buying first Jazzmaster - help

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Coldacre, Apr 19, 2015.

  1. Coldacre

    Coldacre Supporting Member

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    ok, I've been a Les Paul guy for the last few years, but I've got the Jazzmaster itch. I need that neck pickup tone through a loud, clean, tube amp. beautiful cleans

    I'm just not sure which of the 3 options is the wisest.

    here are my priorities:

    * can't afford a '65 AV. that would be ideal, but as an Aussie, I'd be paying $2500+. need to go a cheaper option

    * I want good pickups: '65's, Antiquity II's or Novaks. I don't want P90's or anything with a high output.

    * proper Jazzmaster bridge, e.g. NOT a tune-a-matic.

    * proper tremolo arm.

    * I'm happy to pay for after-market pickups/tremolo/bridge.... its just the unknown upgrade factor vs a stock guitar that already has these things.



    my options so far:

    1. J Mascis Squier. about $600 Australian, would need to spend another $450 for the Mastery hardware upgrades and a set of Antiquities / Novaks. seriously considering it, although the basswood vs alder body is an unknown quantity at this point

    2. Road Worn. $1600 Australian. the pickups are great, the bridge I'm not sure about.

    3. Jazzmaster Special. $1300. wrong bridge and the pickups are too hot. they can be swapped out, but at a cost, so its probably on par with the Road Worn.


    at this point I'm thinking the Road Worn is the best bet. I could add a Mastery bridge and be pretty content with this. unless there's something else I haven't considered?
     
  2. Astronaut FX

    Astronaut FX Member

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    Used AVRI?

    Also, and I could be mistaken on this, converting a Jazzmaster that has a TOM bridge to a Mastery bridge is a more complicated conversion than converting a traditional Jazzmaster bridge to a Mastery. I replaced my standard JM bridge to a Mastery in a matter of minutes. I'm thinking a TOM equipped JM is going to have post holes that won't line up properly without surgery. If I'm wrong, someone will certainly chime in.
     
  3. Coldacre

    Coldacre Supporting Member

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    I've had a look at the various Mastery bridges on offer; they have one for every type of Jazzmaster there is; USA, Mexican, Japan.. Squires etc and have various sized thimbles to drop in to accommodate the bridge posts


    I like the idea of a used AVRI, but they rarely pop up in Melb / Syd
     
  4. Astronaut FX

    Astronaut FX Member

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    OK, just thought I'd put it out there as something to consider. To clarify, my warning had to do with the spacing/location of the bridge holes, not the thimble sizes.


    For what it's worth, I've had my AVRI since 2007 and just put a Mastery bridge on it about four months ago. I'm still kicking myself for not having done so sooner. Very worthy upgrade. Completely eliminated everything that made the old bridge frustrating. Good luck with your search!
     
  5. Coldacre

    Coldacre Supporting Member

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    I find that pretty much any old classic guitar design from 50+ years ago benefits from modern hardware. Faber, Callahan, Mastery do a far better job today for Fender / Gibsons.
    thanks man!
     
  6. jimbugg

    jimbugg Supporting Member

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    Sounds like you're on the right track. Honestly, buying the Squier JM Sig and upgrading electronics/hardware is a *really* solid option. The Squier JM Sigs are just fantastic guitars for the money and then some - and that's coming from a guy who's owned his share of vintage and boutique Jazzmasters.

    The Roadworn is also a good option. Kinda just depends what look you want - IMO (having owned the Squier and played the Roadworn briefly) the difference between those guitars is pretty marginal.
     
  7. Seth L

    Seth L Silver Supporting Member

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    The J Mascis is a great guitar and the TOM bridge is one of it's best features. No problem with the vibrato at all. The pickups are very good as well.
     
  8. transmission

    transmission Supporting Member

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    Have you considered getting one of the Fender Japan Jazzmasters? May be cheaper and easier to find in Australia than the Roadworn. A pickup upgrade and a more reliable bridge and good to go. Could upgrade to an AVRI Trem unit in the future.

    Regarding the bridge, if I were you, I would go for the Staytrem over the Mastery. Lots of discussion and comparisons over on the offsetguitars.com forum, but the Staytrem tends to come out on top. Largely due to it performing just as well (if not better, as Mastery height screws loosen from what I've heard), looks more like a vintage JM/Mustang Bridge, and it's cheaper. Danocaster uses Staytrems, so you know they are quality bits of kit. He also uses Mastery too.

    You are on the right track with Novak pickups.
     
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  9. Stringmaster

    Stringmaster Gold Supporting Member

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    Yes, don't overlook the Squires. I have mine currently set up with .012's and the stock bridge, and the stock pickups are decent (a bit hotter than vintage)--no concerns. Good way to get your feet wet for not much money.
     
  10. Doctor Morbius

    Doctor Morbius Member

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  11. sa1126

    sa1126 Member

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    Look at getting a squier VMJM.

    Three mods will have it sorted perfect and won't set you back:
    #1 mustang bridge with light top heavy bottoms (10-52)
    #2 duct tape around bridge posts
    #3 hose clamp and gasket around trem arm (see this)

    I did the same with a VM jag and that guitar is my #1 for the time being, absolutely love it and I only have $200 in it.
     
  12. Mighty Melvin

    Mighty Melvin Member

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    I think I'd prefer a Staytrem, although I've tried things like Mustang saddles and have gone back to the original threaded barrels. I'd like to see more availability of medium-pitch thread barrels (instead of fine) for the top two strings.
     
  13. Coldacre

    Coldacre Supporting Member

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    sorry, I should have mentioned in my OP that the Lacquer 60's is out of the running as I'm not into the mint green.
     
  14. chrisjw5

    chrisjw5 Supporting Member

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    The Mascis was my first Jazzmaster, and bone stock it's pretty great. I'd suggest getting one and seeing how you bond with it before upgrading anything.

    The only work I did was change out the anodized pickguard for parchment (looks) and the 3-way (it broke during shipment).
     
  15. Thedude99

    Thedude99 Member

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    Get the Road Worn one. Great guitar. Drop a mustang bridge on it and you are done. You can go up to the mastery of you want, but there is really no need unless you want the changes that come along with it. The Mustang one fixes the problems of the original for cheap.

    I have a mustang bridge on mine and love it (mine is not a Road Worn one though)
     
  16. Coldacre

    Coldacre Supporting Member

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    I hadn't considered the Squire, but it's tempting just to grab one for $450 and do the upgrades. food for thought definitely!
     
  17. Clinic

    Clinic Member

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    As a fellow Aussie that also wanted a jazzmaster, I bought a JMJM and couldn't be happier. Given the low price of the guitar, I thought a mastery bridge was complete overkill and opted for a GFS Roller Bridge which, popped right on, didnt even have to change the posts. You will have to change the pickups though to get what you are after, the JMJMs are very P-90ish. I actually also intended to swap them out for antiquity IIs but once I got the guitar I decided I actually like them quite alot!
     
  18. Coldacre

    Coldacre Supporting Member

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    thanks mate, nice to get some input from a fellow Aussie! that bridge looks interesting. do they make one that's nickel plated? if I go the Squier route, I'll be swapping out the chrome hardware for nickel.

    I really like the look of the J Mascis, off-white and gold. seems to be a better modding platform than the VM Squier in some respects. I think I like the neck (finish) of the JMJM more, but the VM series has more than one colour.

    though choice really! I would definitely swap out the pickups and bridge on either model.
     
  19. Clinic

    Clinic Member

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    As requested, pics of GFS bridge on JMJM

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     

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