Why 1959 jazzmasters sound much darker than 1964 ones?

Discussion of vintage Jazzmasters, Jaguars, Bass VIs, Electric XIIs and any other offset-waist instruments.
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Guitarman555
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Why 1959 jazzmasters sound much darker than 1964 ones?

Post by Guitarman555 » Sun Mar 18, 2018 3:10 pm

Why 1959 jazzmasters sound much darker than 1964 ones? Is it question of slabboard, or quality of wood? Or some changes in pickups? What do you think?

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Lock
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Re: Why 1959 jazzmasters sound much darker than 1964 ones?

Post by Lock » Sun Mar 18, 2018 3:17 pm

Pickups. The rosewood stops being slab in ‘62 and gets thinner in ‘63, but I can’t see that changing tone noticeably.

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Re: Why 1959 jazzmasters sound much darker than 1964 ones?

Post by Guitarman555 » Mon Mar 19, 2018 2:35 am

Lock wrote:
Sun Mar 18, 2018 3:17 pm
Pickups. The rosewood stops being slab in ‘62 and gets thinner in ‘63, but I can’t see that changing tone noticeably.
Thanks, Lock, so you think they changed pickups from 1959 to 1964? Slaboard is obvious, but i haven´t heard about pickups change..


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Re: Why 1959 jazzmasters sound much darker than 1964 ones?

Post by Axolotl » Mon Mar 19, 2018 3:51 am

If I recall correctly, it has something to do with enamel wire used for pickups in 1958 - 62.

From the Jim Shine website:

"1958-1962 The pickups were wound with plain enamel wire. They were potted in an alcohol activated material. The windings fill up the entire bobbin and often slightly rub the pickup cover. The magnets were hand beveled and the magnets barely stick out beyond the cover. On the bottom the magnets stock out quite a bit and have a heavy bevel. Both neck and bridge pickups have black and white cloth wire and the fiber for the coils is made from black material.
1962-1964 The winding wire appears to change to bondable Formvar and is still potted with the alcohol activated material. The winding style changes during 1962 from a 'scatter wind' to a more even wind. "

For this reason also the 1959 wire looks redder than later ones.

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Re: Why 1959 jazzmasters sound much darker than 1964 ones?

Post by eggwheat » Mon Mar 19, 2018 4:49 am

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Last edited by eggwheat on Mon Mar 19, 2018 4:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Why 1959 jazzmasters sound much darker than 1964 ones?

Post by eggwheat » Mon Mar 19, 2018 4:52 am

For me 58-61 are the golden years...and I’ve always put it down to the black bobbin pickups with the early winding material.

And specifically ‘59 tort guards.. you get the super slim neck the perfect pickups and lack of gold guard which to my ears harshens the tone slightly..

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Re: Why 1959 jazzmasters sound much darker than 1964 ones?

Post by Lock » Mon Mar 19, 2018 2:53 pm

Guitarman555 wrote:
Mon Mar 19, 2018 2:35 am
Lock wrote:
Sun Mar 18, 2018 3:17 pm
Pickups. The rosewood stops being slab in ‘62 and gets thinner in ‘63, but I can’t see that changing tone noticeably.
Thanks, Lock, so you think they changed pickups from 1959 to 1964? Slaboard is obvious, but i haven´t heard about pickups change..
I’m not an expert on vintage, I just know that for vintage voice JM pups you hear of darker 59 ones (like an SD antiquity I) and then mid sixties are brighter ones (seems the preferred voice, antiquity IIs).

I assumed it was part of the shift from the guitar’s initial intention of competing with hollow jazz guitars towards a more standard Fender sound, but that’s heresay.

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Re: Why 1959 jazzmasters sound much darker than 1964 ones?

Post by HH1978 » Tue Apr 03, 2018 3:16 pm

Pickups, definetely. I have two home build jazzmaster. One has original 1959 pickups, wound with plain enamel, the other has 1965 pickups, wound with Formvar. The one with 1959 pickups is a bit darker, and hotter, even though both guitars have 1965 necks, and aftermarket bodies.

I've also been winding my own pickups for three years now, using both wire types, and there's definetly a difference, probably due to plain enamel having a thinner insulation, and thus a thinner overall gauge for the same gauge of copper wire, which would add capacitance.

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Re: Why 1959 jazzmasters sound much darker than 1964 ones?

Post by HH1978 » Tue Apr 03, 2018 3:20 pm

I’m not an expert on vintage, I just know that for vintage voice JM pups you hear of darker 59 ones (like an SD antiquity I) and then mid sixties are brighter ones (seems the preferred voice, antiquity IIs)
The difference in those resides mainly in the type of magnets (alnico II for Antiquity I, vs alnico V for Antiquity II). It might emulate the original voices pretty well, but the difference in the original ones is somewhere else, as they were all alnico V.

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Re: Why 1959 jazzmasters sound much darker than 1964 ones?

Post by skink » Sun Apr 15, 2018 2:26 pm

I used to have a sunburst (alder) 59, a blond (ash) 61, and a refin (alder) 66, and I always assumed the 59 and 66 were darker because of alder bodies. The 59 was the darkest. I sold the 59 and the 66 long ago, but I still have the ash 61. I've had it for close to 20 years now. I love that guitar and its brightness, so I always chocked up my preference for it to the ash body.

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Re: Why 1959 jazzmasters sound much darker than 1964 ones?

Post by soggy mittens » Mon Apr 16, 2018 3:05 am

I had read the 59 magnets lost more of the pull over the years and that is why they sound darker, read this in an explanation of the SD Antiquity Is and IIs. Aged magnets.
If OSG has tort me anything...

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Re: Why 1959 jazzmasters sound much darker than 1964 ones?

Post by fuzzjunkie » Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:17 am

My early '62 Jag sounds noticeably darker compared to the '63 & '64 that I had and any post 90s Jag as well, just to throw more fuel on the winding, bevel, magnetic fire.

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Re: Why 1959 jazzmasters sound much darker than 1964 ones?

Post by mbene085 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:55 am

It depends whether you look at GGs or early tort, too. My experience with anodized guards is that they also cut a little bit of high end (as do most types of shielding around a pickup).

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Re: Why 1959 jazzmasters sound much darker than 1964 ones?

Post by HH1978 » Tue Apr 17, 2018 3:32 am

I had read the 59 magnets lost more of the pull over the years and that is why they sound darker, read this in an explanation of the SD Antiquity Is and IIs. Aged magnets.
They might have lost a part of their charge compared to new pickups, but I doubt it would really make a significant difference between 1959 and 1965 pickups.

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