1965 Fender Jaguar in Olympic White
Posted on March 30 2013
The Jaguar was introduced in 1962 as Fender's new top-of-the line model. It's shiny chrome plates, clawed single coils and abundance of switches were supposed to make it more desirable than the Telecaster, Stratocaster and Jazzmaster. The public didn't quite see it that way and went on buying the strats and teles like it was going out of style. People didn't really like the shorter 24" scale. The Jaguar didn't sell as well as Fender hoped but became popular for a lot of different styles starting with of course, surf rock.
This 1965 Fender Jaguar was purchased by the parents of the original owner for their 16 year old son. He had played a little bit and wanted a nice guitar for his birthday. The price on the tag of Jaguars at the time was $491 which according to the inflation calculator is about $3526.59 in 2012 dollars. The custom color was about a 5% upcharge. The strap, I believe, was purchased sometime in the 70s judging by the style.
I purchased the guitar from the wife of the owner who said that this was the original case. This case was sold from '62 to '63 so it is doubtful that this was the original case. USA sold Fenders came guitar specific cases as in each guitar was shipped in its own case. Maybe the store had guitars hanging on the wall but didn't organize their cases very well so an earlier guitar sold with a newer case and vice versa.
The Jaguars had a similar circuit to the Jazzmaster in that it had a separate rhythm circuit on the bass horn. With the slider switch down, the lower controls are activated. The main volume and tone knob and three slider switches let you dial in the tone desired. The three switches are: neck pickup, bridge pickup and bass cut, also known as the "strange switch." When this switch is on it has a very trebly and jangly tone.
You'll notice the interesting looking "claws" on either side of the pickups. This was to help with the hum problem that plagued the Strats, Teles and Jazzmasters. The electronics cavities were also heavily shielded which did noticeably reduce hum. The Jaguar pickups still retain that fender tone but I think are a little stronger, hence the bass cut switch. I haven't had enough time with it yet but I don't think that this guitar really lends itself to blues but it does the surf/indie rock thing in spades.
The tremolo is very smooth and usable. This "Floating Tremolo" type does a lot better job keeping the guitar in tune compared to the "Synchronized Tremolo" on the Stratocaster. Smooth, long weeps of the tremolo are accurate and even easy. I always felt like I was breaking the strat's tremolo when I really used it, which was not often. I really enjoy the jaguar/jazzmaster style trem.