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1979 Jazz Bass question

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Gyver, Apr 9, 2014.

  1. Howdy,

    The local Guitar Center received a 1979 Fender Jazz Bass recently. It looks like it has been played hard it's whole life and has lots of honest body wear but appears to be all original except for Seymour Duncan Antiquity pups. I played it today and was blown away by the sound - I have played quite a few Fender J's over the years but nothing that sounded even close to as good as this one. They are asking $1399, which is pretty cheap compared to what they go for on eBay, and they might go lower.

    I damn near bought it on the spot except for one problem - it weighs a ton. If I had to guess it must be at least 13# but it might even be more. I used to own a Les Paul that weighed at least 11# and it did not bother me, but that was 25 years ago. So my question is would you buy it despite the weight because it sounds so good or let it go because of the weight?


    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    Depends. If you do a lot of studio work then weight is a non issue of course. Or, if you use 2 or more basses on a gig you can always switch out. If it really sounds that good I would take a serious look at buying it, but you need to make the decision based on how well your back can handle it.
  3. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon. Supporting Member

    I just turned 45 and I can no longer do a 4 hour gig with a bass heavier than 9.5 lbs. So for me, anything near or above 10lbs is a complete deal breaker.

    A 12-13lb Fender that sounds great to you and you have no problem with the weight? Go for it. But also think about the future. There is a reason that you don't see a lot of players gig 12lb+ late '70s Peaveys and Fenders even though thousands of players own them.
  4. Osztertag2112


    Jan 27, 2013
    Id go for it! You can always bring other basses to gigs! Sounds like you found a bass that really works you
  5. Smallmouth_Bass


    Dec 29, 2005

    I agree (and I am younger than 45). It depends on where/how you are going to use it. I wouldn't want to wear something over 10 lbs for any significant period of time, but I practice and rehearse sitting down.
  6. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    If you get it, get a thick, soft strap (been there).
  7. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Feb 28, 2014
    San Diego, CA
    I think they had gotten rid of the 3 bolt neck by 79, but even still - I have zero doubt this thing is a piece of junk if GC is selling it that low. If you are thinking that it's - gag - "Vintage" - have them remove the neck and check the dates. Same with the control cavity. Fender's p'ups from those years were pretty much junk so they were usually replaced with SDs or DiMarzios (that's what I did with my 77). THAT ALL SAID - if the bass speaks to you, if you love playing it - then buy it, period.
  8. king_biscuit

    king_biscuit Supporting Member

    May 21, 2006
    Harry, Fender pickups from that period were made just like Fender pickups from the early 70s; people replaced them on some basses then for the same reasons they do today -- some people just like to mod their instruments. Why all of the bitterness about old basses. You do realize -- I know we have had this conversation on here before -- that people are buying old basses and guitars in part for the same reason people buy certain old coins, stamps, comics, etc..., and that reason has nothing to do with utility?
  9. king_biscuit

    king_biscuit Supporting Member

    May 21, 2006
    btw, Harry, his question was about the weight, but I know you can't resist your "vintage" guitar speech at any possibly opportunity ;)

    For the OP, I wouldn't want a Jazz bass that weighed over 9.5 pounds, but some people prefer the tone of the really heavy ones, and you said you really like this one. Only you can decide.
  10. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Feb 28, 2014
    San Diego, CA
    Fair enough. I recall my 77 was heavy has heck, too - I'd not do it again! But the OP needs to decide if it's a deal breaker.
  11. king_biscuit

    king_biscuit Supporting Member

    May 21, 2006
    They weren't all that heavy, my 76 is 9 pounds even.
  12. narud

    narud Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2001
    santa maria,california
    the weight is one of the factors thats giving that bass the tone you like. deal with it.
  13. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    If it sounds good, it is good. Light is over-rated. Try playing upright (standing) for a five hour gig.
  14. smcd


    Jun 28, 2009
    Boston, MA
    It's not 13lbs., I promise you that. It may feel like it is, but that bass probably weighs between 11-12lbs. If you like the tone that much, buy it. If you find it's too heavy, join a gym.
  15. So weight......equals tone.....:meh: :rollno:
  16. narud

    narud Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2001
    santa maria,california
  17. StayLow


    Mar 14, 2008
    I had a 12lb '78 P bass.

    IMO get a lighter jazz for much less money and drop Antiquity pickups into it. Been there, done that with Antiquity II, massive tone unlike any other J bass I've had (and I've had many).

    Of course the wood could factor, and so too the weight. Narud definitely knows his stuff, probably better than anyone else on this site when it comes to J-style basses (check out his playing and how many J-type basses he's owned). However I'll wager it's mostly, perhaps totally the pickup.

    At least try it with regular Fender pickups before dropping that much cash to chase a tone. That won't take much time and won't harm the bass given that the pickups have been swapped/soldered before.
  18. bluesdogblues


    Nov 13, 2007
    I'd say, ask for lower price if you say it can be,.. and go for it..
  19. idk, that seems really expensive. If the weight thing is all that's holding you back then go for it before someone else steals it.
  20. No one said that - no one but you. :eyebrow:

    OP, this is one those questions where I think it is useful to apply the negative approach to determine what you really want: Do you think it more likely that you will regret buying the bass, or more likely you will regret not buying the bass? Thinking about it this way will sometimes clarify the answer for you.