Making a CIJ Jazzmaster neck more playable?


BACKSTORY: I'm a lefty who's acquired his second CIJ Jazzmaster. I sold my first reluctantly due to some financial issues a few years back and told myself at the time I'd buy a new one as soon as I got my bills paid off. By the time I was ready to do so the Fujigen plant had stopped producing them and the market had completely dried up. A few months ago I finally found one on eBay and jumped at my chance to own the only left-handed JM you can buy outside of the custom shop!

So now I'm working on making it more playable and fuller sounding. The plan is to upgrade the bridge first (my Mastery should arrive today), pickups second and if necessary the wiring and tremolo. What's given me pause is the neck. It's really stiff and slow compared to my first JM (and not even on the same planet with my current #1 which is a Duo Jet) and I don't know what to do about that. The problem seems more like the fingerboard than the gloss (although I'm not a big fan of gloss either). I keep comparing it to my first JM, which I remember being a whole lot easier to get around on.

What are my options to make a neck quicker and more playable? I'm not a do-it-yourselfer but I do have a good luthier who takes direction well. Bottom line though: I don't want to sink a bunch of money into upgrading something that I have to fight to enjoy.

Any help would really be appreciated!


Silver Supporting Member
Vintage radius and worn, vintage style frets can make for a stiff feel, depending on the setup and what you're used to.

A dirty neck is often a sticky neck. Try cleaning the back. If that doesn't help, you can try the Scotchpad option. After that, you're probably looking at removing finish.

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