The 10 Best Jazzmasters for beginners, upgraders and offset aficionados

Looking to add an offset to your collection? No matter your budget or whether you need modern specs or vintage accuracy, there’s an option out there for you.

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The Jazzmaster: an occasionally misunderstood, brilliant beast. Since its inception in the 1950s, its been reimagined countless times – but there are also plenty of vintage reissues from budget to premium. With its core specs of a pair of single coils and a floating offset vibrato, Fender and Squier offer Jazzmasters for plenty of players: so whether you need to surf or shoegaze, let’s look at the top ten Jazzmasters available right now.

Of course, if you’re looking for something a little less offset-y, our guide to the best electric guitars offers a broad variety of models and styles for every player and budget to enjoy.

Ten best Jazzmasters, at a glance:

Best Jazzmaster: Guitar.com’s pick

Fender Vintera II 50s Jazzmaster

Image: Adam Gasson/Guitar.com

The latest iteration of Fender’s Vintera Jazzmaster heads back to the 1950s, and is probably the best way to acquire an authentic Jazzmaster with all the classic trimmings. It comes complete with a vintage-correct 7.25” radius fretboard, narrow tall frets and a 50’s C-shaped neck – and perhaps most excitingly, it seems the return of rosewood to the fretboards of the Vintera series.

Need more? Read our full Fender Vintera II 50s Jazzmaster review.

Best Premium Jazzmaster

Fender American Ultra Jazzmaster

Image: Eleanor Jane/Guitar.com

This is a much more forward-looking take on the Jazzmaster. While the vintage-styled vibrato remains, there are a lot more modern features on display, including a 10-14” compound fretboard radius, noiseless single-coil pickups, and a redesigned electronic layout for series/parallel switching. The modern D neck profile will be a lot more familiar to modern players, too, and the chamfered neck heel will make upper-fret playing easier.

Need more? Read our Fender American Ultra Jazzmaster review.

Best Grunge Jazzmaster

Fender Player Jazzmaster

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Speaking of modern – this is a more affordable entry-point into the world of reimagined Jazzmasters. While the vintage vibrato remains, gone are the Jazzmaster single-coils and the rhythm circuit – there’s instead a pair of humbuckers, perfect for players who use a bit more gain, or who want to channel their inner Cobain. Other modern appointments include a flatter 9.5”-radius fretboard and a slimmer modern C neck profile.

Need more? Read our Fender Player Series review.

Best Affordable Jazzmaster

Squier Classic Vibe Jazzmaster 50s

If you’re on a budget and looking for the authentic Jazzmaster experience, the Classic Vibe from Squier is a great shout. With two Fender-designed pickups, all of the standard Jazzmaster wiring, a quality non-threaded Jaguar-style bridge and a range of appealing finishes, it’s a great way to get into the world of offset guitars without breaking the bank.

Best Jazzmaster for Heavy Music

Squier Affinity Jazzmaster HH

Squier Affinity Series Jazzmaster
Image: Squier

For beginners or players on an even tighter budget who want a bit more high-octane fun, the Affinity Jazzmaster HH is a good entry-point. There are two high-output humbuckers in place of the classic single-coils with slimmed-down electronics that forgo the rhythm circuit. For some wobble, there’s now a two-point Strat-style vibrato and the satin C-shaped neck offers a comfy playing experience, from beginner to expert.

Best Upgrade Jazzmaster

Fender American Professional II Jazzmaster

This all-out Jazzmaster isn’t quite as unmistakably modern as the American Ultra, however, it features a bunch of spec tweaks to make it even more appealing for the forward-thinking player. These include the same chamfered neck heel, and a new set of V-Mod II pickups, with the bridge offering two distinct voices thanks to a tap switch. The new Panorama offset vibrato also offers a wider range of pitch-bending compared to the vintage version.

Best Limited Edition Jazzmaster

Squier 40th Anniversary Jazzmaster

Similar in spec to the Classic Vibe, the vintage-edition 40th Anniversary Jazzmaster from Squier offers a more ”played-in” feel, with a satin fish on the body and slightly aged hardware. There’s also a gold anodised pickguard for a classy, old-school look.

Best Vintage-style Jazzmaster

Fender American Vintage II 1966 Jazzmaster

Fender American Vintage II 1966 Jazzmaster
Image: Adam Gasson/Guitar.com

This is the most no-expense-spared vintage Jazzmaster experience you can get outside of either the real vintage deal or the Fender custom shop. With a spec sheet accurate to 1960s models, there’s everything from the threaded-saddle bridge to a 7.25” round-laminated rosewood fretboard with block inlays. Pickups are Fender’s Pure Vintage ‘66 set for tones accurate to the bright jangle of the 60s Jazzmasters.

Need more? Read our Fender American Vintage II 1966 Jazzmaster review.

Best Alternative Jazzmaster

Fender Made In Japan Elemental Jazzmaster

This is a much more out-there Jazzmaster that’s a little more of a modern rock machine – but offset. There’s a hardtail tune-o-matic bridge along with two powerful humbuckers, and a flatter 12”-radius rosewood fretboard for a playing experince a little closer to a Les Paul than your traditional Jazzmaster, but with all of that out-there cool of the offset shape.

Best Signature Jazzmaster

Squier J Mascis Jazzmaster

Squier J Mascis Jazzmaster
Image: Squier

Speaking of cool – J Mascis’ signature Jazzmaster is an affordable classic for a reason. With a tune-o-matic bridge paired with the vintage-style vibrato, a gold anodosed pickguard and pickups more reminiscent of P90s than traditional JM single-coils, it’s a unique combination of specs that make for an expressive and powerful guitar. Plus – it’s pretty affordable!

Recent Updates

22 Feb 2024: Replaced the venerable Squier Affinity Jazzmaster with the hard-rocking Affinity Jazzmaster HH. 

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