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Tailoring a Squier Affinity Jazz Bass... My build thread.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Big Hoss, Apr 6, 2015.


  1. Big Hoss

    Big Hoss Up note, down note, blue note, brown note...

    As I have written here previously, my main reason to mod my Squier Affinity Jazz is not functional, but rather cosmetic. At least partially...

    You see I did run into a functional issue, however the same functional issue (buzzing when not touching metal. Reports are that even American Standard Fenders do the same thing... And the fix is to shield the pickups and cavities...

    Likewise I mentioned the bridge in prior posts, not being super happy with the cheap look of the stamped steel L bridge plate, I had a BAD case of GAS for a Classic Vibe High Mass bridge with the brass saddles. Although the screw hole pattern looks from the photos identical between the Affinity 5 screw, and CV 5 screw, reports are the holes do NOT line up, being as the Affinity has an Alder body, and I happen to have chunks of Alder stock, I don't really have a problem making my own dowel plugs and doing the old drill and fill thing to get back to solid wood to get a fresh purchase on with the mounting screws if I have to...

    Other cosmetic improvements will be a PTM headstock, and slightly customized, but still as OE looking as possible headstock logo. I am prepping to order an OEM style Squier by Fender Jazz Bass decal (The OEM is Squier by Fender J-Bass. I HATE that they truncated the name on the decal!).

    So the status of the build so far is...

    I have the donor instrument. A fresh 2015 build Squier by Fender Affinity Jazz Bass in Burgundy Mist...

    20150401_201341.

    A set of Squier by Fender VM Duncan Designed Jazz Bass pickups. In transit, but going slow as frozen snail snot via USPS. I have had a couple of folks try to talk me out of doing the Duncan Designed pickups, but I like the sound of them, they are affordable, and if I ruin them learning how to do the Shielding properly they aren't an enormous loss like say a Set of 55s would be...

    A Fender Classic Vibe 60s High Mass 4 string bridge with brass saddles ordered, pending shipment.

    2 rolls of Copper Foil tape ordered. Pending Shipment.

    1 Undisclosed custom pickguard in transit via a slow boat from China, literally.

    Rosin core solder at the ready in the shop.

    Fresh set of D'Addario Nickel Rounds in 45-100. Same strings I use on my Ibanezes... Probably need to order a couple more from Bassstringsonline.com. Aweome string source!

    4/4 alder stock for dowel pegs at the ready if needed.

    Not yet determined any necessity, or desireability for the oft mentioned CTS pots and jack. Probably not do that for a while.

    Painting will be the headstock only, and I have already tested on the back, Frog tape seems fine with it, the rest of the instrument will be masked / bagged off away from any potential overspray.

    I have the following items left to procure to finalize the customization.

    #1. Burgundy Mist color matched rattle can paint. Have the link, just need to make the order.
    #2. Waterslide decal. Like I mention above, I am keeping the identity of my bass original-ish. I am not making a Faux Fender, I am building a custom Squier! I just want the Words Jazz Bass spelled out instead of J-Bass.
    #3. Selection of, and ordering of custom inlay decals.

    I am not under any sort of delusion that I would ever see my money back in return if I sold this bass. I have talked about this before, buying musical instruments as an investment, unless you can get a Stradivarius or similar category instrument of any description, and Squier Affinity prices and flip it, well instruments are poor investments. I value the learning experience, and having an instrument that is unique to ME...

    So if you like build threads, keep watching and enjoy! Hopefully I do it right. We are going to find out, and chances are I will have a LOT of questions to ask the experienced folks here!
     
  2. marko138

    marko138

    May 24, 2013
    Perry County PA
    Good luck. Hope it solves your buzzing issues.
     
    Mike A likes this.
  3. Big Hoss

    Big Hoss Up note, down note, blue note, brown note...

    Oddly enough, I had to move my setup to the master bedroom over the weekend due to visiting relatives, no buzzing over there... More and more convinced it is a shielding issue...
     
  4. marko138

    marko138

    May 24, 2013
    Perry County PA
    Oddly enough for me I had some buzzing this weekend in my jazz and I almost NEVER have buzzing in mine.
     
  5. Big Hoss

    Big Hoss Up note, down note, blue note, brown note...

    The whole thing that kicked this off is I am working on a couple of songs that require a pick, and open notes in several spots with some sustain... I am getting sounds I do NOT want...
     
  6. Big Hoss

    Big Hoss Up note, down note, blue note, brown note...

    The pickups are in.
     
  7. jd56hawk

    jd56hawk

    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    I did the shielding with my custom FSR Jazz bass even though I was installing noiseless Super 55s.
    Should've bought a bit more copper tape but I haven't had an noise issues.
    Can't wait to see your bass after you paint the headstock and put on the decal.
     
  8. fetch

    fetch

    Jan 10, 2014
    Virginia
    Appreciate you keeping us posted with this build thread. Good to hear the pups arrived, looking forward to hearing how the install goes. Can't wait to see that painted headstock and agree 100% with decision to spell out JAZZ BASS vice the J-Bass logo.
     
  9. Big Hoss

    Big Hoss Up note, down note, blue note, brown note...

    Tracking received for the tape, estimated arrival Thursday this week, bridge estimated arrival Friday this week. Pick Guard does not have tracking, but is claimed to have shipped. It is coming literally from China so it will be a while.

    I am trying to source the paint from guitar Reranch, but the order button on the Burgundy Mist is missing. Sent them an email asking for help...
     
  10. fetch

    fetch

    Jan 10, 2014
    Virginia
    hey dave, have you confirmed that a waterslide decal will show on burgundy mist? i've looked into getting a custom waterslide decal to put on a black headstock and have learned that they don't show on "dark" colors. granted, burgundy mist is not as dark as black but wanted to throw this out there to you in case you hadn't looked into it for yours.
     
  11. Big Hoss

    Big Hoss Up note, down note, blue note, brown note...

    Burgundy Mist is pretty light in person. I have no concerns for a black / gold logo showing. I wouldn't use it on a black headstock. Go with maybe white / silver logo instead.
     
  12. Big Hoss

    Big Hoss Up note, down note, blue note, brown note...

    Okay so I heard back from Guitar Re-ranch, and the Burgundy Mist Metallic is out of stock, they are waiting for a new batch.

    Just as a reminder, the OEM headstock logo looks like...

    nt.com%2F-86nc2z0Y8DU%2FVRNL54dwGTI%2FAAAAAAAAH2s%2Fsm7YWT2EZpQ%2Fw313-h555-no%2F20150325_185921.

    The decal I am trying to source up for my bass looks like...

    SquireJBHeadshot.

    I am NOT, and I repeat loudly NOT trying to pass off my Squier as a full priced Fender, I simply despise the truncated J-Bass decal, it looks all kinds of wrong to me... I would even be perfectly happy to affix the little Affinity Series decal in the round part of the end of the headstock. I am NOT trying to pass anything off as something it isn't. Like I mentioned before, I am simply trying to make MY bass, fit and play the way I want it to, sonically, ergonomically, and cosmetically.

    It's been asked how visible the logo would be against a Burgundy Mist headstock face. I can only answer, I'm not sure, but I want to try. I believe it will look / contrast similarly to what is on the James Johston Signature Jazz Bass, at least that is the effect I am going for.

    Looks like it is turning out that sourcing up the materials to refinish the headstock is being the hardest part so far.
     
  13. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    I love that colour, looking forward to the finished product. I am guessing you're doing the headstock in poly. If so, frog and painters tape will be fine. If you are doing it in nitro, ensure you buy different tape that is safe for lacquer. Painter/frog tape eats up nitro pretty quickly.
     
  14. Big Hoss

    Big Hoss Up note, down note, blue note, brown note...

    Depends on what the paint vendor comes up with...

    Looking at Guitar Reranch website, it looks like Nitrocellulose lacquer. Any recommendations for masking tape, and a clear to use with this? Would brush on type lacquer work as a clear or do I need something special?
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2015
  15. Big Hoss

    Big Hoss Up note, down note, blue note, brown note...

    Well, the pickguard I had selected, and paid for apparently will not ship from the wonderful supplier in China, Ebay seller "Friendstore1682010" apparently had sold out prior to my purchase, and kept the listing up anyway... I WILL keep Talkbass posted on whether or not I have to challenge them via Ebay and PayPal...
     
  16. jd56hawk

    jd56hawk

    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    I think the logo will look similar to the one on the James Johnston Jazz, too...and I think the gold script edged in black looks good on the Lake Placid Blue.
     
  17. tjh

    tjh

    Mar 22, 2006
    Minnesota
    .. the bridge screw hole alignment issue is a result of the CV bridge .. the spacing on the Affinity should be conventional 5 hole Fender top load spacing, the China CV bridge is not ... the only two holes you will really need to fill and redrill should be the outermost two ... especially if using the thin screws from the stock Affinity ... use center hole to align, next to should go even though at the slightest of angle, and the outer two fill and drill ... at least it worked out that way on the several reverse installs I have done of conventional Fender bridge on CV body ...

    ... also, double check on the stock Affinity bridge pickup route ... make sure it is long enough to accept the DD bridge pup which would be conventional size ... I am not sure if the current Affinity J's are using long/short pup configuration ...

    ... good luck, nice project ... ;)
     
  18. Big Hoss

    Big Hoss Up note, down note, blue note, brown note...

    Just measured with my handy, dandy, not super accurate but close enough Harbor Freight free tape measure, and the Affinity Pickups measure exactly the same as the Duncan Designed pickups, at least the parts exposed above the body...

    The CV bridge is supposed to be complete with the mounting screws, I was planning on opening up the pilot hole if need be, and yes, my research shows on the outer 2 screw holes need to be filled and drilled. No problem!

    By the time I am done with this thing, it is going to be an Classic Vintage Vibe Modified Affinity hybrid with hopefully the ideal combination for my tastes...

    The setback with the pickguard is a real pee in the punch sort of thing... I am hopful a Classic Vibe 60s 4 string Jazz pickguard will fit...
     
  19. tjh

    tjh

    Mar 22, 2006
    Minnesota
    Interesting ... so that means that the pups on a current edition Affinity Jazz are two different sizes? ... (bridge should be about 3/16" longer than neck)
     
  20. Big Hoss

    Big Hoss Up note, down note, blue note, brown note...

    Not about, exactly 3/16" longer... Was there a time when they weren't?
     

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