What the heck do I want?

exalted

Senior member
Messages
723
BEGIN USELESS BACKSTORY

Hey all.

I've been playing electric guitar for a little over 8 years. 6 of that 8 was on a cheapie Cort Strat knockoff. It eventually took a turn for the worst, and I got a Schecter Hellcat (basically, a Jazzmaster copy with no tremelo. It had a TOM brdige and string-through body. And to note, it wasn't the Hellcat VI).

I enjoyed the Cort well enough, and LOVED the Hellcat.

Last week all my gear was stolen, so I need a new guitar. Why not just track down and buy a new Hellcat, you ask? Well, because they don't make them anymore (currently, they just make the Hellcat VI), and even if I managed to find one...I'm a southpaw.  :sad: That Hellcat wasn't one of a kind, but it may as well have been.

So I was thinking about buying a real Jazzmaster. Southpawguitars.com is importing some '66 reissue JM's from Japan for $1,300. I found an eBay seller with the same guitar for 1100, but Microsoft has a promotion where you can get 30% cash back on anything you buy from eBay, so it'd end up running about $750. Seemed like a good choice, until I went down to the local Guitar Center and actually tried to play one of their right-handed Jazzmasters. It's VERY tough to tell as a lefty, but it just didn't feel 'right' (the horrible buzz and vintage-feeling neck were my primary source of ire)...so here I am, wondering if I can build something even better than my Hellcat.

END OF USELESS BACK STORY

I really like the aesthetic style of the Jazzmaster. I play alternative/goth/trip-hop kind of stuff (low key, lots of mid-range playing, minimal solos, etc). I've never been a big fan of tremelo arms, but I'm very intrigued by the idea of having access to the 3rd Bridge. Does the JM trem setup kill the tuning on the guitar? I'm thinking it might be better to stick with a TOM if I won't use the trem/3rd bridge that often...but what do you guys think?

Also, another important question...should I even spend 1100+ on a Warmoth, if I can get a made in Japan JM for 750? I assume I'd get a better quality instrument from Warmoth, right? Actually, I have two humbuckers sitting around I could use instead of the vintage soapbar pickups...a DiMarzio PAF and Super Distortion (2?). I guess that would pull the price down to 900ish for the Warmoth....but would those pickups kill the Jazzmaster vibe?

And if I had Warmoth paint the body and finish the neck, would I only have to put it together and wire it up? I'm not too much of a handyman, and don't want to mess with any finishing products.

What would be your guys' wood recommendations? I was thinking about going with 'Candy Tangerine' with a racing stripe...something very unusual.  :icon_biggrin: At any rate, that means the appearance of the wood wouldn't really matter...just its timbre.

So the bottom line? I'm sort of all over the place. I haven't played many different guitars, so I don't know what I necessarily like or want. For some reason, the MIM Strats and Epiphone LP's that make up the entirety of the left-handed section of most music stores don't really interest me...(I wonder why.)

What are your thoughts?

oh, and by the way, here is a picture of what my Hellcat looked like:

hellcat_blk.jpg

 

tfarny

Senior member
Messages
4,481
Your question seems to be: Is a leftie Warmoth jazzmaster a cool guitar and a good deal for around a grand? Answer: hells yeah, especially considering the selection you lefties usually have.
Candy tangerine and a hardtail? Wicked.
I'd get a recessed TOM, that would probably be a great bridge for that build. Nobody seems to like the JM bridge, it's been described as Fender's worst design.
Poplar if you want to save $$ and are going with a solid finish.
You could use those pickups but it may be pretty far from the sound you're after. I'd highly recommend Lollar P90s for the kind of sound I think you're talking about. Hmm... three P90s  perhaps? Different winds on each so you get a nice range of sounds?
I suggest an exotic, no-finish neck. They feel great and no need to paint it, so the extra cost is recouped in the finishing department.  Padouk? All-rosewood? All-Pao Ferro?  hmmm..
If you have Warmoth do the painting, it's just a matter of soldering, a bit of drilling, and some screwing (the best part). Setting up the guitar properly so that it plays like a dream involves skills and usually a few specialized tools, but you should learn how to do that yourself anyhow.
    If you do build it, you must return and post pictures. We love pictures....
 

exalted

Senior member
Messages
723
Thanks for the response!

Yeah, that was the gist of my question. :)

What do you all think about this mock-up?

abmbdy.jpg


Too loud?  :laughing7:
 

jimh

Senior member
Messages
1,344
Welcome,

Personally I'd lose the stripe, and go with tfarny's P90s idea. (but that's beauty of Warmoth,  it's your guitar ! ! !)

All else being equal, this could turn into a killer build.

Go for it.....
 

kboman

Senior member
Messages
2,378
I'd do a white racing stripe (you must keep the stripe!) and white or white pearl pickguard: mint or any off-white would look too... off against the tangerine. Maybe a bubinga neck?
Pickups, hmm - I agree with the 3 x P90 idea, with 3 x minihumbucker as an option if you liked that in your Hellcat.

And that staggered string-through looks wicked! I'd spend an hour of two with a few vibrato-equipped guitars at a store if I were you, to see how it felt - if unessential, leave it for another build.
 

blue313

Senior member
Messages
2,824
Humbuckers aren't really the Jazzmaster's style.   Don't get me wrong, the pickups you have are decent, but I tend to agree with these guys and would lean toward P-90's if you're going for Jazzmaster vibe.   I also give a big +1 to the recessed TOM.

Did your Hellcat have single coils or the SD DD-MH102's?  I guess I'm curious if you're really after the surf guitar sound of a Jazzmaster (which is what you'll get if you opt for that reissue) or something different.  The Dimarzio SD is quite different.
 

exalted

Senior member
Messages
723
Thanks for the input, all!

I think I may change the color of the stripe or the pickguard to white(ish). Not sure which, but probably not both.

As for the pickups/wiring, three p-90's sure does sound sweet.

I was thinking of doing a Jaguar-type control layout, with the three switches on the small horn, one turning each pickup on/off. How would that work out? I don't switch pickups much while I'm playing (though maybe I could put in some kind of override on the big horn that switches to a certain configuration??) And since Warmoth doesn't offer a Jazzmaster pickguard with that kind of configuration, how would I go about adding those three switches?
 

mayfly

Senior member
Messages
8,224
Regarding the pickups - Go Lollar p90's as other folks have suggested.  They are the cats ass.

Regarding the extra holes in the pickguard - why not just drill them where you want them?
 

exalted

Senior member
Messages
723
mayfly said:
Regarding the extra holes in the pickguard - why not just drill them where you want them?

I'm not too handy, and I don't have many tools. I was actually thinking about paying a luthier to wire it up, so if adding those holes wouldn't be too big of a deal, maybe I can pay him to do that, as well.
 

tfarny

Senior member
Messages
4,481
I think they can put a 5-way on the upper horn - that would be a lot simpler and cleaner way to get a variety of sounds. I never liked all those switches on Jags and JM - feels like a computer in a 50s scifi movie or something. Clunky. Just an opinion. Honestly, if you don't have a hand drill and are not comfortable drilling holes correctly in an expensive piece of wood, you need to pay somebody to assemble it, or teach yourself on scrap wood. Drilling holes in a pickguard is a lot lower-stakes than drilling strap button holes or tuner screw holes.
Stripe - eh, I could take it or leave it. But it needs white pearl or something flash for the tangerine.
Lollar P90s are amazing pickups.
 

blue313

Senior member
Messages
2,824
I remember Elvis Costello saying that he liked the individual switches for versatility.....but had a problem with the bridge pickup getting switched off at some really bad times.  He eventually taped his down.  :laughing7:

It would all depend on your style and switch choice though. YMMV
 

jackthehack

Senior member
Messages
5,630
I don't care for the colors of your mockup; if you're going to do a Warmoth, might as well buy some PRETTY wood you wouldn't see on an original and let it show...

If you want to go three PUs, regardless if they're HBs or P90 (I'd go P90s on a Jmaster) I'd recommend this circuit, you really wind up with the most flexibility of using all three PUs:

wdu_hhh3t22_01
 

exalted

Senior member
Messages
723
Thanks for the diagram. I was actually going to ask about wiring options. If that's just a three-way selector, doesn't that mean I would only be able to use one pickup at a time?

I know the colors on my mockup are pretty tasteless, but I'm a pretty tasteless kind of guy. I wanted to get something totally ridiculous and otherwise impossible to find as a lefty. Warmoth just happens to be the ideal path there, since no manufacturers are willing to make bold left-handed models.

On the other hand, though, I could do transparent tangerine. Hmm...

A few questions about the Lollar P-90's...since they're a single coil, are they pretty prone to buzzing/humming? Also, where would I find chrome covers for them? lollarguitars.com seems to only offer them in black and creme.

Also, I was pondering maybe going with P-90 - mini humbucker - P-90. Is that too crazy and/or useless?
 
R

runner

Guest
Where/how did you make that mockup image?  I've seen a few mockups and I wondered how you did that.  Is there something on Warmoth's web site?  If there is, I couldn't find it.

--
Andy
 

tfarny

Senior member
Messages
4,481
P90s buzz like any single coil, strat, tele, JM, whatever. Chrome covers are unusual for them - black or creme was always the standard. You could certainly troll the intertubes and find some chrome ones I'm sure. If you don't know what they sound like, get your rear end down to a good shop and try some out!
p90-mini-p90 could be cool, nothing wrong with that. minis fit in a HB rout, so you could always change it up later on if you're not happy with your initial choice.
That diagram is just one of the ways you could wire it up - you can basically do any wiring you want to do, none of it is all that complicated.
 
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