Jazzmasters and nail polish
No, it's not about Robert Smith ...........
So, it seems I do a lot of writing about Jaguar and Jazzmaster bridges, tailpieces and set ups. I'll try not to cover similar ground here with the last story I did but I thought I'd run you through a quick JM bridge set up. This came in with some of the same common issues and these tend to happen to newer JM's where the threads aren't rusty or gunked up with sweat/oil/dirt.
As discussed last time, if the arm keeps falling like this you need to take the whole vibrato off and screw this part back on properly. The nut has a spring washer but sometimes these don't help even with the nut tightened hard.
The answer here is to put some locktite on the thread and do it up tight. This should stop it from coming loose again through being used. I put a little drop on the end of the tension spring thread too as these can work loose and fall into the cavity as well.
You can buy this from your local auto parts store and is well worth the few dollars it costs.
This bridge also rattles and lowers itself while you play. Again, this happens more on new ones with clean threads than vintage ones so if you have a newer re-issue and this is driving you crazy, go and get your nail polish (you know you've got some) and get ready to do a little mucking around.
Clear nail polish is best as you can't see it but any colour will do.
I'll cover the nut and truss rod at another time but assuming they're "OK" set your action to "about" 2mm from the bottom of the strings to the top of the 12th fret and get your radius right as described in the previous story.
I'll say here I ALWAYS run a shim in the neck of a Jaguar or Jazzmaster to get a bit of angle on the neck and some height on the bridge. This can be something like cardboard or plastic but I use thin timber laminate that I cut especially for the job. The thickness depends on what I need to get the right angles.
With your action VERY close to where you want it, loosen off the strings and take the bridge out without touching the height adjustment screws.
With the bridge upside down drop some nail polish into the bridge adjustment screws. Don't go crazy but use enough to stop the thread from moving when the polish is dry.
Let this dry for 10 minutes while you go off and paint your nails.
Fit the bridge back in and do another set up. Remember, you can't (don't want to) move the overall height adjusting screws now. Use the saddle adjusters to fine tune the heights to where you like your action.
Once you're happy with the set up, put drops of nail polish onto the screws on your saddles.
Let this dry while you go and paint your toenails and you're done. This "should" stop your bridge screws from rattling loose and dropping in height.
Now you have a Jazzmaster (or Jaguar) that will stay in tune AND nice nails while you play and next time you go to do a set up you just turn these screws with an Allen key and they will "break loose"without too much trouble.