Category Archives: Fender

Fender Jazzmaster now a half century old

It’s hard to believe the Fender Jazzmaster was first introduced 50 years ago, back in 1958. While it’s not one of the guitars that has it’s own section here at we do have a strong affinity for the Jazzy.

It’s very likely that if there was no Fender Jazzmaster there would be no Fender Jaguar and thus no Fender Jag-Stang ! And oh how sad that would make us! 🙂

Are you a current or former Jazzmaster owner? We would love to hear your thoughts on the jazzy and how it influenced your playing over the years in the comments to this post.

1958 Fender Jazzmaster

If you’re interested in more of the inner details of a 1958 Jazzmaster you should visit this fantastic web page. [link] That page has a lot of detailed photos and descriptions of one.

And here’s a few vintage Fender Jazzmaster ads to enjoy while reminiscing. (Click the images for larger versions.)

Corgan signature strat pickups to be DiMarzio

A bit more info is trickling out above the upcoming Billy Corgan signature stratocaster.

Fender blogs about some custom DiMarzio BC pickups HERE. Being called BC80 and BC89 they also have a photo on the blog post. If anyone has a guess as to what DiMarzio model these might be based on let’s hear it.

Corgan DiMarzio Pickups BC80 BC89

[photo via Fender Blog]

Billy Corgan signature Fender Stratocaster coming soon

On Jan 21 there was a post on the Fender blog with the following quote: “soon-to-be Fender signature artist Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins” Which would indicate an official signature guitar is on the horizon. Along with that post was a great video of Billy visiting the Fender booth at Winter NAMM 2008.

The blog post and video have since been removed by Fender so it appears the community team jumped the gun a bit in sharing the news of this signature guitar.

EDIT: the Fender blog post and video that were unavailable since Jan 24 have now returned. (Jan 29)

Fender Blog Post with video [link]

Billy Corgan stratocaster

The online buzz is that the strat will be the one he’s been playing on the latest pumpkins tour. The newish looking 70s styled strat. And it will come in 2 colors, black and white (creme?).

Billy Corgan stratocaster

Hopefully Fender will give some official info soon.

Billy Corgan stratocaster

Elvis Costello Signature Fender Jazzmaster

Earlier this year saw the addition of the J. Mascis Jazzmaster to the Fender Artist Series and it looks like there will be an addition of a Elvis Costello Jazzmaster to the series shortly.

This upcoming announcement can be assumed from a recent Ebay auction claiming to be the first prototype of the signature guitar.

The guitar is based on Elvis’ vintage jazzmaster that appeared on the cover of his fantastic debut album My Aim Is True.

Elvis Costello - My Aim Is True

The jazzmaster will feature a satin brown transparent lacquer finish. Other details are not known as of yet.

Elvis Costello Signature Fender Jazzmaster

Fender Toronado GT HH Review

(As posted by Fran in the forums. Nicely written Fran!)

I thought i would write a review up on this, video clips would’ve been nice but nothing much seems to be working on my pc at the moment. I purchased this guitar off ebay for 217.00 quid after playing a model in a shop a month before that impressed me.

Toronado Body

When i first purchased this guitar off ebay my only concern was the guitar may look a little too ‘bright’ for my tastes. The bright red finish and racing stripe made me think ‘starsky and hutch’ and F1 racing immediately. But upon collecting the guitar it does not look as garish as the pictures suggest. Although different lighting does affect how it looks, something common with a few Fender colours.
All this aside the finish is very good.

This model is Korean built. You might not think this at a glance especially with the high spec hardware, but the ‘feel’ of the neck gives it away.. something i will talk about later.

The set up is similar to a Les Paul (TOM bridge, 4 controls and toggle selector), the pickups are seymour duncans (supposedly a ‘Pearly Gates’ in the bridge position and a 59′ in the neck position), the frets are medium jumbo and the abalone inlays are a nice touch.

The neck carries a matching red headstock and is bolted to a solid mahogany body with 4 new type large black screws.

This is where i suspected the Korean construction would become apparent… and it does.

The neck feels more like my Les Paul Junior than my other Fenders, the med/jumbo frets are comfortable and well finished making string bending effortless.

I would say it is a fairly fast neck and it has a very new non glossy feel to it. I’ve noticed MIM and Korean made necks feel much more modern than Jap and US necks. Even when i have played brand new Jap Fenders the necks have an old feel to them. Strapped on it is comfy with a rib contour and well balanced, not too heavy – not too light.

The construction and hardware suggests what this guitar is going to sound like and it is pretty much right.

Playing straight into a Marshall JCM 2000 the mahogany body creates a warm tone. On clean settings the Pearly Gates is bold and defined but nothing much more. The 59′ has a reasonably good neck tone but by far the best on a clean setting has to be the inbetween position. Sonically this is as close to a traditional Fender sound this guitar is going to get.

On a crunch setting the Pearly Gates is already struggling to behave itself, it starts to dirt up with the guitar volume set at 2! The other two positions stay similar to the clean setting buy with more bite and sustain. I got some nice Bob Mould style ringing chords on the inbetween position.

On the full distortion channel the nitros injection kicks in (Lolz). The Pearly Gates screams “Zak Wylde” with every note.. harmonics galore and thick punchy chords. But i soon select another setting as i become aware i am pulling faces with each string bend..yeah anyway … The 59′ as you would imagine isn’t quite as aggressive but is still lively, the inbetween position becomes a diluted version of the two.

After owning several Fender models with humbuckers and also modifying a few single coil models with humbuckers i can honestly say the Toronado puts them all to shame in that particular tonal ball park.

I assume the mahogany body and bridge have something partly to do with this.
The neck will not suit some people but is not poor quality by any standard.
Personally i like the retro type looks, especially the Jaguar-ish top horn and matching headstock. I also like its weight.

On the downside the Toronado does not shine on clean settings like say a Jaguar or Telecaster….. but i never thought it would. This is a different animal.

Unfortunately in the UK Toronados are quite expensive and you would be able to buy a Jap Tele, Strat or Jaguar for around the same price.

All in all i am happy with the purchase. I love Fender looks but miss Gibson tones at the same time… this guitar has both.

Toronado Full



What happened to the Fender Cyclone?

Since earlier this year when it became clear the Fender Cyclones were no longer being manufactured, that is the question I asked myself. “What happened to the Fender Cyclone?” We’ll put down some cyclone facts and see what kind of conclusions we can make.

Graffiti Yellow Fender Cyclone

First a quick overview of the history… The original Cyclone was introduced at Summer NAMM 1998. (press release) Just for reference, the jag-stang was introduced at Winter NAMM 1996. The Cyclone II, which added jaguar like switching and jaguar pickups, was introduced at Summer NAMM 2002. (press release) Summer NAMM 2003 saw the new Cyclone HH model with dual humbuckers. (press release) Also in 2003 a Squier model of the Cyclone was introduced.

Daphne Blue Fender Cyclone II

When you consider the features of the Cyclone, and then consider what was being said in many of the jag-stang reviews prior to the Cyclone’s release, it makes you think that Fender tried to appease many of the major complaints seen in the jag-stang reviews. The most notable cyclone features being:

  • larger 24 3/4″ scale neck – Many jag-stang reviews complained about how tiny the neck felt which was the 24″ scale neck.
  • contoured body – many jag-stang complaints about lack of contours.
  • Synchronized tremelo – the floating bridge/tremelo system on jag-stangs/mustangs/etc can be pretty daunting to new guitar players/owners.
  • Single 3 way switch – another common complaint of the jag-stang/mustang was the switches positioned above each pickup.
  • straight humbucker in bridge position – the jag-stang’s angled humbucker was another common issue.
  • jaguar-like electronics (with Cyclone II) – alternative guitar fans should automatically like anything with jaguar parts on it, right??
  • competition stripe paint jobs (with Cyclone II) – another feature aimed at the alternative guitar crowd.

So considering the feature set and how it addressed so many jag-stang and mustang complaints how is it that the cyclone is no more and the mustang is still available? Why didn’t it catch on?

Candy Apple Red Fender Cyclone II

An issue may have been visibility of the cyclone in guitar shops. Between 1999 and 2005 I rarely recall seeing a cyclone in any of the guitar shops I visited at all. This may have just been a geographical or coincidental thing, but even many of the sales folks wouldn’t know anything about the cyclone.

Possibly the most important issue with the popularity of the Cyclone was it’s lack of being identified with any popular guitarist or group. As popular as Artist Series guitars have become for Fender and Gibson that kind of artist recognition would have obviously been a huge benefit.

Kurt Cobain playing Fender MustangIt really makes you wonder if it were not for Kurt Cobain, Sonic Youth, Mudhoney, etc… and the alternative guitar popularity of the 90s would the Mustang, Jaguar, or Jazzmaster be available today?

If you have any thoughts on what happened to the Cyclone, please feel free to post em in the comments.

J. Mascis Jazzmaster added to Fender Artist Series

The increasingly popular Fender Artist Series has added the J. Mascis Jazzmaster to the lineup.  Mascis, of Dinosaur Jr (recently re-united) fame, has always been known for his alternative guitar sonic palette which was often produced by various Fender Jazzmasters.

 J. Mascis Jazzmaster

The unique features on this model include:

  • 60s Styling
  • Jumbo Frets
  • Purple Sparkle Finish
  • Satin Finish Neck
  • Adjusto-Matic Bridge
  • Gold Anodized Pickguard

Fender product page []

I’m not sure how many folks would fork over the $$$ for a sparkly purple guitar. But maybe Shakira will add it to her collection.

Shakira Mustang