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View Full Version : Jazzmaster, neck shim and the mastery bridge


12strings
01-25-2011, 10:09 PM
Do you still need to install a neck shim on a Jazzmaster with a mastery bridge? thanks in advance!

reverber8
01-26-2011, 09:08 AM
In my experience, no.

I installed a Mastery on my AVRI Jazzmaster and I highly recommend doing the same. It dropped right in and the whole install including string change and final adjustments took less than 30 minutes. My JM has become my number 1 guitar and the Mastery eliminates the issues with the stock bridge without sacrificing any of the JM's tonal qualities.

John_McEnroe
01-26-2011, 09:16 AM
I am very curious about the mastery bridge. Some people say it slightly changes the tone of the jazzmaster. In your experience is that the case? I do a lot of behind the bridge stuff and I don't want any of that resonance getting reduced.

thesjkexperienc
01-26-2011, 09:51 AM
My JM had three paper shims from the factory and after getting the mastery I now use two. I like to keep the bridge as high as possible for the most break angle.

It changes the tone a lot! It is about twice as heavy as stock and it doesn't rattle so you get about 3 times the sustain and a little more twang. There is still a lot of resonance behind the bridge and you still get that buzzing or ringing back there. I also use 11s and 12s, so it might be different with lighter strings.

wholetone
01-26-2011, 10:13 AM
I have a BT Jazzmaster that I just had a Mastery installed on. This is my first JM so I really can't compare the POS bridge that came with the guitar with the nicer bridges that come with more expensive JMs, but its eliminated buzzing (and I use .09s) and the guitar sounds fantastic.

For my BTJM, you'll need the M1 Bridge and you'll need to remove the stock thimbles - Woody will make sure when you order you get the right ones. I had a local shop do my install (as those thimbles were jammed in there) + a complete setup. It plays great, sounds great.

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/hs045.snc6/167579_1836325114641_1435866490_32163768_5036911_n .jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/hs258.snc6/180624_1836327714706_1435866490_32163770_8001963_n .jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/hs893.ash1/180148_1836329114741_1435866490_32163772_2630424_n .jpg

reverber8
01-26-2011, 11:17 AM
The Mastery bridge made a little difference in the overall tone but I think those changes are only for the best. None of that wonderful ring behind the bridge thing that the JM does was lost. What I really noticed was a big improvement in sustain and gone were the bridge buzz and strings slipping off or out of position on the saddle. It still sounds like a JM.

The AVRI is my second JM which replaced a Limited Edition Japanese model in Vintage blonde with gold hardware, red tort guard in a blonde case. It was part of run Fender did which also included a matching Jag and Jazz bass. Unfortunately, that guitar was taken during a break in at my home 7 or 8 years ago. I replaced the stock bridge on that guitar with a Mustang bridge and just got it back from a set up when it was stolen. I only spent a little time with it after the Mustang bridge was installed but as I recall it was an improvement over the stock bridge. The Mastery is several notches up on the improvement scale from there.

Whatever you do don’t waste your time or money on a BuzzStop. I played a JM with one and didn’t like it at all.

ReginaldBisquet
01-26-2011, 11:41 AM
I needed to add a .5" wide sliver from my business card to shim the neck on my Parts-Jazzmaster (thanks to 12strings for the neck!). I dropped in (literally) a tune-o-matic bridge on mine - mainly out of curiosity - and it works great!

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_WxLfCCnkMtg/TSqWMLPliKI/AAAAAAAAFB4/OZPuk90Yv8Q/s640/DSCF5732.JPG

And yeah - I agree with Wholetone - those posts are really wedged in the body.

To date - I have used the guitar at a couple of rehearsals and a gig. No issues with strings jumping from the saddles... and sustain is quite good with notes ringing out as expected.

I had thought the ringing behind the bridge was a "defect" from using the tune-o-matic... but apparently, it's supposed to happen.

12strings
01-26-2011, 02:15 PM
Hey ReginaldBisquet, glad the novack pickup worked out for you!

The mastery is going on my 1963 Jazzmaster. I am going to install it first with the neck shims that are already in there and see how it works out! I owned a mastery before, fantastic product!

DANOCASTER
01-26-2011, 02:40 PM
the Mastery is awesome - walk don't run !!

as for the shim.. sometimes you do , sometimes you don't. But don't be afraid of shims. Nearly every vintage Fender offset has a pretty big one as standard

12strings
01-26-2011, 02:42 PM
Awesome, thanks Danocaster - that is just what I needed to hear!

I have a mastery on order, should be here in a couple weeks!

IAE
01-26-2011, 03:18 PM
Mastery ain't without there problems either. Go to offsetguitars and read the 100 page thread about these bridges.


And yeah, most vintage offsets came shimmed from Fender. My original 66 mustang did. 62 JM....I don't recall as I got rid of it years ago before I turned 20.

LowWatt
01-26-2011, 04:04 PM
It all comes down to the guitar. I foudn with the Mastery I could take out all the shims and get the guitar setup right (which I couldn't do with a stock bridge), but I lost way too much break angle and it thinned my tone, so I set it back up with the 2 shims and it was better than ever.

GA20T
01-26-2011, 04:49 PM
Given the same desired string height, I don't see how the Mastery could improve break-angle behind the bridge, which is why we need to shim in the first place, only that it might have a better feel, prevent strings popping out of the saddle, set up better (radius), add sustain (mass), and eliminate bridge rattles (less crappy parts vibrating).

My main guitar is a partsmaster that happens to sound better with a neck-pocket shim, causing better break-angle behind the bridge saddles. I'm looking around for a second Jazzy, but I'm having a hard time deciding between all the MJTs, Fenders, and Danos etc. with the "reissued" said break-angle flaw. I'm actually leaning towards the Classic Player + Mastery bridge, as I've read several places that the neck pocket angle issue has finally been remedied. Shimming's not evil, but I have no idea why the guitar can't be built to play properly right from the manufacturer/designer of the wooden parts, Dano & MJT et al. of course are not really to blame for this.

Dano, do you have any input with the manufacturer of your bodies in regards to this issue, or have I completely missed the fact that it has been remedied?

wholetone
01-26-2011, 09:35 PM
I needed to add a .5" wide sliver from my business card to shim the neck on my Parts-Jazzmaster (thanks to 12strings for the neck!). I dropped in (literally) a tune-o-matic bridge on mine - mainly out of curiosity - and it works great!

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_WxLfCCnkMtg/TSqWMLPliKI/AAAAAAAAFB4/OZPuk90Yv8Q/s640/DSCF5732.JPG

And yeah - I agree with Wholetone - those posts are really wedged in the body.

To date - I have used the guitar at a couple of rehearsals and a gig. No issues with strings jumping from the saddles... and sustain is quite good with notes ringing out as expected.

I had thought the ringing behind the bridge was a "defect" from using the tune-o-matic... but apparently, it's supposed to happen.

The journeymen luthiers in the shop I had mine installed in were afraid to pull them out while the owner was gone at NAMM... waited for him to come back as he has 30+ years doing guitar repair. They were stunned when he just used a flat bladed screwdriver and pried the thimbles out. Technique.

I've also noticed some improvement in sustain, and it makes sense, given that the Mastery is actually fewer moving parts and made of a much heavier block of metal than the standard JM bridges. I'm glad the tune-o-matic worked for you.

Its really a shame, IMHO, that Fender hasn't done much to improve the Jagmasterstang bridge since the 1960s. Its a great design - I find it more comfortable to play than a Strat or Tele, and having owned a 70s Strat I think the tremolo design is better than what you find on a standard Strat. Tonally, I think its actually a more flexible guitar that can cover more styles than a Strat or Tele (and I even think it can do metal with the right pedals and amp).

There's a zillion Strat clones out there, but I think that if The Mastery had been available a long time ago, the Jagmasterstang would be a much more popular guitar than it is.

vortexxxx
01-27-2011, 04:36 AM
When I installed my Mastery on my Jaguar I removed the neck shims so that I could lower the bridge. When the bridge was too high I lost some of the characteristic Jaguar sound but got more sustain. I wanted it to sound more like a Jag with less sustain.

wholetone
01-27-2011, 08:36 AM
When I installed my Mastery on my Jaguar I removed the neck shims so that I could lower the bridge. When the bridge was too high I lost some of the characteristic Jaguar sound but got more sustain. I wanted it to sound more like a Jag with less sustain.

I'm having my BT Jag set up right now, and decided to swap the stock neck pickup - which I hate the sound of (too clippy, but in combination with the bridge its not bad) - for a Phat Cat. Anyway, it came from the factory with the bridge as low as it could possibly go; they're going to install a shim so the bridge can be raised a bit but keep the action low, as I like. Its already a fun guitar to play, I think its going to sound really nice with a single coil in the front, with the option to add bucker crunch with the flip of a switch. I'm not all that wild about guitars with a zillion switches. Its too much stuff to keep track of. :)

ReginaldBisquet
01-27-2011, 09:02 AM
Its too much stuff to keep track of. :)

I pulled all the switches and wiring out of my Jaguar to keep it as basic as possible.

http://lh5.ggpht.com/_WxLfCCnkMtg/TMs5DkbvWnI/AAAAAAAAEns/nS55pqh5K4k/s640/DSCF4864.JPG

However, now I'm thinking of putting the switching back in... but for aesthetic reasons.

And yeah, this guitar needed a small shim in the neck pocket too.

wholetone
01-27-2011, 09:23 AM
I pulled all the switches and wiring out of my Jaguar to keep it as basic as possible.

http://lh5.ggpht.com/_WxLfCCnkMtg/TMs5DkbvWnI/AAAAAAAAEns/nS55pqh5K4k/s640/DSCF4864.JPG

However, now I'm thinking of putting the switching back in... but for aesthetic reasons.

And yeah, this guitar needed a small shim in the neck pocket too.

I hear you on the aesthetic. Its kind of funny, I really have found after years of playing that I prefer a fairly simple layout on my guitars (and the three I have now have the same setup). Two pickups, a simple 3 way throw switch, a single volume and a single tone control. Very rarely have I ever played a song where I'm switching between pickups where I would need a separate tone/volume controls. I'm thinking of getting a simple volume footpedal for live situations as it is nice to simply turn the main volume to 10 and control the volume that way for solos/rhythm.

I remember thinking when Fender followed the crowd doing mods to Strats and added the five way selector switch "finally". Of course, now there's all sorts of different ways to WIRE that switch and trying to remember what the combinations are, on the fly, is a bit much. I actually don't care for the Strat pickup selector because at least the stock ones that come on most Fenders feel cheap to me. I want a switch I can abuse when I'm rocking out and know its going to stay in the position I've moved it to.

The day is rapidly coming - if its not already here with effects pedals that contain tons of preset effects (and amps) that guitarists will routinely - regardless of player level - do like what keyboardists like Jordan Rudess do on stage - they'll preprogram their effects on the box in order, and then cycle through them using a simple foot switch. Or you'll forego the effects box entirely and do software emulation on a Mac and run it directly to the amp. I like the idea of having as few wires and crap between the guitar and the amp as possible. I think you should be spending more time picking the cool outfit you're going to perform in than worrying about the damn stage setup ;)

LowWatt
01-27-2011, 11:22 AM
Given the same desired string height, I don't see how the Mastery could improve break-angle behind the bridge, which is why we need to shim in the first place, only that it might have a better feel, prevent strings popping out of the saddle, set up better (radius), add sustain (mass), and eliminate bridge rattles (less crappy parts vibrating).

It was the no more popping off the saddle that allowed me to adjust the action and neck angle. Before the Mastery, I needed to keep those pretty extreme because of my wild right hand technique.