Fender’s range of classic ‘offset’ guitars is enjoying quite resurgence lately. Models like the Jazzmaster, Jaguar, Mustang, Bass VI and Duo-Sonic are popular with indie guitar players as well as those who play blues, classic rock and roots-rock. These guitars all have scale lengths that differ from the typical Fender 25.5″ and they typically have quite distinctive pickups and are loved for their clarity and character. They also remind us of an exciting time in guitar history, when the major brands were experimenting with new shapes and new sounds while the electric guitar found its voice. Seymour Duncan offers many pickups for these types of guitars. Let’s take a look at some options.
Jaguars tend to have a voice somewhere between organic and metallic, with great attack and note separation, aided by the ‘claw’ surround which focuses the magnetic field, and their 25″ scale length gives them a slightly looser feel than a Stratocaster. If you play a Jaguar there are plenty of pickups for you at different output levels. Options include the Vintage Jaguar SJAG-1 for authentic vintage tone, the Hot Jaguar SJAG-2 for something with a little more grit (and a great bridge position match for an SJAG-1 neck) and the Quarter Pound Jaguar SJAG-3 for much more output. There are also Antiquity and Antiquity II models for aged reproductions of 50s and 60s Jaguar pickups. These are a great option if you want to bring a modified vintage Jag back to original specs or if you just want more of that vintage mojo in a new instrument.
Any of these will also work quite nicely in a six-string bass like the Fender Bass VI or the Schecter Robert Smith UltraCure VI, which uses the SJAG-1 for that clear, sweet tone for moody melodies like in “Pictures Of You.”
Jazzmaster pickups sense a much wider area of the string and this gives them more highs and mids than Jaguars but also more fullness for chords. There are three output levels for our standard series Jazzmaster pickups: pickups: the SJM-1 Vintage Jazzmaster, SJM-2 Hot Jazzmaster and SJM-3 Quarter Pound for Jazzmaster. There are also Antiquity and Antiquity II versions of Jazzmaster pickups for 50s and fuller 60s takes on Jazzmaster tone. J. Mascis of Dinosaur Jr is a fan of the Antiquity (and he’s been recording with our Vapor Trail analog delay pedal lately too). Thurston Moore, formerly of Sonic Youth, uses the Antiquity for Jazzmaster II pickups, which were inspired by one of Seymour W. Duncan’s favorite bands, The Ventures. They’re great for when you really need your guitar to sing. “The Jazzmaster pickup has a unique tone that was heard on many mid- and late-’60s recordings,” Seymour says. “Check out album covers from the great ’60s instrumental bands and chances are, you’ll see a Jazzmaster.”
Fender Duo-Sonics and Mustangs were both originally intended as student guitars, and each was released with a beginner-friendly 22.5″ scale length, bumping out to a 24″ option later. Each of these guitars is known for its easy playability, and each has a slightly fuller sound than, say, a Telecaster or Stratocaster, owing to the darker tone of the shorter scale length. We offer an Antiquity set for Fender Duo-Sonic, and the pair are hum-cancelling when used together. And the Antiquity II Mustang neck and bridge models hold a special place in Seymour’s heart. “I saw my first Mustang guitar on a ’60s TV show called Shindig and a guitarist by the name of Jerry Cole doing solos for many guest artists,” he says. “Soon after that, I had my band members drive me to 8th Street Music in Philadelphia to buy my first Mustang. The ’60s Mustang replica pickups feature the same look and sound of the early pickups. The Alnico V magnet’s surface looks different from the older Duo-Sonic pickups which used un-tumbled Alnicos. I re-created this same look.” Seymour says Duo-Sonic pickups are not very loud but have great fidelity. “They seem a little weak usually because of the solid cover and the magnets all being .625” long,” he says. “For many years I have talked to Eric Johnson about these pickups and they’re one of his favorites.” These pickups aren’t necessarily just for the guitar design they’re named after though: Seymour also recommends trying the Antiquity II Mustang pickups in a Stratocaster for cool tones.