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73 Jazz vs. 2008 Jazz - A/B test.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by gnome01, Apr 26, 2010.

  1. gnome01


    Oct 30, 2001
    Bronx NY, USA
    Ok, so I couldn't resist the new Fender bug. I've always been a vintage Fender snob (I have 3 70's basses, just can't afford anything earlier!). Tried an '08 with noiseless pickups, and the first thing that knocked me out was the playability and craftsmanship. Really well made instrument, and just effortless playability. Sound wise it was nice, very mid-scooped and good for slapping. So I bought it (on 48 hour approval), used it on a gig - passed the gig test (though the sound on stage was kinda awful so it was hard to tell).
    Today I put new strings on it, gave it a setup and tried it against my trusty '73. It played like absolute gold but oh my god, no contest whatsoever. First of all, playing the 73 with the same settings on the amp nearly blew the amp up, it is just so much louder and ballsier of an instrument. The sound over a recording was so much easier to hear as well. Even though it's got a couple of subtle dead spots and buzzy areas it does play quite well and I can't believe I was about to sell it and keep the '08. I may keep the 08 for travel gigs, but the 73 is going nowhere! Curious if anyone else has done a similar test?
  2. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Older Fenders seem to vary WILDLY as far as the p'ups go. I know my '77 J had dull sounding p'ups... nothing really loud.

    I'd be inclined to think that your '08 maybe has a problem if it's *that much* quieter.

    And, having played a few new Fenders - new as in REAL new, I'm impressed. They are still over-priced, but they have really improved fit/finish/playability.
  3. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    nah, couldn't care less. there are great examples of every fender bass in every era, and bad examples of every fender bass in every era.
  4. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.

    I love my '73 Jazz and it sounds better than my 2007 American Deluxe. BUT, it has '70's Demarzio replacement pickups so it isn't a fair "stock to stock" comparison.

  5. gnome01


    Oct 30, 2001
    Bronx NY, USA
    Actually my 73 has '62 reissue pickups, but I have a refinished 74 with original pickups - which are actually just as high output as the '62 reissues, if not a tad more. I may try putting the original pickups back into the 08 (they were included), but I'm sure it'll just be a slightly louder version of the same sound.
  6. Jim C

    Jim C Is that what you meant to play or is this jazz? Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    So your trusty 73 had replaced pups; hardly an accurate comparrison; perhaps you could do the same test with the 74
    I have a 73 with really nice full sounding pups that have very low output something like 6.8 k ohms DC resistance; IMO scooped + less transparent highs are the trade offs with high output

    +1 that all time periods have suck bassses
    seems like the 60's had a higher percentage of quality isntruments which dropped in the 70's then dropped again in the 80's; nice that starting in approx 2008, the factory became willing and able to produce a much higher percentage of quality again
  7. In my ´68 old fender jazz both original pickups were gone (rewinded, poor sound).So I went in some risk and have changed them for the vintage ´71 set of pickups from Ebay. Completely different world, my instrument is now really playing, cutting through every band.Whenever I plug my bass in an amp, I am getting great tone, no issues. No aftermarket pickups (I have tryied many) are like original vintage.
  8. pjmuck


    Feb 8, 2006
    New Joisey
    I played one of the new Jazzes at NAMM this year, through a Fender Bassman they had on hand. Not my first choice of amp, but there were other Fender basses on hand that sounded decent through it. After hearing all the rave reviews about these J basses, I have to say I was underwhelmed. My '72 smoked it.
  9. narud

    narud Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2001
    santa maria,california
    i just went back and forth between a road worn and a 2010 jazz at gc and surprisingly preferred the road worn:eek:
  10. Wilbyman


    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    The road worns are nice. There is a p-bass at a store here. I just have a mental block about a 900 mexi p bass.
  11. Spinal Tapper

    Spinal Tapper

    Nov 15, 2007
    I did an A/B test w/ my CIJ 62 Reissue Jazz w/ Lindy Fralin PU's vs. an original 66 Jazz my friend owns through an Ampeg V4-B and 15" cabinet. Here's my review from another post.

    It was my friend's slick idea to A/B them, and I was pretty nervous about how it would turn out - I've been playing his 66 for about a year or so and know the tone pretty well. His PU's are extremely hot and figured they'd trump the Reissue.

    My 62 RI has Lindy Fralin PU's, CTS pots, and cloth wiring. His 66 has original PU's (along with original everything else).

    Both basses strung with D'Addario roundwound strings. Both were tried on on the same Ampeg V-4B (through a 15") with the settings pretty dry. V/V/T cranked 100% on each bass.

    I've never heard Fralins before, but as far as sound goes, they carried the same vintage tone as his 66 with more balls.

    I couldn't believe the look on my buddy's face when we A/B'd them, but he immediately admitted that my bass sounded fatter and thicker. We proceeded to use my Jazz instead of his for a recording session we had scheduled that day (which is usually no contest when I bring other basses around, his Jazz or P is always the first pick).

    Maybe he was just being nice cause it's my newest toy, but my ears didn't lead me astray either. I could only describe the Fralins as vintage but "beefier" and the 66 original PU's as "thinner" sounding. Now, I know the wood has lots to do with it, his bass is probably 1-2 lbs lighter and was generally setup better, and has a worn nitro finish, but I was still shocked by the results...

    I was actually surprised how well the 62 RI held up to the 66. Obviously, I'd rather own the 66 (duh), but I paid under $600 shipped for the 62 RI and I thought the low end was actually a bit beefier than the 66. Here's some pics ;)

    my 62 RI


    my buddy's 66

  12. bobwhite


    Mar 11, 2010
    This may be a little too general an observation (I am not trying to hijack, as I think this is applicable), but I have noticed in not only musical instruments but also in cars, model trains, furniture and several other areas that a similar phenomenon is at work.

    If you go back far enough--even though still in the mass-production era--the quality is better. By that I mean "fit and finish" and especially attention to detail, like "feel" and little niceties like a well-cut and polished piece of wood.

    I do not mean to say an older item necessarily does its job better, as newer techniques, materials and electronics may dwarf older technology, but in terms of the little things, often times the older items have the edge.

    I think this happened when making money, or perhaps better put the "bottom line" of money made per hour expended completely dwarfed the desire to put out a quality product. Public companies that are measured by quarterly profits are under tremendous pressure from analysts and mutual funds to go down this route. I am no communist and I have nothing against making money, but I do believe if you focus solely on making money something bad happens, to wit:

    You spend years building a good reputation and then you realize you can trade on that reputation for a number of years while you cheapen the product and cut your costs. You make lots more money in the short term until finally people realize what has happened and that good reputation that took years to create just evaporates. It is hard to reclaim this reputation, too. Just ask Cadillac, who makes some amazing cars now but spent 30 years stumbling in the dark and has had a hard time reclaiming its old spot amongst BMW and Mercedes even while improving their line dramatically.

    Fender went through some really dark periods--the CBS era in particular. They seem now to have put their house in order, but the spotty workmanship of old has certainly followed them.

    Something to think about if you build guitars (or anything else) and some consultant with an MBA says you can increase profit margin from 50% to 65% by cheapening your product. Now if you are not making any money, that cannot last. But if you are doing well and want just a little more by cutting your quality, you need to think long and hard about what you are doing....

    Hopefully the guys at Fender now get it, and as they are privately owned, they don't have to answer to a bunch of analysts and mutual fund managers....

    And my new 2010 Am Std Jazz sounds great and is very well put together. My 1995 is sweet, too. I have no 60s era hardware, as I don't have that much GAS and Dollars....
  13. bobwhite


    Mar 11, 2010
    That baby has some serious MoJo; just sayin'...
  14. 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
    About a year ago, I A/B'd a Fender MIM 60's Jazz Classic with 3 Road Worn Jazzes. The instruments were all at Willcutt Music in Lexington, KY.

    I owned a modified 60's classic at the time, but because it had a very dead set of Sadowsky SS round wound strings, Fralin split-coil pickups, and a BA II bridge, it really didn't easily compare to the basses in the shop--especially because of the dead strings.

    Fortunately, there was a recently arrived 60's classic hanging in the shop. I played all 3 RW Jazzes and then the 60's classic.

    Between the Classic and the RW basses, the setups were comparable, though the RW basses had more comfortable necks, and IMO slightly better fret detailing. The shop's 60's classic was marginally heavier than the 3 RW, as was mine, but I didn't have a scale, and don't think the difference was as dramatic as that I observed with the P-basses from the same two series.

    The RW basses sounded better. More complexity, thickness, highs, and lows. It was a small difference, but it was there. This is puzzling, because the instruments all had the same pickups.

    At the time, the shop owner happened by and asked me in passing what I though of the wood. I said it seemed light, old, and dry. He said, "Baked," and hurried off to the repair shop.

    I am not sure we can tell much by comparing instruments outside of the real performance context in which they much prove themselves, but it is interesting to do it. :D
  15. wimpy


    Aug 1, 2004
    Czech Republic
  16. ljazz


    Dec 10, 2002
    Cookeville, TN
    I've always believed the MIA pups, both P's and J's, to be quite tame over the last 20 or so years.

    My '92 MIA Jazz (boner) was extremely limp. SD Antiquities cured that. My '08 MIA P has an equally tame sounding pup. However, in the case of the P, a set of chromes were just the ticket for bringing out some agressiveness.

    Anyway, to me that is design stuff that's easy enough to cure. The workmanship of the instruments though, more than makes up for the design of the electronics.

    And as far as price...... wasn't a '62 Jazz like 250 bucks new back then? What is that in today's dollar? If it's over priced today, then it was grossly overpriced back in '62. My '92 cost me 700 with the case. I bought a brand new F150 that year for 14,000. I'd pay more than twice that for an equally equipped truck today. Granted, a lot of price differnence has to do with automotive techno advances, but still.....

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