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Squier VM Jazzmaster Special to 25" Scale Pocket Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ryehat, Mar 8, 2014.

  1. ryehat


    Feb 19, 2013
    Hey Everyone,
    This is my first ever mod project and build thread so wish me luck. I've been inspired by my love of short scale basses and my obsession with weird 60s' experiments fueled by the Guitarz blog to attempt to build my very own 25" scale pocket bass. These things seemed to be very prevalent in the 60s' with the smaller companies like Teisco, Carvin, Supro, Danelectro, etc. and, after researching them online, I've found several builders and modders around the various guitar forums that have gone ahead and made their own. I was originally going to use or build some sort of weird, non-traditional body shape for this because, honestly, the world has enough Strats, Teles, LPs, and SGs to go around but a) I didn't want to screw up something vintage and rare and b) I fell in love with this butterscotch and black Squier Jazzmaster I found on sale at a local guitar shop. My favorite short scale is a silver and black Squier Jaguar bass so I figured this little cousin would fit right in. So now I'm off! Here are my parts:

    Squier VM Jazzmaster Special:

    Schaller Roller Saddle Bridge with adjustable string width:

    Black Tusq XL P Bass Nut

    Fernandes "Pie-Zo" Nomad Bass Strings:

    I got the idea to use this bridge from forum member fretman_2's telecaster bass build. The adjustable string width will really come in handy when the setup comes into play, although the neck is technically thicker than my J-style short scale neck. The nice things about using the Jazzmaster special is that the hardtail bridge allows for a quick and easy (I hope) bridge transplant without having to mess with filling in any tremolo routes or extra screw holes and AND (to my great relief) the nut is both the same width and length as the standard Fender P-Bass nut so my new pre-slotted Tusq should slide right in without having to go through any guesswork. I went with the black nut because I think it'll look great with the black fret markers and the all black pickguard. Right now the nut is the only white thing on the guitar and to my eye it's a little weird.

    Right now I'm just waiting for the nut to arrive in the mail and trying to decide whether I want to risk drilling bridge pilot holes without a drill press or take it down to a luthier to make sure those get put in properly before proceeding with everything else myself. What does everyone think?

    Please note that the only image I personally own here is the photo of the Jazzmaster itself. The others are all owned by their original copyright holders and I'm not taking ownership, just using them as examples. Hope that's cool.
  2. Dunno if it counts as GAS but I really wanna do this, I can just imagine how light and comfortable that'd be
  3. aussietc


    Apr 14, 2010
    What are you going to do with the headstock and tuner holes?
  4. .
  5. ryehat


    Feb 19, 2013
    @aussietc For the headstock I was actually planning on trying to use the first, third, fourth, and sixth tuning pegs. Admittedly, this would be a lot easier if I had chosen a three and three headstock but the Jazzmaster was too pretty to pass up. If the angles are too off to intonate or the strings break easily then I'm going to dowel plug the hardware holes and re-drill for four smaller size bass tuning pegs. Also in my favor is the fact that the Jazz' has vintage style slotted peg tuners instead of hole through so I might not even have to drill them out for the larger string gauges. Either way, it's worth it to me to try the existing tuners before making things more complicated.
  6. HaphAsSard


    Dec 1, 2013
  7. MoreBeer


    Jan 5, 2014
    If I were doing this, I'd plug all the head stock holes from the start then drill and install bass tuners at the correct positions. Good luck!
  8. GrumpiusMaximus

    GrumpiusMaximus I've Seen Things You People Wouldn't Believe

    Mar 11, 2013
    Kent, United Kingdom
    I have the tobacco sunburst version of your guitar.

    I'm glad I like the guitar as I do because otherwise I'd be doing exactly the same as you!
  9. ryehat


    Feb 19, 2013
    Finally, an update on this project! So, between waiting for a couple extra parts to show up and getting really busy with a recording project I had sort of set the little bass on the backburner. Well, I finally made some time yesterday and it all moved pretty quickly. I got the bridge measured out, center punched the holes, got it to the luthier for drilling, removed and replaced the nut (which fits excellently by the way) and basically had everything ready to go. Then I ran into a problem. While trying to intonate the strings I realized that one of the string saddles had a height adjustment screw that had been sheared off and was now impossible to raise or lower. Just my luck. I've put a complaint in with the person I purchased the "in like new condition" bridge from and now I'm waiting to hear back. I'm wondering if it's worth trying to drill out and replace the screw or if I'd be better off just sucking it up and buying a new bridge while the seller decides what he wants to do about his 100% positive feedback being on the line. Anyway, the whole mess has given me the opportunity to order some custom gauge flatwound strings...