What's The Appeal (or not) of The Jazzmaster?

sillybro

Member
Messages
8
I like a Jazzmaster because they are the opposite of a Les Paul. There's no sustain to speak of.

It's nice to have choices. If you're fortunate enough to have multiple guitars why not have a wide variety?
I've been playing Jmstrs for over 40 years. I currently have two. One strung with .13 flats and another w roundwound .11s and Staytrem bridge. I also have strats, teles and P90 Gibsons.
 

Tritone

Member
Messages
1,099
My 2008 ThinSkin Jazzmaster is probably my most played guitar. It is also very heavily upgraded and modded, including some mods of which many Jazzmaster purists would disapprove. Of the inherent Jazzmaster features, I love the neck pickup, the body shape, and the vibrato system.

List of my mods:
replaced the nut and had it cut for 11s
replaced both pickups with "Pickup Wizard" Jazzmaster repros
replaced the bridge with a Mastery
replaced the vibrato bushing with one that grips the vibrato arm in place (I think it was a Staytrem)
added a Buzzstop (come at me bro)
replaced the bridge pickup with a humbucker
disconnected the rhythm circuit
replaced the pots with 500k values
 
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jvin248

Member
Messages
4,715
.

The Jazzmaster is not your father's Strat. The last seven or eight years in the indie bubble-up stage the Tele was not your father's Strat and could be often seen but the Jazzmaster has been replacing the Tele lately. At least one popular Country player uses a JM.

Neck feels just like a Strat for most of them, first time I picked a Fender up. Bridge position relative to the strap pins and the thigh cut put the JM picking hand and frets to the left of the Strat, about midway between a Strat to the right and an SG to the far left. Because of the body board shape, sitting down you don't need the arm relief of a Strat, because your whole arm lays across the top of the guitar not really hitting the edge.

Body is thinner, even though it is larger in area, so the weight is about the same as a Tele/Strat. Finding a case or gig bag is more problematic.

There are two main types of pickups, the classic JM bobbin with alnico poles but there is also the more P90 style with JM bobbin and steel slugs backed with alnico or ceramic magnet blocks just like a P90.

If you price out buying new, used, or try to locate parts to build a partscaster the JM is significantly more expensive than a Strat or a Tele. It's not generally a cheap play, especially lately with the rising popularity.

I built a traditionally appointed Jazzmaster style and a Jazzmaster crossed with a Junior, both to experiment with the platform. So far they are a great fit.



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hogy

Supporting Member
Messages
12,847
Seems every kexp or audiotree I watch, every local gig and every band I really like is using a jazzmaster.
What's the deal? What is it about the jazzmaster that draws people to it? And for those of you that dont get the appeal... what puts you off?
For the life of me, I have no idea.

I put a fixed bridge on my '63, ditched the trem, got rid of the awful 1meg pots, disconnected the rhythm circuit, threw away that rattling sheet metal cavity trough that kills harmonics, and it turned into a decent guitar. About half as good as a Strat, or twice as good as stock.

Every time I see a vintage Jazzmaster, I think "what a shame, that piece of wood could have made a Strat body".

I'm barely kidding, by the way.
 

Mike Grafft

Member
Messages
23
Hello. I started play guitar when my dad's 65 jazzmaster was 3 years old. I still have that guitar, and it brings back many fond memories of playing ventures tunes and other surf sounds. I'm older now, but that jazzmaster,when plugged in to my bandmaster reverb amp, well it doesn't sound like the 60s it IS the 60s..and an aside..the reverse body feels great when seated...The Jazzmaster was top of the line in those days.. and mine still sounds and plays great. What more can you ask for?
 
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PixMix

Member
Messages
2,293
Hello. I started play guitar when my dad's 65 jazzmaster was 3 years old. I still have that guitar, and it brings back many fond memories of playing ventures tunes and other surf sounds. I'm older now, but that jazzmaster,when plugged in to my bandmaster reverb amp, well it doesn't sound like the 60s it IS the 60s..and an aside..the reverse body feels great when seated...The Jazzmaster was top of the line in those days.. and mine still sounds and plays great. What more can you ask for?
That's great! What happened to the original, I'm assuming tort pickguard?
 

KGWagner

Member
Messages
3,243
I have 2, going on 3 Jazzmasters, but only because I like the appearance/comfort of the things. If given an original or one built to those specs, I wouldn't want it. Just about everything else about them rubs me the wrong way. But, basically, get rid of the tuners, pickups, controls and bridge, replace them with something you like better, and they're wonderful instruments that you don't see very often. Everybody and their brother as a Strat or Tele, but Jazzmasters/Jaguars? Not so much.
 

vortexxxx

Supporting Member
Messages
10,027
They’re like a strat neck on a guitar with a cool shape and thicker single coils.

They’re super clean - like a Gretsch, which makes them popular with the sonic architects that like to shape their sound with pedals.

Very popular in the genre I play - Christian Rock. My JM is an American limited edition with a Bigsby and plays killer. When I bought mine Fender was selling mostly Squier JMs, so that was a welcome change.

I’m getting ready to swap the JM pickups for a set of P90s. Mine’s the blue one.

Jazzmaster pickups sounded different over the years. I currently use a Quarter Pounder JM set by Seymour Duncan which has more low end and can drive an amp harder but still sounds like a Jazzmaster.
 

vortexxxx

Supporting Member
Messages
10,027
If you find the Jazzmaster too shrill on the treble best stay away from the Jaguar! Although the look very similar i was surprised how completely different they are both in terms if tone and olayability. I sold my Jag for a Jazzmaster and dont regret the change. But I appreciate there are many who have moved in the other direction. Both are very flexible instruments.
Early Jaguar pickups sounded different from what they do now. I had a set and can tell you they are not shrill at all. I can easily play Black Sabbath with those. The Japanese Jaguar pickups sound even thinner than the current ones.
 

Overdriver18

Member
Messages
965
I've always liked the offset shape, so had one custom built with my own specs. Lollar P90s, neck spec'd to a Strat Ultra, Strat controls w/4-way switch, and Mastery bridge. The best of all worlds as far as I'm concerned. The JM body is super comfortable to me. However, it is still pretty noisy.

That's sharp right there. I personally am a huge fan of the strat control setup, I like having multiple tone controls and I wish more Fenders had stuck with that.
 

kracdown

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Gold Supporting Member
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5,983
For the life of me, I have no idea.

I put a fixed bridge on my '63, ditched the trem, got rid of the awful 1meg pots, disconnected the rhythm circuit, threw away that rattling sheet metal cavity trough that kills harmonics, and it turned into a decent guitar. About half as good as a Strat, or twice as good as stock.

Every time I see a vintage Jazzmaster, I think "what a shame, that piece of wood could have made a Strat body".

I'm barely kidding, by the way.
This is wild, but to each his own.

I’ve owned several Jazzmasters and currently have a ‘59 Gold Guard (dead stock with flat wounds), ‘66 Blocks and Binding (completely stock, I added a Staytrem), Squier J Mascis Jazzmaster (with 3 Mojotone Sharkfin pickups, mastery bridge, USA trem), and just bought a blond MIJ Jazzmaster with gold hardware. next purchase will likely be a late 70’s Jazzmaster with a black guard. I have also owned a ‘62, ‘65, and ‘59 body & electronics / ‘66 neck Jazzmaster, another Squier JMJM, and a ‘65 reissue.

They are my absolute favorite guitars of all time. In the neck position, I think they sound like a more full Stratocaster. Bridge position gets you to a thinner telecaster. Body shape is extremely comfortable (I switch off between my ‘69 Strat and Jazzmasters for studio use). Beyond the fact that they’re the best looking guitars Fender has ever made (IMO, of course), they play extremely well and have the best trem design of all time (also IMO). A lot of people complain that they lack sustain and playability. I implore those people to find a tech who knows how to work on these guitars. They Staytrem adds sustain while retaining the percussiveness. Mastery sounds different but adds even more sustain. Original bridges are just fine, as long as they are set up correctly. The rhythm circuit is a great tool, especially for quickly switching tones live.

Of course, the Jazzmaster is not for everyone, but they are wonderful guitars.
 
Messages
659
Seems every kexp or audiotree I watch, every local gig and every band I really like is using a jazzmaster.
What's the deal? What is it about the jazzmaster that draws people to it? And for those of you that dont get the appeal... what puts you off?
Like many, for a long time, I thought the Jazzmaster as an odd duck, due mainly to the extra switch and roller knobs. I didn't even realize Jazzmasters had their own style of pickup. However, just for fun, and because I'd never done so before, I tried one at a local shop and could not believe my ears. It was one of the Magnificent 7 special editions with PV65s, and it had the most beautiful clean tone I had ever heard. I was converted right then and there. Not much later, I found a guy who was willing to trade his Classic Player JM for an amp I was selling and I took it in a heartbeat. While the p90 style pickups could get in the JM ballpark, I planned to eventually get vintage style JM pickups.

Along the way, I rewired the guitar to eliminate the rhythm circuit, which I had no use for, and install the Rothstein PTB mod, which replaces the lower tone knob with a volume pot, and replaces the upper roller volume pot with a reverse taper bass pot. This made the guitar far more versatile, though I've come to realize that two volume pots on a single coil guitar isn't as useful as they are with dual humbuckers. I also ditched the 1M for 500k volume pots, which eased off the ice pick highs.

I also found a guy willing to trade his Roadhouse Strat neck for my CPJM neck. This is especially useful for a CPJM since Fender found it fit to give this guitar a 9.5" radius neck and 12" radius AOM bridge. It baffles me that Fender ships them out like this. In any case, now my neck has a 12" radius, 22 tall/narrow frets, and the truss rod adjuster at the TOP of the neck, not the bottom. Another stupid "vintage" thing Fender continues to include in their guitars. I highly recommend this swap to any CPJM owners.

I ended up with a Revel Custom Jazzmaster neck pickup (www.revelcustompickups.com, highly recommend, Jesse is great to work with), and an SD Antiquity II bridge. Whoever says these pickups don't twang is wrong, dead wrong. Here's a phone recording of my JM through a dimed Supro Saturn MKII. Enjoy my sloppy countryish riffs.

 

flume

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,303
Not much info around on the Performer series with the Strat style bridge or the Ultra with the noiseless pickups and carved neck heel. Different combinations of virtues in both. The Performer bridge caught my eye because I’ve always avoided JMs because the few I’ve tried seemed such a shallow break angle and sad 7.25 radius, I couldn’t deal. Of course this was trying out ones from an brain dead idiot who had trashed them so I’ll try new ones in a store.
 

scott757

Member
Messages
2,344
Seems every kexp or audiotree I watch, every local gig and every band I really like is using a jazzmaster.
What's the deal? What is it about the jazzmaster that draws people to it? And for those of you that dont get the appeal... what puts you off?
I’m on JM #3. I’ve had a Thurston Moore signature (came with SD antiquity IIs), a Road Worn Jazzmaster (I installed a SD antiquity I), and i currently have a Troy Van Leeuwen signature that I installed the Lollar P90s in that fit in a JM without any mods. I sold off the first two after realizing I didn’t love the JM tone. But after going through multiple other guitars I found I loved the feel and size of a JM. I’m a bigger guy and they feel like they fit. And with my current TVL model I love the tone of the P90s. I play in a Stoner space rock band. So the P90s give me a much fuller sound. I intend on hanging on to this one and just modifying anything else I start to want to change.
 

moosie

Member
Messages
158
Oh jeez, that thing looks amazing... I have the '65... is it the reason I don't need the '62? Or the reason I do?
 




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