Which Jazz? Highway One or American Special

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Troph, Feb 13, 2013.


  1. Troph

    Troph

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2011
    Location:
    Kirkland, WA
    I was thinking about picking up a US-made Fender Jazz from the used market.

    I have a Highway One P-bass, and I like it. The nitro finish is different, and it's definitely lighter than my other P-basses. Given that I enjoy the Highway One Precision, I would normally just go ahead and try a Highway One J-bass too.

    However, I also see that the newer American Special Jazz series is also on the used market, and only runs about $50 to $100 more on average than the Highway Ones... depending on condition and other variables, obviously.

    Other than the finish, are there any reasons to go with the Special over the Highway One? Better neck? Improved quality? Prestige? Better resale? :)
  2. JoeWPgh

    JoeWPgh

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2012
    I just picked up Highway 1 J body on eBay. It's meh. Compared to a body from USACG, or a Fender American Standard, it strikes me as only hitting the minimum standard. I think the reason for the matte finish is that a gloss one would highlight the lack of proper prep. I'd hold out for a used American Standard or 2010+ Deluxe
  3. tjh

    tjh Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2006
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Troph, it may come down to and be as simple as what bridge you prefer ... if you like the BAII on your P and would be changing the simple bent plate on the AmSpec anyway, that could be the possible decider ... and even if you didn't the Hwy ONE and AmSpec side by side completely stock, both same price, the Hwy ONE will be a better value, simply because of that $75-100 hunk of metal ...

    ... I have seen the Hwy satin finish buffed to a full shine, so that may not be a decider, unless you like the durability factor of a poly finish (AmSpec) ...

    ... same basses (well at least the same as two Fenders can be using a majority of the same components) ...

    ... BTW, make sure you are aware of the difference between the early Hwy 1's and the mid '06+ Hwy ONES, if you are shopping the used market, as they are NOT the same bass, nor have the same value... JMHO
  4. 80jazz

    80jazz

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2008
    Location:
    Kansas
    I'm not sure if they are all like this, but there is (or was) a red jazz at a shop about 60 miles north of where I live that I thought played fabulously. Depending on what happens, I may end up eventually buying it.

    I also have a highway one jazz in Daphne Blue that is alright, but has had some neck issues (that may have something to do with high-tension flats being on it, though. I just have not gotten around to trying out 7150s on them).

    All in all, it may be worth playing first but the American Special I played was fabulous.
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  6. Psychbunny

    Psychbunny

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2012
    Location:
    Goshen, Indiana
    I love my Am Special J 3tb It is my only "shiny bass" and really is pretty stunning. I do not have the white PG (I have black) and I prefer the looks that way but it is a nice bass, growls and has pretty hot PU's. I haven't played a HW1 or HWone so ihave no pepsi challenge to go by.
  7. tjh

    tjh Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2006
    Location:
    Minnesota
    .. that is more than likely an early Hwy 1 ... I don't remember Daphne Blue ever being offered as a Hwy ONE (unless its a refin) ... that shares very little in common with a the post-mid '06 Hwy ONE...
  8. SJan3

    SJan3

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2010
    Agreed. And the newer Highway Ones have graphite bars in the neck. Same bass as an American Special PLUS badass bridge and nitro finish which many prefer. Ymmv
  9. Troph

    Troph

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2011
    Location:
    Kirkland, WA
    I always felt the Badass II bridge on my Hwy One Precision was a waste, because I play it with flats and rarely need sustain or huge attack. So it's really just a decoration that adds weight there, although I do like the intonation adjustments. :)

    However on a jazz I typically play different styles of music, with more funk and fusion with bright rounds. The Badass might make more sense there. I suppose I could always do a bridge swap if I got the American Special jazz.

    Yeah, I wish that there was a store locally that had such a good used inventory that I could play these side-by-side and pick one. But sadly, I'm looking at ordering from used GC inventory from another store so I can take advantage of the return policy if I don't like it.
  10. dStar

    dStar Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2012
    I have a 2011 Highway One Jazz. I bought it for the graphite reinforced neck. No regrets.
  11. JoeWPgh

    JoeWPgh

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2012
    I'm glad you mentioned this. I have never been a fan of the bent plate bridges, But with flats? I LOVE those things! Seriously. With rounds, I prefer a 'modern' bridge. With flats? My new fave are the vintage, threaded rod saddle, bent plates.
  12. 80jazz

    80jazz

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2008
    Location:
    Kansas
    I think mine is a 2005 and it had a BA bridge (now gone). I don't think it was a refin, but if so someone did a good job.
  13. tjh

    tjh Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2006
    Location:
    Minnesota
    ... the BAII did not come stock until June/July of '06, when the 'upgraded' Hwy ONE was introduced .. but that doesnt mean that someone didnt put in on before you got it :)

    ... 80jazz, you have a PM
  14. tastybasslines

    tastybasslines Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Funny, My Highway One P body is made from one piece of beautifully grained wood.

    I have no doubt I got as much, if not better bass than an American Standard.
  15. Mark4

    Mark4

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2007
    I used an '09 daphne blue Highway ONE body for a parts bass. Factory truss rod adjustment notch at the neck heel, date stamp present in the pocket, and slight footprint was visible from the original BAII. At least until I wet-sanded and polished the body to a gloss. In my opinion, the paint on the highway basses is a strong point. It's thin, and a little wood grain is visible through the finish.

    This isn't an ideal picture, as I had a different pickguard on it at the time which covered the truss rod adjust, but it looks like an '09 to me. No evidence of a refin.

    [​IMG]
  16. tjh

    tjh Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2006
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Mark, that is extremely interesting ... I can clearly see the '09 in your neck pocket ...

    Fender offered Daphne Blue on Hwy 1 basses I believe in their introductory year in '03 ... then the color was dropped until re-offered in '06, but that would have been for the then still produced early edition Hwy 1 ... when they switched to the Hwy ONE mid year, they may have continued with the Daphne, but I have never seen one ... again, that was '06, and not '09 though ... the remainder of the Hwy ONE run, the colors offered every year (into 2011), were 3TSB, Black, Honey Blonde, and Midnight Wine ... they did do a FSR for a White Blonde in the '07 range for Guitar Centers, but maybe there was one that somehow eluded me for the Daphne blue along the way ...

    .. to my knowledge, the only production Daphne Blue Jazz body offered in the '07-'10 range was the Mark Hoppus ... but that had the P pups, and was a headstock adjust truss rod, so would not have the access bevel at the heel ...

    ... very interesting ... I need to do some more digging on this one, thanks for bringing it to my attention ... your body does have J pup routes, correct?
  17. Mark4

    Mark4

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2007
    It has J pup routes. I bought the body through Reliablefender on eBay a few years ago, as an unused or otherwise parted out Highway One. Nothing else is original, the neck is Allparts etc., but maybe these pictures will help:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  18. tjh

    tjh Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2006
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Mark, thats a beauty!! ... even matches your siding!! ... thanks for the info, I now have a new mission to find out about it :)
  19. Troph

    Troph

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2011
    Location:
    Kirkland, WA
    So I was looking at used Jazz basses, and I saw this one from a GC in New Jersey:
    http://www.guitarcenter.com/In-Store-Used-USED-HIGHWAY-ONE-J-BASS-W-B-108000158-i2643835.gc

    They claim it's a Highway One from 2006, but I've never seen one with a gloss finish and a modern style headstock and logo. It has the Badass bridge and the truss rod access is at the bottom of the neck.

    Is this an American Standard that they've mis-labeled? Or is it some kind of transitional Hwy 1/One model?
  20. tjh

    tjh Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2006
    Location:
    Minnesota
    .. not likely its an American Standard, and if it is from '06, there was not even such a thing as an American Standard ... comparable would have been an American SERIES, and it would have came stock with an S-1 switch ... also, that BA bridge is a 2, not a 3, so the body would not be string-thru ...

    ... I have seen a few Hwy Series bodies buffed out, they shine up pretty well ... the photo isn't the best on the one you posted, so its tough to see exactly the color of the Fender logo, but that one could be ok ... if you can get the serial # or even photos of the back of headstock and body it would tell us its story ... I would want to see the color on the belly contour just to confirm it is not a MIM Standard body, but the darkened bevel leading to the heel adjust truss rod is accurate to Hwy ONE ...

    ... a 2006 was the transition year, Hwy 1's were put out the first half of the year and ONES were put out the second half ... there are stories of even a few basses getting components from each offering ... in any case, they should all have the dime size 60th anniversary emblem on the back of the headstock ...
  21. Bongolation

    Bongolation

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2001
    Location:
    California
    I absolutely guarantee you it is not a one-piece body.

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