaster. The pristine appearance is due to the body having been refinished and the metal pickguard having been re-anodized. My boss, Mike Goe, scored this all the way from California, where it was used by a guy in a regional surf band. The refinishing knocks off a bit of collector value, so you kinda have to wonder just what this guitar must have looked like before. Still, just a millimeter or so below that finish lies exactly what rolled out of the Fender factory about 51 years ago.
The Jazzmaster is justly famous as the guitar that flopped completely with the jazz players of it's era, only to emerge as a "sleeper hit" when guys like Tom Verlaine, Elvis Costello, Thurston Moore, and J. Mascis plucked them out of pawnshops and, you know, made music history with them. The un-jazziness of the Jazzmaster is so ingrained into guitar lore that a girl came in today and asked if we had any "jazz guitars," and of course neither me or Mike mentioned this at all.
Ah, but there is at least one actual jazz player that took up the Jazzmaster:
A smo-o-oth one
Okay, so Roy Lanham also played plenty of country as part of the Sons of the Pioneers, but he also peppered his albums with nimble swing lines and lush chord melody playing. His awesome hepcat/exotica recording of "Brazil" consists only of bongos, a little acoustic guitar in the background, and about a hundred or so knuckle-busting chords being pumped out of Roy's Jazzmaster with laughable ease. Highly recommended.