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Most Jazzmaster lovers will concede that the classic Fender offset’s stock bridge is something of a bête noire when used with modern strings. HUW PRICE tackles the installation of a Mastery unit and shows you how to wire up your controls and keep hum to a minimum…

Jazzmaster bridge & wiring WORKSHOP

Jazzmasters are nothing if not eccentric beasts, and that presents certain unique challenges if you want to mod, repair or restore one of your own. The most common worry for those of us tackling Jazzmaster restorations and repairs is the bridge, but it doesn’t have to be. Don’t worry if you have no interest in Jazzmasters and their potentially troublesome hardware, either – you’ll find this advice applicable to Jaguars and Bigsby-equipped Teles, too.

The other issue that often plagues Jazzmasters, and singlecoil guitars in general, is hum – so we’re also going to look at how to shield your internals to keep the noise down, and also how to wire up the controls themselves.

Mastering The Bridge

In 1958, Fender began using threaded saddles on some of their guitars – Telecasters got them, along with the new Jazzmaster model. The idea behind this was that the multi-grooved design would allow players to set their own string spacing – and with a nice steep break angle over the saddle they work well enough. However, the Jazzmaster’s break angle is slightly too shallow, and the grooves on the saddles are not deep enough to prevent strings from jumping out.

This wouldn’t have been an issue for jazz players with heavy flatwound strings, which as the name suggests were the target audience for the Jazzmaster. However, it never really caught on with jazzers, and the surfers, garage-rockers and noiseniks who took the instrument to heart have generally had to retro-fit a Mustang bridge as a drop-in replacement. It’s not a perfect one – Jazzmaster and Mustang bridges are known to rattle, and if you don’t get your neck angle right, the strings can buzz against the rear plate of the bridge.

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About Guitar Magazine

The August 2017 edition of the UK’s most affordable and most in-depth guitar magazine is on sale now! You might notice a slightly different name on the cover this month, but inside you’ll find your regular monthly fix of the best gear reviews in the business, DIY tutorials, tone and playing tips, artist interviews, breathtaking photography of vintage instruments and whole lot more besides. This month there’s a feast for Fender offset fans as we offer pro set-up tips, show you how to upgrade your Jaguar or Jazzmaster and find out if Fender’s new American Professional series has finally delivered offsets for the masses. Elsewhere, we interview Joe Bonamassa, Darrel Higham, Joanne Shaw Taylor and Paul Gilbert, pay a visit to Norman’s Rare Guitars in Los Angeles, delve into the snake-oil surrounding tonewoods and give you the chance to win a Shergold electric worth a whopping £835.