First Look: Fender Gold Foil Jazzmaster
The gold covers may hide mini humbuckers, but this Jazzmaster still dishes as much musical substance as style.
Inspired by the garage rock bands of the sixties and the cult classic guitars they played, the Gold Foil Collection combines timeless Fender designs with the dazzling style of a bygone era.
The Gold Foil Jazzmaster comes equipped with a bound ebony fingerboard, pearloid block inlays, mahogany body, Bigsby B50 vibrato and three Gold Foil mini-humbuckers. Other features include a matching painted headstock, vintage-style tuners with white buttons, 21 Narrow Tall frets and a Fender Jaguar-inspired switch plate.
Long on looks and aces in the tone department, the Fender Gold Foil Collection combines the enduring charm of midcentury mail-order guitars with the style and playability of an authentic Fender.
Offset meets Teisco meets Danelectro meets Tele, anyone?
Recorded with an Eastwood Sidejack Baritone DLX into a Catalinbread Topanga, a J. Rockett Audio Archer (set to clean boost), and an MXR Reverb routed to a Jaguar HC50 miked with a Royer R-121 and a Goodsell Valpreaux 21 miked with a Shure SM57, both feeding an Apogee Duet going into GarageBand with no EQ-ing, compression, or effects.
Clip 1: Bridge position.
Clip 2: Middle position.
Clip 3: Neck position.
Some might find Schuyler (pronounced “Skyler”) Dean’s goal of combining the lo-fi tones of vintage Teisco gold-foils with the basic character of Jazzmaster pickups rather niche-y. Personally, I find the concept more intriguing than, say, yet another PAF-style humbucker. But I’ll admit I was skeptical: Gold-foilsare a bit of a bandwagon thing now. It didn’t help my cynicism when I learned these single-coils use large, 1/4" ceramic bar magnets rather than thin rubber magnets, like original Teiscos.
All that incredulity melted away minutes into testing the pickups, though. They really do capture much of the clear, resonant chime in a good, mellow pair of JM pickups—particularly in the middle position, which adds lovely, subtle grit to the squishy, hollowed-out tones that define the offset Fender.
Meanwhile, the neck unit has an even hollower sound that’s dusky, throbbing, and enveloping in much the same way as an old lipstick pickup. Perhaps the most wonderful surprise, however, is that, through a hard-working tube amp, the bridge pickup has the delightful snap, and tough-sounding twang of a kick-ass old Telecaster pickup in the same position.
Authentic tones? Ehhh … considering the recipe here, that’s probably a dumb question. But they are indubitably delicious.
Test Gear: Eastwood Sidejack Baritone DLX, Jaguar HC50, Goodsell Valpreaux 21, Catalinbread Topanga, Jordan Fuzztite, J. Rockett Audio Archer, PureSalem Pink Beard, Drybell Vibe Machine, Ibanez Echo Shifter, MXR Reverb.
Enchantingly mutated shades of Jazzmaster, Telecaster, Teisco, and Danelectro on tap. Classy matte texture on covers.
$90 street (each)