Jazzmaster Vibrato System

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Jazzmaster Vibrato System

Postby Gatwick1946 » 13 Jan 2024, 19:58

At the age of 77 years and about 65 years after Bruce Welch, I have finally decided to treat myself to a Jazzmaster. As well as The Shadows, I have always been a fan of other guitar groups, including The Ventures and other surf music bands.

I am really enjoying getting to grips with the Jazzmaster’s features, using my Oceans Eleven pedal which gives a wide range of delay and reverb options.

The strings on the guitar are a little bit too light for me (the top E could be 9 gauge?), and at some point I will probably change them to my usual 10-46. But I cannot see, at first glance, if there is a method on the Jazzmaster, of making an adjustment of the vibrato system, to ensure that the height of the vibrato arm does not become too close to the strings and pickups. My other guitars have the Stratocaster vibrato system, or are hardtails.

I would be glad of any advice from other Jazzmaster and Jaguar owners.

Kindest regards,
Christopher
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Re: Jazzmaster Vibrato System

Postby JimN » 13 Jan 2024, 20:11

The Philips screw nearest to the tremolo arm socket (and just below the trem-lock button) adjusts the tremolo unit's single spring.

Clockwise adjustment brings the arm higher (if I recall correctly).

PS: As regards strings, I wouldn't go any lighter than about 11-50 or 11-52 on a Jazzmaster. The geometry of the instrument is completely different from that of a Stratocaster. I use Pyramid 12-52 (wound third) on mine.
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Re: Jazzmaster Vibrato System

Postby abstamaria » 14 Jan 2024, 04:20

I suggest you try flatwounds for the Bob Bogle sound, Christopher. I hav e 12. -52 flats on mine.

My Jazzmaster, a 1960 reissue, came from Fender with an extra set of strings made “exclusively for Jazzmaster ….’ They’re 10-50 flats. I believe the guitars had heavier strings in 1960.

The heavier strings will also help keep the bridge in place.

Andy.
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Re: Jazzmaster Vibrato System

Postby abstamaria » 14 Jan 2024, 04:30

IMG_1434.jpeg


The G string is wound.

Andy
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Re: Jazzmaster Vibrato System

Postby Gatwick1946 » 14 Jan 2024, 13:11

Thank you for your advice, Jim and Andres,

Due to the weight and length of the vibrato arm it tends to drop down to 90 degrees relative to the length of the guitar. But its a push in fit, unlike my Strat, but I have plenty of ideas to try to improve that.

Kindest regards,

Christopher
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Re: Jazzmaster Vibrato System

Postby Gatwick1946 » 17 Jan 2024, 17:58

Hi Jim and Andres,

Another bit of advice I need:-

The action on the top E string is a touch too low up above the 12th fret. There is no height adjustment for individual strings, so it means raising one end of the bridge by a tiny amount. The bridge sits on two metal posts which are hollow. I can’t make out if they are meant to take a hex or Allen key. The key that fits the hole may be just turning in the hole and not changing the bridge height.

I am wondering if one is meant to take off the strings, and then somehow screw or unscrew the posts on which the bridge sits? I have managed to effect a temporary fix by wedging a small piece of metal, out of sight, under the bridge.(shades of Hank B Marvin putting pieces of cigarette card in the slots of the nut on his original Stratocaster????).

Otherwise I am really enjoying getting to grips with the jazzmaster’s controls. Of course the first thing I do is try to get a Strat type tone, which I have got close to using the controls on the guitar, plus my amp and delay unit.

Andres:- I like the tone which Bob Bogle displays on the first Ventures albums, (before Nokie took over on lead guitar), very dry with a touch of studio reverb and judicious use of the vibrato arm. I been viewing some postings on Utube, from the nineties and naughties of the Ventures on stage and it was interesting to see how Bob plays with the vibrato arm tucked under the 3rd and 4th fingers, or sometimes releasing it and then reaching to give it a little tweak. Nokie and later, Gerry McGee were great country pickers and all-rounders, but a bit above my skills!

Kindest regards,
Christopher
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Re: Jazzmaster Vibrato System

Postby JimN » 17 Jan 2024, 20:10

I don't understand.

The bridge on the Jazzmaster and Jaguar most certainly is adjustable for string height on each individual string.

Adjustment is effected by turning the Allen screw on each side of each saddle.

Is your guitar fitted with some sort of non-standard bridge?
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Re: Jazzmaster Vibrato System

Postby Gatwick1946 » 21 Jan 2024, 14:27

You're right Jim, must be a non-standard bridge. The individual saddles have a screw and spring which go through the back of the bridge, and are to adjust the intonation. But the saddles lack the screws either side of the slot for the string, which are for height adjustment. (as on the vintage style Stratocaster bridge).

The whole bridge sits on two posts, one at each end, which raise the bridge a few mm above the body. It may be that the height adjustment has to be done prior to fitting the strings. I will doubtless work it out in due course.

I have heard of Jazzmasters being fitted with a Mustang bridge, either as standard, or maybe only as a later modification by the owner. I will search on-line to see if I can get a good close-up photo of a Mustang bridge. A guy named David Niles has done a few youtube reviews of various Jazzmaster models. I may see if he can help.

PS my guitar is a new Squire Classic Vibe Jazzmaster. (not the J. Mascis version).

Kindest regards,
Christopher
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Re: Jazzmaster Vibrato System

Postby Gatwick1946 » 21 Jan 2024, 14:48

Found the answer. It is a Mustang style bridge and it is necessary to remove the bridge from the guitar. On the bottom of the bridge posts are threaded screw which adjust the height. But....the bridge may reduce in height over time, and some people, to avoid regular adjustments, have resorted to applying glue to the screws.

Kindest regards,
Christopher
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Re: Jazzmaster Vibrato System

Postby JimN » 21 Jan 2024, 15:29

On a Mustang, as on a Jaguar, Jazzmaster or Bass VI, it isn't necessary to remove the bridge in order to adjust the overall height of the bridge (and thereby, the action).

The screw which controls the height inside the steel "thimble" at either end of the bridge can be adjusted by use of an Allen key inserted from above. That is part of the design.

Although adjustment would be easier with the strings slackened, I've always found it possible to make the adjustment with the instrument in tune. At the moment, I don't have a Jag or Jazzmaster with the "correct" bridge. My Fender J Mascis Jazzmaster (which I bought from David Martin some years ago) has a Tuneomatic bridge (that's part of the J Mascis spec). But I do have my Fender Bass VI, which can be adjusted as described above. When I had a Jaguar and a '62 reissue Jazzmaster, so could they.
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