Classic Vibe 60s Jazzmaster - Review

Discussion in 'Squier Offset Guitars' started by Jazzamateur, May 16, 2020.

  1. Jazzamateur

    Jazzamateur Squier Talker

    Age:
    25
    16
    Apr 27, 2020
    Germany
    Hi Squier community!

    I recently got my hands on one of the new CV 60s Jazzmasters!
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    Actually I'm a bass player and don't know much about guitars but I've become somewhat interested in playing melodic stuff and chords, so I decided to give it a shot. It took a bit of work to get this Jazzmaster the way I want it to be and I wanna share my experience with you, so you'll get a rough idea of what you can expect from this new model. English isn't my first language by the way, but I'll do my best. Let's look at some specs:

    Body: poplar
    Neck: maple - slim 'C' shape
    Fretboard: indian laurel
    Nut: bone - 42mm width
    Frets: narrow tall
    Pickups: alnico single coils
    Bridge: mustang bridge

    When I was deciding on what finish to get, I first opted for the sonic blue, because I thought the grain of the poplar might look a bit boring but it was sold out, so I ordered the sunburst and what can I say? I'm very impressed with the quality of the finish and the poplar actually looks great! Doesn't look anything like alder, but I don't find it to be worse in any sense, it's just different.
    Right away I noticed how well the neck was shaped, comfortable, no sharp fret ends, rounded off fretboard edge (I've seen much worse even with Fender's) and the gloss finish on the neck actually feels very glassy. Usually I would sand it down but I'm not going to with this one.
    I find this guitar to be pretty light, it weighs in at 3,3 kg or 7,27 lbs and upon strumming the first notes I was surprised at how resonant it is and how much volume you can get out of it unplugged. The setup was pretty good out of the box, low action and no fret-buzz. I did however encounter a problem with the high e-string, even the slightest, unintentional bend downward would send it off the edge of the fret. See how close the high e-string is to the edge of the fret?
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    I decided to replace the stock nut with a Tusq nut (flat bottomed), which gives me a bit more clearance. You can find some tragic stories about the removal of Squier nuts, but this one came out rather easy with some pliers and heat from a hair drier. The Tusq nut is about 1mm wider than the stock one, so I sanded off a bit of material on the bass side. It's also just a smidge thinner, but it's still a nice fit.
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    See the different set of strings? I actually managed to break one of the stock strings while fiddling around, but I wanted to replace those anyway and strung up some Thomastik Swing 11's. Being flats they don't react as much to the tremolo because of the stiffness and higher tension, but I prefer their feel and overall tone.
    The stock strings are also a bit too skinny (they are 9's), especially if you're used to bass strings.
    Anyways, now the high e is a bit further away from the fret edge. Probably the higher gauged strings alone would have been enough to solve the issue, but I have the touch of a bass player and need a bit of extra space. The depth of the slots is perfect btw, no further filing is needed except for maybe the high e slot, but I don't have a file for that and it doesn't really bother me too much.

    While I had the neck off and there were no strings in the way I took the chance to take a care of the frets and fretboard. As mentioned the fretwork is decent, but they were looking a bit dull, so I polished them using one of those micro-mesh nail files and oiled the fretboard with coconut oil (might sound weird, but that's all I use).

    Before...
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    ...after.
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    The frets still have some scratch marks from the leveling/crowning, but you really can't expect a perfect fret job at this price. Some say the indian laurel looks terrible and of course there is nothing like a nice slab of rosewood, but it still looks and feels better than pau ferro in my opinion and it came to life quite a bit after applying the oil.

    Now lets talk about holes...
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    Whoever is responsible for drilling these holes REALLY likes to drill holes! There are 9 of them.
    Don't know whether you can see it, but the two upper ones have been partially plugged/made smaller with some darker wood and one of the random ones actually goes right into the side of the trussrod (which thankfully still works). Looks like someone had a bad day.

    As I understand every Jazzmaster needs a shim or angled neck pocket and in this case they used some coarse sandpaper, about 0,5mm thick.
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    I replaced it with a cut to size piece of paper card. Fancy, right?
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    I've never seen such a tight fitting neck pocket by the way, it's like they've carved the neck heel out of the pocket.

    Taking a look under the pickguard of a Jazzmaster for the first time is quite an experience, looks like rocket science!
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    The solder job looks good, although the volume and tone pots have some soldered to and cut off pieces of ground wire on them. The pots are alpha pots, these are the values:
    Vol. 1M lin.
    Tone 1M log. - 33nF cap
    Rhythm Vol. 1M lin.
    Rhythm Tone 50k lin. - 22nF

    The neck pickup measures just over 7k, the bridge just over 11k DC resistance. I've read they traditionally used two identical pickups with a DC resistance of between 6 and 8k, so the bridge in this one is comparatively hot. Many people seem to complain about the Jazzmaster bridge pickup sounding weak and quiet, that could be a reason why they decided to make it hotter.

    Since I had to remove everything from the pickguard to get rid of all the protective foil, I decided to also take care of that rough edge with some 400 and 600 grit. The material is very hard, so it took a while, but I think it's worth it.

    Before...
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    ...after.
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    See those circles in the pickup foam?
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    There are actual springs inside, which is pretty cool, but if you for whatever reason decide to remove/change the pickup covers, there will be some glue in your way.

    While adjusting the pickup screws, I noticed it was impossible to get the treble side higher than the bass side, like you would normaly do. Even with the screws on the treble side loosened it just couldn't be done, the bass side was still higher.
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    I also noticed there was quite an amount of pressure building up against the pickguard while tightening the screws. As it turned out, all of the pickup screw holes were positioned to far towards the treble side and also angled towards the bass side, Sir Drill-A-Lot just couldn't contain himself.
    Fortunately there was a simple fix to the problem. I redrilled all the holes straight using a slightly larger bit and then glued in some matchstick splinters, thereby "moving" the holes slightly.
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    Worked just fine.
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    That's basically it as far as the technical aspect is concerned. Pretty minor flaws overall, nothing severe. One thing I didn't mention is that some of the pickguard screw holes are crooked, but I've had that even with a japanese Fender. Drilling holes seems to be a challenging craft.
    Other than that I've had some issues with the bridge buzzing, but then I realized it has to be set up so it stays up vertically. There is still a bit of buzzing when I don't rest my palm behind the bridge or use palm muting, but I'm not bothered too much by it. Maybe I'll get one of those buzz stops one day.

    Now let's talk about the important part. What does it actually sound like?
    I don't have a guitar amp, but this thing sounds killer trough my little tube bass amp. It's awesome how many different tones you can get out of it! Even the infamous rhythm circuit provides some very useable, almost acoustic sounding tones, great for fingerstyle playing. The tremolo is absolutely addicting, hard not to touch it and the tuning stability is pretty good. As I said, I'm a bass player and don't really know how to play guitar, but I've decided to record a few samples. The sequence is always neck>middle>bridge>rhythm, volume and tone are wide open. Remember the strings are flats! Let's hope Barry Gibb doesn't sue me...

    https://soundcloud.com/shrimpstonic/single-notes/s-dcD328Y3pY1
    https://soundcloud.com/shrimpstonic/palm-muting/s-FfBleqm5Y96
    https://soundcloud.com/shrimpstonic/open-chords/s-zDOylhDZfAm

    There was quite an amount of hum going on, when soloing the neck/bridge pickup. I had to sit about a meter from the computer and turn away, to get rid of most of it. The grounding and shiedling seems to be decent though, maybe that's just the nature of these pickups.

    Conclusion

    Great sounding, feeling, looking and playing guitar for the price. There are minor flaws, but nothing that can't be fixed.


    I'd like to hear about your experiences with the new CV offset guitars!
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2020
  2. blackspider57

    blackspider57 Squier-holic

    Age:
    62
    Mar 11, 2017
    Montana
    Now that was review worth reading! Thank you for taking the time to share, and of course, enjoy your fine new guitar!!!
     
  3. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Dr. Squier

    Age:
    44
    Sep 27, 2014
    North Pole
    Nicely done!! The edge of the pickguard like it came from the factory is called 'chatter' and it was specifically replicated on purpose for these higher end Squier vintage style models....old real original Fenders had them too......
     
  4. Barry

    Barry Squier-Meister

    191
    Feb 5, 2020
    Eastleigh, UK
    Thank you so much for this incredibly thorough review.

    Mine is due for delivery on Monday. It’s coming from Germany because I couldn’t find a sonic blue one in stock here in the UK (not at a sensible price anyway).
     
  5. Jazzamateur

    Jazzamateur Squier Talker

    Age:
    25
    16
    Apr 27, 2020
    Germany
    Never would have guessed it's a 'vintage correct' feature. Thanks for the info!
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2020
  6. AllroyPA

    AllroyPA Squier-Axpert

    Age:
    51
    Dec 14, 2009
    Philadelphia
    First off welcome and your English is perfectly fine. This is one fine first Squier! Enjoy it.
     
  7. Paruwi

    Paruwi Squier-Nut

    Age:
    59
    666
    Apr 28, 2019
    Kraut-Territory
    Hi,

    Welcome here @ SquierTalk

    and

    Thanks for this GREAT review

    Wenn noch einer kommt, sind wir drei und wir könnten einen Betriebsrat gründen...:D
     
  8. Jazzamateur

    Jazzamateur Squier Talker

    Age:
    25
    16
    Apr 27, 2020
    Germany
    Hätte ich nichts gegen. :D
     
    Kenneth Mountain and Paruwi like this.
  9. Dana Rudd

    Dana Rudd Squier-Meister

    Age:
    71
    184
    Mar 9, 2020
    Greybull, WY
    Welcome to the forum and thanks for the review. Glad you got the problems squared away on it.
     
  10. BlueSquirrel

    BlueSquirrel Squier-holic

    Dec 21, 2018
    France
    @Jazzamateur Herzlich Willkommen und Vielen Dank für deinen Testbericht! :cool:
     
  11. VealCutlet

    VealCutlet Squier-holic

    Aug 9, 2011
    Brookyn, NYC
    Great review. I have been impressed by the burst finishes on the new CV Jazzmasters, and this one looks particularly nice.

    Welcome to S-T!
     
  12. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Squier-holic

    Age:
    40
    Oct 5, 2014
    Gilbert, AZ
    That JM looks fantastic, congrats! Thanks for the write-up too, that’s a fair assessment of the offset CVs.

    I had a CV Jag and it had nut issues like yours, as well as bad bleed through on the neck binding. The finish was not consistent behind the nut either, but the tort was ‘real’, the bridge was a 9.5” mustang style, but it really was a nice guitar.
     
  13. duceditor

    duceditor Squier-Axpert

    Age:
    73
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
  14. Shine

    Shine Squier-Meister

    479
    Nov 29, 2016
    Rings of Saturn
    Great purchase, review, workmanship, and nicely played sound clips. Oh yeah, great English, too! BTW, where in Germany?

    JMs really are cool guitars, quirky as they may be. I love mine--very Fenderish, but different. This video has a nice analysis:
     
  15. so1om

    so1om Squier-Axpert

    Age:
    52
    Feb 10, 2010
    Chicago now Sarasota
    Very good.

    what do you mean you removed the protective foil?
     
  16. Dr Improbable

    Dr Improbable Squier-holic

    Age:
    53
    Apr 4, 2015
    Wisconsin
    I think he means the pickguard plastic.
     
  17. Jazzamateur

    Jazzamateur Squier Talker

    Age:
    25
    16
    Apr 27, 2020
    Germany
    Thank you! Palatinate Forest, basically in the middle of nowhere. :D

    I completely agree with the guy, the JM really has a gorgeous clean sound. Lush and creamy, yet defined and articulate.

    Exactly!
     
  18. Leo Jazzmaster

    Leo Jazzmaster Squier Talker

    Age:
    44
    3
    May 14, 2020
    West Tennessee
    Great review! You went a lot more in depth into taking it apart than I did when I got my CV Jazzmaster. I did install a shim and I replaced the stock tremolo tailpiece with the Japanese one with the "Fender" stamp and the lock button just because I think it looks cool. I may use the stock trem on a build if I can find a JM body for cheap.

    I agree 100% with your review. It's a very fun guitar to play and mod, and I have learned a lot about working on guitars from setting it up. Also, it makes playing Elvis Costello covers sound just right!
     
    Kenneth Mountain and Jazzamateur like this.
  19. drewcp

    drewcp Squier-holic

    Age:
    36
    Dec 14, 2018
    Saint Paul, MN
    I have lots of fret sprout/sharp fret ends (quantity) on my sonic blue JM. Nothing extreme, just a little bit, but it's on almost all the frets

    Still a great guitar, but doesn't seem as nice to me as a whole when compared to older CVs I've owned.

    I'm glad yours seems to be better than mine. I got mine second hand from the original owner and got a darn good deal, so I really don't mind the imperfections
     
  20. Jazzamateur

    Jazzamateur Squier Talker

    Age:
    25
    16
    Apr 27, 2020
    Germany
    I love taking stuff apart to see how everything works, what was used inside, find hidden flaws etc.. I actually also removed the trem during this diassembling, just out of curiosity. Too bad they don't allow more than 20 pictures per post, lol. Glad you enjoy yours!

    That's a bummer, maybe the fretboard wasn't properly dried and shrunk over time. I've once ordered a precision bass knockoff that was literally wet, when I took it out of the box and it had the most crazy fret sprout imaginable. Could also be a monday/ friday model, you never know. I think some filing should do the trick.