Mastery bridges are high-quality upgrades for Fender Jazzmaster, Fender Jaguar, Fender Telecaster and Rickenbacker guitars. The bridges are designed and manufactured in the USA by master luthier John Woodland. All bridge models can be retro-fitted to US manufactured guitars without affecting the integrity of the guitar, there is no compromise to vintage models.
Mastery questions answered
Why Buy a Mastery Bridge?
- Mastery have addressed the inherent design faults in the original specification bridges.
- Fender Jaguars and Jazzmasters have increased bridge stability, sustain, accurate intonation, string retention, improved fine string action and radius adjustment.
- Fender Telecaster bridges offer vastly improved intonation against the original three pair saddle bridges. String height and radius can be finely adjusted.
- All bridge components are stainless steel, corrosion-proof, including springs and grub screws. The obvious exception being the brass saddles on the Telecaster variations.
Which Mastery Bridge?
Mastery for Fender Jaguars and Jazzmasters is the M1 or M2. Both bridges are identical, except the M2 includes an additional loose set of posts for Japanese-manufactured guitars, which may be a better fit within the original guitar body thimbles. The M1 fits US manufactured guitars. The M1 kit can be used on guitars of differing origin.
For best results, the guitar body thimbles should be replaced with the Mastery MT body thimbles, which are a perfect machine fit for the Mastery M1 bridge posts. This applies to all guitars, whatever their country of origin
- There is only one size MT available and thimbles can be purchased separately if required or with the M1 kit.
- The M1 or M2 can be used on left-handed guitars.
If replacing a Tune-o-matic style bridge use the M1 kit – see “Fitting”.
Mastery Fender Telecaster bridges only fit the vintage 4 screw mount pattern. Modern / American Standard Telecasters generally have a 3 hole mounted bridge plate. If your guitar has 4 screws fixing the bridge, you can fit a Mastery.
Bridge patterns are not interchangeable as the relative position of the body string-through holes is different between vintage (4) and modern (3) guitars.
Mastery offer a Bigsby ready bridge. The rear bridge upstand is notched to allow strings to pass unobstructed to the Bigsby. I’d recommend this option, if ever you may consider a Bigsby. The bridge is identical in every respect aside from the notches.
Telecaster bridges are available in brass or chrome saddles. The saddles are identical, chrome saddles are plated over brass. Chrome increases durability, not that you are likely to ever wear out brass – I don’t buy into a tonal difference but guess that’s a moot point.
Telecaster bridges are not available as a left-hand version.
Mastery also produce several hardtail bridges, 3 or 4 hole mount, with all the benefits of the Telecaster bridge. These can be used on right or left-hand guitars.
Fitting a Mastery Bridge
For Fender Jaguars and Jazzmasters, the M1 or M2 drops into the original body thimbles on lifting out the old bridge. If using the M2, check fit of the additional bridge posts supplied and use best-fit posts. The Mastery symbol faces towards the neck.
The guitar is then set-up and adjusted following standard practice. Full written instructions are provided.
If changing body thimbles to Mastery MT original thimbles need removing. Remove pickguard and tape off the body around the bridge. Old thimbles can be levered out using a thin pallet knife pushed between the body and thimble. Once lifted slightly use a pair of soft nose pliers to extract.
If the thimble is seized try placing a hot soldering iron inside the thimble, then use a pallet knife. Beware burns and damaging lacquer finishes.
If new MT thimbles are loose in the holes a small dab of PVA glue can be used. Often replacement MT simply tap in with a soft hammer. If very loose, dowels will need fitting and new holes re-drilling. However, most installations are relatively straight forward.
When glueing loose thimbles, always temporarily fit the bridge while the adhesive is soft to ensure perfect thimble spacing, and be aware of outer string positions at the edge of the fingerboard.
If body holes need slightly enlarging use a drill bit slowly, backwards, try in a hand drill.
Ensure the bridge ground wire remains intact and connected. This is usually located on the treble side and feeds from the control cavity into the post hole. Check conductivity with a multi-meter.
It is possible to swap out an original Tune-o-Matic style bridge, such as on the J Mascis Jazzmaster, with the M1 Kit. This usually requires the original post holes dowelling and re-drilling to suit new MT thimbles – not a difficult job, but may require the services of your repair shop.
The Mastey OMV Vibrato is available in brushed or polished stainless steel. However, the M1 or M2 is only available brushed. There are several limited edition coloured models available. The OMV vibrato is a simple swap for the original vibrato.
Fitting to a Fender Telecaster is a straight swap. The bridge pickup needs refitting but this does not require any electrical work.
Fitting a Mastery MST string tree
Mastery make a well-detailed string tree to complement their bridges.
While it is a simple single screw fix, always make sure the screw hole is pilot drilled and the screw lubricated before installation – otherwise, you risk snapping the screw in a hard maple headstock.
Nottingham City Guitars stocks a range of Mastery products and offer a discounted fitting and set-up service for all bridges bought in store.