NGD: Fender Vintera Jazzmaster - IBM

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IceBlueBoogaloo
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NGD: Fender Vintera Jazzmaster - IBM

Post by IceBlueBoogaloo » Fri Jan 31, 2020 12:21 pm

Not quite satisfied with my Michael Kelly CC60 (quality instrument, just not inspiring me to play), I went ahead on jumped on one of these after falling in love with the looks of my friend's Vintera Jaguar (OT with matching headstock). It was a video of Tomo playing jazz on a Jazzmaster that got me into their sound after the running joke of "no one plays jazz on a JM" made me curious. I'm no jazz player myself (hardly a guitar player for that matter, as a bassist of 4.5 years), but I relish in the sounds of jazz progressions. I picked this one up brand new and discounted on Reverb with the plans of selling my MK once I'm done using it as a reference point (it has a thinner neck with 10-14" compound radius and medium jumbo frets). It's been a heck of a journey that's taught me so much about guitar setup, but I don't have it where I want it just yet. Before I get there, let's check this baby out.

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(this was taken after a saddle swap and trem arm change)

The overall construction is exceptional. Taking it apart (prior to this, I've never done so much as remove the bridge on my Squier Jazz Bass), the drilling was very cleanly done and easy to remove screws from. Finish is top notch without a flaw to find. The only tiny issue and point of confusion I ran into was the fretboard: the first fret feels like it was coated in a very light satin finish while the rest are bare. Two applications of oil later and they still don't even compare. This seems like a strange slip up of some kind but nothing that gets in the way of playing or affects my opinion of the overall build quality. Say what you will about Pau Ferro itself, but it's an excellent wood barring that it doesn't completely fit some of the vintage finishes. I'm more miffed that the necks aren't bound but I digress.

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(break angle after shim and before bridge and pickup height adjustments)

As per playability from bone stock, the setup was excellent but the factory 9's running over the bridge with no neck angle meant plenty of rattle even with light playing. I took it in to my tech for a setup who erred on the conservative side and refrained from shimming the neck after swapping up to 10's. I appreciated the consideration, though the rattling issue only marginally improved. I went ahead a started with a 1 degree shim. Paired with StringJoy PN 11's, this resulted in a significantly more solid feeling instrument with no rattles even with heavy strumming. I adjusted the bridge and pickup heights accordingly and landed myself at 4/64's both treble and bass side. There's a little bit of fret buzz I need to make adjustments for but playability up to this point was very good. More on that in a bit...

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I did a great amount of research on offset Fenders before launching into a couple of mods, some of which are arguably unnecessary but overall nice, small changes that helped the instrument feel more "complete" to me:

-Gotoh SD91 Vintage Locking Tuners; these maintain the classic Kluson look without a thumb screw though the way it operates could be considered a compromise. Unfortunately, I ended up breaking the high E and B on my 11's as I wasn't taking proper enough care when removing them from the locking mechanism. They're a weird bunch of tuners to work with as they lock down first as you're turning the gear and then start to tune. No regrets on these, they just take time to get used. I love that I was able to retain the vintage tuner look and also make the headstock look a bit cleaner overall.

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-Johnny Marr Jaguar Bridge (kind of); as a Yankee, I sadly have no reasonable access to Staytrem products which stings pretty badly. These are close to the next best thing but I found out that the bridge posts on the Marr Bridge are too large for the Vintera JM thimbles. I ended up swapping the saddles over to the stock bridge, which feels like a waste. If I were to redo this, I'd simply buy Mustang saddles or stick with a stock bridge and file the saddles as seen fit. On the plus side, the amount of play in these smaller stock thimbles allows for bridge rocking while reducing the possibilities of it leaning at a poor angle. I have another issue to fix with the bridge that I'll get to at the end.

-AVRI JM/Jag Pop-In Tremolo Arm; the stock screw-in arm isn't the worst thing. I found I could rotate the sleeve to a position where the threads would tighten at a desirable location. But I enjoyed both the low profile and feel on my friend's Jag more after he swapped his arm out for an AVRI. I made the mistake of not tightening the sleeve nut enough so the arm eventually loosened and removed the sleeve from the plate threads. Whoops!

Beyond that, I didn't touch the electronics nor the pickups. Stock operation is smooth and tapers correctly (and the tip that Lollar points out about rolling Volume to 8 works great here). I was back and forth on the bridge pickup initially but I find its sound to be much more appealing midway up the neck where the lack of bass/mids is less noticeable; my friend playing finger-style with the tone rolled off to <5 was surprisingly great! Neck and middle are wonderful and I'm continuing to find uses out of the rhythm circuit even though I'm a bit too green to really make it shine.

Okay, so what's the problem?

-I replaced my broken 11's with 9's and the rattle issue is back specifically just on the G. EDIT: After giving the 9's time to break in, this issue has dropped off a good deal. Plugged in, it's nearly imperceptible.
-The high E string is riding the intonation screw. I tried shimming with three thin slips of paper, but I also had to move the saddle forward for intonation so the string is still resting on it. Do I just keep shimming the saddle or would reversing the bridge be better at this point?
-Playing with the vibrato unlocked is borderline unusable. I'll get some more specifics on what is detuning the most when I get home, but advice around here points to the nut. This is one of the last pieces on the instrument that I've not touched yet and am concerned about making mistakes. I don't have any files either. What should I be investigating?

When it comes to sound, neck feel, and looks, I'm sold. I continue to look at this beaut and remind myself to jump on it for some practice almost every night. And that's a success in my book. If I can work out the last of these kinks, I'm hoping to hang onto this one for a long, long time. It was surprising to see how much trial is involved in this (are all guitars this temperamental or is the unyielding stability of my Dingwall bass just an unfair comparison?) and I want to stop tinkering and start playing more, but it's been a great learning experience overall. Thanks for taking the time to read this!
Last edited by IceBlueBoogaloo on Sat Feb 01, 2020 7:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: NGD: Fender Vintera Jazzmaster - IBM

Post by MayTheFuzzBeWithYou » Fri Jan 31, 2020 2:13 pm

Man, this is a really beautiful instrument! :-*
If I hadn‘t already ordered a custom Jazzmaster Body in a quite similar colour (Firemist silver) I’d be totally getting one!
Or if the Vintera Jaguar came in IBM, I’d be sold too...

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Re: NGD: Fender Vintera Jazzmaster - IBM

Post by Beltone » Fri Jan 31, 2020 3:37 pm

Congrats on the acquisition. I notice you don't have a lot of winds on your tuning pegs. Is that personal preference or is it characteristic of locking tuners that you don't need the extra winds for tuning stability?

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Re: NGD: Fender Vintera Jazzmaster - IBM

Post by IceBlueBoogaloo » Fri Jan 31, 2020 6:06 pm

Beltone wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 3:37 pm
Congrats on the acquisition. I notice you don't have a lot of winds on your tuning pegs. Is that personal preference or is it characteristic of locking tuners that you don't need the extra winds for tuning stability?
It's what locking tuners circumvent to achieve the same stability. Most of them have a thumb screw on the back that you "lock" the string in at tension. Then you're free to start tuning up without having to build up and manage the winds like on a normal tuner. It's more of a convenience thing than a direct improvement to tuning stability, but I felt like modding my JM for the cleanest possible vibrato setup.

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Re: NGD: Fender Vintera Jazzmaster - IBM

Post by Larry Mal » Fri Jan 31, 2020 7:33 pm

Beltone wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 3:37 pm
Congrats on the acquisition. I notice you don't have a lot of winds on your tuning pegs. Is that personal preference or is it characteristic of locking tuners that you don't need the extra winds for tuning stability?
Actually, it's a strong point with locking tuners that they don't need any wraps around the post. That's why they have such high ratios on them, to accomplish getting your string to pitch without any winds on the post.

The concept is that the winds contribute to tuning instability, because as the strings stretch (especially with a tremolo unit) the winds around the post won't ever return to where they had been, and the less winds the better.

And of course, no winds is the least you can have.
Back in those days, everyone knew that if you were talking about Destiny's Child, you were talking about Beyonce, LaTavia, LeToya, and Larry.

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Re: NGD: Fender Vintera Jazzmaster - IBM

Post by Beltone » Sat Feb 01, 2020 7:05 am

Thanks for the info. Learning on a lot on this forum beyond what I read in guitar magazines etc. Glad I asked.

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Re: NGD: Fender Vintera Jazzmaster - IBM

Post by N0_Camping4U » Sat Feb 01, 2020 7:17 pm

Beltone wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 7:05 am
Thanks for the info. Learning on a lot on this forum beyond what I read in guitar magazines etc. Glad I asked.
Hey Beltone, (sorry to derail the topic) what is that in your profile pic? Is there a topic on that? color looks so nice!
Eric Harris: I’m sorry I have so much rage, but you put it on me.

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Re: NGD: Fender Vintera Jazzmaster - IBM

Post by Beltone » Mon Feb 03, 2020 12:59 pm

N0_Camping4U wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 7:17 pm
Beltone wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 7:05 am
Thanks for the info. Learning on a lot on this forum beyond what I read in guitar magazines etc. Glad I asked.
Hey Beltone, (sorry to derail the topic) what is that in your profile pic? Is there a topic on that? color looks so nice!
That's my Player Jag in Tidepool. Fairly long NGD thread. Some of the original pictures disappeared due to server issues.

http://www.offsetguitars.com/forums/vie ... t=tidepool

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Re: NGD: Fender Vintera Jazzmaster - IBM

Post by Maggieo » Mon Feb 03, 2020 5:27 pm

That's nice!

Not a fan of Pao Ferro, but maybe some tinted oil could darken it?
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Re: NGD: Fender Vintera Jazzmaster - IBM

Post by JVG » Tue Feb 04, 2020 3:18 pm

Great Jazzmaster!

I notice your bridge is really high, which is great for increasing break angle but may also be the reason your E string is hitting the intonation screw. You could try experimenting with a slightly smaller shim and lowering the bridge a touch.

Regarding the buzzing strings, have you also checked the nut? That can be a cause of buzzing if not cut properly, or cut too deep.

Cheers
J.

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Re: NGD: Fender Vintera Jazzmaster - IBM

Post by guitarsammy » Wed Feb 05, 2020 12:33 am

Obviously this is a preference thing, and not all that important in the grand scheme of things, but IMHO that guitar would look so much nicer with a mint green, parchment or even white pick guard.

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Re: NGD: Fender Vintera Jazzmaster - IBM

Post by MayTheFuzzBeWithYou » Thu Feb 06, 2020 1:53 am

guitarsammy wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 12:33 am
Obviously this is a preference thing, and not all that important in the grand scheme of things, but IMHO that guitar would look so much nicer with a mint green, parchment or even white pick guard.
I‘m so with you! Gladly this is about the easiest mod there is! :)

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Re: NGD: Fender Vintera Jazzmaster - IBM

Post by IceBlueBoogaloo » Sun Feb 09, 2020 4:00 pm

Maggieo wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 5:27 pm
That's nice!

Not a fan of Pao Ferro, but maybe some tinted oil could darken it?
To my understanding, even tinted oil will eventually come off as PF isn't porous like Rosewood is. I've only put some regular fretboard oil on mainly to wet it (the color didn't change at all). There's probably some options out there but I'll probably leave it as is for now.
JVG wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 3:18 pm
Great Jazzmaster!

I notice your bridge is really high, which is great for increasing break angle but may also be the reason your E string is hitting the intonation screw. You could try experimenting with a slightly smaller shim and lowering the bridge a touch.

Regarding the buzzing strings, have you also checked the nut? That can be a cause of buzzing if not cut properly, or cut too deep.

Cheers
J.
Thank you! I have wondered if I should maybe dial back to a .5 degree shim. I still get some amount of minor buzzing with 9's on it set to 1 degree and I'd like to resolve the high E height in the process.

From what I can tell, the nut seems to be good as far as buzz goes. I may have to touch it to resolve vibrato tuning issues. It works great locked at least.
MayTheFuzzBeWithYou wrote:
Thu Feb 06, 2020 1:53 am
guitarsammy wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 12:33 am
Obviously this is a preference thing, and not all that important in the grand scheme of things, but IMHO that guitar would look so much nicer with a mint green, parchment or even white pick guard.
I‘m so with you! Gladly this is about the easiest mod there is! :)
Honestly, after seeing an AVRI JM with the same finish and white pickguard...

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Yeah, that's pretty slick!

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Re: NGD: Fender Vintera Jazzmaster - IBM

Post by Maggieo » Sun Feb 09, 2020 4:35 pm

I've got the JM on my watch list. :? :? :? :?
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Re: NGD: Fender Vintera Jazzmaster - IBM

Post by marqueemoon » Sun Feb 09, 2020 5:19 pm

Maggieo wrote:
Sun Feb 09, 2020 4:35 pm
I've got the JM on my watch list. :? :? :? :?
I’ve played this one myself at the shop. It’s pretty great.

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