Considering building a Jazzmaster. Need advice and info!

Talk about modding or building your own guitar from scratch.
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Norrin Radd
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Considering building a Jazzmaster. Need advice and info!

Post by Norrin Radd » Thu Jun 20, 2019 8:01 am

First post - please let me know how many rules I've broke! :fp:

I originally posted the questions below on TGP but was referred tp you guys - because you're more smarterer! c ;D

"So I borrowed a buddy’s jazzmaster because I’ve never played one before. I really dig the tones out of it. But I do have some questions.

First, what are my alternative bridge options? And let me be more specific. If I decide I want a jazzmaster I will be building one from parts. So what I want to know is if there are different radius bridges available for Jazzmasters? I much prefer a 10 to 14 inch radius on a guitar neck. Do I have options as far as bridges/saddles go?

I also want to know if there is something other than the mastery bridge for aftermarket options. The reason I ask is that my friends jazz master is fitted with a mastery bridge and the way I play, the palm of my hand rests right on the sharp ridges of the saddles. Now, I have the exact same saddles on my telecaster but I must hold my hand in a different position because they don’t bother me on that guitar.

Next, what else should I know about going down this jazzmaster route? Anything important to keep in mind? I noticed that the single coil’s are a bit more noisy than my typical singles on my Stratocasters. Are there particular noiseless jazzmaster pick ups that are better than others?"

Thanks for any help!

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Danley
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Re: Considering building a Jazzmaster. Need advice and info!

Post by Danley » Thu Jun 20, 2019 8:47 am

Other people will be really helpful about the other various bridge options - but I’ll put forward an argument that the stock bridge can be adapted to almost any radius, and works pretty well as long as you pay a bit of attention during setup. Then again I don’t really like the Mastery for a variety of reasons so I’m biased.
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!

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JVG
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Re: Considering building a Jazzmaster. Need advice and info!

Post by JVG » Thu Jun 20, 2019 9:02 am

The topic of bridges for jazzmasters is fairly hotly debated on this forum at times, and there are a number of options with varying radius and string spacing. Most of them are of a tighter radius (generally 7.25” or 9.5”) than what you are after.

A key question is whether you want to stick to the “classic” jazzmaster sound and appearance, or not. If yes, you may need to do some modification to get a radius of 10-14”, but it’s possible.

If you’re not worried about being traditional, there are the “tunomatic” style bridges, amongst others.

Have a look around on this forum and you will find many threads discussing the pros and cons of different bridges. Bear in mind it can affect the sound and feel of the guitar significantly - there is no right or wrong, but many differences.

Good luck!
J.

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mackerelmint
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Re: Considering building a Jazzmaster. Need advice and info!

Post by mackerelmint » Thu Jun 20, 2019 12:11 pm

Hey there, Surfer.

So you have a number of bridge options. As has been stated before, the stock bridge will adjust pretty much however you want it to. That said, a cheap and popular option is a tune-o-matic type with roller saddles. I've done that and it works well.

I suppose there's no reason you couldn't adjust a mastery to fit whatever radius you want, but speaking as someone who likes the bridge, it's not going to do it any better than a roller bridge would. The staytrem bridge is another option, but you get to choose between two smaller radii which aren't adjustable. Or you could pay someone with a metal lathe to make you a custom set of saddles... :shifty: And I'm in the process of getting set up to do just that, in fact, so you could PM me later if you decide that's what you wanna do.

As for the pickups... the nice thing about the JM pickups is that they cancel noise in the middle position (best sounding position too IMO), but there are a few options to address noise. One is kinman pickups, they're well regarded for sounding right and being noise free. Then there's this crazy ground loop shielding thing you can install and it has a russian sounding name that I can't remember, but someone else probably does. It's an option. What I do is neither of those things, I just use regular pickups and when I wire them in, I twist the two leads on each pickup together, like how you see wires wrapped up in amps. They do it to help reject noise, so I gave it a shot and figured it was easier than rooting around for my wire cutters in any case since the leads were on the long side. With that and a well-shielded pickguard and cavity, I have a totally noise free jazzmaster with regular single coils. It worked for me, ymmv, but it was basically free, so that's my suggestion as the first thing to try.

Welcome aboard.
This is an excellent rectangle

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Danley
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Re: Considering building a Jazzmaster. Need advice and info!

Post by Danley » Thu Jun 20, 2019 1:47 pm

Pointers to use a stock Jazzmaster bridge on a large radius neck:
-Since you’ll be raising the outside saddles, it’s better to use an AVRI or vintage bridge where the intonation screws are already cut shorter and won’t interfere with the string
(Actually AVRI and vintage bridges are much more stable/easier to use than MIJ/Squier/generic bridges anyway for a few reasons, are made with higher quality materials... Just use one)
-Since the middle saddles may be lower to the bridge than usual vs. a vintage radius, might want to use shorter grub screws on those saddles to avoid them sticking out a ridiculous amount.

Also remember- Your ideal bridge radius is somewhat greater than (not equal to) the radius of the neck. Good luck.
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!

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