Is it the Fender Strat-Master or Jazz-ocaster? You decide!
These Mexican-made additions maintain this line’s mix ‘n’ match approach, by borrowing and blending parts and design features from various existing instruments to create Fenders that ‘could have been’ – either officially, or as the result of some serious aftermarket alterations.
Living up to its name, this Fender features an original body outline that combines Strat-style double-cutaway horns with a significantly sloping waist and lower bouts borrowed from the Jazzmaster.
The bolt-on neck plays it straight, but construction is one-piece maple, complete with an integral fingerboard. The latter is lightly radius’d, gloss lacquered and accommodates 21 frets spread over Fender’s standard 648mm (25.5-inch) scale.
Neck dimensions offer a vintage profile that’s familiar and comfortable, while components include Kluson-type tuners, truss-rod adjustment and a lonely looking Fender logo.
As well as its all-new sleekly contoured shape, the alder body incorporates a single long f-hole. This confirms the semi-solid construction, which helps keep overall mass to a meager 6lbs.
The original pickups were a pair of JZHB humbuckers but this one has been specially modified to Rose Picassos.
Rose Picassos are great pickups IMHO. Quiet and humbucker-ish. A little bit of top end jangle, shimmer, or whatever you want to call it, but not much. Ken Rose is always swamped with orders and these are a special-order item. They are A5 magnets and you can not only split them individually, you can choose front bank or back bank of either humbucker- something you can’t do with basic coil splitting. This is accomplished with the addition of two small 3-way switches along with the larger 3-way selector. They certainly don’t sound like “traditional” JM pickups, just a noiseless option that came close enough to deliver the JM plink and still have some character and growl of a true humbucker experience.
The hardware appointments are completed by the same bridge and vibrato tailpiece found on the Jaguarillo. However, for whatever reason, the Offset Special’s screw-in vibrato arm is a much tighter fit, providing a more positive feel, and usefully staying put in any position. This guitar also has the upgraded roller bridge that provides smooth operation and flawless bends.
Looks-wise, the Offset Special owes nothing to any single Fender, but instead blends two famous shapes to create something entirely original. The electrics ring equal changes, and the end results should prove very attractive to the modern player who fancies something obviously Fender, but also out of the ordinary. I have to say, this is a very unique and yet extremely comfortable and tonally exquisite axe!
Included also is the original bridge, the original pick-ups and gig-bag.