The Fender Jazzmaster electric guitar was first introduced at the 1958 NAMM show and was designed as a more upmarket instrument than the Fender Stratocaster, which itself was introduced in 1954 as a higher-priced product than the company's Telecaster series. The contoured body incorporating a snappy 25-1/2” scale length, the original lead and rhythm circuit switching with independent volume and tone controls, and the floating tremolo with tremolo lock were the keys to the Jazzmaster's character.
The Jazzmaster had a mellower tone than the Strat, which gave it a more jazzy sound, although it wasn't embraced by jazz musicians. With the increasing popularity of old Jazzmasters, and the prices of old Telecasters and Stratocasters soaring out of sight in the 1980s, Jazzmasters became highly valuable. Fender has sporadically reissued the Jazzmaster during the last 20 years.
Many guitar players find fault with the design of the original Jazzmaster bridge, which features saddles that have many grooves cut into them (similar to screw threads). In reality, the strings would jump out of the grooves while playing with any sort of force. As a solution, many Jazzmaster players replace the Jazzmaster bridge with a Fender Mustang style bridge, which only has one string groove per saddle. A cheaper and equally effective solution is simply to deepen the saddles. More issue is found with the rocking bridge design, which can pivot forward and backward and can occasionally get knocked in one direction or another. This is similar in concept to a modern roller bridge and works well in concept, but many players fix the bridge by wrapping its posts with electrical tape, however tuning can suffer when the trem is used. Another common Jazzmaster modification is the addition of a "Buzz Stop", a bar that mounts above the tremolo system and increases the angle of the strings behind the bridge, supposedly increasing sustain while decreasing string buzz (another common problem with the original Jazzmaster bridge). Some however claim that such implements are not necessary, forcing the bridge forward on some examples, and the trem can often bind on the buzzstop. Bridge buzz can be minimized in setup, by setting the bridge closer to the body while adjusting the saddles upwards.