I've gone and done it. J Mascis Jazzmaster

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Creed_ClicksCreed_Clicks Frets: 245
edited December 2019 in Guitar
Ok. Done. After pi55ing around with Jazzmasters, necks, etc, triggers brush stuff over the last few years, I just bit the bullet and bought a Mascis Jazzmaster, new for €437/£370 online in Spain, where I spend some time, so won't have it until the new year. A good deal I think, and as they are being discontinued, I thought I'd go for it.

Now, in terms of upgrades, what could I look at?

I have, on a body at the moment, a staytrem bridge, a fender trem , mojo pickups with black covers, so I could put these on, maybe get white pickup covers.

I know the stock pickups are decent, but I want to go towards the "proper" Jazzmaster sound.
I could change the pickguard too perhaps...

While on the search for high end stuff, I've been finding joy and satisfaction in cheap guitars.
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  • Nice! Amazing guitar. Mines been my main for a while now and don't see that changing anytime soon. It's outstayed much more expensive JMs. 

    Don't sleep on the pickups either, whilst they aren't proper JM pickups, they sound incredible imo. I was planning on instantly putting Mojos in and it's not happened yet cos I'm so happy with the stock ones. 

    As for upgrades, if you plan to use the vibrato a lot id change bridge and vibrato itself. Avri or Mastery would be my choice. Haven't changed mine cos I'm not using the wiggle stick thing on this. Stock should be fine tbh as long as you don't absolutely twat the arm about too much. 
    I've changed tuners to Gotohs, bone nut, full cloth wiring and CTS pot upgrades, black anodised guard and a refin. 

    Like I said, it's my main, I adore it, it's the guitar I reach for first everyday. 


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  • @punchesjudy never knew they came in black or is that a refinish?
    I think I will start with the bridge and trem.
    I could install mojo black pickups and a white pickguard which would totally change the look but might stick with stock for a while.
    I have the same neck from the hardtail version which I might use on a telemaster.
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  • @Creed_Clicks It's a refin. I have a thing for matte black guitars. 

    Mint guard on the jmjm looks amazing so I'd defo look into that. 

    They're just great guitars whether stock or upgraded tbh. 
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  • Creed_ClicksCreed_Clicks Frets: 245
    edited December 2019
    @punchesjudy ;I’m thinking a white pickguard and put in the black pickups so it would be all white and black pickups.
    Are your pickups stock?
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  • NelsonPNelsonP Frets: 1322
    edited December 2019
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  • @NelsonP very nice indeed. A change of pickguard can really set it off.
    Would the stock pickup covers fit a
    different set of pickups ? I’d say so?
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  • gusman2xgusman2x Frets: 741
    I don't think Staytrem do the bridge for the JMJM anymore. It was a direct replacement for the adjustomatic that's currently on there.

    Your options would be to get a staytrem and replace the thimbles (so it can rock), or a roller bridge replacement for the adjustmoatic that's on there. I've found that the std bridge is OK for mild wobbling, but it not great for abuse.

    I love my JMJM, it's one of my best guitars. You'll love it. Happy NGD.

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  • dogloaddogload Frets: 1379
    edited December 2019
    @Creed_Clicks ; Well done, good choice!

    Replacement pickups fit into the original covers, although the pole pieces won't protrude like the stock ones do with their screw pole-pieces. Don't be alarmed :)

    Here are my two JMJMs


    They both have replacement roller-saddled bridges (TOM-style), white witch hat knobs and a Mojo overwound pickup at the bridge position - the neck has the stock P90 - and replacement wiring.
    The one on the right has a mint scratchplate and a Japanese Fender tremolo unit.

    Despite both being the same electronically, they don't sound the same! The one with the gold scratchplate and stock trem sounds a lot more aggressive with more mids than the minty one (which is more refined, across a wider frequency range).
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  • NeilNeil Frets: 2693
    Being a Mascis fan I must say I quite fancy one of those.

    I'm not into conversions etc, are these really good out of the box?

    I know offsets can be heavy, any ideas on weights?
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  • If you get a normal Staytrem you can drill out the rivets and just place it on top of the adjustomatic posts. 

    Like this. 

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  • NelsonPNelsonP Frets: 1322
    edited December 2019
    My JMJM works fine with the standard bridge - no tuning instability at all, so I've not been tempted to change it.

    @dogload Out of interest, which roller bridge did you fit? Finding the right specs online for the JMJM is a bit of a minefield and matching the neck (9.5") and bridge (TOM are usually 12") radius seems to be a challenge.


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  • Creed_ClicksCreed_Clicks Frets: 245
    edited December 2019
    gusman2x said:
    I don't think Staytrem do the bridge for the JMJM anymore. It was a direct replacement for the adjustomatic that's currently on there.

    Your options would be to get a staytrem and replace the thimbles (so it can rock), or a roller bridge replacement for the adjustmoatic that's on there. I've found that the std bridge is OK for mild wobbling, but it not great for abuse.

    I love my JMJM, it's one of my best guitars. You'll love it. Happy NGD.

    I don't have the guitar as of yet, but bought blind online, but hopefully will get what I hope I'm getting based on the hardtail squier deluxe JM I had recently.
    I have the staytrem bridge and thimbles, so lucky enough there. I think I'll replace the trem with a Fender one, though I notice on the Fender one, the arm is "high" if that makes sense, compared to the CIJ one I had years ago, the arm was "grabbable" close to the strings.
    Might get white pickup covers for the Mojos I have and that's it. Think I'll leave the pickguard. Can't wait! 
    Worth getting a new nut?
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  • impmannimpmann Frets: 8567
    Perhaps the best advice is to wait til you've played it, and lived with it a bit before you start buying 'upgrade' parts for it.

    IMHO (and its just my opinion) because the trem is closer to the bridge, these guitars are *much* better with roller bridges than 'traditional' ones. I had a CP (same spacing) and I spent fortunes upgrading it to a Mastery - only to find it had a nicer trem feel and return to pitch with a £25 Wilkinson bridge. 

    As for the trem - well, having swapped them around a lot, I'm not convinced that the USA one sounds any different to the cheaper ones. The action is different - but I found the Squier was better for lighter gauge strings (spring tension). The biggest upgrade is a Staytrem collet and arm to eliminate slop - or in the case of the screw in trem arms *squeek*.

    And FWIW, the stock pickups have their own thing going on. Its not quite a P90 sound, its brighter but its a good sound.

    Like I say, its a good sounding/playing instrument without any 'upgrades' - try living with it first.
    Never Ever Bloody Anything Ever.

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  • dogloaddogload Frets: 1379
    NelsonP said:
    My JMJM works fine with the standard bridge - no tuning instability at all, so I've not been tempted to change it.

    @dogload Out of interest, which roller bridge did you fit? Finding the right specs online for the JMJM is a bit of a minefield and matching the neck (9.5") and bridge (TOM are usually 12") radius seems to be a challenge.


    I just got bog standard TOM types from (IIRC) CH Guitars. It isn't an exact match for the neck radius, but to be honest, that hasn't been a problem for me (probably because I can't play properly, lol). 
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  • Creed_ClicksCreed_Clicks Frets: 245
    edited December 2019
    @impmann Very good points. Is there any advantage to upgrading the TOM bridge to another roller type bridge? I might research the staytrem suggestion with the arm though. Do you know what the sizing was?
    One thing I dislike is the rattling bar!
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  • impmannimpmann Frets: 8567
    @impmann Very good points. Is there any advantage to upgrading the TOM bridge to another roller type bridge? I might research the staytrem suggestion with the arm though. Do you know what the sizing was?
    One thing I dislike is the rattling bar!
    This is the one I used to use on the CP I had:

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/WILKINSON-STYLE-TUNE-O-MATIC-ROLLER-GUITAR-BRIDGE-FOR-GIBSON-EPIPHONE-LP-SG-ETC/193049737817?hash=item2cf2a93a59:m:mUGeGh7zXwAkwNlrcYzu6RA

    Cheap and worked brilliantly. Fitted straight onto the mounts in the body.

    As for the Staytrem size - you need the 10mm option for the original trem or the 3/8 for the US trem
    Never Ever Bloody Anything Ever.

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  • @impmann did you find that bridge was an improvement on the stock one? If so, could be worth it for the money it would cost. I'll have to think about the pickups and bridge.... 
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  • impmannimpmann Frets: 8567
    @impmann did you find that bridge was an improvement on the stock one? If so, could be worth it for the money it would cost. I'll have to think about the pickups and bridge.... 
    Genuinely, on the CP I had it was a massive improvement. Not least of which because the ToM fitted to mine rattled in sympathy with the strings (really poor manufacture). The trem was so smooth it was insane.
    Never Ever Bloody Anything Ever.

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  • I guess I’ll find out when I have it in my hands 
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  • NelsonPNelsonP Frets: 1322
    impmann said:
    Perhaps the best advice is to wait til you've played it, and lived with it a bit before you start buying 'upgrade' parts for it.

    IMHO (and its just my opinion) because the trem is closer to the bridge, these guitars are *much* better with roller bridges than 'traditional' ones. I had a CP (same spacing) and I spent fortunes upgrading it to a Mastery - only to find it had a nicer trem feel and return to pitch with a £25 Wilkinson bridge. 

    As for the trem - well, having swapped them around a lot, I'm not convinced that the USA one sounds any different to the cheaper ones. The action is different - but I found the Squier was better for lighter gauge strings (spring tension). The biggest upgrade is a Staytrem collet and arm to eliminate slop - or in the case of the screw in trem arms *squeek*.

    And FWIW, the stock pickups have their own thing going on. Its not quite a P90 sound, its brighter but its a good sound.

    Like I say, its a good sounding/playing instrument without any 'upgrades' - try living with it first.
    This is good advice. I bought mine, pre-modded on ebay, for only about £50 more than a regular second hand JMJM would cost.  Since the upgrades are about £400 worth it was too good to pass up. I would have been fine with the std guitar I think.

    I might do the StayTrem collet upgrade, but I've no plans to change the nut or bridge - it's all good as it is and stays in tune very well. 
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  • I had one of those Wilkinson style bridges on a Les Paul for a while. I found it to be tonally not as good as the Tuneomatic it was replacing. 

    If I was to go for a roller bridge again I would go for an ABM Müller, or alternatively a traditional Tuneomatic with a pair of domed thumbwheels
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  • Good to see mixed opinions on upgrades, or not !
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  • Just a great guitar regardless of whether it's been modded or not. 

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  • I think best thing to do is play the sh*t out of it, and then decide on the trem/bridge/pickups. I do think I'd like to get a "Jazzmaster" sound as opposed to the P90 sound.
    Maybe some gold volume and tone speed knobs to go with the gold guard....
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  • The more I look at the demos online, I'd nearly keep the stock pickups, though the Mojos I do have sound pretty good.
    Can't wait to get my hands on this!
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  • Good to see mixed opinions on upgrades, or not !
    Out of academic interest, how would a tricked-up Squier J. Mascis compare to a stock MIM Vintera - both in terms of cost and playability? Anybody tried both back to back?
    Be seeing you.
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  • dogloaddogload Frets: 1379
    The more I look at the demos online, I'd nearly keep the stock pickups, though the Mojos I do have sound pretty good.
    Can't wait to get my hands on this!
    I use mine live, and find that the extra 'beef' from the stock neck P90 is ideal for a fatter and/or flutier distorto-noise that can be coaxed into 'Parisian Walkways'-worthy feedback, whilst the bridge Mojo gives more clarity and top than the stock P90 does, which suits my purpose perfectly.
    Experimentation with the pickup heights can get you to a fairly decent replication of the trad Jazzmaster 'middle' position. 

    The JMJM will never sound like a 'proper' JM as the placement of the trem closer to the bridge gives it a different sonic character

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  • Creed_ClicksCreed_Clicks Frets: 245
    impmann said:
    @impmann Very good points. Is there any advantage to upgrading the TOM bridge to another roller type bridge? I might research the staytrem suggestion with the arm though. Do you know what the sizing was?
    One thing I dislike is the rattling bar!
    This is the one I used to use on the CP I had:

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/WILKINSON-STYLE-TUNE-O-MATIC-ROLLER-GUITAR-BRIDGE-FOR-GIBSON-EPIPHONE-LP-SG-ETC/193049737817?hash=item2cf2a93a59:m:mUGeGh7zXwAkwNlrcYzu6RA

    Cheap and worked brilliantly. Fitted straight onto the mounts in the body.

    As for the Staytrem size - you need the 10mm option for the original trem or the 3/8 for the US trem
    Been playing it the last day or so but only through a headphone amp. Pickups buzz a good bit when I’m “hands free” but to be expected. Stock bridge and trem seems fine so far even though I ordered the Wilkinson roller bridge. I have a fender trem unit but as of now I don’t know what major difference it could make? Yeah the arm rattled a small bit but stays in place and seems to in much “deeper” to the unit than the fender one where the arm seemed to be higher up.
    the pickup switch may need replacing down the line but ok for now. Neck is superb.
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