Fender’s American Luxe Series is a progression from the American Ultra series, and Luxe couldn’t be a better descriptor for the additions to the range. Building on the unparalleled build quality, specs and design of the American Ultra Series, the American Luxe range adds options for Floyd Rose bridges, modern fretboard radius’, S1 switches, and more to an already stellar lineup.
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The latest addition to the series comes in the form of a Jaguar, released in conjunction with Fender celebrating 60 years of the unique offset body shape. What makes the 60th Anniversary Ultra Luxe Jaguar unique is its modern take on the classic design, melding modern specs from the American Luxe series and honouring Fender’s steep history in forward-thinking guitar design. Complete with a hardshell case and anniversary neck plate, the 60th Anniversary Ultra Luxe Jaguar really is a sight to behold. A few modern appointments revitalise the guitar for today’s players, bringing itself up to speed with their needs and respecting its history.
An alder body is traditional Fender, while the metallic Texas Tea is a recent addition to the colour palette, introduced in the American Ultra series. The finish is gloss urethane, and a three-ply pickguard compliments the dark finish and contrasts the silver hardware and humbuckers. A pair of Fender Custom Double Tap Humbucking pickups are controlled by a three-position blade wired traditionally, barring the coil-spit modes for the humbuckers, Fender’s Custom Double Tap technology reduces volume loss when switching into single-coil mode, controlled by the two slide-switches on the upper horn of the guitar. This allows the user to split either or both of the pickups for different tones, songs or solos!
Further adding to the rock-solid style of this Ultra Luxe Jag is the addition of an Adjusto-Matic bridge with a string-through body design to increase resonance and tuning stability. Both Jaguars and Jazzmasters with a more traditional tremolo have a tendency to begin to rattle, and the list of moving parts requires more upkeep and eventual replacement. This hardtail design keeps the guitar in tune and locked down, with the Adjusto-Matic bridge allowing for fine-tuning of intonation. String-through designs assist the string tone to resonate through the alder body instead of vibrating out via a tailpiece or tremolo springs. The neck is maple, but features an ultra satin urethane finish on the back for smooth, fast playing, as well as rolled fingerboard edges for maximum comfort. This playability is only assisted further by the tapered neck heel when accessing the 22nd fret and beyond. The headstock features a matched Texas Tea headstock for ultimate ’60s throwback, while the locking tuners and humbuckers bring the 60th Anniversary Ultra Luxe Jaguar into the modern day.
The guitar is well-balanced overall and hangs off the shoulder nicely when standing with little neck dip, making for an effortless play. The ebony fretboard imparts a unique attack, usually unheard on Jags, offering more bite and snap than rosewood, maple, or pau ferro options. The Augmented “D” neck shape somehow blends the familiar roundness of more vintage Fender necks and modern playability into one comfortable shape. Big chords are easy to fret, and noodling up towards the second octave is simple. 22 Stainless Steel Medium Jumbo frets make for smooth bends, while the TUSQ nut offers that ‘bone’ tone in a more sustainable fashion.
The tone from the Ultra Luxe Jaguar really is something unique. Assisted by the Double Tap Humbuckers, the guitar produces that humbucker ‘girth’. The absence of the fatness and mud sometimes introduced from bulkier single-cut style guitars is a welcome change, providing punchy tones with the control and style that only a Fender can. The humbuckers are a great addition, but the coil-split capabilities of the Double Taps offer that traditional Jaguar ‘twang’ as well, so you’re missing out on nothing. What’s more, the 60th Anniversary Ultra Luxe Jaguar arrives safely in a deluxe hardshell case.
All in all, the 60th Anniversary Ultra Luxe Jaguar seamlessly melds the past and the present into one guitar with an aesthetic that is somehow vintage Fender, but that also wouldn’t be out of place in a metal band. More modern specs, such as locking tuners, a revised Augmented “D” neck shape, Custom Double Tap Humbucking pickups, and stainless steel frets are plentiful on this Jag. More custom specs like the Texas Tea finish, ebony fretboard and hardtail design bring the Ultra Luxe Jag into a league of its own, allowing the player to coax tones not unlike more boisterous, mahogany bodied counterparts, but with a flick of either of slide switches, you’re back in single-coil surf town.
Assuming the brief was to celebrate where Fender have come from, where they stand, and where they’re heading, they’ve nailed the 60th Anniversary Ultra Luxe Jaguar. For Jag lovers, as well as those indifferent to them, the Ultra Luxe Jag is that little push across the line you needed, and now that you know the lowdown, there’s nothing stopping you from getting one except yourself.
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