I have some interesting (to me anyway) projects in the queue. Perhaps I should clarify by saying there are some that are at the top of the queue that are interesting and will be worked on soon. As opposed to projects that are interesting but are so far down the list we won't see them anytime soon.
Anyway, here's the first one.
Issues in any event would be a little moot because I'm going to modify it.
One thing right off the bat: this is a darn well made guitar. I don't know how Fender sells this thing for the street price of $300 U.S and makes any money. I paid less than that, and I think I got a major deal.
The only quibbles I had are with the setup: Fender puts .009 gauge strings on it (way too light IMHO) and it needs a setup. But even needing a setup, it was not unplayable. I'm just a bit picky, and anyway, I love doing set ups.
The guitar features the goofy/crazy/wacky electronics that the original Jazzmaster had at its birth in 1958. The pickups were unlike the Telecaster or Stratocaster. They are thin and wide and sound a bit fatter than a Tele or Strat. And there are actually 2 independent wiring circuits on the guitar that give different tones.
There is a conventional circuit (Fender called it 'lead') with a Gibson-style selector switch on the treble bout that selects the neck, both, or bridge pickups. There are 2 Stratocaster knobs for volume and tone.
The unique part of the Jazzmaster is the 'rhythm' circuit. There is a small slide switch on the upper bout. With the switch down, the guitar is on the 'lead' circuit. With the switch up, only the neck pickup is on, and its volume and tone are controlled by the two roller knobs near the switch. The 'rhythm' circuit is dark and quiet, and sounds 'jazzy.' Fender was aiming at the Gibson market with this guitar for sure. In hindsight, that was wishful thinking. However, Jazzmaster was a hit with surf bands right away and is still a cool, if quirky, guitar today.
The body also is unique - its waists are offset, there is a belly cut and an arm cut. Fender patented this body design, and it is very comfortable sitting or standing. Finally, the tremolo (vibrato) is also unique to the Jazzmaster.
I'm going to swap out the bridge (more on that upcoming) and mod the electronics.
You can see all the play in the mounting, which can let the bridge slip out of alignment. The new bridge I have on order will eliminate a lot of this and should be an improvement.
But we can get a look at the wiring. Hopefully I'll get to tidy this up some. I'm going to shield the pickup cavity to reduce hum, so all of this will be coming out.
I'm going to experiment with some changes to the values of the tone pot and capacitor to hopefully turn the dark circuit into one that can be chimey or dark! Wish me luck.
I stuck a wide screwdriver blade into them and they turned easily. They I just carefully grabbed the thimbles and up they came.
One Jazzmaster bridge thimble removed.
All Posts on the Squier Vintage Modified Jazzmaster Modification Project:Part One: Starting Disassembly (This page)
Part Two: Removing Factory Wiring
Part Three: Shielding
Part Four: Wiring Modifications and Curtis Novak Pickups
Part Five: Neck Inserts and Installing Mastery Bridge
Part Six: Buffalo Bone Nut and Final Setup
Part Seven: Modified VM Jazzmaster Visits the Garden
"Ching" Rhythm Circuit Revisited: 28 April 2014