Did some mods/upgrades to my Squier J. Mascis Jazzmaster

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by beatcomber, Mar 10, 2019.

  1. beatcomber

    beatcomber Member

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    A few months ago I bought via Craig's List a stock Squier J. Mascis Jazzmaster in nice condition, with a Roadrunner hardshell case included, for $350.

    The stock instrument is very good, and the neck in particular is extraordinary, with a chunky C-shape, comfortable satin finish, and beautifully finished jumbo frets. The neck is so good that, as much as the Squier logo kinda bugs me (brand snobbery), I can't justify swapping in something else. Maybe I'll cover it with a sticker or something. :)

    Being that this is a budget instrument, there were a few weak points that I wanted to address.

    The stock vibrato tailpiece is just OK, but the arm kept flopping around and falling out, and the vibrato action was kind of stiff. I lucked out and found on eBay a minty used American Professional Jazzmaster tailpiece, which is the same as an American Vintage tailpiece but with the added enhancement of the end of the arm being threaded. So, not only does it not fall out, it stays in a stationary position when not being used, making it easier/quicker to grab.

    The stock Tune-O-Matic bridge on the J. Mascis Jazzmaster frankly sucks. It's lightweight and rattles, and it caused tuning instability when using the vibrato. Guitar Fetish sells a very affordable Tune-O-Matic roller bridge, and it dropped right in with no problem. I immediately noticed better sustain and rounder tone, plus it doesn't rattle and it has eliminated the tuning instability I was dealing with. An absolutely highly recommended mod.

    Lastly, the yellowish "gold" pickguard simply had to go. A seller on Reverb, "Tricked Out Guitar," sells a "Real Life Relics" red tortoise pickguard that was recommended to me. Buying aftermarket pickguards is a crapshoot, but this one totally met my expectations. The die cuts are very clean and accurately positioned, and the screwholes lined up perfectly, so installation was a breeze.

    I haven't yet had a chance to use this guitar in a band situation at proper volume through a tube amp (will do next week), so the jury is still out on the stock P-90 style pickups. Through my little 15w solid state practice amp it sounded fine, so I am inclined to leave them alone, but we'll see how it works out after I run it through its paces.

    At some point I may replace the switches, pots and jacks, but I will leave that for a later date. For now it's working, so I won't "fix" that until I have to.

    Ladies and gentlemen, my newly upgraded Squier J. Mascis Jazzmaster:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    KrisCHS, frankg11, Jdstrat and 11 others like this.
  2. fretless

    fretless Supporting Member

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    Looks good. Thinking about getting that exact bridge for mine. Seems like a nice upgrade and a lot of guys have had success with it based on prior posts.
     
  3. beatcomber

    beatcomber Member

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    With the constant sales that Guitar Fetish runs, it's a no-brainer. And it really does make a difference.
     
  4. Kojack19

    Kojack19 Silver Supporting Member

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    AM vintage trem, new bridge, duncan antiquity I, and a new pick up selector switch-My 600 all in JMJM punches way above its weight.
     
    Marris Otter, Mincer and beatcomber like this.
  5. beatcomber

    beatcomber Member

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    I'm thinking that the PU selector will need to be replaced sooner rather than later: it crackles!
     
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  6. twohailmarys

    twohailmarys Member

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    If you don’t like the logo you could always paint the headstock to match the body and just not have a logo.
     
  7. beatcomber

    beatcomber Member

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    I've considered doing that, except I don't trust myself to do a neat job.
     
  8. beatcomber

    beatcomber Member

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    I was just in touch with @joeybsyc , and made arrangements for him to paint the headstock to match the body and put a new decal on it. :cool:

    [​IMG]
     
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  9. metrokosmiko

    metrokosmiko Member

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    Can you just pop a tuneomatic on a regular JM? Say, a Squier Vintage Modified JM or similar.
     
  10. vortexxxx

    vortexxxx Supporting Member

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    I have the Fender J Mascis Jszzmaster and I recall ordering a Callaham tune-o-matic made from a milled billet of steel. I recall having to specify that something was metric. It may have been the bridge or the posts. After giving it a full setup with it's stock bridge, I was getting harmonics all over the place and I was afraid of losing that way I set it up like everything was aligned perfectly that often doesn't happen, so I sold the Callahan bridge and it still sounds great with the stock bridge. One thing to keep in mind is that I was able to get one that was made for the Japanese market only. Among the differences it had an alder body while the export was a wood that is not considered to be as good (dont recall it now), so the bridge may be made differently with different metal composition. I have never heard any buzzing or rattling. The pickups sound very thin and are more like a cheap strat pickup than a P-90. This has the same pickups as the other versions. If you open them you can see the coils are very narrow. I had an export one previously that was sold in North America that I changed them to Curtis Novak P-90s that J. had replaced his with as well. This time I went with slightly hotter Duncan pickups and they sound amazing. The Novaks sounded just like a vintage JM pickup I bought, but these have more low end. Some people say the gold anodized guard affects the tone. Mine is purple sparkle and wouldn't look right without it but I'm curious if a difference was noticed when it was replaced. St this point I'm not changing a thing on it as it has all those harmonic qualities and is an smazing player years later.

    This is a photo of the export version that I sold.
    [​IMG]
    I dont have a pic of the other one but I upgraded the electronics only on the new one. On the one in the pic i added brass kneeled wheels that i got from someone making them on OSG. I added a Barcus Berry transducer pickup under the tailpiece to pick up some of the behind the bridge sounds and set it up so it could be blended into the signal. I also did some other crazy writing making it too complicated. I lost interest in that version and sold it. The Japanese-only ones were still being produced a few years after the export versions were discontinued. I didnt know they existed until I found mine.
     
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  11. PTS

    PTS Member

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    Seriously considering doing the same thing with a Squier J. Mascis model. But with all the upgrades, is it much cheaper than buying a stock 2nd hand USA Fender Jazzmaster?
     
  12. beatcomber

    beatcomber Member

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    The main appeal of the J. Mascis is that chunky, satin-finished neck and big frets. It plays like a dream.

    I also really like the cream-colored finish on the body.
     
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  13. beatcomber

    beatcomber Member

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    I got the neck back from @joeybsyc a few days ago...

    Voila!

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Kojack19

    Kojack19 Silver Supporting Member

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    I like the neck, Duncans are better than the Fender Pickups and I still think you are several hundred cheaper than a US Jazzy used. Dont forget the ones likely going cheap are also likely 7.25 radius. At the end of the day, having any jazzmaster though is awesome.
     
  15. White Limo

    White Limo Member

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    @beatcomber Can you point me to the correct roller bridge you used from GFS? Thanks!
     
  16. ranchofm

    ranchofm Member

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    I have a JMJM (B-stock, $340) with a new wiring harness, SD Ant I & II pickups, and a Wilkinson roller bridge. I have around $550 all in. Worth it to me. I plan to add a Compton bridge to match the fretboard radius.

    Also, shimming the neck was a very effective mod.
     
  17. outtahear

    outtahear Supporting Member

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    Did you get that RCA chair from "Off The Wall" on Melrose Ave.
    (Los Angeles)????
     
  18. CRAIG4FSU

    CRAIG4FSU Whatever... Silver Supporting Member

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    I've been looking at the Wilkinson roller. Does the Gibson spacing bother you at all?
     
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  19. ranchofm

    ranchofm Member

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    Do you mean it being narrower? Yes, a bit. Another reason to go for the Compton. The lack of intonation adjustment bothers some people, but I installed a Compton on my g5420t and it was a great upgrade.
     
  20. CRAIG4FSU

    CRAIG4FSU Whatever... Silver Supporting Member

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    Compton is the way i'm going with my JMJM. Just send him all your measurements, pick a material and he'll make it.
     
    ShredSquatch likes this.

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