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Does anyone prefer the Jazzmaster vibrato?

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by Dan German, Apr 17, 2021.

  1. Dan German

    Dan German Doctor of Teleocity

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    For a couple of weeks now, I have been playing my cheap Mustang hybrid equipped with a Jazzmaster-style vibrato. Having heard a lot of bumpf about how awful they are, I am a bit surprised. I will admit that my experience with vibratos is a few Stratocasters that made me not like Stratocasters, an old Vox with a Bigsby knockoff that worked great for me, and a Les Trem on my Reverend Buckshot, which I loved. I’m not dive-bombing ever, I just want some surf and shimmer. While I will admit that I probably need to upgrade the TOM-style bridge to a roller bridge, the fact remains that I find the Jazzmaster-style vibrato pretty much perfect for my needs. Compared to the Les Trem, it’s less tuning-stable, but takes only tiny pressure to get a nice subtle warble. I’m convinced that even a cheap JM vibrato is at worst a bridge upgrade away from perfection.
     
  2. fasteddie42

    fasteddie42 Tele-Afflicted

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    JM wang bars are great.

    Nuff said.
     
  3. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Offset “Floating Tremolo” and tension bar-less Bigsby’s all day over here. If you think those vibratos can’t be stable, you’re doin’ it wrong :)
     
  4. J. Bonkosky

    J. Bonkosky Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    The Jazzmaster/Jaguar system is the best Leo came up with. I would argue the best for general purpose vibrato use. Once setup correctly it stays in tune well and has a very easy feel to it.
     
  5. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

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    The Jazzmaster/Jaguar trem is absolutely my favorite.
     
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  6. Matt Sarad

    Matt Sarad Tele-Afflicted

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    My used JM came without a bar. I found a Strat version in a drawer. Not quite the same
     
  7. Dan German

    Dan German Doctor of Teleocity

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    For years, I thought the issue was Strat vs. Bigsby. I leaned Bigsby, but was unaware of the alternative. So far, I’m totally sold (although I still think the Les Trem is great.)
     
  8. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    The Les Trem is great if one is ok with the spring being in the way of palm muting plain strings and a heavy strum. That's what nuked it for me. A custom build that moves it back? Excellent.
     
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  9. Dan German

    Dan German Doctor of Teleocity

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    Agreed. It worked great, but required a bit of adjustment to its location. The arm was adjustable, but still wasn’t as conveniently place as my cheap Vietnamese knockoff’s arm is.
     
  10. bendercaster

    bendercaster Tele-Afflicted

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    The Jazzmaster trem is as good as it gets, especially if it has the lock. Once I got mine adjusted correctly (which again, is easy with the lock), it worked flawlessly and always returned to tune.
     
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  11. Jazzerstang

    Jazzerstang Tele-Afflicted

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    Let’s just say my only guitar with a functioning trem is a Jazzmaster. I can’t stand the strat one.

    the Jazzmaster bridge and vibrato system is the best if it is set up correctly. The bridge piece has to rock in the thimbles for the smoothest functionality. Some people use mastery bridges or tuneomatic bridges (which do not rock), but I prefer either a stock one with the threaded saddles or a mustang bridge.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2021
  12. Dan German

    Dan German Doctor of Teleocity

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    Clearly I was hanging around with the wrong crowd...
     
  13. PigBoy

    PigBoy Tele-Meister

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    Hands down my favorite.
    Check out the Puisheen YouTube channel for very thing you’ll need regarding proper setup.
     
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  14. RocknRollShakeUp

    RocknRollShakeUp Tele-Meister

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    I use and like them all in their own way, but the Fender Offset Vibrato is my favorite for vibe playing for sure.
     
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  15. Cadillac_Mike

    Cadillac_Mike Tele-Meister

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    Jazzmaster? I'm not that high class, Dan... :)
     
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  16. cyclopean

    cyclopean Poster Extraordinaire

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    The offset vibrato is great.

    The only downside is it won’t do slayer/bolt thrower dive bombs.
     
  17. itstooloudMike

    itstooloudMike TDPRI Member

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    The offset tremolo system works great as designed, and is hands-down my favorite. Problems come in when people alter the bridge to something that doesn’t rock. With any non-rocking bridge, you cannot maintain intonation or tuning. With the bridge allowed to rock as the tremolo is being used, the strings will return to pitch perfectly. You simply have to understand why Leo designed it the way he did, and recognize that proper setup is key to performance, and not like other guitars. Also, it is very important to have enough string break angle over the bridge, which is why most Jag/JM need to have neck shims.
     
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  18. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I have little experience with the JM trems, but you mentioned you were using a T-O-M bridge. The JM trem is a system that includes a rocking bridge, that is a lower profile than the T-O-M. PERSONALLY, I have found for tuning stability, I prefer sticking with the entire system with the rocker bridge. I have tried multiple roller bridges, but they were all pretty tall, requiring a neck shim and subsequent pickup height changes. But even then, I found return-to-zero stability lacking. This, I maintain, is due to the increased break angle with a typical T-O-M/roller bridge setup which creates more friction/resistance, and a stiffer feel. Just my $0.02.
     
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  19. lmjmitchell

    lmjmitchell Tele-Meister

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    The Jazzmaster/Jaguar vibrato is easily my favorite. It's responsive, smooth and stable. Most people would probably like them if they gave them a try. A Bigsby (with a softer spring) is my second favorite vibrato system.
     
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  20. jonnyfez

    jonnyfez Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    YES. My favorite trem. Deeper and yet more capable of subtlety. Mine has rock solid tuning stability.
     
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