Help me decide between American Original vs Am Pro 2 Jazzmaster

Discussion of newer designs, copies and reissue offset-waist instruments.
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Surfysonic
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Re: Help me decide between American Original vs Am Pro 2 Jazzmaster

Post by Surfysonic » Thu Nov 12, 2020 9:02 pm

For the traditional Jazzmaster, I'd recommend either the American Original, a used '60s Lacquer Jazzmaster, or the Vintera '60s Jazzmaster. I'm happy with my Vintera '60s Jazzmaster. The milk chocolate-colored pau ferro fingerboard actually looks fine with the Oly White finish to me. I would have bought the '60s Lacquer Jazzmaster but there weren't any available at the time I bought the Vintera.

That said, my Vintera '60s Jazzmaster had some issues and I'm not sure if it was damage during shipment or quality assurance/control problems. Still, I was determined to make this beastie work, so I replaced the damaged/non-functioning tuners on it (and was reimbursed by zZounds).

I left the stock pickups in for a couple of months to see if they were keepers for me. I ultimately swapped them out for some spare Fender Pure VIntage '65 Jazzmaster pickups and I'm so happy I did. This guitar is much more alive for me now. To my ears, the PV '65 pickups are vastly superior in clarity and tone. YMMV.

I have had a '63 Fender Jazzmaster, a Fender AV '65 Thin Skin Jazzmaster, and some years back, a 'Fender AVRI '62 Reissue. For me, the Vintera '60s Jazzmaster has the same neck feel as the AV '65 Jazzmaster and comes very close to my '63 Fender Jazzmaster. I'm sure the AO JM would get you there, too, but if the binding aesthetically not for you, go for the '60s Lacquer or Vintera.
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Re: Help me decide between American Original vs Am Pro 2 Jazzmaster

Post by BlueMelody » Thu Nov 12, 2020 11:07 pm

Zeus wrote:
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.
That description of the Teles very accurately mirrors the differences of the Jazzmasters...I have an Ame Pro (OG) and a Wildwood Thinskin ‘65 JM (basically the same as the Ame. Original) and would describe the necks the same way. FWIW, I like the pups in the Ame. Pro a lot, even though they might not exactly be prototypical JM sounding in nature...but they’re not like night and day, I don’t think they’re worlds apart from the ‘65’s in the Thinskin. Not as bright and a little more meaty, but still plenty of chime. From a feel standpoint, the Thinskin is definitely more refined feeling and has a wonderful feeling neck. But I still really like the Ame. Pro so much too, def. nothing cheap feeling about it. Pups are always an easy swap if you don’t like the stock ones. Conversely, the OG style bridge of the Original can always be swapped out for a Mustang style/Staytrem/Mastery. Out of the box, I think the Pro would have the easier learning curve for a relative offset newcomer given the nature of the already modded bridge...depends how much you like to tinker.

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

Post by marqueemoon » Thu Nov 12, 2020 11:37 pm

Surfysonic wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 9:02 pm
For the traditional Jazzmaster, I'd recommend either the American Original, a used '60s Lacquer Jazzmaster, or the Vintera '60s Jazzmaster. I'm happy with my Vintera '60s Jazzmaster. The milk chocolate-colored pau ferro fingerboard actually looks fine with the Oly White finish to me. I would have bought the '60s Lacquer Jazzmaster but there weren't any available at the time I bought the Vintera.

That said, my Vintera '60s Jazzmaster had some issues and I'm not sure if it was damage during shipment or quality assurance/control problems. Still, I was determined to make this beastie work, so I replaced the damaged/non-functioning tuners on it (and was reimbursed by zZounds).

I left the stock pickups in for a couple of months to see if they were keepers for me. I ultimately swapped them out for some spare Fender Pure VIntage '65 Jazzmaster pickups and I'm so happy I did. This guitar is much more alive for me now. To my ears, the PV '65 pickups are vastly superior in clarity and tone. YMMV.

I have had a '63 Fender Jazzmaster, a Fender AV '65 Thin Skin Jazzmaster, and some years back, a 'Fender AVRI '62 Reissue. For me, the Vintera '60s Jazzmaster has the same neck feel as the AV '65 Jazzmaster and comes very close to my '63 Fender Jazzmaster. I'm sure the AO JM would get you there, too, but if the binding aesthetically not for you, go for the '60s Lacquer or Vintera.
I like the Vintera neck profile a lot from the ones I've tried.

I think the American Originals are nice, but like the OP I could really take or leave fretboard binding. I'm not a heavy rhythm circuit user but I do prefer the traditional setup.

I haven't tried the American Pro II just because pandemic times don't seem great for kicking tires on guitars, but if the neck shape is like the V1 I'm sure it is nice too, and the frets will be a little more "modern". I'm curious about the tremolo, but I usually only the arm for subtle stuff, so divebombing on a JM is not something I really care about.

Of the two choices the OP is looking at I'd go AO. They're nice guitars. On the brighter side, but not in a shrill/annoying way and they have a very vintage feel.

If I were buying a new JM today and had American Original-level money to spend I'd either get one of the Dave's JMs or an IBM Vintera and swap a few things out.

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

Post by tune_link » Fri Nov 13, 2020 7:12 am

I have an AO and it is an incredible guitar. I did put a Mastery bridge and trem on it but other than that it's stock. In the UK you could go with Staytrem, which would be more affordable for you and as far as I'm concerned is of as good quality as Mastery (I have Staytrem bridges, etc on some guitars too).
I have a Vintera Jag though and I love it. If you wanna non bound neck and you can hang with the Pau Ferro fretboard I'd also suggest you could save money by buying the Vintera Jazzmaster and just doing some bridge/trem/pickup upgrades. The Vintera finish isn't nitro, but the finish on my Jag is beautiful and I keep having to stop myself from getting the IBM Vintera Jazzmaster because it looks so cool. I think both models come in sunburst though so that should help you either way if that's what you're after.

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

Post by Pepe Silvia » Fri Nov 13, 2020 7:36 am

Are the Fender Mod Shop guitars available in the UK?

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

Post by smogfalls » Sun Nov 15, 2020 12:51 pm

Thank you to everybody for the great advice and guidance. I made a decision and snapped up the opportunity to grab an American Original Jazzmaster. I’ve created a “NGD” thread with some more info and a video here..

https://www.offsetguitars.com/forums/vi ... 6&t=117709

Thanks again to you all, I feel like this may be the beginning of a new guitar obsession.

Alex :)

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

Post by Surfysonic » Mon Nov 16, 2020 1:43 pm

Congrats and enjoy! 8)
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