Question for Jazzmaster Experts

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by thejbs, Feb 13, 2015.

  1. thejbs

    thejbs Member

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    I'm considering purchasing a Jazzmaster. From what I've read, there's quite a bit of difference between models. I'm looking for a Jazzmaster that sounds and feels like the real deal. I'd like to keep this purchase under $1,000. Is that possible, or should I save my pennies and buy an American Vintage Reissue?
     
  2. zastruga

    zastruga Member

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    Sadly, the days of <$1,000 American Reissues are a thing of the past, but I'd say they're still worth the money on the used market if you can swing it. If you have the patience and willingness to up that budget a little bit, a used AVRI '62 is absolutely the way to go. $1100-1300 isn't uncommon for a sunburst/black/white model. Swap the bridge for a Mustang/StayTrem/Mastery and you're set.

    Fortunately, the days of MIM being synonymous with poorly made are also a thing of the past. MIM quality has astounded me as of late, especially in the offset realm. I've run the gamut on Jazzmasters, CIJ / MIM / Squire / AVRI / you name it, and I have to say that the MIM's hold their own, especially up against older CIJ stuff.

    If it were me with a hard limit $1000 budget and no patience , I'd shoot for the new Classic series:

    http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/fender-classic-60s-jazzmaster-lacquer-rosewood-fingerboard-electric-guitar?rNtt=fender%20classic%20jazzmaster&index=2

    Nitro, AV65 pickups, accurate '60s specs. Basically a Mexican Reissue.

    Or if surf ain't your thing, the Road Worns are supposed to be nice too and basically spec'ed the same:

    http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/fender-road-worn-60s-jazzmaster-electric-guitar

    The Classic Players are also nice guitars, but they drift pretty far from proper '60s spec if that's what you're after. Incorrect trem placement, weak pickups, modern frets/neck, etc. But a steal on the used market, one at $500 - $600 shouldn't be too hard to find.

    http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/fender-classic-player-jazzmaster-special-electric-guitar


    I'd take all three of those over a used CIJ any day. I've played more "meh" Japanese Jazzmasters than good ones. It's just a bigger risk in my mind, given how great MIM stuff has been in the last few years.

    Hope that helps!
     
  3. sleepingtiger

    sleepingtiger Supporting Member

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    Sorry, but I disagree with the above. I think a CIJ with a set of used AVRI pickups would fit the bill perfectly. After some experimentation, that's what I ended up with & am delighted. I think the Japanese Fenders are MUCH more consistent than the MIMs.

    Tony
     
  4. Johnny Alien

    Johnny Alien Supporting Member

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    A year back I might agree but the MIM Classic Lacquer and Road Worn JM's, IMO, match or beat most any MIJ JM that I have played. And the bonus is that they come with great pickups stock. With a good 15-20% off coupon you can get a Classic Lacquer or Road Worn for the same price as a MIJ except you won't have to pay an extra $100 for pickups. But the MIJ guitars are nice too if you can find one for a deal. Any of those options will get you a great JM under $1000. Sadly the days of $1100 and 1200 AVRI JM's seem to be gone. The sunburst ones seem to sell more reasonable but anything else seems to be heading up and an odd color one is north of $1500 easy these days.
     
  5. m.e.

    m.e. Freelance Bio-exorcist Silver Supporting Member

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    If I had a price ceiling of $1k for a Jazzmaster, I'd go with a new Classic Lacquer JM. I'd most likely call GC/Musician's Friend/Sweetwater and try to haggle the price down, and take the savings to put into a bridge upgrade (Mustang, Staytrem, or maybe a Mastery if I had enough money left over).

    The big caveat here, is I haven't played the Classic Lacquer JM. I've been very consistently impressed with the recent MIM offerings (Classic Series, Classic Player) though, and I think that rolling the dice with buying one from a larger retailer could get you a great guitar. Plus, there would be the option to return it misses the mark.

    I do own an AVRI '62 and an MIJ '66 RI and love them both, but I also bought them when they were each much cheaper (I think I paid like $1300 for the AVRI and $600 for the MIJ) than they would be today.

    I might be wrong, but I feel like MIJ/CIJ guitars have gone up a lot in price over the past 5 years (new and used). When I look at the prices on eBay/Cragslist/Reverb, then factor in the upgrades I'd want to make (pickups, electronics, bridge), they just don't seem like as much of a deal as they used to be.
     
  6. GreenKnight18

    GreenKnight18 Member

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    I'd save up a few hundred more and get a used AVRI.
     
  7. SciFlyer

    SciFlyer Supporting Member

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    I love my '94 MIJ Jazzmaster. Best JM I've ever played. I think you should be able to find a used one for well under a grand.
     
  8. zacmac

    zacmac Supporting Member

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    I have a 1965 jazzmaster and the roadworn would be my 2nd choice. Get a spitfire tortoise pickguard and set it up with 10s or 11s and a mustang bridge. I don't get the mastery bridge or buzz stop deal. They alter the classic middle position surfey spank tone too much.
     
  9. 73Fender

    73Fender Member

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    I would also say to give the stock bridge a chance, I've only played one Jazzmaster which is the CS 62 I traded for. The original owner had installed a Buzzkill as soon as he bought it which I removed immediately and it has the stock bridge. Maybe I'm missing something but I have no issues..you do have to line up the strings when changing them though, no biggie. Have heard good things about the Roadworns and in general I'm a fan of Fender AVRIs.
     
  10. redchapterjubilee

    redchapterjubilee Supporting Member

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    I've owned a whole mess of Jazzmasters and still have four of them. If I had a $1000 budget to buy another one I'd go straight to the MIM Classic 60s or Road Worn Jazzmaster without pause. I've owned three MIJ/CIJ Jazzmasters and two MIJ Jaguars. Only one of those was exceptional (an '05) and I still have it. The others were stiff or overlacquered and just felt plastic'y.
     
  11. scotticus

    scotticus Member

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    I had the original bridge on my JM (perfect action that matched the neck) but the high strings kept popping out of place. Tried a mustang bridge which kept the strings in place, but had too high of an action for the neck (couldn't adjust it low enough for the middle strings while simultaneously keeping the outer strings high enough). Ended up settling on the mastery which solved both issues, though I would have rather kept the original if possible. Just my small insight into the JM bridge woes.
     
  12. porcytree

    porcytree Member

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    Well I can only speak about the CP Jazzmasters as I have recently bought one.

    They're about £750.00 (ish) new over here in the UK (not sure what that is in $US/Can).

    They look, feel and play great.
    I don't find the pick ups weak (or overly "hot" - which the online reviews seem to suggest).
    The pups on mine are nicely balanced and well voiced. The tone/vol pots have a nice effective impact on the tone of the guitar.

    The neck is a nice comfortable size/profile and feels great to play. Frets are well fitted/finished. Hardware etc seems to be good quality (no buzzes,rattles or loose nuts etc)

    Tremelo works well and guitar stays in tune.

    Finish on the guitar is excellent.

    All-in-all, a great "mid priced" guitar - if you aren't hung up on the faithful 60s vibe.
     
  13. Mike9

    Mike9 Supporting Member

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    This - and would you really want a guitar shipped to you this time of year?
     
  14. paulitk

    paulitk Member

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    Those new Classic Lacquer JMs are sweet.

    I built a Warmoth one for about a grand with Antiquity Is and a Mastery Bridge, and I'd put it up against any AVRI. That said, if they had the Lacquer one availabke when I built mine, I'd probably have gone with it, and just swapped out the bridge for a Mastery.
     
  15. Johnny Alien

    Johnny Alien Supporting Member

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    I own an AVRI and had and played a Road Worn for awhile. I can say that the Road Worn was very very close to the AVRI. If you have the money then going for the AVRI is not a bad decision but you are not giving up much at all when going with a Classic Lacquer or Road Worn. The AVRI is nicer but when you take into account discounts you can get the MIM version for $400 cheaper easily. And 1. you might want to upgrade the bridge on the AVRI too and 2. the 65 Pickups are nicer than the stock 62 AVRI pickups IMO.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2015
  16. E Baxter Put

    E Baxter Put Member

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    I have owned a CIJ, 2 american vintage reissues, an original 1961, and currently own an original 1965.

    The CIJ was a great guitar! I replaced the bridge with a staytrem bridge, and the pickups with antiquity II, and it was one of the best sounding and playing. I liked the neck a bit better than the AVRI.

    I always replace the bridges on jazzmasters, and antiquity II really sound a lot like original mid-60s pickups. You can get a CIJ and do these changes for under $1k.
     
  17. zacmac

    zacmac Supporting Member

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    Do you have a 7.25 radius? If so a mustang bridge would be just right but I see what you are saying. I feel like the mastery adds a lot of unwanted (to me) brightness and the buzz stop killed the spanky tone. I'm weird though because I love the tone of a floating trem on a strat vs docked.
     
  18. zacmac

    zacmac Supporting Member

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    I hear more people talk about 1965 jazzmasters being their favorite
     
  19. scotticus

    scotticus Member

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    I'd assume so, but looking at the original bridge vs the mustang, the original seems to have a flatter radius to it. Of course that doesn't say much about the neck but I suppose the frets could have flattened out over the years? Anyways, like I said, I would have much rather kept the original on if the strings didn't pop out of place. I don't know that I noticed a huge difference in the tone after the mastery, but there's definitely less of that jangly behind-the-strings sound which I do enjoy.
     
  20. E Baxter Put

    E Baxter Put Member

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    Yes... I never bonded with the 61. I like the mid 60s pickups the best. The 65 plays and sounds amazing. Neck is a bit skinny for me, but I just deal with it.
     

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