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Hey there, peeps! My name is Matt and I'm aspiring to be a guitar luthier with my own repair/mod shop. And with a recent Yamaha EG-112C body going out of commission (I was gonna hard tail it permanently but it'd be too much work as of right now), I decided to start from scratch. With a Jazzmaster Body!

I have a lot of things I need to decide and I decided to come to this forum with questions and polls galore to help me decide what I am doing. The neck is 12.75" so it's gonna be a Fender standard scale length. The neck pocket almost fits into a standard Tele neck pocket(but I only tried it in my Squier '51 to check since it uses a Telecaster neck. If I remember correct, the dimension of the heel should be 3" long, but the top of the heel is 2 1/16" wide where the bottom of the heel is 2 3/16" wide. I'll be starting with a 2 piece Alder body from Keim Lumber (they got some pretty good prices on body blanks if you need one). There's going to be a lot of questions since I'll be making a pickguard from scratch. Perhaps someone out there can help. Or multiple people.

 

Question 1: What would be the best bridge choice for this build? I tend to do plenty hard playing, I don't even use a tremolo system, and I bend strings like Becker. If possible, I'd like for it to look as natural to original design as possible. AKA, a bridge that would fit over the pickguard or possibly in a relief pocket that fits into the pickguard. Tune-O-Matic would be the preferred choice, but I've heard you need to shim the slots quite a bit to deal with heavy playing. But I've also considered one piece wraparound bridges.

Question 2: Should I use the old pickups from the old Yamaha? They were 2 single coils in the neck and middle positions from Yamaha or whomever. The bridge would be a humbucker I pulled from the Squier '51 I mentioned earlier. In the future I would consider upgrading to another setup and make a new pickguard for it. The selection of the old parts would only mean getting 2 pickguards and extra copper tape. All the parts from the old setup would be used and if I upgrade, it'd be completely new parts. Speaking of which...

Question 3: What should the new pickup configuration be? I have considered a variety of options including 2 humbuckers, 2 P90s, 2 Jazzmaster pickups (which are just basically single coils in a p90 bobbin from what I read), and also if I should stick a single coil in the middle position and go for a 5 way switch. The possibilities are endless, but costly. Which is why I considered doing the first setup where I recycle the old parts. Maybe upgrading the current setup of HSS with new pickups. But I'm really considering going HSH and going vintage on the pickup selectors (switches and such).

Please tell me what you think and if there's anything I'm missing in design. More upgrades can and will be done in the future including changing the string tree style on the old headstock and upgrading to locking tuners and a StrapLok system.

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  • 4 weeks later...

#1 - I'd play a bunch of different "hard-tail" guitars to find out what bridge you like.  I'm partial to the Bronco/Musicmaster Vista model tailpiece for hardtail myself these days when it comes to offset-style guitars, I tend to find on the Jaguar/Jazzmaster, a bigger baseplate hardtail is better for aesthetics as you will have a nice chunk of wood down there with nothing present.

 

#2 - My experience with Yamaha pickups has been good, I had a Pacifica 112V for a few years that I liked the sound of, I think it had the same pickups (2 alnico 5 single coils in the neck and middle, and a humbucker in the bridge).  I like the sound of the Squier 51 humbucker.  If you are changing pickups, and like resonance, a swimming pool route might do you good with some careful planning.  You could even set it up to where you could upgrade to a full-blown Jazzmaster pickup set later as long as you mind having a "shelf" to screw the pickups into.

 

#3 I'd say consider your sound and what you want to sound like.  ​Jazzmaster pickups are not single coils in a P90 bobbin though, they are more like squashed-flat Stratocaster pickups.  The sound is typically very sizzling in the treble department, almost acoustic-like, with a warm low, and they are very good at cleans, and backed off or with 500K> pots can get near P-90 territory.

 

If you do HSH, you likely won't like the result of the pickup selection using default Jazzmaster switch.   You will want to use a 5-way switch at least, or 3 individual switches like a Jaguar (one for each pickup).  If you want coil tapping the 2nd option is the cleanest and more logical in layout.

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