Other Guitars

NGD: Squier VM Jazzmaster

1

I’ve always wanted a Jazzmaster as many of my guitar heroes play them... Robert Smith, Nels Cline, Pops Staples, Luther Perkins...

However, this has to be the most intimidating model Fender has ever made. Toggles and switches everywhere. Debate about the bridge. And so many models that deviate from the classic design.

Lo and behold, while passing through a small town, I checked Craigslist and saw a Squier VM Jazzmaster listed for $140. A quick online check revealed that this model is pretty well regarded and adheres to the original design. At the price point, I figured I couldn’t go wrong and it would be a low risk trial of a Jazzmaster.

I now have the guitar and am having a lot of fun with it. The neck is very comfortable and it sounds how I think a Jazzmaster should sound. A few months ago I played an American Professional and didn’t like the feel of the neck. Too chunky for my taste. This one is wide but relatively slim, so it plays pretty fast while having good string separation.

I have never had a non-US made Fender before and I must say I am pretty impressed. The price point is pretty crazy.

The one beef I have is with the electronics. The toggle switch has fallen apart twice already. Looks like I’m going to have to replace that. I see Allparts has a full replacement kit for all the electronics, so I may just go with that.

All in all, I’m pretty happy with his introduction to the world of Jazzmasters.

2

Congratulations!

Yeah you found the weakness of Squires which are the electronics. At least the pickups are providing the sound you want.

3

Congrats on your Jazzmaster!

I bought this used VM Tele Deluxe last year, and have been pleasantly surprised at the value for the money

4

Congrats! Grabbed a new Squier Jag for $250 a couple years ago, and like it a lot more than I thought I might.

5

That’s a perfect strap for your Jag. Looks great!

6

Congratulations!

Yeah you found the weakness of Squires which are the electronics. At least the pickups are providing the sound you want.

– BuddyHollywood

The electronics should be cheap to replace. Pickups, etc will begin to push the cost of this guitar, though. A pair of Antiquities cost more than the whole guitar... then there are Lollars, etc which are even more. I’ve never modded a guitar before, so this will be interesting...

7

Congrats on your Jazzmaster!

I bought this used VM Tele Deluxe last year, and have been pleasantly surprised at the value for the money

– RichB555

I have that exact Tele on one of my watch lists.

8

The Squiers are a great platform. Much like the Electromatics from Gretsch , though I think Gretsch is more consistent in quality. I love My Squier Tele.

9

That’s a perfect strap for your Jag. Looks great!

– jalexanderdixon

Thanks. It's an Airline brand that I got from Chicago Music Exchange.

Yes, I thought it went perfectly with the Surf Green Jag.

10

great price for a quality fun guitar..the pickups are duncan designed...very decent sounding

trick with jazzmasters and jaguars is in the setup...very easy for the strings to jump the bridge saddles if you use too light a string & don't have it set up correctly

once you take care of that, you can run 9-42's hard and never jump saddles

the jazzmaster basically has the normal switch, volume and tone controls on bottom..and the upper bout has a switch for an alternate volume and tone for the neck pickup only

so it has 2 distinct neck pickup tone options in one guitar..hence the jazzmaster name!!

great deal..enjoy

cheers

ps- toggle switch is weak link..keep it lubed with de-oxit spray...if the plastic knob keeps unscrewing, put some beeswax on the switch threads

11

great price for a quality fun guitar..the pickups are duncan designed...very decent sounding

trick with jazzmasters and jaguars is in the setup...very easy for the strings to jump the bridge saddles if you use too light a string & don't have it set up correctly

once you take care of that, you can run 9-42's hard and never jump saddles

the jazzmaster basically has the normal switch, volume and tone controls on bottom..and the upper bout has a switch for an alternate volume and tone for the neck pickup only

so it has 2 distinct neck pickup tone options in one guitar..hence the jazzmaster name!!

great deal..enjoy

cheers

ps- toggle switch is weak link..keep it lubed with de-oxit spray...if the plastic knob keeps unscrewing, put some beeswax on the switch threads

– neatone

My problem with the toggle is that the internal assembly keeps falling apart. The internal switch falls off the toggle fixing it in one position and leaving the toggle limp. I now have that switch fixed in the bridge pickup position and can use the secondary switches to use the neck pickup. Ordered replacement electronics today so I can get it working more reliably.

I’m a bit torn on setup. I normally play 10-52s (on both my telecaster and 6122-1959), but this guitar seems to have 9s on it. Boy light strings are fun... I’ve read, however, that Jazzmasters should have 12s or even 13s on them. Any thoughts?

12

Congrats on your new to you Squier VM Jazzmaster. First thing, we need pictures or it didn't happen. I have a VM Jaguar that looks just like Telechamp's. These Squiers are really major bang for the buck new and steals at used prices. The Duncan Designed pu's on both the Jag and Jazzmaster are actually quite good and IMO don't need upgrading. The key to these offset guitars is a proper set-up. Here are some set-up tips I picked up from some of the guys over at the Surf Guitar 101 Forum and those guys know their Jazzmasters and Jags. Set the bridge plate flush to the pickguard and use the bridge saddles to set the string height. This will give you more string break angle over the saddles without the strings hitting the bridge plate. The bridge saddles are also prone to migrate down so a bit of clear nail polish on the height adjustment screws helps. I also wrapped electrical tape around the bridge posts to immobilize the rocking function. Purists don't like this, but I like the tuning stability and the trem works fine. You can also increase break angle by shimming the neck pocket. The thinnest pre-cut, angled wood shim from Stew-Mac will work great (didn't need one on my Jag). Use heavier gauge strings. VM Jazzmasters and Jags come stock with 9-42's. Given the shallow string break angle this is problematic on the 25.5" scale Jazzmaster and pure insanity on the 24" scale Jag. I use pure nickel wound 11's on my Jag, however, 10-46's should work fine on the long scale JM but feel free to go heavier if that's your preference. Another Jag/JM problem is the trem arm falling out. There are two simple, easy fixes for this. Wrap a little teflon plumber's tape around the part of the trem arm that goes into the trem. This will hold the trem arm in place and give it a nice smooth feel by taking up any loose play but the tape does eventually wear off and needs replacement. A more permanent fix is to bend a very, very, almost not visible to the naked eye kink in the part of the trem arm that goes into the trem. It really works, the trem arm pops in, won't fall out, no sloppy free play in the arm and rotates easily in or out of the way. I put a little nut sauce, silicone lube, etc on the trem arm end which makes it perfect.

13

When I bought my Squier VM Jaguar I was also 'encouraged' to buy a Mustang bridge which was not prone to rattling. Fine -- except that the Mustang and the Jaguar have fingerboards of different radii and the saddles on the Mustang bridge are not individually height adjustable, so scuppering achieving a consistent low action across the Jaguar fingerboard. I did get round this to some extent by fixing a thin washer under the high and low 'E' saddles. It worked but looked like a bit of a bodge -- which, of course, it was.

Eventually I shimmed the neck, fitted 11-52 strings and went back to the original bridge with a dab of nail varnish on the adjusting screws and a bit of tape around the posts. All sorted.

14

Congrats on your new to you Squier VM Jazzmaster. First thing, we need pictures or it didn't happen. I have a VM Jaguar that looks just like Telechamp's. These Squiers are really major bang for the buck new and steals at used prices. The Duncan Designed pu's on both the Jag and Jazzmaster are actually quite good and IMO don't need upgrading. The key to these offset guitars is a proper set-up. Here are some set-up tips I picked up from some of the guys over at the Surf Guitar 101 Forum and those guys know their Jazzmasters and Jags. Set the bridge plate flush to the pickguard and use the bridge saddles to set the string height. This will give you more string break angle over the saddles without the strings hitting the bridge plate. The bridge saddles are also prone to migrate down so a bit of clear nail polish on the height adjustment screws helps. I also wrapped electrical tape around the bridge posts to immobilize the rocking function. Purists don't like this, but I like the tuning stability and the trem works fine. You can also increase break angle by shimming the neck pocket. The thinnest pre-cut, angled wood shim from Stew-Mac will work great (didn't need one on my Jag). Use heavier gauge strings. VM Jazzmasters and Jags come stock with 9-42's. Given the shallow string break angle this is problematic on the 25.5" scale Jazzmaster and pure insanity on the 24" scale Jag. I use pure nickel wound 11's on my Jag, however, 10-46's should work fine on the long scale JM but feel free to go heavier if that's your preference. Another Jag/JM problem is the trem arm falling out. There are two simple, easy fixes for this. Wrap a little teflon plumber's tape around the part of the trem arm that goes into the trem. This will hold the trem arm in place and give it a nice smooth feel by taking up any loose play but the tape does eventually wear off and needs replacement. A more permanent fix is to bend a very, very, almost not visible to the naked eye kink in the part of the trem arm that goes into the trem. It really works, the trem arm pops in, won't fall out, no sloppy free play in the arm and rotates easily in or out of the way. I put a little nut sauce, silicone lube, etc on the trem arm end which makes it perfect.

– Gretschadelphia

Awesome tips. Thanks so much. I’m leaning towards putting heavy strings on this one. I might go lighter on my Tele for a change now that I have two Fenders.

15

When I bought my Squier VM Jaguar I was also 'encouraged' to buy a Mustang bridge which was not prone to rattling. Fine -- except that the Mustang and the Jaguar have fingerboards of different radii and the saddles on the Mustang bridge are not individually height adjustable, so scuppering achieving a consistent low action across the Jaguar fingerboard. I did get round this to some extent by fixing a thin washer under the high and low 'E' saddles. It worked but looked like a bit of a bodge -- which, of course, it was.

Eventually I shimmed the neck, fitted 11-52 strings and went back to the original bridge with a dab of nail varnish on the adjusting screws and a bit of tape around the posts. All sorted.

– Dave_K

Yeah, I’ve read a lot about the bridge issues and the mismatch encountered when substituting a Mustang bridge. Like with the pickups, a mastery bridge costs more than I paid for the whole guitar. I’m going to work on some of the suggestions you make when I do a setup.

16

I'd recommend replacement of the stock pickups to truly experience the jazzmaster sound. The stock pickups are quite decent for a budge guitar but they sound hotter and harsher than what is normally associated with jazzmasters.

For pickups by far the best bang for your buck are Fender's pure vintage. You can get a set for around $90 at darrenriley.com The boutique brands will not be any better, just different and more expensive.

The weak point of the guitar is the wiring. When ordering pickups get some CTS pots, at least for the bottom volume and tone controls and use better quality wire for all connections.

Jazzmasters come with 1 M pots. Many jazzmaster players use either 500 K or 250 K to tame the pickups. I prefer higher pot values but in the case jazzmasters I think that using lower value pots help a lot (with 250K as in telecasters the pickups will be fine).

There's no need to replace the bridge unless you're a heavy player, so the stock may or may not work for you. I have a Mastery bridge on one of my guitars but in my case it wasn't necessary an improvement, just something different.

I replaced the tremolo on mine with an American reissue but I did it only because I had a spare around. The stock tremolo is not that much inferior in the build quality to be honest.

I also started with a VM Squier to see if I could live with the design. Then I got two more American models and I'm putting together another guitar based on the body shape. The model can be quirky but it is addictive.

17

Saw one on Saturday ,one of the local pawn shops had a VM Jazzmaster in the window ,sonic blue ,looked more green to me, albeit very faded,anywho, needed a good clean and this one was the 5 string model

You'd think they would've put a string on it eh...i just made out the price £249,but i walked away ,maybe i should've tried it.....

I haven't had much luck finding a VM or CV Tele that i like, but have never tried a Jazz/Jag.

18

Thanks for the pickup tips.

I ordered a full wiring kit that includes 1k cts pots. I have never ventured into this territory before so have no idea what different pots might do...


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