Jazzmaster questions...thinkin' about kickin' the tires!

VaughnC

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I haven't owned/played a Jazzmaster since the 60's...it was actually my first good guitar. However, while I'm thinkin' of giving one a try, the American models are very expensive. So, are there any less expensive models out there that has the classic Jazzmaster sound? I thought I heard of a MIM model that has the '65 reissue pickups in it? Just curious as to what's out there in the "bang for the buck" Jazzy land :).
 
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5,026
The Troy Van Leeuwen Jazzmaster has AVRI pickups/hardware comes with a case and is MIM (also has improved bridge and some other details, it's $1300 new, you can find them for around $1000 used.
 
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Classic 60s lacquer, Road Worn, Troy van Leeuwen (non traditional rhythm circuit switch) and another option could be getting a used CIJ/MIJ Jazzmaster and changing the pickups.
Classic 60s would be the best option, if the damn thing came in more than 1 colour.
 

Larry Mal

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1,753
Yeah, the Classic Lacquer models are good, the Road Worn is about the same thing but with a distressed finish. Both get great reviews, are Mexican made, with the highly thought of Pure Vintage pickups in there.

Maybe take a look at the American Professional series, which has new "modern" pickups.

A used AVRI is the route that I would (and did) take, personally, but there are a lot of good options.
 

Dig ?

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1,198
There are lots of great MIJ jazzmasters. The buildquality is superb, people dump on MIJ pickups but i thinkits an elitism complex. My mij strat has gorgeous pickups stock from japan.
Also these jazzmasters can be had at a very reasonable price
 

SciFlyer

Gold Supporting Member
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2,100
I have always liked MIJ Jazzmasters from the '90s/ early 2000s. I have owned a few and my #1 for the past 20 years is still a '94 MIJ. The only thing I don't really like about them are the pickups. Other than that, they are awesome. You can probably find an affordable used one.
 

SciFlyer

Gold Supporting Member
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2,100
There are lots of great MIJ jazzmasters. The buildquality is superb, people dump on MIJ pickups but i thinkits an elitism complex. My mij strat has gorgeous pickups stock from japan.
Also these jazzmasters can be had at a very reasonable price
I agree that MIJ JM's are excellent guitars but I haven't found the stock pickups to be very good in the ones I've owned.
 

Larry Mal

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1,753
I have an MIJ, but everything on it is of lesser quality than the AVRI things are, from the tremolo to the bridge to the electronics to the pickups.

Not sure about the Made In Mexico models, but it would be hard for me to tell someone to buy a Japanese made model and immediately start replacing things in order to get to the same quality that they could.

And I say this as a person who has owned a Japanese made Jazzmaster since 1993, and would never part with it.
 
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Fender offers their AVRI pickups are pretty reasonable prices, you can usually find a set new for 70-80 bucks so a swap wouldn't add too much more if the guitar comes with some crummy ones. I've had AVRI JM, Jag and Tele pickups and they have all been excellent.
 

SciFlyer

Gold Supporting Member
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2,100
I have an MIJ, but everything on it is of lesser quality than the AVRI things are, from the tremolo to the bridge to the electronics to the pickups.

Not sure about the Made In Mexico models, but it would be hard for me to tell someone to buy a Japanese made model and immediately start replacing things in order to get to the same quality that they could.

And I say this as a person who has owned a Japanese made Jazzmaster since 1993, and would never part with it.

Funny.. I hit some guitar stores with my buddy a couple weekends ago and played a couple newer USA JM's. I wondered why the hell they were so expensive! I did like the surf green one quite a bit and noticed it was MIM.
Off subject.. Have you tried the Offset Tele? I thought it was cool. The one I played was set up well and fun to play.
 

ryandfl

Silver Supporting Member
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1,550
I recently got a new thin skin American Vintage Jazzmaster. It's a really nice guitar. Definitely the best sounding guitar I've owned or probably played.
 

SciFlyer

Gold Supporting Member
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2,100
I recently got a new thin skin American Vintage Jazzmaster. It's a really nice guitar. Definitely the best sounding guitar I've owned or probably played.
Did you get it in that gold color? Beautiful guitars.
 

ryandfl

Silver Supporting Member
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1,550
No I went with the blue. But sometimes I regret not going with the gold!

I feel like the gold would look great while holding it but a little much on display. My guitars are right in my living space.
 

Johnny Alien

Silver Supporting Member
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2,863
There are lots of great MIJ jazzmasters. The build quality is superb, people dump on MIJ pickups but i think its an elitism complex. My mij strat has gorgeous pickups stock from japan.
Also these jazzmasters can be had at a very reasonable price

In this case it's not elitism. The MIJ Jazzmaster pickups are not like JM pickups at all and in fact are basically strat pickups in a JM cover. I guess they are fine if you want the strat sound but typically people buy a JM to sound a bit like a JM...thus the bad reputation.

A used AVRI Jazzmaster used to be a great deal but they are really going up in price lately and with the MIM series being so good it's hard to validate spending the extra money. Both the Classic Lacquer and Road Worn are basically mexican versions of the avri 62 reissues and really nice guitars. Limited colors are the only draw back. The Japanese models are nice as well but not better than the MIM and with the pickup swaps they end up costing more. It's fairly easy to get the RW or Lacquer for 20% off.
 

Larry Mal

Member
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1,753
I never quite understood the whole Japanese Jazzmaster pickups being the same as Strat pickups. Now, bear in mind, I had believed that for a long time also, but one day I took my '93 Japanese Jazzmaster apart and rebuilt the whole thing from top to bottom. They were a little different- this is the Japanese pickup on the left:



But what they were not was the tall, thin coils that Stratocaster pickups are. They didn't have the same amount of wire in compared to the handwound one I had sent out as you can see, but it was still the wide spread of the Jazzmaster pickup.

For those that don't know, Jazzmaster pickups are broad and flat, and that broad nature means that their magnetic field picks up more of the string's vibrating length. The Stratocaster type pickup is much more narrowly focused and picks up a smaller slice of the string's vibration.

But the Japanese Jazzmaster pickups have the same width to them that any other Jazzmaster pickups have that I could see.

Anyway, the Japanese made guitars at least in the era that mine came from are guitars that are fantastic in every way, but the electronics are cheap. There was no shielding whatsoever in my guitar (they have it now), and the components were just a step or so down from what the AVRI specs are (and vintage).

Like I say, they are a lot better now.
 

Johnny Alien

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,863
I never quite understood the whole Japanese Jazzmaster pickups being the same as Strat pickups. Now, bear in mind, I had believed that for a long time also, but one day I took my '93 Japanese Jazzmaster apart and rebuilt the whole thing from top to bottom. They were a little different- this is the Japanese pickup on the left:

The Japanese one was on the left? Maybe different years had some changes? Here is a photo showing a typical MIJ Jazzmaster pickup vs a standard JM. The reissue pickup is japanese made.

creamery_custom_jazzmaster_v_fender_jazzmaster_reissue_pickup_upgrade.jpg


Here's another photo that shows what I have seen:

DSCF5765.JPG


They are definitely built like a strat pickup and I have seen quite a few myself...all like that. But with the MIJ stuff I can totally believe there are differences out there.
 
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Larry Mal

Member
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1,753
Yeah, I actually double checked it, because it's been years since I did the rebuild that I thought maybe I had gotten it wrong. But here's the new pickups in the guitar, and you can tell the difference easily because of the leads and because the pole pieces are staggered:



And your second picture of the pickups was what I expected to see. I was surprised to find that the pickups were actually pretty much like what a Jazzmaster pickup is supposed to be like, although of poor quality, like I say.

I remember being blown away just by how solid and good feeling the new pickups were, how much heavier they were.
 




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