Comparing the Fender AVRI, Mastery & Descendant vibratos!

Comparing the Fender AVRI, Mastery & Descendant vibratos!

My first experience with a Jazzmaster was more than likely very similar to many other guitarist's first experiences with the offset instrument. It was with a poorly set-up Classic Player JM off a high street guitar shop's hanger which left me feeling pretty let down by the guitar I'd seen so many players I admired playing. Unfortunately I was of an age where I didn't really respect how important a good set-up was to a guitar, so set them aside in my mind for years as a result. Rather foolishly of course. Looking back this does perhaps explain why sadly, so many guitarists disregarded Jazzmasters (Jaguars of course fall into this association too) as inferior playing instruments. Good set-up is key to getting the most out of them, and in more recent years we have seen such a resurgence for the offset with so much more information out there on how to get the best out of them...
Project Offset Phase five! - Vintage 'Tort' and how Mark Townsend of Spitfire captured the magic

Project Offset Phase five! - Vintage 'Tort' and how Mark Townsend of Spitfire captured the magic

When you're lucky enough to be graced by a vintage guitar, perhaps a Pre-CBS Fender for example, and it's outfitted with an original Celluloid Nitrate tortoiseshell pickguard, there is undoubtedly a certain magic to it. It's three dimensional splashes of lava like yellows, glowing reds and rich dark browns. Each one different, each with their own character. For a vintage enthusiast, reproduction guards just don't even come close.

Vintage Guitar Feature - Ben's 'Birth Year' Prized Jazzmaster

In chatting to a few players and fellow gear heads like myself over the years, the idea of owning 'birth year' guitars has cropped up a few times. Finding a guitar made the same year as yourself has a pretty cool appeal, especially if it's still affordable to do so (Sorry to those born in 1958/59!! Not so cheap for yourselves!). But for friend and customer of ours, Ben, something cropped up for sale which simply had to come home with him. 
Project Offset Phase two - Modding & tackling common Import obstacles.

Project Offset Phase two - Modding & tackling common Import obstacles.

If you have a guitar you're planning on modifying, chances are that it will be an import instrument. There's good reason for that, they offer great quality bang for buck resulting in a great base for tweaks here and there than perhaps a more premium, pricier American made equivalent would. Let's face it, not everyone who's just spend £1500+ on a USA made instrument wants to go at it replacing bridges or pickups, so the import market offers great scope for DIY tweaking.
Project Offset Phase One - A Squier Vintage Modified Jazzmaster goes under the knife

Project Offset Phase One - A Squier Vintage Modified Jazzmaster goes under the knife

One task that's always at the top of my 'To-Do' list, is creating a collection of demo videos for the entire McNelly Pickups Range. Although I've recorded videos with some beautiful premium guitars, without doubt the best way of demo-ing pickups is by upgrading more 'budget' instruments. Why? Well this is a great way of not hiding behind quality woods and materials. If it sounds great, then it's mostly because of the pickups!