JAZZMASTER BASS IV BUILD

Building, Modding, Setup and Repair
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BOSS302BASS
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JAZZMASTER BASS IV BUILD

Post by BOSS302BASS » 30 Jul 2017, 15:24

Jazzmasters are in my opinion very sexy and growse...and I stupidly sold my 67 Jazzmaster to a friend about a year ago. It'll take me another 10 years to save for another 60's JM, so meanwhile I can only console myself with my final project for 2017 - a Jazzmaster Bass. A few years ago I got into making some variants on the original Jazzmaster, producing a baritone JM out of 250 year old barn pine from salvaged wood out of Seattle, and a JM Bass VI from the same wood. Both turned out real nice, but I never play either of them live any more, so I figured it would be great to turn my last blank - a one piece slab of Tasmanian Huon Pine into a four string 34" scale Jazzmaster Bass.
From the Offset Guitars forum I scored a wiring diagram to modify Jm's for series/parallel and wow is that a cool mod - both of the aforementioned JM builds are wired that way, so this new build will be wired the same.
A set of vintage 73 Jazz Bass pickups will go into this build, and it's gonna be Ferrari Red. The neck will be a mid-60's B width carved out of maple with the leftover Indian rosewood fretboard from the Spitfire build - 1/8" veneered board of course finished with pearloid dots and no binding. And my last spare set of 66-69 lollipop tuners to top it off.
As long as Dr. Bass doesn't keep distracting me with shoving his magnificent 5 and 6 string builds in my face to test-drive, this should be done before mid-August...

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SO here's the blank cut out, neck pocket done and edges rolled. This piece of Huon I purchased around 2007, it's a one piece slab and is now dry as a bone.

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Here you can see the template linework, which I drew on it a long time ago. I got a very nice set of perspex templates form Mr. Paul Rhoney, guitar building guru from Portland Oregon. man can he build cool guitars. There are a number of mathematical and placement issues to consider here - the main one being can I fit the Jazz Bass pickups in and around the Jazzmaster planshape?

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And the neck drawn out on a nice piece from David Searle's massive stockpile of maple. Tight grain, should produce sweet bass tones. I've gone for a late 60's JM headstock feel.

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With the big router and Paul's templates. The Americans like making templates to suit router bits to depth with a top-mounted follow bearing...PITA...so the cavities have ended up being 2mm in with the MSGM router setups. No biggie...so much space in the bottom cavity of a JM.

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And here it is all routed with all wiring tunnels drilled. Now to finesand...

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And here it is in the paintbooth after the painstaking process of finessing the body down to 240 grit.
If you ever have the chance to build in Huon, do it - it carves like butter and smells incredible as you work it.
The weight on this body is down in vintage alder featherweight zone, courtesy of those massive routs and the Huon's 10 year indoor seasoning.

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Now who WOULDN'T want an axe in this color scheme? Mark from Spitfire Tort in LA has baked me a pickguard which should arrive tomorrow. I'll need to shave a little off of the bridge side of the guard to give the bridge pickup visual breathing space, and rout the neck pickup hole out of it, as I was unsure until a day or two ago exactly where both pickups were going to be positioned. With the help of Onehandclapping and Veebass and Dazz from Bass Centre, I ended up going with the measurements off of a MIM 60's Road Worn J Bass. Being vintage Jazz Bass pickup placement specs, that's exactly what I wanted. Different to the Fender Jaguar Bass, which has its bridge pickup way too close to the bridge, giving it in my opinion much too honky/nasal sound.

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And this is what started my JM journey - the baritone build. Complete with a set of JM pickups and tort pickguard ripped from a parted out 1959 JM, it sounds sweet. Those old JM pickups are absolutely ridiculous!

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And the JM VI Bass. More salvaged vintage JM bits and pieces - 1978 NOS pickups from the son of Fender dealership store owner in London, and a guard from a 1960 JM from a notorious JM wrecker in Scotland...

It has been an absolute blast working in the Melbourne School of Guitar Making's workshop over the last 9 months or so - I have made many new friends, gained two Senseis in Robert Pryke and David Searle, and got to witness and test-drive many incredible instruments put out by many of their students often literally minutes after they have been completed. As I mentioned earlier, the mad MX-5 driving, musical scientist known to you all as Dr. Bass is regularly blowing everyone's minds with his builds, Ivan is working on two very cool looking basses right now, Robert Pryke finished his double neck sensation earlier in the week and I got to jam on that as soon as it was done, Chris Stark is another local legend who is on the verge of finishing a very nice looking Les Paul Junior, Colin Meagher is constantly cooking up amazing and innovative bass and guitar designs - it's a ripper place to hang out, get your Man-Cave on and produce those instruments you normally only ever dream about having.

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narcdor
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Re: JAZZMASTER BASS IV BUILD

Post by narcdor » 30 Jul 2017, 16:43

This is looking fantastic! I've been thinking a JM baritone next...
BOSS302BASS wrote:
30 Jul 2017, 15:24
The Americans like making templates to suit router bits to depth with a top-mounted follow bearing...PITA...so the cavities have ended up being 2mm in with the MSGM router setups.
So this is in contrast with the plunge router with collar MSGM uses? Good to know for future template purchasing.
Basses: Custom, Fender, Nash, Framus
Amps: O'Neill/Aguilar > MarkBass
FX: Aguilar

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Classic5
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Re: JAZZMASTER BASS IV BUILD

Post by Classic5 » 30 Jul 2017, 19:13

What was that Drew........"Final project for 2017"…… :lol:

Nice one :thumbup:
Xotic XJ-1T 5,Yamaha BB1024X, Ibanez SRF700 Fretless
Glockenklang Blue Soul, Glockenklang Double, TecAmp Puma 112 Combo
"The fact that there's a highway to Hell and only a stairway to Heaven says a lot about anticipated traffic...."

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drbass
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Re: JAZZMASTER BASS IV BUILD

Post by drbass » 30 Jul 2017, 21:33

Nice work, Drew,

You really stepped on the gas going from timber to spray booth in one day ;) . Nice touch leaving Ivan's grain contrast sample in that pic.

Will be a shame to see you go, you always have a story, and you are (full of) a character. Anyway, not quite yet so looking forward to a few more sessions, and I'll have a few more builds done soon to slow you down a little.

Regards,
Michael
- Kermit 6 fanned, Manta 5, ME1/5, S2-5, (Thumb-4), 765-5
- Genzler Magellan 800, 2 Genzler BA12-3
- EBS OctaBass, Zoom B3, Line6 G50

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BOSS302BASS
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Re: JAZZMASTER BASS IV BUILD

Post by BOSS302BASS » 30 Jul 2017, 22:24

narcdor wrote:
30 Jul 2017, 16:43
This is looking fantastic! I've been thinking a JM baritone next...
BOSS302BASS wrote:
30 Jul 2017, 15:24
The Americans like making templates to suit router bits to depth with a top-mounted follow bearing...PITA...so the cavities have ended up being 2mm in with the MSGM router setups.
So this is in contrast with the plunge router with collar MSGM uses? Good to know for future template purchasing.
Yep. All MSGM's templates are set up for plunge with collar. Makes sense. Hogging out large masses of wood for depth-specific top-follow bits to do the final finish-work is tedious and time consuming.

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BOSS302BASS
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Re: JAZZMASTER BASS IV BUILD

Post by BOSS302BASS » 04 Aug 2017, 17:47

OK - so the body is painted in David's special can of Ferrari Red after a nice white undercoat. Holy Shirt, it's a great red. Like seriously...it's a REALLY great red.
I got the neck out of the clamps on Wednesday and finished the headstock and got the fretboard edges flush with the maple. All going to plan...pics next week - I forgot my phone on Wednesday.
But I'm starting to brood on the final fit-out. I think I'm gonna have to make a bridge out of brass...and it may involve some MATHS - and putting the strings through the body.
In the shape of the classic JM/Jag tremolo unit. It's what Fender should have done when they issued the Jaguar Bass instead of just plonking a stock P/J bridge on there. Now - don't get me wrong - P/J stock bridges are the best thing ever - nice and light, very sturdy, very basic, and not too much mass like them awful Badass Boat Anchors which basically turn your bass tone into that of a stainless steel sink (sorry BadAss fans, but it's how I feel about those things) Off to George White on Monday for a small slice of 1.5mm brass! And I hope my nickel platers opposite Moorabbin Airport are still in business...

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Classic5
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Re: JAZZMASTER BASS IV BUILD

Post by Classic5 » 04 Aug 2017, 21:09

Mental note........must have a good look at that red when next at the workshop :yep
Xotic XJ-1T 5,Yamaha BB1024X, Ibanez SRF700 Fretless
Glockenklang Blue Soul, Glockenklang Double, TecAmp Puma 112 Combo
"The fact that there's a highway to Hell and only a stairway to Heaven says a lot about anticipated traffic...."

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BOSS302BASS
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Re: JAZZMASTER BASS IV BUILD

Post by BOSS302BASS » 12 Aug 2017, 19:27

Well today was a good day...
Pickguard modded for the project - I had to rout the neck pickup space in the guard and also rout the neck pocket. It came from Mark at Spitfire with no pickup space routed as I was still unsure exactly where it was going to go. And the neck pocket of course was cut by Mark for a Jazzmaster guitar. But before doing that I had to add an extra rout for the wiring to the top bout switchbay - stoopidly drilled a tunnel between that switchbay and the neck pickup rout - but of course with a Jazzmaster you need all the wiring attached to the pickguard for easy access...
SO got that out of the way while the maestro, David Searle saved me a shipload of time by hand-cutting the fret slots for me - a tedious and high stress task as with only a 3mm veneer fretboard, you just can't bung the neck in the fret slotting jig and go flat sawing the slots. You literally have to hand-cut them to the exact depth (2mm) in the exact 7.25" radius. He makes it look easy, knocking the job over in well under an hour.
Which then led to frets - this neck I wanted to leave the fret tangs visible in the side of the board as per Fender's age-old method. What a great move that was too, since it knocks about two hours off the fretting process! You literally run the fret wire through the bender for a slightly tighter than 7.25" radius, grab the length, hang it over by 3mm on one side of the board, bang it in across the fretboard and then get you flushcut sidecutters and nip the length off flush on both ends. Had the whole lot done in about 20 minutes! Sweeeet...
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So here's the guard routed and modded, with the neck in place and pickups test-fitted. Look at those lovely fret slots. Thank you Sensei!

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So I made a JM style bridge out of brass on Thursday night and it looked terrible. I really messed with the tremolo plate profile and just blew it. I'm thinking I'll stick to the original plan of my 64 P Bass bridge and a giant motherfunkin' J Bass ashtray...everyone in the workshop approved of the Cadillac bumperbar on the test-fit.

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Look at them sexy period-correct Pearloid dots...

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Super fast Fender-style fret whacking in process. 20 frets in 20 minutes!

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Carving the neck. Getting much quicker at this bizzo now, too. Had it spoke-shaved and filed into rough shape in an hour. (First neck I carved took 4 hours)

Next process will be to wet-sand the body - with 5 coats of red and two coats of clear, the Huon grain still stands proud - which is rather a stunning subtle detail, so a light wet-sanding starting at 1200 and then a very light buffing to bring up a bit of shine should suffice. Since as usual there are a lot of recycled parts going into this build, a high gloss shine is not really desirable.
I have 14 days to finish it before the album launch on Aug 26. Easy...

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narcdor
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Re: JAZZMASTER BASS IV BUILD

Post by narcdor » 12 Aug 2017, 19:41

Loverly. I can attest to hand slotting being extremely nerve wracking! The jig is so much easier I don't know if I could do it by hand again.
Basses: Custom, Fender, Nash, Framus
Amps: O'Neill/Aguilar > MarkBass
FX: Aguilar

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drbass
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Re: JAZZMASTER BASS IV BUILD

Post by drbass » 12 Aug 2017, 20:00

Great work, Drew.

Yes, handcutting is not a lot of fun (Kermit taught me that, times 25 - zero fret :) ), much easier with the jig.

Neck in 4 hours? That is something I can only dream of, pretty sure it takes me about double that ... .

Should be in next Friday, looking forward to seeing this in person.

Regards,
Michael
- Kermit 6 fanned, Manta 5, ME1/5, S2-5, (Thumb-4), 765-5
- Genzler Magellan 800, 2 Genzler BA12-3
- EBS OctaBass, Zoom B3, Line6 G50

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BOSS302BASS
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Re: JAZZMASTER BASS IV BUILD

Post by BOSS302BASS » 12 Aug 2017, 22:38

drbass wrote:
12 Aug 2017, 20:00
Great work, Drew.

Yes, handcutting is not a lot of fun (Kermit taught me that, times 25 - zero fret :) ), much easier with the jig.

Neck in 4 hours? That is something I can only dream of, pretty sure it takes me about double that ... .

Should be in next Friday, looking forward to seeing this in person.

Regards,
Michael
Well Michael the Fender bass family is literally the pickup truck of instruments. It's why I choose to build in their tradition - it is easy and I think that probably the most difficult part of building a Fender style bass is fret slotting on a veneer board.
It's why I always admire the dedication to intricacy in what you do - and the outcomes which are always a sonic pleasure and player-friendly experience.

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Classic5
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Re: JAZZMASTER BASS IV BUILD

Post by Classic5 » 12 Aug 2017, 23:36

Love everything about it Drew. Great work :cool:
Xotic XJ-1T 5,Yamaha BB1024X, Ibanez SRF700 Fretless
Glockenklang Blue Soul, Glockenklang Double, TecAmp Puma 112 Combo
"The fact that there's a highway to Hell and only a stairway to Heaven says a lot about anticipated traffic...."

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drbass
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Re: JAZZMASTER BASS IV BUILD

Post by drbass » 13 Aug 2017, 08:37

BOSS302BASS wrote:
12 Aug 2017, 22:38
drbass wrote:
12 Aug 2017, 20:00
Great work, Drew.

Yes, handcutting is not a lot of fun (Kermit taught me that, times 25 - zero fret :) ), much easier with the jig.

Neck in 4 hours? That is something I can only dream of, pretty sure it takes me about double that ... .

Should be in next Friday, looking forward to seeing this in person.

Regards,
Michael
Well Michael the Fender bass family is literally the pickup truck of instruments. It's why I choose to build in their tradition - it is easy and I think that probably the most difficult part of building a Fender style bass is fret slotting on a veneer board.
It's why I always admire the dedication to intricacy in what you do - and the outcomes which are always a sonic pleasure and player-friendly experience.
Clearly underselling yourself there, Drew!

But once again you highlight the beauty of the "School" - David and Rob are open to and encourage anything and make it work. That's what I love about the place (and of course the whole "shed" experience).

Regards,
Michael
- Kermit 6 fanned, Manta 5, ME1/5, S2-5, (Thumb-4), 765-5
- Genzler Magellan 800, 2 Genzler BA12-3
- EBS OctaBass, Zoom B3, Line6 G50

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BOSS302BASS
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Joined: 29 Dec 2008, 13:40

Re: JAZZMASTER BASS IV BUILD

Post by BOSS302BASS » 18 Aug 2017, 16:45

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So I can't do the mythical 1965 Jazzmaster Bass without staying true to the build techniques of the day...
0.6mm aluminum sheet - minimum size from suppliers - 600x1200! Anyone want some - I have a lot left over. At $11:00 it didn't break the project budget.

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"Shrinkage - it's shrinkage!" - George Costanza...

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Neck is done - my most consistent carve yet. Feels good.
What's left to do? Not much - hog out the spaces and holes in the aluminum shield, cut the brass cavity shields, paint the neck, apply decals, dig up the series/parallel diagram from 7 years ago, cut the nut, wire it up, fire it up.
Tomorrow will be a busy day...

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drbass
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Re: JAZZMASTER BASS IV BUILD

Post by drbass » 18 Aug 2017, 17:00

No use for the alu but catch you tomorrow, Drew. I should have something ot fire up as well.

Regards,
Michael
- Kermit 6 fanned, Manta 5, ME1/5, S2-5, (Thumb-4), 765-5
- Genzler Magellan 800, 2 Genzler BA12-3
- EBS OctaBass, Zoom B3, Line6 G50

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