My Modern Player Jazzmaster "modding project" thread

Talk about modding or building your own guitar from scratch.
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matarroano
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My Modern Player Jazzmaster "modding project" thread

Post by matarroano » Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:14 am

Hi everyone!

I plan to do a MAJOR MAKEOVER of my MIC Modern Player Jazzmaster. I want to make this a "project" of mine, a challenge and a hobby. I'm looking forward to learn and discover a lot from it... Reading, "posting", YouTube'ing and experimenting... This is a work in progress, without a deadline.

This guitar, which I really really like, will be a "guinea pig" and my first proper go at a guitar's guts, its electronics and also my first "advanced setup" work.

All DIY!! This time, I refuse to hand it to an "experienced guitar tech" and rather want to learn how to do it myself and experiment, until I get fully autonomous.. Close enough, that is.... : )

This is my (current) work plan:

1. Shielding.

2. Re-do all wiring. with better quality (?) components. My first wiring job. Ditching the "tone circuit" and stick to "volume only" control. A 550k pot for new high output pickups. Would you recommend to build it from scratch with higher quality cabling, pots and jacks?

3. Fit a new "bone" string nut. TUSQ? Cut/uncut/grooved/un-grooved?

4. Install new higher quality "American hardware". Will this be worth it, as a more in the long term upgrade? I'm eyeing a new nice Tune-O-Matic Roller Bridge upgrade... Any thoughts on this? New MIA tailpiece?

Any and all tips and information are very much welcomed. Links, videos, suggestions, component and part reviews... Every and anything is very welcomed! ; )

Thanks in advance.

Cheers!

These are the stock specs:

Series: Modern Player
Body Shape: Jazzmaster®
Body Material: Mahogany
Body Finish: Gloss Polyester
Neck: Maple, "C" Shape
Neck Finish: Gloss Polyester
String Nut: Synthetic Bone, 1.650" (42 mm)
Fingerboard: Rosewood on (538), Maple on (506), 9.5" (241 mm) Radius
Frets: 21 Medium Jumbo
Position Inlays: Black Blocks on Maple; White Dots on Rosewood
Scale Length: 25.5" (648 mm)
Hardware: Chrome
Bridge: Adjusto-Matic Bridge with Vintage Style "Floating" Tremolo
Tailpiece and Tremolo Lock Button
Tuning Machines: Vintage-Style
Strings: Fender® USA, NPS, (.010-.046 Gauges)
Pickup Configuration: H/H
Pickups: Modern Player Humbucking (Bridge)
Modern Player Humbucking (Neck)
Pickup Switching: 3-Position Toggle: Position 1. Bridge Pickup, Position 2. Bridge
and Neck Pickups, Position 3. Neck Pickup
Controls: Master Volume, Master Tone
Other Features: 3-Ply Black Pickguard on (538), 4-Ply Aged White Pearloid on (506)
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Re: My Modern Player Jazzmaster "modding project" thread

Post by ChrisDesign » Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:51 pm

Interesting. What pickups will you go for?

Remember, pots have a 10% precision, meaning a 500k pot may actually be anywhere from 450k to 550k. That extra 50k, if found, is unlikely to improve your tone by an audible amount. But experiment.

Run your pickup wiring through the tone pot’s hole and then you can rewire lots of combinations while the guitar is strung up. This lets you Experiment and refine your wiring. Maybe replace the tone pot with a 250k resistor to a .1 capacitor. This why:

My HH standard is 500k volume, 250k tone, and a .1uF capacitor. An odd configuration but I find the tone magic, the dials responsive, and the tone range everything from sparkle to deep jazz. I once tried 500/ 500 as standard, but my tone was gone! The tone pot also lost its responsiveness. I changed back shortly.

Maybe it won’t sound good for you, but tone pots at 10 do affect the guitars tone. Play with different resister combinations (like the classic 500k and .047) and see which works, of if none work best.

Don’t forget to try treble bleed circuit for the volume pot. You can pay loads for a real fender one, or buy a DIY one for £2 on eBay. It’s just a capacitor and two resistors in some heat shrink. As your volume goes down, you preserve your highs. They feel strange at first, but now all my guitars have them.
"I own a '66 Jaguar. That's the guitar I polish, and baby - I refuse to let anyone touch it when I jump into the crowd." - Kurt Cobain

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Re: My Modern Player Jazzmaster "modding project" thread

Post by Ceylon » Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:07 am

This guitar needs a black pickguard, to go with the BB&B maple neck and really bring out that 1970's feel. Like those blacked-out Mustangs. The pearloid sort of ruins or cheapens what could be a regal, stealthy look.
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Re: My Modern Player Jazzmaster "modding project" thread

Post by Jan Deal » Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:46 am

Ceylon wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:07 am
This guitar needs a black pickguard, to go with the BB&B maple neck and really bring out that 1970's feel. Like those blacked-out Mustangs. The pearloid sort of ruins or cheapens what could be a regal, stealthy look.
Black on black guitars always look great, especially with maple fretboards.
http://seasstarry.bandcamp.com/ - Fuzz / instrumental / Shoegaze

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Re: My Modern Player Jazzmaster "modding project" thread

Post by matarroano » Fri Jan 31, 2020 3:32 pm

ChrisDesign wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:51 pm
Interesting. What pickups will you go for?
A set of Bare Knuckle Warpigs... These are the most "gainy" and "aggressive" of their line-up... Hence the extra 50k on the pot to make it a "real" 500k. Bare Knuckle recommends "this" so...
ChrisDesign wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:51 pm
Run your pickup wiring through the tone pot’s hole and then you can rewire lots of combinations while the guitar is strung up. This lets you Experiment and refine your wiring. Maybe replace the tone pot with a 250k resistor to a .1 capacitor. This why:
I'll look into this... So, instead of just eliminating/bypassing the tone pot altogether I should instead replace it with a 1uF capacitor as to make it into a "tone always at 10"? Right? Do you think it will benefits? Where can I read more about this?
ChrisDesign wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:51 pm
Don’t forget to try treble bleed circuit for the volume pot. You can pay loads for a real fender one, or buy a DIY one for £2 on eBay. It’s just a capacitor and two resistors in some heat shrink. As your volume goes down, you preserve your highs. They feel strange at first, but now all my guitars have them.
Something I have to also read about! A lot to learn my friends... A lot to learn...

Thanks for your reply, input and help!

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Re: My Modern Player Jazzmaster "modding project" thread

Post by matarroano » Fri Jan 31, 2020 3:33 pm

Ceylon wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:07 am
This guitar needs a black pickguard, to go with the BB&B maple neck and really bring out that 1970's feel. Like those blacked-out Mustangs. The pearloid sort of ruins or cheapens what could be a regal, stealthy look.
I got you covered! ; )

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Re: My Modern Player Jazzmaster "modding project" thread

Post by matarroano » Fri Jan 31, 2020 3:34 pm

Jan Deal wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:46 am
Ceylon wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:07 am
This guitar needs a black pickguard, to go with the BB&B maple neck and really bring out that 1970's feel. Like those blacked-out Mustangs. The pearloid sort of ruins or cheapens what could be a regal, stealthy look.
Black on black guitars always look great, especially with maple fretboards.
Yep! Thanks for your feedback.

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Re: My Modern Player Jazzmaster "modding project" thread

Post by timtam » Fri Jan 31, 2020 7:56 pm

matarroano wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:14 am
4. Install new higher quality "American hardware". Will this be worth it, as a more in the long term upgrade? I'm eyeing a new nice Tune-O-Matic Roller Bridge upgrade... Any thoughts on this? New MIA tailpiece?
It's hard to tell which particular Fender TOM bridge variant the MIC MP JM has. AFAIK there is no parts manual for the Player JM. A roller TOM is a good option for a trem-equiped guitar (Fender's choice of a fixed, non-roller AOM is curious). But you're entering the fraught world of trying to match TOM post sizes amongst the several roller TOM variants ... does yours have M8 threaded posts ?
Is the trem arm a screw in ? ... with that and the lock button that would almost certainly make the trem the Classic Player version (Korean). Some people find it OK, others change to the MIA AVRI/Am Pro versions. But if the arm is push in, it could be a MIJ trem (have we ever seen that stock on a non-MIJ guitar ?).
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Re: My Modern Player Jazzmaster "modding project" thread

Post by Lamar Fandango » Fri Jan 31, 2020 9:26 pm

timtam wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 7:56 pm
It's hard to tell which particular Fender TOM bridge variant the MIC MP JM has. AFAIK there is no parts manual for the Player JM. A roller TOM is a good option for a trem-equiped guitar (Fender's choice of a fixed, non-roller AOM is curious). But you're entering the fraught world of trying to match TOM post sizes amongst the several roller TOM variants ... does yours have M8 threaded posts ?
Is the trem arm a screw in ? ... with that and the lock button that would almost certainly make the trem the Classic Player version (Korean). Some people find it OK, others change to the MIA AVRI/Am Pro versions. But if the arm is push in, it could be a MIJ trem.
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I was going to talk about the bridge but you nailed it. OP should also keep in mind that many TOM variants have a 12" radius that won't match the 9.5" fretboard. Try to find a 9.5" radius roller TOM or at least find one with adjustable saddles. The difference between 9.5" and 12" may not bother him, but it bothered me.

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Re: My Modern Player Jazzmaster "modding project" thread

Post by gilla409 » Sat Feb 01, 2020 2:26 pm

In my search for a suitable TOM style bridge, I discovered that most all models are 12-14" radius. This may not bother some people, but it made the action much too high at the 12th fret and up on the top and bottom strings. The solution, I found, was the Wilkinson locking roller bridge. The difference between it and other TOM style roller bridges, is that each saddle is totally removable... meaning you can stack shims beneath them to match the radius of your fretboard. I used a Dr. Pepper can cut into small pieces, with holes punched for the hex screws to go through. Iirc, I used 2 pieces beneath the A and B saddles, and 3 pieces beneath the D and G saddles... now it almost perfectly matches my 9.5" fretboard radius.

Another bonus on the Wilkinson, is it can be had for around $20 on eBay. If you're not stuck on traditional appointments, it may be worth looking into. I'm more than pleased with mine!

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Re: My Modern Player Jazzmaster "modding project" thread

Post by jvin248 » Sat Feb 01, 2020 8:00 pm

.

Here's the list I generally recommend:

-Pull the factory wiring harness in one piece and store safely. You may pine for the original tones someday or decide to sell it where you can lift out your expensive upgrades and put it back stock easily. Buyers generally don't pay for upgrades.

-Aluminum flashing tape shielding is better than copper. Copper looks nicer but aluminum provides a better faraday cage.

-Pots and caps matter as much or more to the tone than the pickups. Pots and caps cost 1/10th as much as pickup swapping. Most players understand the tone shift that happens between 250k and 500k on single coil and humbuckers, if you see that 250k is 50% of 500k and that any nominal stamped pickup has a 20% tolerance range min to max .. you can see how there is a major influence on tone from measuring a batch of pots and selecting for the tone you want. I've ordered ten pots at a time and had the full tolerance spectrum in that one order.

-Shielded wire to the jack. JMs have such long runs of wires that shielded wires elsewhere makes sense. Tele/Strat just to the jack helps a lot.

-Keep the stock nut. Most upgraders mess up the nut and cascade other problems from there. Use dry graphite door lock lube in the slots. Don't upsize strings and the slots will be ok.

-Look at a full fret level, either you learn or pay a guy. This is by far the best mod spend. Starter guitars can play as easy as custom shop with the right work here.

-'Tune up' your guitar correctly (not down to pitch) and you won't need the urge for locking tuners. When you string the guitar wrap the post three times from the bottom up to the eye, thread and pull tight at the eye, then twist the tuner knob and you won't have any real speed difference changing strings.

-Bridge replacement on the JMs is an often done mod. You can certainly try that.

-Pickups: watch the 'joe walsh gibsonuk setup' series on setting up a guitar, especially pickup heights. I also raise the screw poles 1/8th inch for more clarity and then set the overall pickup height by ear.

-Switchcraft jack, switchcraft 3-way switch.

-For overall setup: watch youtube video channels by Frudua, Daves world of fun stuff, and Sam Deeks.
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Re: My Modern Player Jazzmaster "modding project" thread

Post by ChrisDesign » Sun Feb 02, 2020 2:27 am

I'll look into this... So, instead of just eliminating/bypassing the tone pot altogether I should instead replace it with a 1uF capacitor as to make it into a "tone always at 10"? Right? Do you think it will benefits? Where can I read more about this?
It’s a .1uF cap, not 1uF.

The .1 cap is wired in series with a 250k resistor, with the cap last in the chain before going to ground.

Experiment with different resistor and cap values. I love the sound of 250k and .1uF. You may prefer nothing. You may prefer 500k and .1, or 500k and .047.

Run the wire through the hole then spend a day soldering different versions to find your preference.
"I own a '66 Jaguar. That's the guitar I polish, and baby - I refuse to let anyone touch it when I jump into the crowd." - Kurt Cobain

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Re: My Modern Player Jazzmaster "modding project" thread

Post by ChrisDesign » Sun Feb 02, 2020 2:31 am

The benefits of a tone always at 10 are personal. You may not notice a difference. You might love it.

Switching my tone pot from 500k to 250k, With the same value cap, made a world of difference to me. That is with both pots at 10.

Don’t take my word for it. Try your own combination.
"I own a '66 Jaguar. That's the guitar I polish, and baby - I refuse to let anyone touch it when I jump into the crowd." - Kurt Cobain

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