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Any tips for good fingerstyle tone on a jazzmaster?

Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2022 11:42 am
by rbrcbr
I've never been one to mess with setup too much, and I suppose it's good to have different guitars for different reasons. I play a lot of acoustic fingerstyle stuff and that stuff translates well on my Casino and on my '62 Starfire III, but maybe that's because P-90s and Dynasonics are more appropriate tonally for that sort of sound. And they have adjustable pole pieces.

I've got the Black Bobbin Lollars on my '59 thin skin Jazzmaster, and while they sound great, I feel like they're horrible about articulating the bass notes when I Travis pick. They sort of get lost and muddied up in the high end notes sustaining over the top. There's an alternating bass line in the verse part of one of the songs I recorded this summer that kind of just gets lost when I play it on this guitar. I've messed with the EQ on my amps and it doesn't seem to do much for this either.

I'm curious if this has to do with the fact that the BB Lollars have the staggered pole pieces, maybe it's a string balance issue due to this? Chords and single note stuff is fine but considering I mostly play fingerstyle stuff, when I get out to play shows again I wanna make sure this is a guitar I can take out.

Debating if it's a roundwounds vs flatwounds thing? Maybe I need to mess with my compressor more? Or maybe it's just accepting that a jazzmaster isn't the best guitar tonally for this sort of playing? I feel like I've definitely seen exceptions to that but just trying to keep an open mind.

Open to any suggestions y'all might have!

Re: Any tips for good fingerstyle tone on a jazzmaster?

Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2022 3:50 pm
by hexes
do you also have the 280k pots black bobbin has been hyping lately? have you raised the bass side and lowered the treble side of the pickup or changed the balance of the pole pieces yet? I hardly use picks anymore on my stock fender Jazzmaster, but my idea of the tone may be very different than yours. agreed that the dynasonic pickups I had were very good for that kinda sound. mini buckers too.

does the darker rhythm circuit make it any better on the high end or does it just all turn to mush?

Re: Any tips for good fingerstyle tone on a jazzmaster?

Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2022 4:22 pm
by rbrcbr
hexes wrote:
Fri Jan 14, 2022 3:50 pm
do you also have the 280k pots black bobbin has been hyping lately? have you raised the bass side and lowered the treble side of the pickup or changed the balance of the pole pieces yet? I hardly use picks anymore on my stock fender Jazzmaster, but my idea of the tone may be very different than yours. agreed that the dynasonic pickups I had were very good for that kinda sound. mini buckers too.

does the darker rhythm circuit make it any better on the high end or does it just all turn to mush?
Yeah, I put those 280k pots in there too. The pickups were adjusted height-wise when i had it set up over the summer, but I haven't messed with the pickup heights because they're staggered and it feels like the D-G-B-e strings are already loud/piercing enough that moving the bass side up would bring the middle pole pieces even closer to the strings and that.

I found that when I had the AV65, it was entirely too bright and plinky with the stock set up, and the pots weren't usable enough to tame the high end.

I haven't used the rhythm circuit much because the wiring at my apartment is kind of shoddy and means single coils are extremely noisy if not in the middle position for hum canceling (even then, those dynasonics are noisy as hell in the middle position). I haven't found that the rhythm circuit offered me much in terms of and balanced, thick sounding clean tone - just more muddy and buzzy in my particular situation. Maybe that's something more like a telecaster, who knows.

This is a great example of a good fingerstyle electric tone, but that's due to the hollowbody/mini humbucker/his fingers hahaha: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BtB0kMB0fig

Re: Any tips for good fingerstyle tone on a jazzmaster?

Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2022 5:56 pm
by August
I pretty much only play finger style, and only really play a Jazzmaster as far as electric goes. I use 11s or 12s, palm muting, Pickup Wizard '50s style set with 500k pots etc. and it works wonderfully. Sometimes dropping the rhythm pickup on the low E side helps, running a Black Box (Blues Breaker) or Gain Changer with minimal distortion (my usual) can give it just the compression and attack it needs to tighten things up without actually being distorted.

Re: Any tips for good fingerstyle tone on a jazzmaster?

Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2022 6:07 pm
by mackerelmint
Changing to a 500k pot is probably a good idea in this case. Another thing you can maybe do while you're in there, how long are the leads on your pickups? Because if you haven't trimmed them, winding them together is a great way to take up the slack as well as help reject noise. It's why you see wires wound together in amps.

Re: Any tips for good fingerstyle tone on a jazzmaster?

Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2022 6:37 pm
by marqueemoon
Hmm…

Like the OP I tend to hang out in the middle position a lot of the time, but I’ve become more accepting of noise.

The main electric here is fingerstyle Jazzmaster
with Sunday Woodchime +.

https://sethhoward.bandcamp.com/track/cartoon-crown

This was direct. Tech 21 Blonde>Neunaber Iconoclast. I feel like it’s pretty close, but might be better with an amp. There is an immediacy to the Iconoclast I like though.

What is a good recorded sound totally depends on what else is going on.

With JM sound generally I just want more mids though.

Flats seem worth a shot. Seems like you get more fundamental that way.