The Current Market for the 1962 Fender Jaguar

Editor's Note: A version of this article originally appeared in a recent print edition of Guitarist Magazine as part of their Classic Gear series. Subscribe here for more from the UK-based publication.


Over the past decade, offset guitars — a classification broadly defined as any instrument with a body shape similar to that of a Fender Jaguar or Jazzmaster — have exploded in popularity. There are several reasons for this ongoing reemergence, including the growing popularity of indie rock, a genre that has embraced these guitars since the '80s.

While today's guitar market overflows with modern offsets of every sort, the original Jaguar and Jazzmaster, introduced in 1962 and 1958 respectively, remain the essential templates of the format. Though similar, these Fender models differ in two main ways: their scale length and pickup set. The Jaguar was built with 24-inch scale length compared to the 25 1/2-inches of the Jazzmaster and incorporated two shielded single-coil pickups as opposed to the Jazzmaster's feedback-prone soapbars.

On today's vintage market, Jazzmasters remain the more in-demand of the two as a result of a general preference for the longer scale length. That said, there is certainly an active crop of Jaguar enthusiasts, many of whom would cite Kurt Cobain as a key influence in their playing and buying tastes.

As the first year of production, 1962 is absolutely the key vintage model year for the Jag. Jaguar specs, however, remained more or less consistent up until the CBS Fender takeover in 1965, and specimens from any year from '62 to '65 tend to achieve similar prices.

Pricing Factors

Original Pickups

1962 Fender Jaguar with original pickups

The pickups on Jaguars are very important to collectors. Original '60s Jaguar pickups were designed and built specifically for this model; they are not just Stratocaster transplants. Non-original pickups on a vintage Jaguar can lower value even more than other Fenders of the same period.

Slab vs Veneer Fretboard

In 1962, Fender began to transition from a thicker style fretboard, now known as a "slab board," to one made using a thinner, curved piece of wood, now referred to as a "veneer board." Since the Jaguar was introduced in 1962, there are only a select few vintage specimens with the more desirable slab style. Original Jaguars with this feature will usually sell for around 20% higher than those with the more common veneer style.

Finish

As with all things vintage Fender, the originality and vibrancy of the guitar's finish is of paramount importance to collectors. Most '62 Jaguars will carry a sunburst finish, though examples with custom finishes like Lake Placid Blue and Fiesta Red do come to market occasionally. A rare finish can double the price of a '62 Jaguar, while a non-original finish job will usually decrease value by around 40-50%.

1962 Fender Jaguar Sunburst

1962 Fender Jaguar Custom Blue Sparkle

Beyond these construction variations, of course, case-by-case assessment of originality, condition, and playability can impact the value of an individual guitar more than anything.

The Current '62 Jaguar Market

Over the past several years, prices on vintage Jaguars have remained mostly steady. Guitars with an original sunburst finish and no major modifications and conditional issues will usually sell in the $3,000 to $4,500 USD range, with some in very pristine condition selling for more. Sunburst Jaguars with replaced parts, major repairs, or non-original finishes can dip down to closer to $2000 USD or even lower for seriously "player gade" examples.

On the top end of the market, recent sales for rare finish '62 Jaguars, like Fiesta Red, have topped the $9,000 USD mark. More commonly, non-sunburst Jaguars will sell for anywhere from $4,000 to $6,000 USD. Olympic White appears to be the most common custom finish, and these guitars typically sell in a similar range to the sunburst examples.

Looking back further into vintage pricing trends and history, Jaguars (along with Jazzmasters) have certainly gained more interest and earned higher prices in recent years than they did during the original vintage guitar boom in the '90s and early 2000s. Notably though, even today's highest priced custom finish vintage Jaguar still sells for substantially less than any Tele or Strat of the same vintage.

Alternative Buying Options

Today's boutique market abounds with '60s Fender-style offset guitar of every imaginable configuration. Fano Guitars, Vuorensaku Guitars, and BilT are just three examples of the countless builders who specialize in the offset genre. What's less common is finding a modern guitar with the shorter 24-inch scale length, though many builders will be able to offer this by custom order.

If trying to stick in the Fender family, the contemporary offset revival has brought a number of reissues and limited edition Jaguars to the Fender catalog including a Kurt Cobain tribute model and the highly regarded Johnny Marr Signature Jaguar. If interested in the '62 Jaguar specs specifically, Fender did offer an American Vintage Reissue series '62 Jag for a few years. It has since been discontinued but used examples are not difficult to find on Reverb. The Made-in-Japan JG66 offers another worthwhile reissue for anyone in the market. In fact, the Fender factory in Japan was the first to bring the design back after its original retirement in 1975.


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