Help me decide between American Original vs Am Pro 2 Jazzmaster

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smogfalls
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Help me decide between American Original vs Am Pro 2 Jazzmaster

Post by smogfalls » Thu Nov 12, 2020 6:41 am

Hi guys,

I'm new to this forum, but I've played guitar my whole life and it's what I do for a living. I'm now 35 and am looking to pick up my first offset guitar finally after years of wanting a jazzmaster.
I've been scouring these forums for opinions on the 2 models that I've whittled it down to.. the American Original 60's Jazzmaster and the brand new American Professional II Jazzmaster. I've seen a good few posts on the former, but not too much about the latter. I did read through a 14 page thread on the Pro II but I didn't see any comments from people who own one or have played one.

So, here's where I'm at so far..

American Professional 2 good points:
I much prefer the look without binding, so visually the AmPro 2 is a little more appealing to me.
I like the fact that the edges of the board are rolled to give it a softer, more played in feel.
I also like that it's essentially pre-modded with a mustang bridge.


American Original good points:
Nitro finish. I'm after a sunburst model and feel that from images I've seen, the burst on these is a little more vintage correct.
Nicer, more vintage correct pickups.
Original wiring scheme. (I'm not at all interested in modified wiring schemes or the like so the vintage correct aspect of this is very appealing.)
I prefer the tuners on this model too.

Basically, I love all of the vintage correct appointments of the American Original.. I just wish it didn't have the binding!.. Shallow I know!
Should I just man up and get an American Original and learn to love the binding?.. or should I get the Am Pro 2 and swap the pickups?

Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer me!
Alex :)

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Larry Mal
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Re: Help me decide between American Original vs Am Pro 2 Jazzmaster

Post by Larry Mal » Thu Nov 12, 2020 6:59 am

I guess it really depends on how you feel about your chances of learning to like binding. I tend to prefer it, but not heavily... it's not much of an issue for me either way.

Both great guitars, I don't think you would really be disappointed either way, you know?
Back in those days, everyone knew that if you were talking about Destiny's Child, you were talking about Beyonce, LaTavia, LeToya, and Larry.

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Re: Help me decide between American Original vs Am Pro 2 Jazzmaster

Post by Larsongs » Thu Nov 12, 2020 7:13 am

I have Guitars with Binding & without Binding. Not a deal breaker for me.. I care about the playability & the sound..

If you have a Store where you can play them that's the thing to do...

If you don't, order one of them.. Try it out.. If you don't bond with it send it back & exchange it for the other...

I've ordered Guitars I was sure I wanted only to discover I didn't bond with them.. I exchanged for another model that was on my List, it was great & I kept it..

I've had to do this a couple times but it was worth it...

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Re: Help me decide between American Original vs Am Pro 2 Jazzmaster

Post by seenoevil II » Thu Nov 12, 2020 7:20 am

The pickups and wiring seem important to you. I've avoided the am pro because they've changed the pick ups and I wouldn't want to swap them immediately after buying a new guitar. I'd go for the AO just because of that.

If this is your first offset, then getting used to a vintage correct bridge like what's on the AO might be a challenge. I personally feel that if you know how to set up a Jazzmaster and its bridge then they aren't really a problem. There is a lot of information about this right here on the forum. But switching to a mustang bridge or mastery or other aftermarket bridge is very easy too.

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Re: Help me decide between American Original vs Am Pro 2 Jazzmaster

Post by smogfalls » Thu Nov 12, 2020 7:26 am

Thanks for the quick replies dudes. Unfortunately here in the UK we've got back into a complete lockdown so I can't get to try either of these out first.
I've heard some conflicting things regarding the neck profiles of these two. Some say they're very similar, while others say they're pretty different. If anyone can weigh in on this that'd be massively appreciated.

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Re: Help me decide between American Original vs Am Pro 2 Jazzmaster

Post by smogfalls » Thu Nov 12, 2020 7:28 am

seenoevil II wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 7:20 am
The pickups and wiring seem important to you. I've avoided the am pro because they've changed the pick ups and I wouldn't want to swap them immediately after buying a new guitar. I'd go for the AO just because of that.

If this is your first offset, then getting used to a vintage correct bridge like what's on the AO might be a challenge. I personally feel that if you know how to set up a Jazzmaster and its bridge then they aren't really a problem. There is a lot of information about this right here on the forum. But switching to a mustang bridge or mastery or other aftermarket bridge is very easy too.
This is my current line of thinking also. I think the pickups in the AO are pretty well liked for the most part, where-as I haven't found much love for the V-mods. Apparently the V-mod ii is improved, but I guess it's too early still to know much about these.

I've heard that the AO has an angled neck pocket which can make the original bridge work pretty well, but I'll see how it goes. Thanks for the advice.

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Re: Help me decide between American Original vs Am Pro 2 Jazzmaster

Post by Larry Mal » Thu Nov 12, 2020 7:41 am

It seems like the American Original is everything you want by a large margin except for the binding.

It seems you prefer to purchase new for whatever reason, so I guess an AVRI is out of the question?
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Re: Help me decide between American Original vs Am Pro 2 Jazzmaster

Post by smogfalls » Thu Nov 12, 2020 7:45 am

Larry Mal wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 7:41 am
It seems like the American Original is everything you want by a large margin except for the binding.

It seems you prefer to purchase new for whatever reason, so I guess an AVRI is out of the question?
It's not that I'm specifically trying to buy new, in fact I barely ever buy brand new guitars, most of my stuff is pretty old. It's more just about availability. I have looked for a used AVRI but they're hard to find and the same price as a brand new AO!

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Re: Help me decide between American Original vs Am Pro 2 Jazzmaster

Post by Pepe Silvia » Thu Nov 12, 2020 8:43 am

If you are looking at spending AO money, then there is this binding-less option, however they don't have sunburst

https://davesguitar.com/products/fender ... 05-8770-3/

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Re: Help me decide between American Original vs Am Pro 2 Jazzmaster

Post by smogfalls » Thu Nov 12, 2020 9:06 am

Pepe Silvia wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 8:43 am
If you are looking at spending AO money, then there is this binding-less option, however they don't have sunburst

https://davesguitar.com/products/fender ... 05-8770-3/
That's a beauty, thank you. I should have mentioned though that I'm in the UK so I'm not really too keen on getting something shipped over and paying the massive customs charge and all that.

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Re: Help me decide between American Original vs Am Pro 2 Jazzmaster

Post by HarlowTheFish » Thu Nov 12, 2020 11:02 am

IMO:
If you're comfortable with doing your own electronics work and have the budget to fit in parts and all, I'd go for whichever one (you think, if you can't get your hands on them) will suit you better playability-wise. It's pretty easy to wire in a pickguard in an hour and have both a modern-with-frills setup and a vintage-sans-frills setup that you can swap in and out depending on what you need, and in your shoes I'd go for the AmPro2 because I prefer modern appointments as far as playability, and I can drop in whatever I need/want.
If you prefer something that feels a bit more vintagey, then the AO is a no-brainer because the quality is there and while they're not my general preference, I'd be pretty stoked to have one. As far as the binding and rolled fretboard, you can roll it yourself, but it's a pain in the ass with any finish, and worse still with gloss. While I get the visual preference thing (I'm not super keen on neck binding myself), just the light roll Fender does outside the custom shop is neither offensive to people who don't like it or super noticeable when you get into actually playing the guitar - if you'd otherwise go for the AO, I don't think this should be the thing that pushes you to something else.

Buy from a store with a good return/exchange policy, start with the one you like the most features of, and if it doesn't float your boat then send it back and get the other one.

I'd also say definitely consider the Vintera 60s JM, the Vinteras are kinda scary good and I'd put them pretty neck and neck to my hands/ears with the AO for something vintage-accurate.

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Re: Help me decide between American Original vs Am Pro 2 Jazzmaster

Post by Zeus » Thu Nov 12, 2020 12:08 pm

smogfalls wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 7:26 am
Thanks for the quick replies dudes. Unfortunately here in the UK we've got back into a complete lockdown so I can't get to try either of these out first.
I've heard some conflicting things regarding the neck profiles of these two. Some say they're very similar, while others say they're pretty different. If anyone can weigh in on this that'd be massively appreciated.
I've played both (and own an AO60s Telecaster which has a similar profile, albeit without binding) and they feel very different to me.

The Am Pro has a much more modern feeling and looking neck: wider nut width, a slimmer overall feel, satin finish, modern tuners, headstock truss rod adjustment, etc.

The AO neck feels more substantial in the hand, particularly as you move up towards the 12th fret, and has the vintage correct (i.e. narrower) nut width, gloss nitro finish, vintage slot tuners, heel truss rod adjustment, etc.

Both have a 9.5" radius and the same/similar fret size, which is noticeably taller than the vintage-style frets you'd find on the previous vintage reissue lines.

I second the recommendation above that you at least consider the Vintera 60s. Great feeling necks with vintage radius and frets, though it depends on whether the pau ferro fretboard is a dealbreaker for you.

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Re: Help me decide between American Original vs Am Pro 2 Jazzmaster

Post by algeriet » Thu Nov 12, 2020 2:04 pm

smogfalls wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 9:06 am

That's a beauty, thank you. I should have mentioned though that I'm in the UK so I'm not really too keen on getting something shipped over and paying the massive customs charge and all that.
Buddy, get yourself the AO and order a Staytrem. 71.15 £ including shipping and you're set.

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Re: Help me decide between American Original vs Am Pro 2 Jazzmaster

Post by timtam » Thu Nov 12, 2020 5:57 pm

smogfalls wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 7:26 am
I've heard some conflicting things regarding the neck profiles of these two. Some say they're very similar, while others say they're pretty different. If anyone can weigh in on this that'd be massively appreciated.
Neck profiles have been included in Fender's parts manual for each model for several years. While there is no manual for the Am Pro II yet (they usually appear several months after release), the original Am Pro also had the "deep C" neck. See profile of AO's "Modern 60's C" and Am Pro's "Deep C" in their PDF manuals below. Note also fret differences if you have a preference ('narrow tall' on Am Pro II). Note that not only the pickups (V-mod II) but also the circuitry is different in the Am Pro II (rhythm circuit is now series mode) ...
https://shop.fender.com/en-US/electric- ... 70700.html

AO:
https://www.fmicassets.com/Damroot/Orig ... 6-2017.pdf

Original Am Pro:
https://www.fmicassets.com/Damroot/Orig ... 5-2018.pdf

Depths at 1st/12th frets:
AO "Modern 60s C": 0.825/0.975" (21.0/24.8mm)
Am Pro (original) "Deep C": 0.820/0.920" (20.8/23.4mm)
"PLEASE NOTE: AS EACH NECK
IS SANDED & FINISHED BY
HAND, THICKNESS DIMENSIONS
MAY VARY SLIGHTLY FROM
THOSE SHOWN."

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Re: Help me decide between American Original vs Am Pro 2 Jazzmaster

Post by Mondaysoutar » Thu Nov 12, 2020 6:43 pm

I have an AO Jazzmaster, and as suggested above, going with a Staytrem bridge (and I also went Staytrem arm and collet), you’re pretty much set. I haven’t tried the new AmPro, but didn’t really like the original V-mods when I tried the AmPro 1. The new trem on the 2 sounds like it could be great though.
Other models to consider, maybe the 60s Lacquer or 60th Anniversary or Vintera as someone else said. I had 2 Vintera Mods last year and had to send them back, but generally the non Modified versions have been getting a good write up. I tried a 60s Lacquer last year and am still gutted I never took it, excellent US spec MIM option. Would have to be second hand as they’re discontinued now, but see them quite regular on Reverb/eBay.

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