Jazzmaster Update: Fine Tuning

It’s been a couple months since I built the Jazzmaster, and after playing at a band practice and having more time to use it, I found that there were some sticking points I wanted to change. One was the bridge. I was not a fan of the stock JM bridge—too loose, and to quirky. Not to mention, first time I used it at practice, one of the saddle screws fell out. So I did a lot of reading, and after thinking about it, I decided to go full force: Buzz Stop, Mustang Bridge, and going from 10s to 11s on the strings.

Last night I finally got some time to make the changes, and I have to say what a huge improve it is. The increased string tension from the buzz stop not only helps the strings stay in place, but it makes the guitar have more sustain and a little harder edge. I like the feel more than the stock Jazzmaster bridge, too, which felt too slinky for my tastes. I know that’s part of the appeal of Jazzmasters, but for me it turned out to be somewhat of a drawback.

The Mustang bridge is awesome at keeping the strings in place, and also matches the neck perfectly.

And finally, the 11s are really nice. A harder edge on distortion and sharper tones. Couple all of the above with raising the pickguards and the guitar has an overall more rock sound, without losing the Jazzmaster clangy/jangly tones.

I also upgraded the nut to a pre-slotted graphtech and that also helped with the intonation and action height.

My next task will be to open it up and check the grounding, as well as applying some shielding paint to the cavities, and also copper shielding paint to the back of the pickguard. A few photos below:

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