Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The state of the (CIJ) Jazzmaster, April 2015

In memoriam of Fender Japan's closing and in recognition that it's been a while since I posted about it, here's the current state of my Japanese Fender Jazzmaster:

Added a tortoise shell pickguard, and re-added the "aged white" pickup covers that I'd tried out and previously removed.

This is more or less the look that I originally wanted back when I bought this guitar in 2007, but I ended up a little bit smitten with the mint pickguard it actually came with. Still, literally the entire reason I wanted a red Jazzmaster with matching headstock was this:

That's one of Kevin Shields' Jazzmasters, as normally played by Bilinda Butcher in My Bloody Valentine. See it in action in the "Soon" video here:

His, of course, was a vintage Jazzmaster with a vintage pickguard - and as anyone will tell you, most modern tortoise shell looks absolutely nothing like vintage. I have a Japanese Jazzmaster which further limits my options. (An American pickguard will fit with some slight mods, but I don't want to drill either into my guitar or into a vintage pickguard.)

My pickguard above is from Allparts. Yes, Allparts pickguards fit Japanese Jazzmasters without mods - in fact, except for their gold pickguard, that is all they fit. The template they use for most of their guards is Japanese, whether they even know it or not.

It is tough to find decent pictures of tort pickguards online (somehow they all end up a blurry mess), so here's what's hopefully a pretty good shot of the Allparts tortoise shell. It is printed tortoise, meaning there's a clear layer of plastic over what's probably a piece of paper with a tortoise pattern printed on it. From far away it looks okay, but up close it's pretty obvious that there's no depth to it. It's very "2D".

This is true of a lot of modern tort, including Fender Japan's official tort pickguards. (Their early pickguards were red printed like this, although I think the Allparts looks better. Their later tort pickguards were brown, but still printed.) Fender's new US pickguards don't look printed, but they're also not "real" tort - they look like they're made with some variation of the swirl painting technique, the same way their "bowling ball" guitar finishes were made.

There's one guy who's figured out how to make real celluloid tort again, just like the vintage stuff, and his nom-de-plume is Spitfire. If you want a vintage-looking pickguard without spending $500+ for one, he's your guy - as long as he's got a template for your guitar. A long time ago in a thread on a guitar forum I read he posted this kind of amazing video about pens, and it seems like that set him off and running. This is how you make real tort:

I'm literally counting the days until he sorts out his Japanese Jazzmaster template, which he's apparently in the process of doing. My Allparts guard is a placeholder.

I'm not sure if you can tell (it's more obvious in the photo at top), but in person I still feel like the pickup cover color is off. See, those knobs there aren't the modern reproductions - those are real vintage knobs from 1966. That's the color they've faded to, not the yellowish brown that Fender's "aged white" really is. Granted, not everything would have discolored at the exact same rate, but usually most of the plastic on any guitar matches.

The stark white Mojotone covers I had, though, didn't look right either on a tort pickguard. I felt that way with my AVRI also; tort needs something a little softer.

My phone whitened up the pickup covers in this photo - damn, I still think this is a beautiful guitar. Just can't wait to slap a Spitfire guard on it!


  1. Denise Nichols-Telford1:12 AM

    Hi Emma,
    Thank you so much for writing to me. Yes, this has been quite a journey for us. Especially of course for Kai. I am going to check out your blog as any information about this is definently something we will read. He has had a good week. It seems that his pains eased up. But like you said, every little pain scares him. He started having bad dreams about it earlier this week at the same time he was having the pains. We emailed his surgeon who told us that he thinks Kai is correct about the gas and healing pains. We have a cxr on order at anytime should we feel it is more than that. He is allowed full physical activity starting this Monday so his coach plans to work on conditioning, weight gaining and weight training this summer. He will not be playing with his summer league team this year. He is bummed about this but understands as only someone who has been thorough what you have been through can.
    He is scared of this happening again on the other side and it seems that it is just a crap shoot as to whether or not it will. Pray I will be sending you only good news as we progress through the next few years. I will be praying the same for you too !! I will write you after I read the link you sent to me. Kai may have some questions for you too. Would that be ok?
    Thank you again for sharing with us.

  2. Hi Denise,
    I hope the blog helps, it's mainly an account of my experience post-surgery. I was so worried about what to expect before I had it and couldn't find much online except for negative experiences. I'm sorry to hear that Kai seems to also have had a bit of a negative experience too. I think the surgeries we had are pretty similar, but I was lucky enugh to be discharged only a few days later with just a slight amount of air above the lung that was put down to the drain removal. It cleared up well overnight thankfully.
    I am glad to hear his pains have eased up now. It is definitely something I am getting used to. I have a breathing contraption that you use to strengthen the lung and in doing so it tells you your lung volume. I use it every time I feel a twinge or pain just to make sure I am OK. At the moment I seem to have to raise my arm in the air in order to take the deepest of breaths, otherwise the muscular pain prevents me. I am also aware of just how painful gas can be. I used to get it before surgery quite a lot and it can actually feel like a heart attack. Its not very reassuring I suppose as you never really know, but I guess its good to know that sometimes the pain really can be that bad and have nothing to do with the lungs.
    Let me know how he gets on when he starts back with his coach. I have to admit I didn't do much sport before hand but it is definitely something I want to take up now. Anything that might help keep me fit and my lungs healthy.
    As for it happening on the other side, this is something I am also scared of, however having suffered my first collapse at 17, and then a few between then and now (25), it has only ever been on one lung, so I just have my fingers crossed.

    Please do let me know how he gets on. And any questions is fine. Its nice for me to to be able to speak to someone in a similar situation, can just be good to hear of someone else who understands!

    Look forward to hearing some good news :)


  3. Jaimee-Leigh1:19 AM

    Hi everyone, I noticed mentions of the 'pinched nerve' sensation and it some times feeling like pressure or how you would imagine a heart attack would feel like, in a lot of the stories you have shared. I'm a 21 year old female. My experience started about 2 months ago. I developed a series of dull aches and pressure sensations between my shoulder blade and in my back and chest, which would come and go now' again. A week or so of that later, I thought it had gone but then it came again I just thought it was muscle pain (I'd been applying icy hot to my back previously) I gave it a few seconds and I became completely helpless. I could not breathe or function, the pain was so intense I thought I was having a heart attack. It felt like a crushing sensation almost. I stumbled into my grandmother's room and begged her to call an ambulance. I was taken to hospital and had chest x-rays and so on, nothing showed up apparently. (Although i didn't breathe in properly when the lady told me to take a deep breathe, i took a short one, not sure if that could hinder the results?) anyways, roll on to yesterday and I get this nipping pain right under my left shoulder blade. If I take a really deep breathe it's uncomfortable just a little, if i turn my head to the right I feel the nipping in the same spot, if I twist my torso left or right it hurts like a b word. Trying to position myself for sleeping hurts, it's a definite nipping/pinching/stabbing . I kept thinking 'trapped nerve' 'pulled muscle' Until I came across this blog and these comments. I don't know what to make of it, I'm wondering if any one has any feedback on my experience and if they think it sounds like an SP? what do I tell my doctor if I suspect that it is? I don't look forward to test tubes from what you guys have stated, lol. But needs must I suppose. I have had them before with Heart surgery (which I did check out and my heart is all good, it isn't that right now) I just remember being extremely stiff and drowsy more than in pain. But I suppose the lungs are much different and they give you less pain relief ? o.o

    I don't know guys, does it sound like I should be concerned, what should I say to my doc?
    My doctor always laughs me out of the office too by the way, which is why I'm hesitant and need advice on what to say/do.

    Never had an SP before, no current evidence I'm having one.

    my email address if any one has answers to my comment (I have a very busy schedule and may not get time to keep track of comments on this page)

    thank you


About This Blog

This is increasingly not a blog about Alphabet City, New York. I used to live in the East Village and work on Avenue B, but I no longer do. Why don't I change the name if I'm writing about Japan and video games and guitars? Because New Yorkers are well-rounded people with varied interests, and mine have gone increasingly off the rails over the years. And I don't feel like changing the name. I do still write about New York City sometimes.


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