2010/2019 Fender Partscaster Jazzmaster Electric Guitar

I'm calling this my "kimchi taco" Jazzmaster. The idea is American but it uses a Fender Mexico neck (2010 "vintage-style" Strat neck) and lightweight body (2019 Player body in buttercream) and a Korean-made Artec mini-humbucker pickup. The pickup's nice in that it's got Alnico II magnets and has adjustable poles and a braided lead, so it's a lot like a Johnny Smith-style pickup in flavor. This is something I "had" to make because a friend traded the neck to me towards work. I can't stand disembodied necks.

The fancy parts come in a Decoboom-made custom pickguard (it's gorgeous) in a '50s-classy "Eames dots" pattern and a US-made Bigsby "Sorkin-style" aluminum bridge. I had to knock the neck angle back a bit to use that bridge but I really wanted it so I could have a steep break angle on the bridge from the vibrato and the more "archtop-ish" feel and sound of its mounting-style.

My main complaint with Jazzmaster bridges is the tiny point of contact the adjusters of the bridge feet make in the "well-cups" of the normal design. It tends to yield a more steely sound and I was trying to get a more jazzy sound out of this guy.

I also cut the whammy's arm down a bit because the Player body moves the tailpiece/whammy unit forward and thus the bar hovered over the pickup when in regular use and I prefer my bars to be closer to the bridge so they're more out of the way and I can easily "sneak-in" and use it without having to push it aside much.

These changes add-up to an instrument that behaves with the comfort of a Jazzmaster in the lap but with more of the handling and sound of a Gibson jazzbox with a Bigsby on it in the right hand. The vibrato effect is still very much the sound/vibe of a normal Jazzmaster unit and it stays in tune just as well, but it's a little more restrained with the different components.

One sneaky extra I added-in is a passive "spring box" unit -- there's a spring under the pickguard that has an old Strat pickup sensing it. This gives "body" sound and an odd, reverb-like effect that one can patch into an amp's second input by using the second jack below the volume knob. I'm still sorting that out, however, and have to tinker with its balance and frequency response before it's ready for primetime.

Work included: a fret level/dress and putting-together of all the components -- plus setup. In the video, one can hear the whammy getting a little rattly -- I padded it and that's gone. I was simply too excited to play it to bother with it for the video clip.

Setup: action is bang-on at hair-over 1/16" EA and 1/16" DGBE at the 12th fret, strung with 52w-11 gauges with a wound G string. The bridge is compensated for wound G and I simply prefer wound G myself, hence that choice. One can get plain-G-compensated tops for this style of Bigsby bridge, however.

Scale length: 25 1/2"
Nut width: 1 11/16"
String spacing at nut: 1 7/16"
String spacing at bridge: 2 1/16"
Body length: 19"
Lower bout width: 13 5/8"
Waist width: 9 1/2"
Upper bout width: 11 1/8"
Side depth: 1 5/8"
Body wood: guessing basswood of some sort as it's light
Neck wood: maple
Fretboard: maple (one-piece w/neck)
Bridge: Bigsby USA "Sorkin"-style
Neck feel: '60s-style medium C with 9.5" board radius, slim-med frets

Condition notes: the neck shows minor usewear throughout but every other component is new and looks it. The pickguard screws are stainless, too.


Phillips said…
Surfs up ...very nice Jake