Jazzmaster - top E string unwinding

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DarnWeightDarnWeight Frets: 881
Now the owner of a Jazzmaster, and just had the top E string unwind at the ball end after only very mild trem wiggling.  Have looked around the usual places, and it appears that, yes, this is a thing.  I would have been restringing with 11s anyway, so no biggie, but wondered if there's a way of alleviating this in the future.  Read about one or other of these helping...

- finding the "right" string brand
- soldering the winding at the ball end of the plain strings
- flipping the outer two pivot plate screws so the heads don't catch the string as it passes over them into the tailpiece
- shimming the neck and raising the bridge
- fitting a Mastery vibrato

Anyone with any first-hand experience of this like to share tips/tricks?

Cheers!

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Comments

  • impmannimpmann Frets: 7394
    Yes, its a thing.

    Flip the pivot plate screws if they are fouling. I also cut them down a touch too, so they became flush with the plate.

    You can shim the neck to give a bigger break over the bridge and this can give better clearnace over these  screws, but I prefer a belt and braces approach.

    I found GHS strings were better for this - the wrap seems more 'robust'.

    Mastery trem is a work of art, but pricey.
    Never Ever Bloody Anything Ever.

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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3328
    Soldering over the string end wrap will prevent unwinding. It might not prevent the loop around the ball end itself getting severed. 

    I vaguely recall that this problem may stem from the string anchoring holes in the tailpiece - especially non-US versions. Check the hole for sharp edges with the potential to cut through the strings. Abrade them smooth.
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • GagarynGagaryn Frets: 1335
    edited August 10
    Yip, modern pivot plate screws have a slightly higher domed head than older ones so the strings can rub on the head and cause string damage. Easy first step is to polish the dome (ooh err!!), either with a Dremel or go through the grits with micro mesh or wet and dry, if you are lucky you can make the head smooth enough and lose just enough height that the problem is eradicated. 

    But if it looks like you would need to lose too much material from the screw head for it to be viable then the other option would be to flip the screws so the heads are on the inside as @impmann suggests. 

    Would be wise to check the string holes are not the problem too - as @Funkfingers said, the holes can develop burrs that can damage strings though that seems to be more of a problem on unwound strings - still worth checking though. Mitchells abrasive cord is perfect for smoothing out the edges of these holes.

    I'd be reluctant to shim the neck to resolve this single issue as you could introduce other just as annoying issues.
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  • meltedbuzzboxmeltedbuzzbox Frets: 7660
    from my experience the screw heads haven't caused string breakage on my offsets. My two current ones have contact on both E strings. 
    I have had a burr inside the string hole on the tailpiece which was causing string breaks on a MIM classic player. A quick pass with a small file sorted it out. 

    but I know a lot of people, even with the mastery system and a well filed hole (giggity) still get mystery string breaks :-S
    The Bigsby was the first successful design of what is now called a whammy bar or tremolo arm, although vibrato is the technically correct term for the musical effect it produces. In standard usage, tremolo is a rapid fluctuation of the volume of a note, while vibrato is a fluctuation in pitch. The origin of this nonstandard usage of the term by electric guitarists is attributed to Leo Fender, who also used the term “vibrato” to refer to what is really a tremolo effect.
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  • francerfrancer Frets: 20
    I usually go for solder or occasionally I buy Fender Bullets.

    I know a lot of people do it, but I'm not sure about flipping the screws, they're only threaded into the pivot blade side so flipping them over means they no longer help to clamp the blade in place and simply become locating pins leaving the middle screw to do all the work holding the tremolo pivot in place. I'm sure it does work but seems wrong to me.


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  • impmannimpmann Frets: 7394
    francer said:
    I usually go for solder or occasionally I buy Fender Bullets.

    I know a lot of people do it, but I'm not sure about flipping the screws, they're only threaded into the pivot blade side so flipping them over means they no longer help to clamp the blade in place and simply become locating pins leaving the middle screw to do all the work holding the tremolo pivot in place. I'm sure it does work but seems wrong to me.


    I'm fairly sure the last one I did had a thread on the plate too...
    Never Ever Bloody Anything Ever.

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  • francerfrancer Frets: 20
    impmann said:
    francer said:
    I usually go for solder or occasionally I buy Fender Bullets.

    I know a lot of people do it, but I'm not sure about flipping the screws, they're only threaded into the pivot blade side so flipping them over means they no longer help to clamp the blade in place and simply become locating pins leaving the middle screw to do all the work holding the tremolo pivot in place. I'm sure it does work but seems wrong to me.


    I'm fairly sure the last one I did had a thread on the plate too...
    Actually, I'm not a 100% sure myself, although reading my previous post I certainly sounded pretty sure, but agreed if both parts were threaded would work fine.
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  • GagarynGagaryn Frets: 1335
    They are threaded on both parts.
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  • GagarynGagaryn Frets: 1335
    from my experience the screw heads haven't caused string breakage on my offsets. My two current ones have contact on both E strings. 
    I have had a burr inside the string hole on the tailpiece which was causing string breaks on a MIM classic player. A quick pass with a small file sorted it out. 

    but I know a lot of people, even with the mastery system and a well filed hole (giggity) still get mystery string breaks :-S
    I use flatwounds with silk wraps and have had the silk fray with rough screw heads but no string breaks. I can see how it might happen though.
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  • DarnWeightDarnWeight Frets: 881
    Thanks everyone.  Just to be clear, the string definitely unwound at the ball end, not snapped.

    BTW if model/country of origin has a bearing on any of these minutiae, the guitar is a US 60th Anniversary '58 reissue.
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  • meltedbuzzboxmeltedbuzzbox Frets: 7660
    to be fair I have seen the odd string just unravel. ITs rare but it does happen. 

    How many strings have you gone through @DarnWeight ;
    The Bigsby was the first successful design of what is now called a whammy bar or tremolo arm, although vibrato is the technically correct term for the musical effect it produces. In standard usage, tremolo is a rapid fluctuation of the volume of a note, while vibrato is a fluctuation in pitch. The origin of this nonstandard usage of the term by electric guitarists is attributed to Leo Fender, who also used the term “vibrato” to refer to what is really a tremolo effect.
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  • impmannimpmann Frets: 7394
    Gagaryn said:
    They are threaded on both parts.
    Thanks for confirming! I thought I was going mad... ;-)
    Never Ever Bloody Anything Ever.

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  • GagarynGagaryn Frets: 1335
    Thanks everyone.  Just to be clear, the string definitely unwound at the ball end, not snapped.

    BTW if model/country of origin has a bearing on any of these minutiae, the guitar is a US 60th Anniversary '58 reissue.
    If it's happening right at the ball it will be a burr on the hole. If it's happening a bit up the wind at the ball end it will be the screw.

    Or it could just be a duff string if it was a one off.

    I'd smooth off the holes in any case to rule out future problems, either with a small needle file or even more effectively, Mitchells abrasive cord.
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  • DarnWeightDarnWeight Frets: 881
    to be fair I have seen the odd string just unravel. ITs rare but it does happen. 

    How many strings have you gone through @DarnWeight ;
    It's just one at the moment, but that was after only about an hour of light play, and the guitar is essentially brand new. Never had one unwind at the ball like that on any other guitar, so a quick google opened up a whole world of theories and fixes!

    I'm probably just going to string it up as is with a set of Daddario 11s I've got knocking around (one of the balanced tension sets), check to see if it's contacting the pivot plate screw, and see what happens.
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  • impmannimpmann Frets: 7394
    to be fair I have seen the odd string just unravel. ITs rare but it does happen. 

    How many strings have you gone through @DarnWeight ;
    It's just one at the moment, but that was after only about an hour of light play, and the guitar is essentially brand new. Never had one unwind at the ball like that on any other guitar, so a quick google opened up a whole world of theories and fixes!

    I'm probably just going to string it up as is with a set of Daddario 11s I've got knocking around (one of the balanced tension sets), check to see if it's contacting the pivot plate screw, and see what happens.
    My old AVRI did this - but only if I slackened the strings to adjust something, then retensioned them. Very quickly afterwards the top E would unravel.

    Eventually, I ran some abrasive through the holes in the tailpiece and *bingo* no more issues - or rather, less!!
    Never Ever Bloody Anything Ever.

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  • PhiltrePhiltre Frets: 741
    A D'Addario 10 E string unravelled on my Jazzmaster 65 vintage re-issue after a frenetic tremolo waggling session not so long ago. I thought it was puzzling at the time, but I think it must have rubbed on the screw head.
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  • HattigolHattigol Frets: 1217
    Thanks everyone.  Just to be clear, the string definitely unwound at the ball end, not snapped.

    BTW if model/country of origin has a bearing on any of these minutiae, the guitar is a US 60th Anniversary '58 reissue.
    I have the exact same guitar. And the exact same issue.

    Replaced the top E with an Elixir - seems fine, although you can guarantee that I have just jinxed it by saying that!
    "Anybody can play. The note is only 20%. The attitude of the motherf*cker who plays it is  80%" - Miles Davis
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  • francerfrancer Frets: 20
    edited August 10
    impmann said:
    Gagaryn said:
    They are threaded on both parts.
    Thanks for confirming! I thought I was going mad... ;-)
    Hmmmm, I just removed one of the screws on my AV65, and given that it’s actually quite hard to tell without disassembling the whole thing, judging by the way the screw drops into the hole a mm or two before resting on the threads, and feeling for threads on the inside of the top plate hole with a pin, I’m fairly sure that only the underneath plate is threaded.

    Same for my CIJ.

    YMMV 
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  • DarnWeightDarnWeight Frets: 881
    Managed to dig out a single .010 gauge E string (I normally use 11s across the board), and whacked it on the JM.  Looked uncomfortably close to the pivot screw, so raised the bridge a touch and it's clearing it fine now.  The action from stock was super slinky and low straight out of the case...I tend to prefer a slightly higher action, so this little tweak is really no big deal to me, and should help me isolate what's going on.  I'll give it some stick and see how it holds up before restringing with a set of 11s.

    Thanks again for all the advice and info.
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  • GagarynGagaryn Frets: 1335
    Just discovered these - longer wind to help alleviate the problem - https://www.homeoftone.co.uk/collections/best-sellers/products/the-gts-co-gt-rounds-11-50




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  • Gagaryn said:
    Just discovered these - longer wind to help alleviate the problem - https://www.homeoftone.co.uk/collections/best-sellers/products/the-gts-co-gt-rounds-11-50




    These are the strings I use on my AV65 Jazzmaster and I can say they come highly recommended... I had exactly the same problem, tried using Fender Bullets for a while and that was okay, but this solved it entirely. Last set I had on lasted a good six months, I had to change them because they rusted. They stay sounding great for a really long time.
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  • JD50JD50 Frets: 273
    I had same issue on my 64 Jag. I flipped the screw and problem ceased..... knocking on 5 years now.
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