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Jaguar vs Jazzmaster: Fender Guitar Showdown

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jaguar vs jazzmaster

In today’s article, we’re going compare two legendary offset guitars – Fender Jaguar vs Jazzmaster. Surely, both of these guitars have a really interesting history and they are loved by the vast majority of guitarists. But what are the main differences between them?

The Jaguar has a shorter scale (24″), while the Jazzmaster has a regular scale (25.5″) just like all the Stratocasters and Telecasters. In addition, these two guitars have a different configuration of pickup switches and they sound slightly different too.

Let’s dive deeper with research to find out what makes these guitars so special. Hopefully, today’s article will help you to understand which one of these models is a better fit for you and your style.

Jaguar vs Jazzmaster – Sound Difference

When it comes to tone, Jaguars and Jazzmasters offer a really interesting and unique sound. Although both of these guitars usually use single-coil pickups, they’re built and wound in a slightly different way.

Jaguar tends to sound way brighter than the Jazzmaster. Some people say that it’s actually brighter than a Stratocaster. That being said, it really allows you to easily cut through the mix.

On the other hand, Jazzmaster tends to sound a bit darker and it offers a bit wider bass and mid response. This kind of sound is really similar to the sound of P90 pickups. At the same time, it’s still capable of delivering very bright tones which are essential in indie, alternative and surf rock music.

Here’s the direct tone comparison – feel free to check out the video below.

Scale Length Difference

The scale length is another main characteristic that differentiates these two guitars. This is an important information for anyone who wants to get one of these models, because it significantly affects the comfortability of playing.

Most of the time, the Jaguars have a 24″ scale length, which is considered as a short scale. The Jazzmasters feature a 25.5″ scale length, which is considered as regular scale (Stratocasters and Telecasters use the same length).

Since the Jaguars have a shorter scale, they are slightly shorter in general. When you compare the size of these two guitar types, the Jazzmaster is noticeably longer.

The scale length also affects your playing. Guitars with shorter scale have a bit shorter spacing between frets, which means that they’re great for people with small hands or short fingers. On the other hand, if your hands are too big, you may find short-scale guitars to be actually a bit less comfortable rather than the regular-scale guitars.

Different Pickup Switches

As you’re probably aware, Jaguars and Jazzmasters offer a really unique controls. Most importantly, they offer a Lead and Rhythm circuit. This feature is unavailable in all other guitars like Stratocasters or Telecasters, so it’s an exclusive Jaguar and Jazzmaster thing.

You can easily switch between the Lead and Rhythm sections but using the switch placed at the top of the guitar. This setting usually looks and works in the same time on both Jags and Jazzmasters.

The main difference in these guitars occurs in the Lead section. The Jazzmasters usually feature a classic 3-toggle switch that allows you switch between the neck and bridge pickups.

On the other hand, the Jaguars offer a bit more complex controls – there are three separate switches in the Lead section. The first one is for the neck pickup, the second one is for the bridge pickup and the third one works as a bass-cut.

That being said, Jaguars offer a bit more control over your tone. Although the control setting may seem complicated at first, it’s actually pretty easy to understand.

If you still aren’t sure of how it works, feel free to check out the video below – it explains everything very thoroughly.

Famous Jaguar Players

Jaguars are absolutely legendary. There are a lot of professional musicians who use these guitars on a daily basis for the live performances and studio recordings. Since the ’60s, they were an important part of the guitar industry and they significantly impacted the shape of the music industry.

The most famous artists who used a Jaguar include:

  • Kurt Cobain
  • John Frusciante
  • Johnny Marr
  • Kevin Shields
  • Scott Hill
  • Graham Coxon
  • PJ Harvey
  • and many, many more!

Undoubtedly, these names prove that Jaguars an extremely versatile and popular guitars. If you’d like to learn more about the history of this guitar, feel free to check out this article by Fender.

Famous Jazzmaster Players

Of course, a lot of professional musicians use Jazzmasters as well. It seems that this guitar type is even more popular among the legendary musicians. The most famous artists who use or used Jazzmasters include:

  • Elvis Costello
  • J Mascis
  • Alex Turner
  • Thurston Moore
  • Thom Yorke
  • Tom Verlane
  • Adam Granduciel
  • Kurt Vile
  • and many, many more!

Again, the list of artists above proves that Jazzmasters are loved by some of the most famous and professional guitarists.

jaguar vs jazzmaster

Best Jaguars & Jazzmasters

If you’re thinking about getting one of these guitars, there is plenty of models that you can choose from. Of course, it all depends on your budget.

If you’re looking for the most affordable option, you should definitely check out the Squier Classic Vibe guitars. Although these guitars don’t have the Fender logo on the headstock, they’re still really good. I personally own the Squier Classic Vibe Jaguar and I’m really happy with its quality. It’s actually the cheaper Jaguar available on the market.

There’s even a more affordable option for all fans of a Jazzmaster. If you’re on a tight budget, the Squier Affinity Jazzmaster will be an excellent choice. It doesn’t cost too much and it features a really good quality as well. I highly recommend this guitar for all beginners!

If you’re looking for the best possible option, you should stick to either Mexican-made or American-made guitars. The guitars from Vintera Series or American Professional Series will be an excellent choice. But bear in mind that these guitars aren’t that cheap!

Jaguar vs Jazzmaster – My Verdict

Personally, I love both of these guitar types and I find it really difficult to pick a clear winner of the Jaguar vs Jazzmaster battle. I’m a big lover of these two guitars, so I actually own both of these models. And to be honest, both of them are awesome!

Nevertheless, I think that I’m using the Jazzmaster more often – I just prefer guitars with regular scale length. I find them more comfortable to play and generally, I like the look of a Jazzmaster more.

History Of Jaguar & Jazzmaster

The first Jazzmaster was introduced in 1958 and it was mainly designed to conquer the jazz guitar market. The vast majority of jazz guitarists was using hollow and semi-hollow body guitars back then, so creating a solid body guitar for jazz was a really innovative approach.

The first Jaguar was introduced in 1962 and it quickly became a favorite guitar of all surf rock musicians. Nevertheless, that fame didn’t last long and the Jaguars seemed to fade away. But they were brought back by the punk and grunge community and eventually, they became absolutely iconic.


Are Jaguars and Jazzmasters good for beginners?

Both Jaguars and Jazzmasters are a perfect choice for all beginners. They’re really comfortable to play and they offer a great tone!

What is the Fender Jaguar good for?

Fender Jaguar is a really versatile guitar, so it can be used in a wide range of genres, ranging from blues and rock up to grunge and metal.

Can you play metal on a Jaguar?

Playing metal is totally possible on a Jaguar guitar. This guitar offers a very bright tone, which allows you easily cut through the mix. If you add a good distortion pedal to your Jaguar, you’ll capable of achieving a killer metal tone!

How many frets does a Jaguar have?

Jaguars usually have 22 frets.

Are Jazzmaster pickups P90s?

The pickups used in Jazzmasters are really similar to the P90s, but in fact, they’re different. Nevertheless, they offer almost the same guitar tone.

Are Jazzmaster and Stratocaster necks the same?

The Jazzmaster and Stratocaster necks are usually the same. Of course, there may be a few variations depending on the series of guitars and manufacturing country, but in general, they are the same.

That being said, you can ease a Jazzmaster neck on a Stratocaster body without any problems – and vice versa.

Jazzmaster vs Jaguar – Summary

As you can see, it is really tough to pick a clear winner of the Jazzmaster vs Jaguar battle. Although they look very similar, they have a few significant differences that can affect your final tone.

But surely, both of these are really amazing and they will be a great choice for a lot of guitarists. Whether you’re into blues, jazz, indie or grunge – they’re absolutely worth it!

What do you think about these two offset guitars? Do you prefer the Jazzmaster or the Jaguar? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think!

Thanks for checking out today’s article, hopefully it was helpful and you learned more about the differences between these two guitars.

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