1963 Fender Jazzmaster Guitar
Appraised Value: $4,000 - $4,500
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (3:49)
Vice President & Department Head, Musical Instruments
GUEST: That was made in about 1964 when I had more hair and a shinier guitar.
GUEST: It's a group of high school friends that we formed a little band called the Dynamics, and played dances locally in a few cities in west Tennessee before we all went to college and kind of went our separate ways.
APPRAISER: And you're playing a guitar there-- a Fender Jazzmaster that you actually brought with you today here.
GUEST: Yes, sir, it is.
APPRAISER: When did you purchase the guitar?
GUEST: Approximately 1964. It could have been late in '63. I really just can't recall.
APPRAISER: Okay, all righty. Do you remember what you paid for it?
GUEST: It was like $325 or $350.
APPRAISER: Well, a lot of different ways to date a Fender guitar, though the most exacting way is to really find out what the neck has been stamped at the end of its production. You know, the genius of Leo Fender was he designed a guitar that's components that were put together at the end of an assembly line, which made them very easy to construct and easy to take apart. And do you mind if I pull the neck out of this guitar right now?
GUEST: Go right ahead.
APPRAISER: Okay, well, I've got a good idea of about the year of manufacture for this guitar and the fingerboard is rosewood. And Fender didn't start using rosewood on their fingerboards until 1958, 1959, if I got that about right. And prior to 1962, they glued the fingerboard on in a flat gluing surface, and then in late '62, they went to a curved surface. This is slightly curved, so it is... we know it's sometime within '62 or later.
GUEST: I was surprised. I thought really you'd be able to look at it, just read the serial number, check a book and tell me the year of manufacture.
APPRAISER: The serial numbers are the most inconsistent with Fender of any manufacturer. Look at this-- the way the lacquer has sort of gassed around and started decomposing on the back plate. It's fresh. It's what you want to see on a Fender guitar that hasn't been tampered with. And we flip this over and we're going to pop out this neck and... And we have a date there. It says "July-- J-U-L-- 63."
APPRAISER: So July 1963 that neck was bolted onto this body. And you notice there's a suffix number there, a letter, it's the letter "B." And that stands for the thickness of the neck. There were "A," "B," "C," and "D" thicknesses of the neck at the nut.
GUEST: Even on Jazzmaster models?
APPRAISER: On all Fenders made.
GUEST: Never heard that.
APPRAISER: So this was a... it's a "B" neck. It's one and five-eighths inches. Um... now... in 1964, right, you purchased this?
GUEST: As best I recall.
APPRAISER: Right, and you've got a choice of a lot of different guitars. Why a Fender?
GUEST: Um... at that time, there was an instrumental group named... called the Ventures. They played guitars, and they all played, uh, Fenders. So I always wanted a Fender.
APPRAISER: You could have bought a Telecaster or a Stratocaster. And why'd you choose a Jazzmaster?
GUEST: I thought... maybe I was just getting a better guitar by paying the extra 50 bucks or 25 to get the Jazzmaster.
APPRAISER: You were getting the new guitar off the line, the most modern model that Fender was making in that day. Um, this guitar, all original, 1963, sunburst, an original case down there that's in mint condition-- what we call the "hang tag" or the owner's manual that's in perfect shape, perfect condition-- this whole package with original strap, insurance value on this guitar, I would say between $4,000 and maybe $4,500.
APPRAISER: Great, great piece.
APPRAISER: Well, thank you very much. It's great. Had you bought the Stratocaster, it would be an $8,000 guitar today.
GUEST: Yeah, yeah.
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