Extremely rare John English Masterbuilt One Off to replicate the 58 Jazzmaster Prototype made by Freddie Tavares
The prototype ’58 Jazzmaster formerly owned by Freddie Tavares has a few interesting features, most notably the maple neck! Essentially a Stratocaster neck, this skunk-stripe neck retains the smaller Strat headstock shape but with the new Jazzmaster decal. What may not be so obvious is how ridiculously huge this neck is, with a nut width of just a hair over 1 3/4″! Compared to the standard 1 11/16″ or 1 5/8″ nut width of most Jazzmasters, I can honestly say that this one tripped me up! It was such a difference that I had no idea where the strings were supposed to be. The neck shape is also much different from the usual JM spec, with a big and softish V shape. Now, I’ll admit that finished maple boards aren’t my favorite — love how they look but I usually get caught up on the lacquer which makes bending a pain — but I got along with this one just fine. As soon as I got used to the width, I mean. And then I still played like poop. Whatever. Thanks again to Norman’s Rare Guitars and Mark for this chance!
I talked with John English who built the Freddie Tavares JM protoype replica. He built it because he was a friend of Freddie and worked with him in his early Fender days. The actual prototype was sold by Freddie to Norm Harris. Apparently Norm has a book which shows pics of it.
The prototype used a stock Strat neck. At he time (1958) they were transitioning from solid maple necks to the rosewood fretboard and some of the guitars made for Namm 59 such as this one used the now standard truss rod adjutment at the heel of the neck but still had the hole at the headstock. This was also replicated on this one with the plug at the top.
John made the guitar from memory and from pictures he had of it. It uses a black anodized pickguard which shows marks where the fingers were rubbing on it. The pickup covers were originally going to be black so he had a set specially made in that color too. The knobs are Tele ones but the pickups and electronics were very close to what ended up in the production version.