Jazzmaster bridge can’t be lowered all the way to the pickguard (fixed)

This is something I’ve been trying to figure out since before Christmas. I got a Fender USA Jazzmaster bridge (what I thought was AVRI), and I couldn’t lower it all the way down to the pickguard. There’s a gap of about 1/4″ between the pickguard and the bottom of the channel. Image

The height screws each have a slot that runs along them, but that wasn’t the problem. I also ruled out any obstruction within the posts because both screws go in the same amount. That is, the pointed side sticks out the same amount on both sides. You can see in the picture above that the bridge is parallel to the body. Here’s one of the screws with the slot that runs along it.

Image

Here’s how far the screws go in the posts:

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I started digging around and I figured that the bridge I have isn’t from the AVRI (American Vintage Reissue) series. The AVRI line was discontinued this year (I mean, in 2013) and replaced by the American Vintage Series (no one’s calling it AVS yet). My bridge was from the latter (part number:0054460000). Since no one with an AVRI Jazzmaster at OSG ran into this problem, I realized that the bridge is the culprit. The advice I got from OSG was to buy new screws from Guitar Parts Resource, but I couldn’t see how those would make any difference. I already have new screws! They came with my bridge. So in a desperate attempt to figure out what’s going on, I decided to message offset guitars aficionados Mikes & Mike Guitar Bar. When I told them the bridge isn’t AVRI but AVS (I’m making it a thing), they told me that these Jazzmasters, which are modeled after 65s, have a taller neck and Fender must have compensated for that at the bridge.

I took the advice I got at OSG and bought a pair of new screws ($3) along with a new channel for the bridge from Guitar Parts Resource, but not before verifying with them that the channel is for 62 reissues, i.e. AVRI. One of the two had to be the problem, and I didn’t feel like ordering one first, then ordering the other if the first didn’t solve it.

I got the package yesterday and the problem is solved! It’s the screws! The screws from Guitar Parts Resource are shorter than the ones that were shipped with the bridge, and they go all the way in the posts. Here’s a picture of two screws side by side:

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At first I thought that Fender just made new bridges for the 65 reissues, but in reality that doesn’t make sense. Because the necks are taller, lowering the bridge all the way to the pickguard probably made it buzz like crazy. On the other hand, it could be useful to get the bridge really high in case the player uses 2-3 shims and likes a high action. Making a new bridge is a lot more expensive than sourcing new screws (not to mention making things untrue to the vintage models), so Fender went with the new screws.

So in case anyone ran into this problem and didn’t know what to do, the answer is to buy a pair of screws from Guitar Parts Resource or Angela.

November 12th, 2015 EDIT: I’ve never worked on a 65 Jazzmaster, but I talked to someone I know today and he said that neck pockets on those are angled, so this built-in neck angle necessitates a taller bridge. Also, I think the screws I got from Guitar Parts Resource might be made in outside the US and have lower tolerances, because when I dig into the guitar the bridge starts lowering itself slightly. Also, with the neck shimmed on my Jazz, the bridge is already pretty tall, so these screws would have worked for me.

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