Fender Jaguar or Jazzmaster? Which did you choose?

We often get questions from folks newly interested in the jag and jazzy like this one. So this post is for you owners out there to share your thoughts.

Are you a Fender Jaguar or Jazzmaster owner? What led you to your choice?  And if you happen to own both we want to hear your comparisons between the two guitars.

While very similar on the surface the Jaguar and Jazzmaster have some basic differences. Below are some of the technical differences between the Classic Player Jaguar and Jazzmaster. 

  • The jazzmaster has a 25.5″ scale neck while the jaguar has a 24″ scale neck.
  • The jazzmaster has 21 medium jumbo frets – the jaguar 22.
  • The controls and pickup switching are different between the two.
  • The significant differences between the pickups of the two. 
  • The new classic player jaguars also have more pickup options like the dual humbucker jaguar model.

With those basic differences what ultimately led to your choice? What do you recommend people currently shopping for one or the other look out for?


Fender Classic Player Jaguar
Fender Classic Player Jaguar


Fender Classic Player Jazzmaster
Fender Classic Player Jazzmaster

Thanks for sharing!

20 thoughts on “Fender Jaguar or Jazzmaster? Which did you choose?

  1. I loved both, so I ended up going the Squier Jagmaster route. It was cheap and cool looking and I loved it from the moment I strummed the first chord.

  2. I went down the jagmaster route too, but bought a pair. I prefer the long scale length of my silver jagmasters and the jazz, but not the fat pickups.One jagmaster is stock, with two standard humbuckers. The other has a neck original humbucker (Originally the bridge pickup) and an SD P-Rails in the bridge to emulate the Jag and Jazz tones with the Jag. This can be tapped to an out-phase bucker, in-phase bucker, single coil or P-90 by using two push-Pulls. I also added a Graphtec nut so that the strings don’t de-tune by trem use. Players Jagmaster, anyone?

  3. I chose to get a Classic Player Jaguar HH. The reason behind this was because I really liked the amount of different tonal options that this guitar coud dish out. I don’t really care for Jazzmasters all that much, because I don’t really like the looks. The humungous pickguard looks kind of plain and the mammoth pickups just don’t look like they are in proportion. Although the sound is great sounding on the Jazzmaster, I chose to go with the Jaguar because in my opinion, it just looked and sounded better.

  4. I chose both! I’m building a 25.5″ scale Jaguar from parts. The body and pickguard will be from scratch. I love the look of Jags but hate the short scale so this is the perfect solution.

  5. I bought a Jag from a hitchhiker in 1977 for $250, my first “good” electric guitar. I added a third pickup, controlled by the rhythym section(upper bout) pots. My only regret is that I hotrodded the original pickups and lost some of the sweet tone. Because of the increased output the guitar does not work that well with effects, always sounds too dirty. But when plugged straight in to a good tube amp it really burns hot and bright. It’s still a fave after all these years. All my Strat playin friends freak when they try out the 24″ scale neck. Jags were built with the idea of replacing Strats. I guess Leo couldn’t always be right, but these guitars still have some good mojo in spite of their rep as “surf guitars”.

  6. I have an american standard strat, and I want another guitar, but one with dual humbuckers. is it recommended to get the hh jaguar or the jazzmaster?

  7. I went with a Jazzmaster for the ease of use during live shows switching between pickups

  8. I much prefer the Jaguar because of its shorter scale length making it so much easier to get around on. I would actually prefer it to be slightly longer like the Les Paul’s 24 3/4″, which is still the most comfortable playing (bread n butter) guitar ever made. But the 25 1/2″ scale length fender saddles most of their guitars with is bordering on silly and makes the guitar feel like a long neck banjo. No thanks. Having said that, I enjoy playing my Telecaster a lot, but I like it for its sound–not its playability. One thing that’s nice about Jaguars and Jazzmasters is that you can fit a Roland GK-3 pickup right smack in front of the saddles. I’m surprised more guys aren’t using them for synth controllers.

  9. I own both Jazzmaster and Jaguars. I have an original 65 Jazzmaster and a new 62 Reissue. They are both great instruments. I use the Jazzmaster more because I play music that warrants a nice clean sound, no pedals,distortion etc and the Jazzmaster fits the bill perfectly. It has bell like tones which are great. I also own a Les Paul and it is a totally different animal. If you want sustain go with the LP. I use the Jazzmaster for gigs mostly all the time and people love its purity. I have never had a problem with bridges, strings, intonation etc but then again I don’t abuse the guitar either. Try both and see what fits. In my opinion the best guitar you can own is the one you can’t put down and use the most.

  10. I chose a Jap sunburst Jaguar, mainly because I love all the chrome and controls 🙂
    The scale length I do find a bonus, and the neck profile is beautiful like my 80’s ’67 Hendrix Strat.
    I put a mustang bridge on and a buzz-stop.
    I contemplated for a while putting P90s in, but instead plumped for two seymour duncan Hot For Jaguar’s.
    Every time I pick up this heavy, quality feeling guitar, I fall in love with it!

  11. I chose a 1967 Jaguar (a vintage one). That year specifically (66-68) rather is my favourite. Pre-CBS pickups sound a bit too soft for me and don’t have enough of that bite to it. Plus the block inlays on the neck are just beautiful. Additionally, upgraded the bridge to the Mastery bridge. And put a buzz stop as well. Both of those upgrades gave it a lot more sustain just generally it’s more playable now. Though I do like the stock bridge with all of its problems. Sounds great with 12 or 13 gauge strings.

  12. I have been playing for guitar for over 40 years, Acoustic Gibson Dove, National Resonator Guitar, but mostly strats & teles. I have bought and sold many strats through the years trying to get the bluesy sound I heard in my head, but could never get a strat or tele to deliver.

    A while back, I picked up a Classic Player Jazzmaster just for something different (never tried one). All I can say is WOW – it’s my new favorite guitar. This thing gives me anything from tele twang to Gibson P-90 growl. It just makes me play differently. Anyway – I finally found that Blues tone I was looking for. You can really get this thing to talk. The other thing I noticed is that I sometimes had a hard time getting my Fender amps to overdrive, but this thing really does the job if you want it to. From sparkly clean to breakup dirty all with the volume knob.

    Lesson learned – try as many guitars as you can – you may find a surprise in the bunch.

  13. I’ve been playing for about fifty years. Started out, as so many did back then, doing Ventures stuff, then expanded, with some commercial success into pop and then post-Brit Rock. Finally tired of that whole seen and got into blues. A somewhat typical story I guess.

    Have had (and have) a host of guitars — Gibbiess, Fenders, oddities like the Dano 59dc — and use them for every kind of music. But when I reached the age where my past started calling to me that old surfy, verby, clean voice became a siren’s song. And to me that meant one thing: A Jaguar.

    Read so much good stuff about the Squier VM Jag that I chanced it, and everything I read — including praises from guys who also owned early `60s Jags and just were looking for something to gig with — proved true. This is a no apologies necessary guitar.

    Did the set-up routine. .11s, loctite and all that. Have no issues.

    But here’s thing: With the volume down to 8 its tone is pure, classic, surf. But bring it up to 10 and she crunches or wails, depending on the amp. In other words she is cool for blues.

    That, I must admit, surprised me. “Vintage Modified” Squier calls it. Yes, and those Duncan designed PUPs help makes her both. Modified indeed!

  14. Well here I am 5 months after getting my VM Jag, and 2 months after getting a VM Jazzmaster. And you know what? I keep saying “Yeah, this one” and a week later, “No, this one.” But between the two all my other guitars are lying fallow. Not unloved, but rarely played.

    I bought the Jag because I wanted to get back to my own roots. Like so many guitarists of my generation (Early, pre-Beatles, `60s) I started out with the music of the Ventures in my ears, then went through the whole surf craze.

    The Jag suits the perfectly, but is good for lots of other things. Yet when I decided to add “Sleepwalk” to my growing early period repertoire I sort of surprised myself by hearing a rather different arrangement in my head, one voiced with somewhat jazzy chord melody structure. This was not the Jag’s forte so I naturally picked up my old 1980 ES-Artist. It played and sounded great with the music but wha!!!! I missed the Jag’s so-sweet trem bar.

    Jazz… Hey, didn’t they call the Jazzmaster that for a reason? So I put ddown the Gibson, picked up the JM, and never looked back. Now, oddly, I’m using it for my surf too!

    Anyhow, I’m now hooked. On both the Jag and the Jazzmaster!

    Here’s a quicky of my Sleepwalk arrangement if anyone is interested – still a work in progress…


  15. I play a ’97 CIJ Jag, but, whichever one prefers, it would never occur to me to play one of those weird classic player models, never mind the mutant monstrosities they’ve put out in the last couple of years. Don’t fix what’s not broke.

    The only mod I need is invisible: the series mod. ; )

    I like the pickups better in the Jag, but not by much, and I esp like the short scale.

  16. I play one a Jaguar, just because the Jag is more of a unique guitar than the Jazzmaster:
    – Jag has 24″ scale, JM has 25″ like most fenders
    – Jag has really interesting pickups with the shielding “teeth” around, JM pickups are basically fender branded P90s
    – Because of the Jag’s short scale there’s a lot more interesting stuff going on sonicly between the scale length/bridge/ trem, you can string them up with 13s and get more interesting tones, you can bend strings more easily, you can reach more of the fretboard without moving your hand which helps with interesting chords.

    I did swap the pickup switching on my Jag for a 3 way toggle but that’s the only thing the JM had that the Jag didn’t.

    Just my 2c.

  17. I’m a lefty so don’t have many options. Trying out the Mod Shop Jazz American Pro. Being a lefty, I’ll probably just live with it and get use to it without much consideration to all the details like I’ve always been forced to do 🙁

  18. I have both guitars in my collection. (Gibson: Hummingbird, 2 Les Pauls, Thunderbird, and a Hollowbody. Fender: Strat, Tele, Jazzmaster and Jaguar.
    Fact is they are very, very similar. Which do I play the most of the two? The Jazzmaster. Why??? I like the way it looks… Plain and simple.

  19. I went Squier Jazzmaster, found that the Squier was a quality build that would last for a while till I would have to upgrade the hardware. All along I was interested in these Kinman Pickups before I got the Jazzmaster. I didn’t like the stock cheapos, so I emailed Mr. Kinman in the Philippines and got them about 2 weeks later. WOW!! Those pickups are worth the wait and extra bucks! In fact, those pickups are coming with me into the afterlife. Take it from me….don’t buy a new guitar save your money and get Kinman pickups and then mod your iffy guitar you got laying around. You’ll be going to that guitar constantly…..A LUSH TIMBRE comes to mind. Its taken me where my other guitars couldn’t.

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