WWYD? (What Would You Do)

Discussion of vintage Jazzmasters, Jaguars, Bass VIs, Electric XIIs and any other offset-waist instruments.
User avatar
jazzbro
PAT PEND
PAT PEND
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Jun 04, 2020 3:03 am

WWYD? (What Would You Do)

Post by jazzbro » Mon Jun 22, 2020 2:14 pm

So I recently got this '59 Jazzmaster with a few issues. I love the fact that it's mostly original and want to keep it that way as much as possible. But I also have some setup and some parts issues with it.

1. The tuners and bridge are not original. I'll replace the tuners cuz these just don't look good. Everything else appears to be original with the probable exception of -
2. The nut which is notched way deep, which MAY be because -
3. The frets are really low. They/re not notched, just really low. I don't know if they came this way (not a JM expert), were notched and leveled once or twice or...? Which brings me to -
4. The bridge. It's likely a Japanese replacement for the original bridge. It's missing some height adjustment screws and if that and some other TLC takes care of the buzzing, proper string placement, etc that's fine. If not, I'll be going with one of the replacement bridges. Would like a StayTrem for the function, look and fingerboard radius but they're very difficult to get here. Complaints about Mustang and string width make me shy away from that. Mastery - maybe some day.

My main decision is which scope do I take on first - (i) do the tuners and nut replacement and live with that for a while, possibly trying out a Mustang bridge at the same time because it's easy, relatively cheap and comes with the right fb radius or - (ii) the whole thing - go for the re-fret right away, cut the nut to match, possibly go for the Mastery even though it's not remotely period or function-correct really if I can't find a StayTrem, and of course the tuners.

I'll do what I'll do, but... what would you do?

User avatar
marqueemoon
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 3772
Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2016 9:37 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: WWYD? (What Would You Do)

Post by marqueemoon » Mon Jun 22, 2020 2:37 pm

Tuners first. A guitar that won’t stay in tune is useless.

Nut with a refret unless it’s unplayable as-is and there’s enough fret life left to push out a refret a few years.

Bridge last. It’s low hanging fruit, but won’t have a profound effect on how the guitar plays.

User avatar
andy_tchp
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 6150
Joined: Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:36 am
Location: Brisbane

Re: WWYD? (What Would You Do)

Post by andy_tchp » Mon Jun 22, 2020 2:43 pm

How does it actually play in its current state?
"I don't know why we asked him to join the band 'cause the rest of us don't like country music all that much; we just like Graham Lee."
David McComb, 1987.

User avatar
marqueemoon
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 3772
Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2016 9:37 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: WWYD? (What Would You Do)

Post by marqueemoon » Mon Jun 22, 2020 3:19 pm

I missed the part about missing height adjustment screws on the bridge.

I’d deal with the bridge first in that case.

A fixed radius bridge on a 7.25” board with old frets may not be a problem solver in itself though.

User avatar
Telliot
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 10229
Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2011 6:38 pm
Location: Orange County, CA

Re: WWYD? (What Would You Do)

Post by Telliot » Mon Jun 22, 2020 3:24 pm

I’d source the bridge and tuners, find a local luthier that knows what the hell they're doing, bite the bullet and do everything at once. Bridge, tuners, refret, nut, setup. Done. Trying to do it piecemeal would drive me absolutely crazy. At least this way it’s done and ready to enjoy. I’d never want to play it, otherwise.
The cool thing about fretless is you can hit a note...and then renegotiate.

User avatar
jazzbro
PAT PEND
PAT PEND
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Jun 04, 2020 3:03 am

Re: WWYD? (What Would You Do)

Post by jazzbro » Mon Jun 22, 2020 4:22 pm

andy_tchp wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 2:43 pm
How does it actually play in its current state?
Action is very very low to sort of match the frets and the nut. It actually plays okay if you like it that low. I don't. Other than that it plays okay.
I like the neck - to me it feels a bit Ibanez-ish and I like their necks - but it's not what you would call thick and between that and the low frets it just feels a bit wimpy.

User avatar
andy_tchp
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 6150
Joined: Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:36 am
Location: Brisbane

Re: WWYD? (What Would You Do)

Post by andy_tchp » Mon Jun 22, 2020 4:32 pm

I'd get everything sorted out at once as Todd suggested, then try and find a vintage bridge or a Staytrem.
"I don't know why we asked him to join the band 'cause the rest of us don't like country music all that much; we just like Graham Lee."
David McComb, 1987.

User avatar
zhivago
Mods
Mods
Posts: 20719
Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2006 6:18 am
Location: London, UK

Re: WWYD? (What Would You Do)

Post by zhivago » Mon Jun 22, 2020 10:59 pm

+1 on getting it all done at once.
Resident Spartan.

User avatar
reserves
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 56
Joined: Wed Jul 24, 2013 9:33 am

Re: WWYD? (What Would You Do)

Post by reserves » Tue Jun 23, 2020 12:39 am

Where’s the pictures ? :)

User avatar
UlricvonCatalyst
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 6265
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 4:05 am
Location: Glasgow, Scotland

Re: WWYD? (What Would You Do)

Post by UlricvonCatalyst » Tue Jun 23, 2020 12:52 am

jazzbro wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 2:14 pm
The bridge. It's likely a Japanese replacement for the original bridge.
If it is from a Japanese JM or Jag it'll have narrower posts (the bits that sit in the thimbles). I'd suggest you look for some comparison pics before you toss it, just in case it's an original.

Also it sounds like a shim under the nut might be all it'll take to raise the action to something you'd be happy with.

User avatar
kracdown
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 661
Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2014 9:40 pm
Location: Los Angeles
Contact:

Re: WWYD? (What Would You Do)

Post by kracdown » Tue Jun 23, 2020 10:01 am

Telliot wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 3:24 pm
I’d source the bridge and tuners, find a local luthier that knows what the hell they're doing, bite the bullet and do everything at once. Bridge, tuners, refret, nut, setup. Done. Trying to do it piecemeal would drive me absolutely crazy. At least this way it’s done and ready to enjoy. I’d never want to play it, otherwise.
Agreed. My gold guard sat for over a year, barely played because the frets were toast. I had it setup with big flat wounds on the original bridge. It just wasn't getting used. Then, I had it refretted / nut shimmed / Staytrem bridge added all at once and play it daily. It's amazing how much a refret can positively change a vintage guitar.
For the gear shots: https://www.instagram.com/elliotsgearsupply/

User avatar
JVG
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 679
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2015 9:54 pm
Location: Sydney, Straya

Re: WWYD? (What Would You Do)

Post by JVG » Tue Jun 23, 2020 1:03 pm

Recommended bridge, if you can’t get a Staytrem, is the Johnny Marr:

https://darrenriley.com/store/fender-j ... 712971000/

User avatar
jazzbro
PAT PEND
PAT PEND
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Jun 04, 2020 3:03 am

Re: WWYD? (What Would You Do)

Post by jazzbro » Tue Jun 23, 2020 2:16 pm

JVG wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 1:03 pm
Recommended bridge, if you can’t get a Staytrem, is the Johnny Marr:

https://darrenriley.com/store/fender-j ... 712971000/
That actually looks like a really good option. :)

User avatar
Telliot
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 10229
Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2011 6:38 pm
Location: Orange County, CA

Re: WWYD? (What Would You Do)

Post by Telliot » Tue Jun 23, 2020 3:36 pm

jazzbro wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 2:16 pm
It is, and very similar in design to the StayTrem bridge.
The cool thing about fretless is you can hit a note...and then renegotiate.

User avatar
Mechanical Birds
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 2287
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2015 1:24 pm

Re: WWYD? (What Would You Do)

Post by Mechanical Birds » Tue Jun 23, 2020 3:45 pm

If you can afford it I’d say refret

If it’s an inevitability and not in the way that yeah, any guitar when played enough will need a refret kind of way, but in the ‘it basically doesn’t have frets’ kind of way

It sounds like it needs all of that stuff done but weighing it as ‘ok replace all the surface parts’ and it still needs a refret, yeah go for broke from the get go

Post Reply