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Thinking about jumping on the Jazzmaster bandwagon

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by Rockdog, Apr 30, 2021.

  1. Rockdog

    Rockdog Tele-Afflicted

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    While I love my Strats and Teles, I think it may be time to expand my horizons. I've never owned a Jazzmaster, let alone held one in my hands, but I like what I see and hear from them.

    With that said, what is a good entry-level Jazzmaster that's solid out of the box, i.e. no mods required? I'm willing to spend extra to have "Fender" on the headstock if it is truly worth it.
     
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  2. richiek65

    richiek65 Friend of Leo's

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    Squier J Mascis Jazzmaster are great bang for buck, though the pickups are a slightly different design, closer to a P90, but that's not a bad thing.

    I'm considering some Pure Vintage pickups down the track, just for the hell of it, I'm completely happy with the stock items though

    The neck on mine is a dream to play, the profile, the frets, the satin finish all make it the best of my 5 fender/fender-style guitars.

    I paid AU$499 brand new. Absolute bargain.

    Lots of other choices out there though
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2021
  3. WingedWords

    WingedWords Friend of Leo's

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  4. backporchmusic

    backporchmusic Poster Extraordinaire

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    A used J Mascis will hold its value when you sell later. You can have one, see if it is for you, decide what sort of pickups/sound and bridge style you want, then sell it and buy the right one for you. But they are great guitars and a good starting point.
     
  5. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

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    Jazzmasters are tied for first place as my favorite guitars of all time. They're unique and a little quirky, but if they work for your paradigm they're great guitars. Leo considered them the next evolutionary step beyond the Strat.

    The Squier VM Jazzmaster was a solid guitar out of the box with no mods. I imagine the new CV version would be the same, but I've never seen one.

    The Fender Classic Lacquer Jazzmaster was an excellent instrument, basically a '62 AVRI spec guitar built in Mexico.

    However, to get the best out of an offset, you ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY have to understand how to set them up properly, or at least pay someone who does. It's not rocket science, there are several resources online to walk you through it. The vast majority of problems that people have with these guitars is due to improper setup or operator error. Ignore anyone who says you "have" to replace the bridge- they don't know what they're talking about. I currently own six Fender offsets, and have had many more over the years- ALL of mine have had stock bridges and I wail on my guitars like Pete Townshend on a bender.

    They're inherently bright sounding guitars, but that's why Fender thoughtfully included a tone knob.

    If you're even thinking about it, definitely go check one out.
     
  6. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's

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    Vintage Modified's were great. I believe the stock pickups are hotter than "typical", but Fender Pure Vintage '65's can be had cheap if you don't like them.

    The J. Mascis is great, though as has been said, different pickups (basically P90's, or something like that, and so missing the point of "jumping on the Jazzmaster bandwagon" IMO). I believe traditional JM pickups should fit, though.

    The current Classic Vibes are the spiritual successor to the VM's. I don't know how they stack up, but I'm sure they're at least comparable.

    Just my opinion, but you should seek out JM's with traditional-style JM pickups, trem and rhythm circuit, for the full experience. Otherwise you're just getting another guitar with a different, cool shape. Which is fine, just not what I'd want from a Jazzmaster.

    Regardless of what you get (unless you get something with a hardtail, or something), this is required reading: https://www.premierguitar.com/gear/diy-how-to-set-up-jazzmasters-jaguars
     
  7. lmjmitchell

    lmjmitchell Tele-Meister

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    I have a Fender Jazzmaster Professional II. It's fantastic. Sounds great and zero bridge or vibrato issues. Probably my favorite guitar overall.

    I had a Fender Ultra Jazzmaster, but had to send it back. Total garbage. Bad QC and the pickups were completely worthless.
     
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  8. Matt Sarad

    Matt Sarad Tele-Afflicted

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    I bought my MIM Sunburst JM off of local CL.
    The seller brought it to my house. No case or whammy bar, I offered him $450 instead of his asking price of $500.
    He agreed.
    I'm loving it.
     
  9. GearGeek01

    GearGeek01 Tele-Meister

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    Previous to the new release of the Fender Player (MIM) and Vinterra (MIM) models, they had a Fender Classic Player (MIM) Jazzmaster Special. New they were %825, I got mine on clearance in-store purchase at Sam Ash for $650. The "classic player" line at Fender was their one-up from (what they used to call) their "Fender Standard (MIM) line. The classic players were generally somehow "custom shop designed" and all that. Another one of the "classic player" models is the (sort of now famous) "Fender Classic Player Baja telecaster" (the guitar in my avatar here).

    Not all Jazzmasters are created equal...

    You have to look close at the Jazzmasters they offer these days... I made sure and got the original design one, which has an on/off slide switch and 2 thumb wheels on the upper horn. That switch turns off the bridge pickup and routes the neck pickup to that circuitry. Then you have 2 roller potentiometers, one for volume, one for tone. They call this the "rhythm"position, and if I'm not mistaken they do a thing with a capacitor to give it a bit of a less treble vibe (someone who knows the guts of a Jazzmaster could expound)...

    Just because it says "Jazzmaster" on the headstock, doesn't mean it is of the opriginal design with the switching on the upper bout and the 3-way toggle on the lower bout. Look carefully. Then of course there are the large Jazzmaster style pickups. Not humbuckers, not P-90s, not Strat-like single coils... they are their own animal.

    Then if you want a hard case to fit, the Jazzmaster and Jaguars are wider left-to-right than a Strat or Tele, so they don't fit in a regular Strat/Tele case. Gator makes a case to fit the Jazzmasters... (they call it the Jaguar case, but both guitars have the same body shape and size)
    https://www.gatorcases.com/products.../deluxe-wood/jaguar-style-guitar-case-gw-jag/

    Used prices on Reverb right now are covid-crazy. New these Classic Player Jazzmaster Special guitars were $824.00... I got mine new on clearance at Sam Ash for $649.00... price guogers on Reverb are seeking $1,000-$1,200 for them... ouch...

    I think when the idiots who are driving all the hoarding of toilet paper, firearm ammunition, and guitar stuff get through hoarding, and things settle down, I would expect the price to go back to normal used price for this guitar.

    Or, you can scratch this itch with a Squier Classic Vibe 60s Jazzmaster. For $429.00. My first choice would be the Fender Classic Player Jazzmaster Special... second choice would be the Squier version
    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/de...r-classic-vibe-60s-jazzmaster-3-tone-sunburst

    In fact considering the recent gouging of prices on Reverb, I'd seek out the Squier Classic Vibe 60s Jazzmaster and see if you find one that plays nice. I don't usually buy stuff off the Internet, but you might do well with Sweetwater, since they do their 55 point check up on any guitar over $399...

    Best of luck, and I think it is an itch to scratch that is unique in how the Jazzmaster is set up. Ted Greene used to tell me... if Jimi Hendrix had played a Jazzmaster instead of a Strat, we'd all be pining for Jazzmasters, haha
     
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  10. jvin248

    jvin248 Doctor of Teleocity

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    .

    If you want the best classic tone and playing experience: American Pro II with the new trem design and functional saddles (based on Mustang).
    Cheaper option is a used J Mascis JM but replace the pickups with conventional JM alnico rod classic styles so you know the real tones.

    Things to know:

    -There are may "jazzmaster" pickups, many players don't know the difference and call them all "P90s" because they are big with white covers
    -True JM pickups have bobbins that are wide area and short height with alnico 5 rods around 7kohm-ish windings
    -MIJ JMs have tall narrow bobbins and alnico 5 rods, more Strat like
    -MIM JMs often have steel slugs and either alnico block or ceramic block magnets
    -J Mascis and Thurston Moore models will have actual P90 style pickups with tall wide bobbins and ceramic magnets
    -A 'JazzBlaster' is a JM fitted with Wide-Range Humbuckers from the 70s (or modern) Telecasters.

    -Mustang saddles are often retrofitted for the threaded stock style, low cost but some complain of the fretboard/scale length radius differences
    -Threaded stock saddles work ok when the guitars are strung with 12/13s string sets at conventional pitch (no drop-note playing)
    -Mastery and a couple other high-cost saddle solutions are out there.

    -Few players use the dark jazz rhythm circuit, but they often hit the switch when playing. Some tape the switch or remove it. Some mod the circuit for blenders or parallel/series controls especially when using different pickups.

    -Bridge and nut location relative to the thigh-cut and strap pins shifts the chassis a little more to your left than a Tele and maybe close to a Les Paul but not as much as an SG (where the nut is 'way over there').

    -Body is larger in area but thinner so the guitar weighs in the normal range 7-8lbs typically.

    -Standard 1Meg pots can be 'too bright' for some players where they drop to 500k or even 250k. But that brightness works great for Surf and Chris Stapleton plays a JM for Country.

    -Because of the chassis ergonomics, I found what may have been a 'too skinny' neck on a Strat feels a lot more chunky, or at least normal playing feel, on a JM.

    -They are gaining in popularity, starting to overshadow Teles for new indie bands and home players. So I don't see pricing lagging when things are back to normal. No hard data, but it seems like there is a more even gender split with JM players than on any other style of guitar -- and more younger players choosing them than older generations.

    -You will also find more mashup partscasters. Pricing from rising demand is why you find a wide mix of partscasters. Quite a few MIJ collectors asking high prices. And Relics, lots of relics out there. With pricing running high, I'd suggest going on Stratosphere and pulling down a MIM body and throw a MIA Strat neck on there you may already have (that's common) and load up a pickguard and find the hardware bits. I think Fender sells that new design American Pro II bridge and trem for a reasonable price.


    They are a fun guitar and worthwhile adding to the fleet.

    .
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2021
  11. FortyEight

    FortyEight Tele-Afflicted

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    @jvin248 Can we see pics? I would love to see them both but really interested in the one pup model. Do you actually have a pickguard that covers the front hole or just leave it empty?

    I love the idea of one like that.
     
  12. Rockdog

    Rockdog Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks guys, these are all great responses! I have a few things to think about. There's someone less than an hour drive from me selling a J Mascis for $400. Some other good deals on Reverb, too.
     
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  13. FortyEight

    FortyEight Tele-Afflicted

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    I really liked the J Mascis I played at music go round. Not sure why my font looks like this. LOL.
     
  14. Slim Chance

    Slim Chance Tele-Afflicted

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    I was exactly where you are now after reading a Jazzmaster post here last year. Knew nothing about them nor even held one. I took a flyer and ordered an AO 60s new for a better price than anything I could find used. Truly a wonderful guitar. I haven't made any mods other than shortening and bending the tremolo arm to my preference.

    I've found it to be a very versatile guitar. It can make both Tele and Strat sounds. And then there is surf. I'm not a tremolo expert, but I have not had any problems staying in tune.

    Happy hunting.

    Store photo of mine.

    AOJM_01.jpg

    At home.

    Jazzmaster AO.JPG
     
  15. Abre

    Abre Tele-Meister

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  16. Tele-writer

    Tele-writer Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Mr. Hendrix played a really nice Jazzmaster while he was working for the Isley Brothers. Enjoy!
     
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  17. Cosmic Cowboy

    Cosmic Cowboy Tele-Meister

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    Great Guitars. My first guitar teacher called the Jazzmaster the 'Tele for gadgit freaks'.
     
  18. Tele-writer

    Tele-writer Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    I added a Bill Lawrence pickup in the bridge position and moved the stock one to the middle. those were the very best Radio Shack knobs available at that time - suitable for ham radio or toaster oven utilization :) 69Jazzmaster.jpg
     
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  19. BradKM

    BradKM Tele-Holic

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    Lots of good advice here.

    I've been happy with the Squier VM I picked up a few years back. It's quickly become one of my favorites, but as much as I like it I'll likely upgrade at some point.

    Out of the current offerings, I'd start by looking at the Mascis (I do prefer that bridge setup to the standard Fender), the Vintera and this CME limited run: https://www.chicagomusicexchange.co...master-3-color-sunburst-wblack-headcap-986356

    My son recently picked one of these up and it's fantastic.
     
  20. AlbertaGriff

    AlbertaGriff Tele-Afflicted

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    Good timing for this thread. I was just playing my Jazzmaster for a solid hour. Really cool guitars, and if you love a Tele, you'll enjoy a Jazzy too.

    I got mine 20 or so years ago. A '62 AVRI in surf green, it was my first great guitar and up until 6 years ago my only electric. As mentioned, they are inherently bright, but you only hear it as a bad thing on the bridge pickup. Roll the tone back to 6 or 7 and you're into Tele Twang Territory. The middle position is great, very unique and unlike other guitar tones. The neck pickup is also very unique.

    In the traditional wiring scheme there is also the dark circuit, which I actually feel does a reasonable job of emulating a neck humbucker position... dark and jazzy.

    Anyway I think you should get one.

    20190518_125933.jpg
     
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