Since I happened to have three un-installed at one time (and a couple others installed but documented previously,) I decided to make a little post. Caveat - I'm sure there are great and terrible examples of each bridge type, but from my experience beyond the specific/picture examples the AVRI/Vintage units tend to be excellent to perfect, Squier more middling/random, down to MIJ/CIJ which can be anywhere from useable to a nightmare. That said, they all can be made to work- but the work involved goes from 'none/trouble free' to 'messing with required.'
Reviews for all the bridges (not named 'Beau' - sorry Beau) :
AVRI/unknown year: A+
Great bridge; clearances between the saddles and baseplate are *tight
* as hell, but the springs are just a bit flimsier than the vintage unit. Intonation screws are cut short so you can freely raise the saddles. Saddles seem to be steel/nickel or some quite magnetic material. No thread pitch change between the saddles, and height adjustment screws are recessed - all the screws are also firm and not rattly or with too great tolerances (note - 17mm legs, this is important later on.)
Vintage/unknown year: A++
I totally disassembled this bridge and massaged all the threads with white grease before re-assembly and use; this is by far the most stable bridge of the group, VERY tight tolerances so no rattles, you can't move any of the saddles with your finger (same applies to the AVRI.) Also, very stiff, thick springs to the point where some people may require them to be cut short in order for the bridge to intonate on your particular guitar.
This is good, as it pretty much kills the ability for the saddles to lose energy or rattle. I forgot to measure the legs, but believe they were long/same as AVRI. Apparently steel/nickel magnetic saddles too.
'96 MIJ: B-
Here's where it gets interesting - the MIJ bridge isn't great. For the biggest plus: The legs are actually shorter by 2mm than any other bridge, and this works better with the shorter modern bridge thimbles in particular. Reason: use any other bridge with the 'short' depth thimbles and your action may not be able to go low enough. No other bridge has this spec. legs. Also - the saddles themselves are a different pitch for the low and high strings, so the grooves are wider at the bass end.
Now for the bad: The clearances are just meh - it's possible to induce rattle if your saddles are not totally level (ex. one is 'hanging' and not touching the base.) The intonation screws may freely wander about their holes in the plate, so you can move say the high-E with your finger if you want to; not good. You can compenesate by stretching the (flimsy) spring. Also - these saddles are apparently zinc, and a lot less zingy than the vintage or AV saddles (you may actually like this; zinc isn't terrible.) Height adjustment hex sizes are all larger from here on out, and the intonation screws can actually interfere with the string if you adjust the saddle high enough (again - not necessary on the AVRI or vintage because they're shorter.)
Last bad thing - this bridge's grandpa out-lived it. The vintage bridge above lasted several decades with no ill effect, but the MIJ's intonation screws and saddles fused together in a giant cloud of corrosion in less than half the time; screw heads twisted off. Replacement are Allparts, which seem to be the exact same spec (despite allegedly being 'nickel.') The plate overall looks pretty terrible for being a lot younger, the chrome is cheap.
'05 CIJ: C-
Pretty terrible bridge. This easily has the worst clearances between the baseplate/intonation screws (wiggle like hell,) flimsiest/short springs, rattliest grub screws; it's bridges like this that make people think Jaguar/Jazzmaster bridges have an inherent bad design. There are bad TOMs, bad Strat vibratos etc. - and this is the Jaguar/Jazzmaster equivalent. It also retains the longer legs of the US and Squier bridges - same in all other aspects as the MIJ, just worse (I fixed mine by stretching the intonation springs an extraordinary amount.)
'12 Squier: B
Actually a damn decent bridge - pretty solid, though not as good as the AVRI or vintage. No rattles whatsoever -but this is the only
one I have that has the (allegedly frequent) problem of the two height screws backing off over time. Not really a big deal, but annoying. All other aspects are similar to the CIJ.
Top-bottom both pics: '96 MIJ/Allparts, '05 CIJ & '12 Squier
LR/TB - CIJ, MIJ, Squier
King Buzzo: I love when people come up to me and say “Your guitar sound was better on Stoner Witch, when you used a Les Paul. “...I used a Fender Mustang reissue on that, dumbass!