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Jazzmaster pickups in a Tele

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by arablue, Jan 13, 2017.

  1. arablue

    arablue Tele-Meister

    103
    Mar 31, 2009
    kentucky
    Ive been listening to Sonic Nurse and forgot how great the guitars sound. Has anyone retrofitted a Tele with normal pickup routes for Jazzmaster pickups? I know Curtis Novak makes a neck pickup that fits on top on the body. Any thoughts on the feasibility? I would love to keep my Tele since it plays so well.
    [​IMG]
     
    songtalk and BorderRadio like this.

  2. fakeocaster

    fakeocaster Tele-Afflicted

    As far as I know Elliot Easton from the Cars does this.It should blend nicely with the bridge
     

  3. arablue

    arablue Tele-Meister

    103
    Mar 31, 2009
    kentucky
    I should clarify, Im looking for a Tele with two Jazzmaster pickups, like this[​IMG]
     

  4. ballynally2

    ballynally2 Tele-Meister

    Age:
    54
    459
    Jun 7, 2009
    donegal ireland
    Ooh, getting rid of the famous Tele bridge? Think twice.
    Unless you have more than one tele.
     

  5. Peckhammer

    Peckhammer Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    542
    Dec 1, 2014
    Seattle
    Absolutely feasible, but I would heed the warning of losing the tele standard bridge and pickup. If you want a Jazzmaster, you should buy one. It's not just the pickups that produce the JM sound.

    In my experience, having built three J-style guitars in the past 6 months, I am not that fond of the JM bridge pickup, except when played in combo with the neck. The neck pickup is another story. Really wonderful. I've used Lollar pickups in the last two builds.

    My preference in voicing would be a P90 bridge, and JM neck. Lollar makes a p90 that fits in a JM pickup cover. The tele bridge JM neck combo sounds intriguing. It would be easy to start there. You could always switch the bridge and bridge pickup later.

    Get your router out and go! Devalue that guitar for the sake of tone...unless it's an American tele or something vintage...

    Lastly, the best j-style pickups I've heard are from Lollar, Novak and Fender AVRI.
     
    fakeocaster likes this.

  6. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 14, 2013
    Indiana
    "P90 bridge, and JM neck"

    sounds intriguing

    Curtis Novak makes a JM neck to fit a single-coil neck tele rout, hmm...

    any sound files?
     

  7. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 18, 2014
    Near Detroit, MI
    I'd be cautious with the 'pickup to fit this route' as they nearly always sound different as the shape of the coil, number of winds, and magnet response can change. The design mix could match or it might not. If you are looking for that JM sound then you need a JM pickup. The electronics can tweak the pickup tone.

    P90 bridge pickups can be nice. Tele bridges are nice. You'll have a conundrum there!

    I'd suggest getting a second inexpensive body to do the mods, skip the pickguard and swap over your neck leaving your existing body alone. The other option would be to find a used Strat-like object since people dump them for cheap on CL, hard tail the bridge, cut the pickguard or get a new pickguard to fit the JM and P90 and experiment that way. I have a Strat-like chassis I bought used for $15 that I do this with. It was my first 'Tele' and got me really down the path with P90s. I have a JM pickup I bought that I'm planning to test on it.

    .
     

  8. Peckhammer

    Peckhammer Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    542
    Dec 1, 2014
    Seattle
    Sound samples?

    Here is the best collection of J-style pickups for comparison I've ever found: http://www.offsetguitars.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=33614

    And here is a demo of Lollar J-Style P90s:

    I will restate that picking up a JM might be a better choice than modding that tele. There are some very frustrating aspects of working on a JM, but the advantage is wiring possibilities. The last build I worked on had Lollar P90 and J-style pickups, two volumes, tone, bass roll off, series parallel wiring and a kill switch without having to add any additional pots or switches to the guitar.

    That said, I am still intrigued by the idea of a J-style neck pickup in a tele, and that is reversible without leaving visible scars.
     
    KyAnne likes this.

  9. Mekhem

    Mekhem Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

    838
    Oct 31, 2010
    Minneapolis
    Ohhhh - I think the JM Bridge can get some twang if thats what s required. The newer AV65 JM pickups are pretty bright, and cheap at this point too. So matching that with a short Tele fixed bridge may be interesting.
     
    BorderRadio likes this.

  10. Mike Simpson

    Mike Simpson Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 19, 2006
    Gilbert, AZ (PHX)
    A Jazzmaster is a P-90 with magnet poles, they sound a little more "Fendery" than standard P-90's

    [​IMG]
     

  11. Peckhammer

    Peckhammer Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    542
    Dec 1, 2014
    Seattle
    +1 on the AV65 pickups. I used those in another build. Great sound for a set of pickups costing $90.
     

  12. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Apr 2, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    I haven't done it but I would consider it. A JM neck is one of my favorite sounds. A JM set on a Tele wouldn't sound like a full blown JM, but close enough, and different, which is always good, IMO.

    Try contacting Novak about it. I think the coil geometry will be the same--traditional JM pickups are very thin. The only downside I can see is losing some of the heght adjustment, and the need to raise the saddles and neck with a flat shim. I have to lower my neck quite a bit to balance with my optimized bridge height. I also wouldn't make any changes to the Tele you love, unless this is what you really want to do. The posting of this thread says to me you're still mulling it over.

    As mentioned, getting another Tele body (another guitar really), or just getting a Jazzmaster (VM), will get you there so you can use any JM-sized pickups that you like. I use Ant IIs (soon to be I), and have a TVL with '65s, both are excellent.
     

  13. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Apr 2, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    Good point, but maybe a bit generalized: the coils are different, a JM being flatter and wider. I know there were slug pole p90s early on in the 40s/50s--dunno how the coil looks though.

    Standard P90 coil height:
    IMG_3094.JPG

    JM coil height:
    IMG_3093.JPG
     
    jvin248 and cnlbb like this.

  14. Mike Simpson

    Mike Simpson Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 19, 2006
    Gilbert, AZ (PHX)
    Much more similar than all the Telecaster pickups so many think will sound like a P90. The JM coil is slightly wider and flatter so they would not be identical in field shape but closer than anything else. The magnet pole P90 does not sound like a regular P90.
     

  15. arablue

    arablue Tele-Meister

    103
    Mar 31, 2009
    kentucky
    I know it isnt a perfect comparison given the construction differences, but I figured someone has tried it. I appreciate the practical advice regarding the height adjustment. I thought I might need a custom bobbin a la Novak for the bridge pickup to sit under the bridge but I think Jazzmaster pickups are pretty low profile. Would the geometry of the Tele be sufficient that a Jazzmaster pickup could sit directly on the body and still give enough string clearance?
     

  16. radiocaster

    radiocaster Friend of Leo's

    Aug 18, 2015
    europe
    There was a Squier Vintage Modified with Jazzmaster neck pickup and headstock.

    No bridge pickup though.
     
    Tootle likes this.

  17. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Apr 2, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    If anything the bridge will be fine, clearance wise. It looks like the pickups are mounted soapbar style, with no covers in post #3, which, again, leaves very little in way of height adjustment.

    If it were me attempting this, I'd mount the pickups (mod a couple of covers too), and adjust height with a neck pocket shim. Sounds crazy, maybe, but obviously someone has gone through it already. I like to back off my JM pickups than keep them too close, YMMV.
     

  18. Peckhammer

    Peckhammer Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    542
    Dec 1, 2014
    Seattle
    They mount closer to dog-ear style soapbars. There are no holes though the pickup, only in the covers, and the covers are very loose and do not attach to the pickups. If I were asked to do this, I would route the pockets for each pickup, or somehow make custom covers similar to dog ears. Without doing that, adjustment will be a real pain unless neck shims and a huge break angle are your method for do that. Either way it will be difficult to pull off, IMO.

    In looking at a tele and a JM side by side, I see no way to surface mount a JM pickup on a tele as a surface mount without ditching the cover. JM pickup height adjustment relies on foam, and some of the pickups have staggered poles that protrude below the pickup. On the recent build where we used a Lollar JM-style P90, we had to cut a channel below the pole screws because they extended pretty far below the bottom of the pickup, not to mention the bar magnet down there.
     

  19. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Apr 2, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    Yes correct, when talking about stock JM pickups and covers. But OP is talking about the Novak neck/semi-surface mount JM pickup that requires no routing. He wants the same for a bridge position, and produced a picture of somebody's Tele who appears to have done just that.

    Novaks covers are not regular JM covers, no tabs. The pole pieces that slightly protrude are probably in the original neck route. Those protrusion are the issue, IMHO, to a clean surface mount. A thin spacer ring made of foam would solve that issue.

    Surface mounting like a soapbar with screws between the poles appears to be what was done in the photo. The 'grill' in front of the bridge pickup appears to be covering the original route, and there are no covers. Why pay Novak for special covers? Just use some coil tape, or chop the tabs on a cover maybe. Again, surface mounts are a PITA because of lack of adjustability, just look at Dynasonics or gold foils--without a route OP is forced to adjust only the height upwards, and raise the strings as opposed to lowering the pickup body OR live with whatever position the pickups are stuck in.

    IMG_3139.JPG
     

  20. arablue

    arablue Tele-Meister

    103
    Mar 31, 2009
    kentucky
    I did some digging and the guitar that BorderRadio is referencing has Japanese pickups, which Ive read are fairly different in terms of construction, hence the p90-esque mounting method. I think the Novak pickup also has pole pieces which extend down, which is why it fits in the neck position. I emailed Mr Novak and he said that he doesnt make a bridge pickup in that configuration, but if I installed one it would still sound like a Tele. Oh well[​IMG]
     

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